‘He can voice sentiments that I can’t’: Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson on his alter ego Gerald Bostock

Ian Anderson is returning to the character of Gerald Bostock for a third time with his forthcoming solo album Homo Erraticus. The Jethro Tull frontman says speaking through this nom de plume has given him new creative freedom over the years.

Bostock first appeared as a mythical poet whose work inspired the lyrics for Tull’s 1972 project Thick as a Brick. Anderson then caught up with Bostock in 2012 when he started wondering what had ever happened to this fictional figure. Next comes Homo Erraticus, due on April 14, 2014 from Anderson’s own Calliandra imprint via Kscope. As with the original version of Thick, Bostock is said to have provided the lyrical inspiration for this album, basing this latest group of writings on the unpublished work of Ernest T. Parritt, an amateur historian.

“Gerald Bostock is a convenient alter ego,” Anderson says tells Jerry Ewing in this Kscope clip, “because he can voice sentiments that I can’t. John le Carre could voice sentiments as John le Carre, his nom de plume, which he couldn’t when he was a serving officer in one of her majesty’s services. He was, of course, an MI6 officer in his early, pre-professional writer career. We use alias, we use convenient alter egos, to express things that are perhaps not our views, but it’s stepping into a different character. I’m not an actor, but I can understand the analogy, when it comes to being a writer. Sometimes you need to create a character that’s flesh and blood, in a way — rather than just existing a words on a page. You’ve got to give it that backstory.”

Anderson begins a UK tour on April 28 in support of Homo Erraticus. He’s set to perform the entirety of the new project, as well as select favorites from the Jethro Tull songbook. The full interview with Ewing, of Prog magazine, will be part of a special-edition version of Erracticus.

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