Jethro Tull

ARTICLE ABOUT Jethro Tull FROM New Musical Express, November 22, 1969

Martin Barre was only on his third interview at the time and the band were still relatively new to adulation and fandom. Still, they were on their way and I guess Ian Anderson had a clear plan for the band all along, as he on the American tour of 1969 declined to play Woodstock as he was afraid they would be typecast as a hippie band.
Read on!


Jethro no one-man band!

By Nick Logan

WHILE the world is coming to love or loathe the eccentricities of Ian Anderson, they’ve been a little slow in recognising the existence of Glen Cornick, Martin Barre and Clive Bunker who, as devotees of the group won’t need telling, are as much Jethro Tull as Ian is.
Disc jockeys like Alan Freeman who ought to know better than to describe their act in a Top Of The Pops rehearsal as “Mr Jethro Tull,” and the BBC officials who persist in sticking the same label on their dressing rooms at Lime Grove, don’t help enlighten the masses.
Nor do the cameramen who focus so much on Ian that if an ear, top of a head or wayward arm is fleetingly glimpsed on the screen it is more by accident than design.
On the other hand, while they all get a bit upset about the “Mr Jethro Tull” bit, Glen, Martin and Clive are quite content to cede the mantle of Tull soothsayer to Ian in the sustaining knowledge that when it comes down to the real business of the group, the music and stage performances, their contribution can never be in question.
“I’ve done just two interviews since I’ve been in the group,” affirmed Martin when we talked in the Lime Grove canteen. “But none of us mind that. The kind of things Ian has to answer and talk about, all that analysis and comment, I wouldn’t care to do that anyway.” Glen nodded his headbanded head in agreement.
I had hauled the two of them off to the canteen after a run through in the studio of Jethro’s “Sweet Dream.”
Ian, whose outrageousness increases with every visit to the BBC, was in good form — his hair in bunches tied on each side with pieces of string, a strange knitted hat he found in Scotland on his head and wearing one of his famous overcoats, one side of which had been completely ripped away leaving the remains hanging in tatters.
“It got torn at the concert in Dublin,” Ian replied to arranger David Palmer’s inquiries. “Wait till you get a No 1 LP and it will happen to you,” he grinned through his beard.
In the canteen Martin was recounting how he was chosen from 70 other hopefuls in auditions to find a replacement when Mick Abrahams left Jethro Tull to form Blodwyn Pig.
As well as guitar, he played flute and sax in his former group. “I wanted a job as guitarist,” he recalled, “but it wasn’t easy. The group said that if I got a sax and learnt to play then I could join.

Three days

“I bought the sax on a Saturday and was playing it with the band on the Monday.”
Glen wasn’t to be outdone. “I once played bass for Tony Blackburn,” he announced, pausing to note the effect of his statement before adding that it happened some time ago in Blackpool when Blackburn was still with Radio Caroline.
“I was really frightened at first when I joined Jethro Tull,” continued Martin. “I thought I was an average or maybe slightly above average musician but I soon learned my shortcomings and it was pretty shattering.
“I discovered that I had been sitting back for the previous two years.
“At first with Jethro Tull I really had to force myself to play well. It took me a long time to get any confidence in myself.”
Glen broke in: “The sixth or seventh gig Martin played was the Fillmore East. We had been used to things getting bigger but it completely overawed us… and Martin had only been with us for ten days. After the kind of place he had been playing it must have been really mind shattering.”
The arrival of fame and fortune for Jethro Tull has had no apparent effects on the outlook of its members.
Ian was telling me a few weeks back that he still lives in the same £3 5s a week bedsitter in Kentish Town and, like the rest of the band, draws just £30 a week spending money from the group’s earnings.
On the fame side, both find the adulation strange and discomforting.
“I cannot grasp being thought of as a personality — which I will never be,” said Martin. “I am just a musician and I only relate Jethro Tull to music.
“Emotionally that sort of thing means as much to me as eating a boiled egg.”
Glen: “I find it very difficult now to talk to people outside music. There are things the group does without thinking that they think of as big things.
“People introduce you to their friends — this is so and so who you may have seen last night on Top Of The Pops — and it is like being in a zoo.
“Maybe they want a little of your supposed fame to rub off on them. Whatever it is, it is very embarrassing.”
Both Martin and Glen feel that Jethro Tull’s policy of restricting future appearances to concert tours is best for the public and the group.
Said Glen: “Concert halls are the only places where everybody gets a good deal — the public gets good music in comfortable conditions for a reasonable amount of money, the group has good playing conditions.
“You can get nostalgic about the good times but when you think of all the aggro… the stages too small to get the equipment on… having to change in corridors.’
“Personally if I was going to see a group I would rather go to a concert than stand at the hack of some sweaty club and just catch a glimpse of the guitarist’s head.”


If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

ARTICLE ABOUT Jethro Tull FROM New Musical Express, February 1, 1969

Always a joy to read interviews with Ian Anderson as he is an no-bullshit type of guy. This is a real find as this article came out only a few months after the release of their first album. There would be many more…
Read on!


Jethro – the new breed

By Nick Logan

IAN ANDERSON and Jethro Tull belong to a new generation of British pop — beget by a new generation of thinking young people. It is a generation that was at school, or were teenage fans, when the Beatles and Stones were first infusing life into a tired scene. Now, having come of age, they are in the process of electing their own musical spokesmen to the pop hierarchy.
Jethro Tull, guided by young and musically aware managers in former students Terry Ellis and Chris Wright, are both a part of that generation and a musical product of it.
Twenty-one-year-old Ian Anderson is singer, flautist and spokesman for the Tull and just over a year or so ago he was still at college.
Ian’s record collection consists of three LPs; his friendship with other people in the business runs to Family and Nice and not much further.
He is overawed by the Rolling Stones who invited the Tull onto its forthcoming “Rock And Roll Circus” TV special and rushed out to buy the “Beggar’s Banquet” LP without having heard it “just to have something by them to keep.”
He tells of Mick’s electrifying presence on stage, says the Stones are the “best blues group around” and talks with Northern unaffectedness of “that Jagger bloke” and “that Charlie fellar.”
Brittle, unpretentious and highly quotable, Ian and his kind are what pop needs in the way of new blood, new ideas and fresh views.


On Tuesday last week half of Jethro Tull was to be found in a tiny dimly lit basement studio in Soho waiting for the other half to arrive to start rehearsing for the group’s two-month American tour, which began on Thursday.
Ian was amusing himself on an old upright piano that had seen better days, or centuries; drummer Clive Bunker sat on a chair with head bowed.
As Ian has said before, he is very conscious of the way he is quoted in the Press. It annoys him to read in print that he has said things like “groovy,” “teenybopper” and “get it together” because he would not use such words.
But he himself doesn’t make things easy for the journalist, adding as he does after each interview that he doesn’t intend anything he’s said to be taken seriously.
His reason: “I would hate to think that I was in a position to criticise and expect people to take note of what I say.”
Ian who talks quickly and at length on subjects that interest him, has a habit of inserting sudden bursts of inspired humour into the dialogue — but does it with a diffident deadpan expression that gives nothing away.
“I say everything with a smile,” he says. But behind the hair that covers a good percentage of the face it is difficult to tell what the accompanying emotion is meant to be.
Apart from their distinctive form of music, the eccentric appearance and behaviour of Jethro Tull on stage holds great curiosity value and therefore good box office.
Uninitiated audiences have been known to fear for their lives and persons on meetings with the group but, says Ian, that is changing now.
“At one time it used to be that people would look the other way because maybe they think you carry disease or you might inflict on them a mighty blow with a switch blade.
“It is nice now that people do come up and are not afraid to talk, to say hello and ask what you had for breakfast and what size socks you wear.
“Even the girls… Six months ago it was predominantly boys. Girls would not come up and talk. It is nice to see that there are now some reasonable girls getting in on the underground thing.
“I don’t mean the ones in long fur coats with wide trousers and smoking that stuff,” he added with distaste.
“Not that sort of girl… but plain ordinary girls working in shops and offices, typists and secretaries — they come and see the group and seem to like the music.”


At that point Ian fell back from his stool against the piano, causing it to jangle in protest. Clive raised his head for a second then promptly returned to his slumber.
Ian continued undaunted. “You obviously get a kick out of bringing new sheep to the fold. Especially when they are 15 year olds who would normally be listening to the crooners and the balladeers and that sort of Radio 1 scene.
“That is just an unhealthy influence on the whole scene. Musically it is gush; lyrically it is rubbish. I hate all this pseudo romantic singing. There is nothing wrong with romantic songs but their way is not what it is all about.
“If you want romantic songs there is always Donovan and even the Stones, taking it right down to basics.
“But Engelbert Humperdinck — he is lyrically aware of bugger all. He and his kind are just unaware jokers serving no one except their bank accounts.
“It is up to the pop business to go out and make the public aware of the new music. The Family go out and put across sheer emotion. Those Long John whatsit people stand there and appear to be putting everything into it and really it is just stomach turning gush.”
Jethro Tull’s second single, “Love Story,” is currently making its way up the Chart and it pleases Ian to think of “little girlies leaping about over it.”

Much nicer

He says in his own inimitable way: “It is so much nicer for little girls to thrill themselves over Jagger, Keith Emerson of the Nice or Roger what’s-his-name of Family than say one of the Bee Gees. They are like real people rather than sort of dressed up dolls.
“The Bee Gees are obviously a very good group. They write good music and nice tunes but I personally don’t like listening to it.
“Think of someone else — Marmalade. They are the same sort of group. I actually like them. They play some nice tunes.”
Ian has no objections to the music of groups like the Bee Gees, Marmalade, Herman’s Hermits etc, though he may not like it personally. He stresses that he reserves the “gush category” for the balladeers only.
“I’ve been in cafes where youngish people actually put these records on,” he says without a trace of a smile.
“It is not good music. It is not clever. It is not worth a cent musically. I’ve nothing against Engelbert and that Tom Jones. They might be nice fellars. But it really is pretty poor stuff.
“It would be nice if the underground people went out and bought Engelbert Humperdinck records because they actually liked them and it would be nice if Engelbert fans went out and bought underground records because they like them.”


If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

ARTICLE ABOUT Jethro Tull FROM New Musical Express, December 20, 1969

If you thought it an easy life to join a rock band like Tull on tour, then you need to think again, as Nick Logan found out. This is an very enjoyable write-up from another time. Recommended for everyone.
Read on!


New York stands up for Jethro

NME`s Nick Logan in America goes on the road with Jethro Tull

Heading for the top in U.S.

“THE Word” on Jethro Tull in America is rarely bettered and fast improving with their every frolicsome outing on the U.S. rock circuit. The position of top British rock attraction in the States stands but a tour or two away.
I got a quick initiation into “The Word” game within a few minutes of meeting up with Jethro in the lobby of their New York hotel after flying in to join the group for the remaining eleven days of a month-long tour.
“What’s the word on Nick Logan?” whispered Ian Anderson furtively, responding to my bemused reply with an explanation that “The Word” is a kind of oral bulletin sheet on the standing of acts that circulates among the American rock community.
“It’s amazing,” he added, “how the word can spread across the country. It’ll start here on someone and ten days later you’ll catch up with it on the West Coast.”
Such is how reputations are passed on.
The way they are made are through shows like the four sell out performances Jethro delivered that weekend at New York’s Fillmore East. Or like the previous, frequently record-breaking dates on this their third American tour and the first with them topping the bill on every gig.
It was also their first time topping at Bill Graham’s Fillmore and to sell out four shows at the 2500 seater theatre is an achievement even for a group of Jethro’s standing.
New York comes second only to the West Coast as a Jethro Tull popularity centre and, with the Fillmore success under their belt, next time in the city they’ll have graduated up to the 10,000 seater Carnegie Hall level.
The Fillmore as a place does its best to dispel the magic of it as a rock institution.
Empty and with the house lights on, it could be any one of the larger Odeons everyone has in their local high street. But no theatre would have a lighting and sound system so effective.

After rehearsals and a meal at the hotel we drove back to the Fillmore in a huge black limousine to see “JETHRO FUNK MATTRESS” looming up in neon lights on the horizon.
With every seat full the theatre begins to regain its magic. With no high stage or orchestra pit to segregate the participants, and with the justifiably highly-praised Joshua Light Show working excellently, the atmosphere is heavy and the effect a total involvement with the music.
Fat Mattress had waved the flag and exited, leaving the stage to a boring and unoriginal American band called Grand Funk Railroad who nevertheless got a standing ovation and bore out Ian’s feelings that a standing ovation U.S.A. style has to be viewed in perspective.
Ian was in good form with the asides and witticisms when Jethro took the stage later at 10.15. Each line, move or roll of eyeballs drew the desired response while Glenn Cornick, Martin Barre and Clive Bunker worked hard and tight behind to turn in one of the best sets I’ve seen them perform.
New York rock fans pride themselves on their super awareness and it soon became obvious that the standing ovation at the Fillmore is treated as a kind of ritual.
The group knows it will do an encore — it has to be pretty dire not to get asked — and the audience knows it too. But the game must be played to the rules, and with the required amount of stamping, shouting and clapping, so it is.
After the show, Ian was saying that people back home tend to believe that America gets a much better show from British groups than they do in England.
“It’s probably because so many groups have said audiences here are really hip, and say they play better here to more receptive audiences. But it’s not true.


No different

Our act here is no different from what you’d get at the Albert Hall. Their’s nothing fantastically superior about the playing here. Both get the same.”
The second set got under way at 2.45 — a normal time for the Fillmore. The second house was older than the first — which had been the last to sell out — and were also more Jethro conscious as opposed to being interested.
Consequently, there was more reaction for Ian`s patter, which is noticeably bluer than in Britain, and for the music. Again a strong act with the standing ovation procedure observed.
At the end the audience gave signs of standing their ground in their demands for more until the exit music dispersed their appeals.
Back at the hotel totally whacked I managed to get some sleep at six; 29 hours after I had got up in England. Five hours later I was up again, taking a cab out to Greenwich Village with Ian for him to buy presents for friends at home.
In an hour or so we managed a tally of one poncho purchased, two requests of “Can you spare a dime?” one to Ian for a cigarette (he gave him one of mine), one Vietnam street demo and a Black Power taxi driver who cut up everything in his path as he drove us back to the hotel.
The two shows that night went similar to Friday’s with, if anything, a better, more attentive audience — who would no doubt carry “The Word” around New York.
In the dressing rooms after each show the changing was done quickly and quietly; the mood more in tune with disaster than the success it had been. My time later with the band on tour taught me that unless something had gone badly wrong this was usually the case.
The following day found us driving 100 miles north to a student concert at the University of Massachusetts. It wasn’t until Glenn, Martin and Clive had gone off in the first car that manager Terry Ellis, Ian and I realised we didn’t know the way.

Locked doors

Undaunted we set off, locking all doors as we passed out through New York, and managed to lose ourselves in the forested New England countryside. A heavy snow storm further slowed us down and at one point we began sliding backwards down an icy slope.
The others had been there an hour when we arrived. Spooky Tooth and Johnny Winter had played and the audience was patiently waiting for Jethro. Ian changed hastily and tuned up his mandolin with Martin while Clive drew a skinhead on a blackboard and he and Glenn got engaged in a discussion about Vietnam, Nixon and the draft with a student guarding the classroom-come- dressing room door.
The concert was in a large barnlike building normally used for basketball. A low wooden stage had been set up in the centre with seats all round: With 3,500 present the show was a sell out.
For many of the young audience Jethro Tull was a new experience and the genuine, immediate way they responded to the band and Ian’s banter made a telling contrast in retrospect with the hip, pseudo sophistication of the Fillmore crowd.
The sound system was poor and the seating arrangements inadequate – Ian spent some time after pointing out to the student organisers how both could have been improved — but overall it was a greatly enjoyable show as much for the way the audience responded as for the music.
Afterwards we walked through the campus grounds, where youngsters were skating in the dark on the pond, to eat in the students union canteen.
When we set off again at 10 the falling snow had thickened and we drove around in circles for an hour or so before finding the Massachusetts Turnpike to Boston, another 100 miles away. Ian slept in the car.
We made Boston by 2.30 a.m., the others having got there at midnight. Ian and Terry went off for a late meal; I crept off to my hotel room shattered. If this was a fair example of life on tour (and it was) my constitution was going to take a battering.
I took one glance in the mirror at my crumpled clothes and the unwashed, unshaven, ashen-faced reflection and promptly collapsed into bed.


ARTICLE ABOUT Jethro Tull FROM Record Mirror, January 10, 1970

A very early interview from Record Mirror with Ian Anderson regarding his band Jethro Tull. This one should be quite interesting for those who follow the band closely.
Read on!


`A lot of people must hate me`

By Keith Altham

WHAT is it that makes Ian Anderson tick? What motives are there behind a group like Jethro Tull just returned from an exhaustive American tour and now contemplating the prospects of a jet -hop around Europe. To try and find the answers to these questions I spoke to a wan looking Ian Anderson at the offices of Chrysalis.
“It’s certainly not the money,” smiled Ian. “I’m not even certain we have any money. I’m looking for a house at present but don’t ask me where the money is coming from. I need a place where I can write in peace and not have to squeeze my composing in those few spare moments while we are on the road.
“No one really knows how much money we have but someone recently explained the tax situation to me and I nearly gave the whole thing up and went looking for a job digging the roads. After a thousand pounds money becomes meaningless and your hear about how you are playing a concert for so many tens of thousands of pounds but what you see of that is so small it’s ridiculous. It’s like playing for 75,000 cigarettes or 75,000 beans.
“The expense of touring in somewhere like America with the hotel bills and cost of transporting equipment is astronomical. In this business you either end up very rich like the Beatles and Stones or just about break even like Traffic and groups like us. Sometimes I wonder how anyone makes a living in this business.
“The only real criterion you can have is to do something which pleases you and incidentally pleases others. I genuinely like our music and I listen to it as much as to anything else. The real satisfaction and the thing which keeps you going is in pleasing yourself and as I consider I am quite hard to please so there is a good chance I may please others.
The new Jethro Tull single Ian referred to as being two album tracks as it was the first that had released without deliberately writing the songs as such.

“They’re not throw-aways by any means,” said Ian, “But they were not specifically written with the, singles market in mind as -were our previous hits, ‘Witches Prdmise’ and ‘Teacher’ are really one fifth of an album! They are both tracks of over four minutes and we certainly will not be including them on our forthcoming album so this is the only time you will see these particular songs.
“In fact I’m certain that the people who buy our singles have been those that have bought the albums. The only real purpose to which we can be expected on our albums. But we haven’t just thrown the singles away – we’ve had a lot of copies out in stereo and put in in a colourful sleeve. It’s not just to remind people that we are still around – the music means too much to me to do something like that.”
First people to pay Jethro Tull any kind of attention were the long hair, beards and sandals brigade but now Ian believes that their appeal is widening and is anxious that they should get a new audiences while not neglecting the hard core.
“In that respect one play on the Jimmy Young radio programme is worth ten of John Peels – that is not meant to sound derogatory to John Peel but by a play on Jimmy Young’s programme we would probably be reaching millions of people who would never have thought of listening to us and maybe a few would like it.
“I always get a kick out of seeing older people at our concerts. At the Miami Pop Festival it was very gratifying to see an older audience behave like young people. It would not be possible to launch a Crusade for the sake of the older generation at the expense of our established younger audience, but it is nice to see a few people outside our accepted market taking an interest in us. You just have to be careful not to say the wrong things to the right people!”
Wither the Tull in this coming decade? It would appear that at least this year is scheduled.
“We must go back to the States in March – we have really built up an enormous following there now,” said Ian “And then there is a lengthy European tour and another album to be recorded.”


Ian is reported to have said that following this third album the fourth LP will be the group’s “Sergeant Pepper!”
“I must have been raving when I said it,” smiled Ian. “What I meant to imply was that by the time I have acquired my house and due to the fact I should get more free time next year that the potential of that fourth album is unlimited. I’ve already written the material for the third album.”
It was noteable that Ian seemed more sombre in both his manner and dress (black shirt, black trousers, black leather jacket) and the reason was apparently something of a compromise.
“I wear most of my clothes until they just fall apart,” admitted Ian. “But I am aware of being stared at and coming up on the train is the worst time – people can be so rude. If I’m wearing my multi -coloured gear they really go out of the way to insult you even when you try to be polite to them. I’ve had people walk right through me when I’ve approached them to ask the time or something.
“It’s very easy to dislike people from their outward appearance. There must be a lot of people who share the same attitudes as I who look very different from me. A lot of people must hate me because I present the image of some kind of demented immoral joker – which I’m not. I’m just like that for half an hour on stage!”
I discovered from Ian’s publicist that his parents had recently expressed a desire to see him play on stage and told him they were coming to a concert. Ian rang them back and asked them not to come.
“I was just very nervous about the whole thing,” said Ian. “My Mother was one of the few people to see me with no clothes on as a child and that is quite an intimate thing. They have never heard me sing except on bits of plastic and I would have been embarassed to perform before them.
“I don’t think they would have been shocked or anything – more amused and surprised but I would have felt too self conscious to perform. They think of me as being O.K. – just a good bloke, which is fine but I have this fear of exposing myself before people who know me well!”
Finally we arrived back at the same subject we began with – money and it’s importance in our lives.
“To me is means cigarettes, meals, rent, mandolin strings, plectrums and coffee,” said Ian “Earning big money does not really concern. Playing to more and more people does. It might be nice to have a lot of money in a few years time so that I could become a preacher or work for the Forestry Commission.
“I might even get married and then again I might not. That would be more important to me than most people!
Ian’s publicist bounced into the office and asked if he would mind holding on for another interview.
“If he’s quick,” said Ian and aside, “There goes my hot bath tonight.”
The one thing Ian needs to buy he can never purchase – Time.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

ARTICLE ABOUT Jethro Tull FROM New Musical Express, June 5, 1976

This one feels like one of the longest articles I have printed on this blog ever. I hope you enjoy this interview with one of rock`s most mysterious men. Actually, for a while in my youth, I was thinking the same as a lot of other people did; that Ian Anderson was the person named Jethro Tull. I guess the name combined with the strong image of seeing him one-legged with his flute made the brain do these connections.
These days Mr. Anderson is still performing live in concert as “Jethro Tull performed by Ian Anderson”. As I am writing this he is preparing for a small tour of Germany before going to the US in November. Catch them if you can!


Anderson`s Passion

Ian Anderson tells more than he usually does…
By Tony Stewart

A music business tradition is that Rock Superstars don`t usually telephone journalists.
“Hello. This is Ian Anderson,” said the voice on the line, instantly breaking protocol. “I believe you`ve been trying to arrange an interview with me through my record company`s press office.”
Indeed. But progress had been slow. Following Anderson`s appearances on the Old Grey Whistle Test and Supersonic during March, he`d agreed, through his PR, to talk exclusively to New Musical Express. But – furiously busy, working on the Jethro Tull Television Special with Mike Mansfield, rehearsing for Europe, and doing a foreign press and radio promotional trip – he`d been unable to allocate time for the interview.
The waiting game continued, and it was decided he would only be available after the Tull Euro Tour, which began early in May. With 13 concerts in eight countries, that meant he wouldn`t return to Britain until the end of the month.
But in Brussels, as Anderson explained during the call, he`d received a copy of Melody Maker which carried an unfavourable review of the new album, “Too Old To Rock `N` Roll: Too Young To Die.” Because he believed at least 10,000 people would avoid the set as a result of the criticism, his immediate reaction was to invite an MM staffman over to Europe.
Despite a reluctance to have the British press on the tour at all, he said he believed this tactic would allow him an opportunity to answer the critique, defend the recording, perhaps direct people`s interest towards it and so regain lost ground.

He was blowing out our exclusive. But being courteously concerned enough to tell me why.
“Sorry to rob you of a first Jethro Tull,” he said. “Whatever that may be worth.”
However, he did make it clear that this writer and a photographer would now be welcome to join the tour, if we wished. All the facilities and co-operation we required for an interview would be provided, and his major consolatory gesture would be to let us view the new stage act. A treat which apparently wouldn`t be afforded to our competitors.
“It`s not good for me to be calling the papers,” he admitted. “It`s just a silly thing. I get upset when an album comes out and it`s given a downer.
“Anyway,” he concluded, “I`ll have to get back to my breakfast.”
The telephone conversation seemed only to add credence to the general impression of Anderson`s paranoia: the Mad Hatter of British Rock.
After all, few major artists publicly confess to such acute sensitivity to critical opinion, and you may recall that in `73 Anderson, smarting with indignation went the whole hog by withdrawing Jethro Tull from the public arena following adverse notices for the “A Passion Play” album.
In retrospect it could be construed as a publicity gambit, because there was no loss in continuity of their recorded work, an album a year. But at the time the forfeiture only served to exacerbate his relationship with the press. And it was interpreted, in one instance, as “an unprecedented fit of pettiness and paranoia.”

And even when the band returned to live work a year later Anderson was once again declaring troubled opinions of the papers, being quoted as saying, “Criticism ought first of all be beneficial to the artist.”
He seemed to be the type of man who tore music papers into squares, for use in the lavatory in place of Delsey rolls.
Finding the real Ian Anderson is a difficult task.
The search is confounded by the fact that he doesn`t socialise in the business, apparently has few close friends with the possible exceptions of Captain Beefheart and Roy Harper, and never turns up at London clubs like Dingwalls, The Speakeasy or The Marquee to busk or booze. Therefore there`s little gossip or rumour enshrouding him.
Opinions, nonetheless, are formed even if of a speculative nature.
Some people who claim to have come in close contact with him describe Anderson as a beer swilling, jovial lecher who surrounds himself with sexy, young pretties. Others consider him to be a serious, intelligent, articulate musician, his head screwed on tight, but with an effusive tendency to talk the legs off a centipede.
And a small faction of disrespectful people contemptuously dismiss him as an arrogant pseudo-intellectual, so conceited that he can`t differentiate between what`s good and bad in his own music.
Also, magazine features on him have lacked consistent – never mind unanimous – character profiles, although various of his pet subjects have emerged: Beefheart and Harper, his musical aspirations, his concern about Jethro Tull intergroup relationships, his cinematic and theatrical ambitions, a fancy to adopt the nickname Jet (a term coined by some misguided fan who believed IA was Mr. Jethro Tull) and more recently the British tax laws.

Perhaps the common factor evident in most of these articles is his apparent eloquence and natural ability to express himself succinctly, with various degrees of ornamentation, and an astute awareness of the Good Controversial Quote. Reading between the lines you can often detect the canny manner in which he manipulates the interviewer.
For certain, he isn`t a dumbo. But still he remains an enigma.
And that`s basically why Pennie Smith and I accompanied by Chrysalis`s PR, have accepted the invitation, and are now wiping our feet in the lobby of Barcelona`s Princess Sofia Hotel, and being presented to Ian Anderson. The rest of Tull, who`ve just registered, having arrived from Switzerland, hover briefly in the background and then disappear quickly without being introduced.
Jethro Tull are back on the road with a new stage act based around material from the new album, “Too Old To Rock `n` Roll: Too Young To Die” with a new bass player called John Glascock and a temporary member in David Palmer, the arranger who`s worked with the band since their early days, playing keyboards alongside John Evan. Tomorrow`s concert will be the last but one of the European tour which closes in Madrid.
First impressions of Anderson are immediate.
He`s surprisingly slighter in physique than photographs suggest, to the point of seeming vulnerable. He`s politely mild-mannered and softly spoken. And he`s incredibly scruffy, wearing a black leather biker`s jacket, and soiled black jeans. His hair is a wild frizz, and the early stages of a beard dirtily shades his face.
More opinions are formed over the evening while we dine and drink together.

Wary, but not totally intolerant of the press, particularly NME who he feels have been particularly unkind to him over the last three years, it`s soon apparent that the social evening is indeed an acceptable method of familiarising ourselves with each other, but also an opportunity for Anderson to discover my attitudes towards him.
Yes, he`s sussing me out.
After being grilled by the Spanish press (who ask if he`s bisexual or if he`s made love to Henry Kissinger – really), we move into the hotel restaurant, and chat idly over the meal. Guardedly, Anderson is polite. He maintains a distance, and his only spontaneous action is to studiously and repeatedly sniff his steak, and then finally jerk a piece from his mouth, declaring loudly that it`s dogshit!
Just cutting into her meat, Pennie grimaces, swallows hard and pushes the plate to the side.
We all relax more, discussing music, which eventually leads to a fairly heated, but good natured, argument. “Am I winning on points?” He turns and asks PR man Briggsy.
In the bar he discloses more about himself.
That he has unpleasant memories of Tull`s early days, when they all earned £12.50 a week, with the exception of Mick Abrahams who received £15 on the grounds that he had to give money to his Mum. He talks about throwing Park Drive ciggies and lollipops to audiences, and realised he`d made it when he could afford to buy a packet of ten Bensons. He relates stories about collapsing on stage at the Fillmore East and arriving on early American tours to find their equipment smashed in transit.
Laughing now (time has dulled the original hardship) he reveals that by 1970 Tull were £90,000 into debt.

Although music is his consummate interest, he`s also interested in moto cross, reads five national dailies, and Spy books, and talks at length about a fascination for fire arms. He hogs the oratory stand and lacks humour.
It seemed natural to crack an amusing question: Did you get into guns from reading Spy books or after seeing the reviews of “A Passion Play.” But he ignores the comment.
The atmosphere`s less formal, with Anderson more at ease. But still faintly detached – cordial without feigning an air of backslapping ribaldry. Obviously he doesn`t want to be whitewashed or made to appear as something he isn`t. Nor does he wish to be unfairly tarred and feathered by a journalist.
The consequence of all this is that he raises a virtually inpenetrable protective shield of assured, calm, professional diffidence.
Clearly we`re not going to catch him fumbling some Latin honey, picking his nose or bum burping in public.
“I started to enjoy Jethro Tull after I`d made the decision not to quit, which was about 1970.
“Up until that point it had been financially very dissatisfying because of the huge debt we`d incurred as a band, due to the cost of equipment, and trucking and aeroplane flights to get us to tours that didn`t make any money.”
Anderson and I are seated in the hotel lounge the next day, having in the morning tramped round the Ossa motorbike factory on the outskirts of Barcelona. Our introductory meeting last night had finished around 2 am. I`d gone to bed, while Jet and David Palmer had gone to a room, ostensibly to write an ad jingle for Debenhams.

Because Anderson had voiced surprisingly unpleasant recollections of Tull`s early period, it seemed natural to ask when he started to like his role, if at all. He answers instantly, speaking well and fluently.
“On a musical level it was dissatisfying 50 per cent of the time, because we were still living under the shadow of our public origins as a blues group. And everything we did that deviated from that obvious link with the blues, felt like an act of alienation towards the people who established the group through their buying of records and attendance of concerts.
“That`s a very simplistic way to say suddenly, at some point, it changed. I don`t think it was an overnight thing.
“But I do remember there being a tour of America where I did come back and say: That`s it. I`ve done my bit. I`ve done my National Service. I probably owe a fortune in tax. Time to knock it on the head and be a record company executive, or manage a group, or whatever retired musos are supposed to do.
“When you actually have to weigh up the alternatives they`re not good.
“I mean, it lurked in the back of my mind probably for a good few years that music was possibly a thing to do for fun, on a sort of amateur level. But you must remember I`d been brought up to believe that it was absolutely necessary for one`s mental and ultimately physical well-being to have a career; a profession.
“For a profession, the door was open as far as the business side of the Business was concerned. I`d always thought, perhaps, that would ultimately be what I would do.”
He pauses, collecting his thoughts.

“Strangely enough, I actually think I now have a sufficiently wide-working knowledge of the business to do a better job than most at anything other than the real legal and contractual side of things, which I really don`t understand.
“To an extent, I can probably do a better job than most of the people in the business do, on all the different fronts. Whether it`s in terms of PR. management, A & R. Or,” he adds cynically, “whatever thing it is they all do.”
Self-assured, he`s aware of his capabilities, but speaks simply and without arrogance.
“Some of the better record companies have presumably got wise to the fact they have to offer a more comprehensive service to the artist, in terms of providing PR and management advice – you know, arranging for abortions and venereal disease cures.
“I think there is that need for the 24-hour-a-day sort of father figure who doesn`t actually get on stage. Somebody who has that small degree of objectivity as to what`s going on.. who`s just being able to act as a pillar to some kind of reality as far as the group`s concerned.
“Because a bunch of guys who get up on stage and play guitars and wear silly clothes and have the audience wetting their pants, are bound to go a bit crazy. And most of them do.
“Really. I`ve met very few people in the music business who I didn`t think were really dangerously lunatic. Mostly the people who`re actually involved in the creative aspect of it strike me as being clearly crackers.”
Do you consider yourself crackers?
“No. Not at all. I don`t think many people do.

“The only thing people can accuse me of is being a little bit too clever for my own good. Possessing just a little bit too much knowledge and too much awareness of what`s going on. And that frightens them. Sometimes it`s levelled, not directly but in their own minds, as some sort of accusation that perhaps I can`t be a true serious musician or performer, because I`m too aware of what`s going on around the business. And that it`s not good for the artist to know these things.
“I think that, by and large, it probably isn`t good. But I have a mental capacity for holding in, and occasionally utilising that information without letting it rule my life. Or, I hope, without letting it get in the way of the music.
“I would feel distinctly nervous after this number of years if I didn`t know anything about the business, and I was still being an active muso. I would be terrified now if I didn`t know something about International tax law and internal account procedures within the record company.
“I`d be paranoid.
“And I`d probably be broke, instead of thankfully having a bit of capital tucked away which is allowing me to further my private musical aims, when and where they occur.”
By now it`s possible to see Anderson, the interviewee, more accurately. He`s an eloquent speaker who is so much at ease that it`s hard to imagine he is so sensitive of the press. But you also notice traces of unconscious dogmatism, and his qualifying words of doubt amount to spurious objectivity.

After almost four hours of taped interview over three sessions, as well as off-tape conversations which are invariably concerned with our respective attitudes to music, there will be a clearer portrait of Anderson, the person.
Even now, as he entertainingly talks about the bad old days, and how they`re misrepresented by people as being atmospherically healthy periods, he can`t resist commentating on Tull now, revealing a view that smacks of his pessimistic vulnerability.
For instance when he says he would like to see The Rolling Stones…
“I`d be interested,” he qualifies, “to see how my reaction towards their current concert performance would vary with your average, jaded journalistic view – because that`s what the journalistic view has been on this tour so far. Their reviews have not been terribly good.
“Just as ours probably won`t be terribly good, and Elton John`s weren`t terribly good last time he was around, when he played with The Beach Boys. He didn`t make it, but the Beach Boys were lovely. Because they (the writers) hadn`t seen them before.”
He is not, it appears, beyond throwing an occasional dart of cynicism too.
Anderson`s a sly old fox. You never really know if he`s setting you up, again manipulating the interview for his own benefit. At the moment he`s being reserved, serious and rarely excitedly animated. He consciously attempts to be unpredictable, as he`ll admit. Which could, of course, be the essence of his protective shield.
Now you see me. Now you don`t.
He talks of his and Tull`s popularity being based on reputation. It`s the reason why they continue to tour triumphant, as the European dates have so far proved.


“Knowing how it works, the reputation or whatever,” he elaborates, “you still want to screw it a little bit as a muso. You want to get up there and do something that is at odds with what people expect of you. You have to do that. There`s a small spark of the rebel that continues to exist.
“At this point in time my rebellious nature is brought forth in actually talking a large amount of common sense and telling a large amount of truth about a business which is full of hype and petty sort of stardom trips. From the highest Rock Star, right down to the lowliest cub reporter on the New Musical Excess. Haha!
“I`m being glib and sort of rude,” he observes, “but you know what I mean. There`s a lot of things going on that I find absolutely irrelevent to the music business.”
Similarly, naming the album “Too Old To Rock`n`Roll: Too Young To Die” was, to an extent, an act of defiance – and one which also serves the dual purpose of again illustrating Anderson`s awareness of press animosity, or simply his own recurring nightmare.
“The title,” he explains, “openly invites all sort of attack on the music contained therein, and I really don`t mind because it was going to happen anyway.
“The first two or three interviews I did here yesterday in Spain were the first ones I`d done in two weeks, and the second or third, if not the first question, was: Are you too old to rock `n` roll? Is that what you`re saying in this record?
“It`s great,” he laughs.

“Everybody in the record company, from the office boy on, must have looked at the proofs for the album cover with dread, and probably thought when they saw the title; `O Christ. He`s really going to get some stick over this one.`
“Strangely, certainly in the British papers, they haven`t done that… number on the headline. I thought at least one of them would.
“It said, `Not A Ray Of Light` instead. Which is very intelligent, very clever,” he comments sarcastically, the title being an obvious pun on the central character`s name, Ray Lomas.
Conversation then pivots to his pronouncements on Taxation. He feels the papers have been irresponsible to unquestioningly print exaggerated declarations by Rock Stars about how much they`d pay to the British Government if they weren`t Tax exiles. His complaint is that all Major Names are saddled with accusations that they`re both greedy and unpatriotic.
“So you can understand,” he concludes, “that I get a bit annoyed when the customs man thinks I`m living in the Bahamas and just coming in for the football game. Or can you?”
Back to music:
“There are some of us who, believe it or not, have a basic respect for what being a muso`s all about. Like, I`m glad to be working – although we enjoy the hotels and we enjoy travelling first class, and who the hell wouldn`t?
“There is that basic ingrained sort of thing: Glad to be treading the boards, having a dressing room, I`m very grateful for all that.”
It figures we`re going to enter into a lengthy discussion about the press.

But – at this point you may feel Anderson has been allowed to wriggle off the hook too easily. Why, for instance, permit him to complain about tax misconceptions when he hasn`t even announced plans to play Britain? And, if you`re particularly astute and conversant with tax law, you may be wondering whether the only reason for his recent decision to live again in England is because he was married in March, and the British system of taxation is now more favourable to him than the American.
But, I must quickly add, I didn`t think of this, and it was he who did the explaining: Apparently, getting married means he pays more tax.
“I`m prepared to give away all that kind of bread I could be earning by saying: I don`t want to be a slave to the money rules,” he says forcefully. “If I want to get married I`ll damn well get married. I don`t care what it`s costing me.
“You can appreciate that I`m not about to bend music for the same reasons. And I would not be happy to go and live somewhere else and try and conduct a musical life in an environment that I was not at home in.
“So there are many reasons why I stay in England, not the least important being loyalty. Silly as it may sound, trivial as it may sound, that comes up reasonably high on the list for me.
“I`m British, and for a while now I`ve been making a good living by playing British music. It`s British Music!”
Sure, Ian. But how about putting it on view in Britain if you feel so strongly. Unfortunately I was remiss in not putting that point. I was more concerned about discovering whether or not he`s as paranoid about the press as he appears to be.
Certainly he admits sensitivity.

“But I`ve had a very consistent number of bounder kind of reviews and comments. In England it goes back to `Benefit` and onwards. We started getting good shows and bad reviews. At the time I thought: Well, next time probably everybody`ll like it.
“… Whereas in the public mind we`re still worth going to see at a gig, and maybe its still worth buying our records but we don`t qualify as the much-loved or much-respected Big World Group.”
That is the rub, you see.
And he than cites an instance of this when an American periodical published a Group Stature Poll, based on concert ticket returns. Jethro Tull were placed 29th. Anderson claims the poll was compiled at a time unfavourable to the group because they hadn`t been touring a lot.
“But if you averaged it out over a few years,” he explains, “in terms of actual concert ticket sales. I think we`d be very high… I think if we weren`t number one we`d certainly be in the top three.
“Nobody`s interested in that.”
But in the next breath he adds, curiously: “I`m not really interested in it that much, and I couldn`t even tell my mother that was the case. She wouldn`t believe me. She`d think I was trying to say: Look Mum, don`t worry about what you read in the English papers, coz some people love us, somewhere.
“Coz, I mean she feels like I`m washed up, I`ve had it, nobody buys the records anymore, doesn`t get to number one…”
Yeah, Rock Stars` Mums are sensitive too. Jeff Beck`s mother once dropped me a note of reprimand following a critical review of mine.
“Well, I mean Christ,” he answers. “That`s what Mums are for, isn`t it?”
But does it really matter that the press don`t give you your just deserts?
“It obviously matters on a personal level, because you actually feel there`s been a lot of instances where that sort of criticism has been unjust – in my book a little unfair, because it`s not explained.”

When we break for lunch the subject is still the same.
Then an hour or so later we resume the interview by linking Anderson`s views on the press to his music.
Does it change his approach? On “War Child,” for instance, there are several references to “A Passion Play,” and perhaps the album had been structured to fall in with what he considered popular/review taste.
“No, strangely enough.
“Lyrically `Passion Play` was about the possibility of what happens to someone who dies. What happens to the spirit, or whatever, and the possibility of an after-life; in terms of being confronted still with a choice between good and evil, rather than the conventional Christian belief: If you`re a good guy then you go to heaven as soon as you cross the other side.
“I was asking: What happens if you still have to make that choice?
“It`s not a question of whatever you do here and now sets the course for which way you go Up There. Suppose when you die you still have to make choices – rather like the Buddists believe – in different plains of existence.
“I was pursuing that sort of an idea, rather haphazzardly.”
Of course that theme was developed into a movie idea – remember, it was listed as one reason why Tull were retiring from live appearances in `73, and Anderson started to write the music.
Economically it was a large-scale venture, and caught in a deluge of Rock Star movies like Tommy and Bowie`s work on The Man Who Fell To Earth, he thought it better to shelve the project. The music then formed the greater part of “War Child.”
That seems to me to be even more evidence that “Child” was essentially a more direct approach to the same theme as “Play.”

“Well yes, I mean it was,” acquieses Anderson. But the references are somewhat oblique because… the movie was a real black and white. It was a real movie script.”
More ammo for the connection – with Anderson smarting under the critical attack received for “A Passion Play” – was what appeared to be a crystalisation of his thoughts on the press within the context of “Only Solitaire”:
“The critics falling over to tell
themselves he`s boring and
really not an awful lot of fun.
Well, who the hell can he be
when he`s never had V.D.,
and he doesn`t even sit on
“O that one!” He laughs loudly, for the first time really animated. “I`ll tell you about that. Listen!
“That song and `Skating Away` were both recorded in the Chateau D`Heroville in the period between `Thick As A Brick` and `Passion Play`. I mean, before `Passion Play`, after…”
Yes, I`ve got it.
“… And those two songs were inserted into the `War Child` album as the two acoustic things, which were otherwise lacking. Coz the rest of the album was fairly electric and arranged more heavy. In fact, those two stemmed,” he continues, his Northern accent emerging more strongly than before now the formality is relaxed, “from a different session altogether. A year different.
“But yes, that was a precocious and very small answer to some criticism that we`d had, up until then.”

All I can do is muse that it`s amazing what interpretations can be given to songs, especially with the advantage, or hindrance, of hindsight.
For instance, artistically Tull`s first three albums were, with the exception of the production for “This Was”, excellent. Their fourth, “Aqualung”, cracked them as a world band, but the following two (“Thick As A Brick” and “A Passion Play”), because of their depth and lyrical obscurity almost totally bemused me.
Personally they suggested a certain degree of arrogance, where Tull had been successful and were therefore indulging themselves in concept works.
“Mmm. Yeah, I mean…”
Anderson responds, searching for words and exhaling a smoke screen.
“You`re absolutely right in as much as it was definitely indulging the group experience of playing together. But one thing which hasn`t really been made apparent, although I know I`ve said this on many occasions, is that `Thick As A Brick` and `Passion Play` were very much, out of the whole Jethro Tull saga, the two albums where the group corporately were responsible for the arrangements and a lot of the shape to the music.
“It`s certainly an indulgence on the part of the group. But I don`t think it was because we`d made it and we thought we could do anything, something really indulgent, and get away with it.
“It was the fact that, having made it, we thought better try and come up with something to justify, you know ha, what we`re supposed to be. Especially in America, because after `Aqualung` we were suddenly very, very established there.
“And we all felt, I think, a great deal of pressure to sort of make some real mark. Make some real positive contribution to the pop music of then.”

As he pauses you suddenly realise he`s once again sombre, the Northern-ness in his voice quelled.
“Ironic, isn`t it? That those two were number one albums in America?”
Perhaps his sneer is only in my imagination.
Quarter of an hour later, another subject broached, Anderson excuses himself. He has to travel to the gig for a soundcheck. We follow later.
They play a 5000 seater hall, just outside Barcelona, where the band have been encamped since the late afternoon.
Anderson`s alone in the dressing room, tuning his flute, while just next door drummer Barriemore Barlow talks, jokes and laughs with the support act, John Miles and his band. Outside in the corridor, cluttered with transit cases and bits `n` pieces of sound systems, Martin Barre sits quietly talking with John Glascock.
Round the bend, John Evan and his wife huddle cosily together – the missus unexpectedly turning up in the middle of the night. Close to them is a special banquetting room, tables laid out with food by the tour`s catering lady. It`s empty.
Perhaps they see enough of each other on the road, but the only occasion you witness them all together is on stage. And it`s a pretty powerful spectacle.
Jet adopts the leery posture of the Madcap Minstrel, dressed in medieval fashion. Wearing a multi-coloured patched Bolero, covering a satin shirt; blue and mauve tights; riding boots with ballet rehearsal sock turned over the top. And of course his credentials are packed neatly in… The Cod Piece!
Evan wears an Ariel-white pilot`s suit, shoulder flashes too. Glascock could have fallen from French aristocracy, ornamented in a wide rimmed red hat, and matching trousers. Sombrely Barre displays his natty, but conservative, tan corduroy trousers and waist coat. While Barlow is content to sit behind a blue perspex double Ludwig, with Palmer, hatted, studiously perched behind a string synthesiser and electric piano to the right of the stage.
Musically the show is considerably more dazzling and entertaining.
There`s precision, professionalism (yeah, the keyword round Tull), excitement and an emphasis more on the show content than any distracting visual extravaganza.

Before we each catch our respective planes, him to Madrid, me to London, we once again occupy the hotel lounge. He`s relaxed, jovial even – perhaps the natural reaction having performed a successful gig, this time before members of the British press.
Lyrical meaning, significance and translation is again the central theme of conversation, discussed at length and even tracing the religious aspect of his writing back to “Christmas Song”, the B-side of Tull`s single “Love Story”.
Another instance of completely misunderstanding his work, he asserts, is my interpretation of the new album being a personal statement by Anderson under the superficial guise of the cartoon strip featuring Ray Lomas.
IA claims the album was the result of a theatrical production he wrote, based on an actual person called Ray Lomas, and which he hoped to present on stage with Adam Faith taking the leading role. Faith was unavailable and once again Jethro Tull were presented with the structure for an album, the hand-me-downs of another independent idea of Anderson`s. Any pointed lyrical association, he seems to infer, is merely coincidental.
But certain songs fit him like a motorcycle jacket.
“Well, he replies rationally, “I suppose they do.
“But if they fit me, they must also fit pretty well every other rock `n` roll singer. They must fit everybody who`s been going for five or six years. They must look on today`s current output of the new generation of pop music with a certain disdain. With a certain kind of, haha, disappointment really.
“Because I don`t see any new Who`s, Rolling Stones, or Led Zeppelins on the horizon.”
But don`t the words of “The Chequered Flag” have more personal pertinence, I persist.
“The deaf composer completes his final score.
He`ll never hear his sweet encore…
Isn`t it grand to be playing to the
stand, dead or alive”

Is Anderson retiring? That`s how it struck me.
“Oooo, definitely not. It`s actually the antithesis of `Too Old To Rock `N` Roll…`”
“The `Too Old…` song, the title, was actually spawned in a moment of depression. At one point on an American tour  I`d been really down after a duff gig that was probably my fault, and thought: I`m really passed all this. Why should  I be travelling another 500 miles to another town. Let me off at the roundabout.
Whereas `The Chequered Flag` is lyrically more like `Bungle In The Jungle` (“War Child”). It`s accepting the sort of hardness of life, and saying: Well, it`s hell. But it`s all worth it, getting out there and doing it.”
Three days with him, at work and in play, and you can`t help but wonder just how close you are to discovering the real Ian Anderson. He ensures the promised amenities are provided, politically concerns himself with our well being. But still he remains a cool, wary distance.
Simply, you`re not admitted into the camp and no excuses are given or expected. The atmosphere being, the NME Axeman cometh, fend him off. And even the band keep dutifully out of our way.
“Obviously it`s not that they`re paranoid,” Anderson delights in explaining. “But they think: Well, the bloke from the NME, the Enemy, is here. Hahaha. It could be something good for the group or it might be terrible. We better keep out of the way and let them get on with it.”
Has he too been on the defensive?
“Very little. Not while the tape recorder`s been on anyway”.
Our farewells, significantly, are probably as formal as when we were first introduced.
“I won`t say that I look forward to the article,” Anderson says as a final gesture, smiling knowingly. “But…”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Doobie Brothers, Jesse Winchester, Richard Thompson, David Bowie, The Meters, John Miles, Tom Waits, Hall & Oates.

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