Jethro Tull are in the throes of a massive 60 date tour through North America, one which includes a Montreal stop on August 21st and a Toronto date on August 22nd. Summer and fall include some dates in Germany and Italy with an orchestra. In addition, there’s a live CD called Living With The Past, and an accompanying DVD of the same name.
By Martin Popoff
Ian Anderson: “About two-thirds of the CD is material that is on the DVD soundtrack,” explains one-legged flautist Ian Anderson. “And there are seven tracks on the CD which are not on the DVD. Because we thought, a lot of people are going to buy both; you know, the real fans will buy, so we better make them a little different so they at least feel they’re getting something special, that the CD isn't just the audio soundtrack of the DVD. We tried to add some different snippets, different things from other live performances, some TV and radio things we did, and cover a bit more of the acoustic music from Jethro Tull as well. There are a couple of songs I did as a quartet, just myself on piano and a string quartet, just to try and re-create some of that casual, around the campfire sort of music. That was shot in my home here.”
There’s also something called the “Zürich Dressing Room Tapes.” Ian provides the backdrop. “We were doing a show in Sports Hallow in Zürich, ten years ago, whatever. We promised to send some music to a radio station in America for some promo thing. So we had a DAT, digital tape recorder in the dressing room and three of us were there and we just sat and did three songs, just into a microphone. And a copy of the tape went off to the radio station in America and I kept a safety copy obviously, and I just found that again a few months ago. And there were some other sessions we did a couple of years ago in a television studio in Holland where we recorded some acoustic things. We purchased the rights to use those. They wouldn't give them to me; they wanted money (laughs).”
SoT: So are the CD and the DVD are very similar looking and released for the same company?
Ian: “Yes, they are both called Living With The Past and they both utilize essentially the same artwork because they are very much close cousins. They aren't identical, but they're similar and they’re both live performances, and some of them the same live performances and they’re both on Fuel 2000, distributed by Universal, released two weeks apart.”
“I don't have any artwork, gold albums, Grammys, trophies, awards… I don't have that stuff in my home,” answers Anderson if his stately Scottish walls are adorned with any originals of the great cover arts used throughout Tull’s nearly 35 year recording career. “I have no idea where any of it is (laughs). It's not something I feel the need for. I imagine there are a lot of people who do have their gold records hanging on the wall, and maybe they're the kind of people who need to wake up in the morning and come downstairs and reassure themselves that they are really successful pop stars. I actually find that I don't need the reminder. I usually have a flute sitting around somewhere, or a guitar within reach. I think if I need any security blanket, the tools of my trade are fine. I'll find a musical instrument which is enough reminder of who I am. I don't actually like the trophies and the objects of success. I don't feel the need for a musical trophy room at all. Completely outside of my personality and make-up (laughs).”
As a final note, the next studio album truly seems a ways off, Anderson still in the idea collection phase. However another three remasters should happen by this fall, marking the continuation of a process that will likely roll on for years and years…