Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson opened up about reforming Jetro Tull without the original members and recording and performing new material under the band’s name during his recent interview with Misplaced Straws. He stated that he doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do it.
Jethro Tull’s original lineup is known as Ian Anderson, Mick Abrahams, Glenn Cornick, Clive Bunker, and Martin Barre but the band went through several changes because of personal problems, creative differences, and many other reasons. Although Barre highlighted that he and Anderson didn’t have any future plans about the band which was seen as a breakup in 2012, it can be said that Anderson made his own plans.
After Ian Anderson and Martine Barre continued their musical careers with solo bands for years, Anderson decided to celebrate Jethro Tull’s 5oth anniversary with The Prog Years Tour and a new studio album by using the band’s name. It can be understood from Anderson’s announcement that he wanted to reform Jethro Tull with brand new members and their upcoming 22nd studio album entitled ‘The Zealot Gene’ on January 28, 2022.
During his interview, Ian Anderson clearly stated that he never hesitated to release his works under the name of Jethro Tull because he owns the copyright as the founder and leader. He added that he doesn’t care what other people think about his career choices after working on it for 50 years. Anderson emphasized that Martin Barre joined the band a few years later so he cannot be considered as an original member and Barre has been pursuing his own solo career.
Anderson shared his ideas saying:
“Not really. No, I mean, I can call it whatever I want. As far as the name Jethro Tull in any musical context is concerned, for many, many years, my company has owned that trademark and copyright in the name, so I mean, I call it whatever I want. What other people might think is not of much importance to me because I’m the guy who just gets on and makes the music, I don’t really worry about what people are thinking about it.
I suspect that what lies behind your question is that in terms of original band members, well, there’s only me. Even Martin Barre was not an original member of Jethro Tull. He joined after a year or so. I suspect that what lies behind your question is that inevitable one about Martin Barre not being in the band, and therefore, there may be some people who get their knickers in a twist and say, ‘Well, you can’t call it Jethro Tull because Martin’s not there.‘
Well, Martin has his own life and his own band, and that’s something we talked about 20 odd years ago, I was encouraging Martin to develop his own parallel musical career, and took him a long time to really get around to doing that. I’m absolutely sure that there is no way he would want to turn the clock back and be simply the guitar player and Jethro Tull, given that he can be his own boss and do exactly what he likes to do during the remaining years of his professional musical life.”
“If it’s a band album of rock music and all the guys being there, then I’m more likely to think, Well, if it fits in broadly to the Jethro Tull repertoire, that cannon of music styles, it tends to belong to that bigger repertoire in terms of its sound and musical stylings, and I would then think it’s probably better to call it Jethro Tull.
So that’s what it is, but when we go and play the Jethro Tull repertoire, the repertoire is bigger than the musicians, including me, it’s really a vast body of work, which was released under the name Jethro Tull. If that’s what we’re playing, then I feel it’s appropriate to describe that concert as a Jethro Tull concert.
So that’s what usually I do, but in order that people to know that I’m actually gonna be there and be on the stage it may say Ian Anderson Presents, Jethro Tull in Concert, or Jethro Tull, The Prog Years, or whatever it might be. So I think it’s quite important that people realize this is not a tribute band, this is actually the real deal, and as I say, I can legally call it what I want, nobody else can.“
You can watch the interview below.