‘Well, the others aren’t here yet’: Ian Anderson on how his solo work evolved out of Jethro Tull

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Ian Anderson says the impulse to work as a solo artist — something that led to his release of Thick as a Brick 2 without the Jethro Tull label — goes all the way back to the sessions for 1971’s Aqualung.

“That was the point where I did find myself sitting in the studio sometimes with a little song I had written and just thinking: ‘Well, the others aren’t here yet; I’ll just whack this down on tape,'” Anderson tell Rick Wakeman in this newly posted video. “These were little acoustic pieces, singer-songwriter type of music. That started happening, and to some extent, maybe the others would join in and overdub some things later — or not.”

Tracks like “Jack-In-the-Green” from 1977’s Songs of the Wood were recorded by Anderson alone, while 1980’s A was rumored to be an Anderson album that became rebranded for Tull over the course of the sessions, as well.

“A lot of those records from the 1970s, it was quite common that the other guys weren’t on all of the music,” Anderson says. “But we still called it Jethro Tull. I suppose they accepted the fact that my musical calling was really as an acoustic musician.”

As the lineups have continued to shift, leaving only Martin Barre as Jethro Tull’s only other consistent presence, it was perhaps natural that the music itself would begin to feel more and more like an Anderson project. “There was a point when I did feel that I wanted to do something that was solo, partly to work with other musicians,” Anderson adds.

Last year saw Anderson release his own follow up to Gerald Bostock’s adventures in 1972’s Thick as a Brick. He also began performing the entire original album live for the first time since the original Jethro Tull tour.

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