Keith Altham

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!

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`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.”

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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.

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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!

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ARTICLE ABOUT Slade FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, FEBRUARY 24, 1973

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog!

I started this blog with an interview with Slade, and now I think it is time yet again. Listen to one Mr. Dave Hill on top of the world at the start of 1973. They were quite an attraction at this point in time!

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Superyob – I`m a freak attraction

Dave Hill talking to Keith Altham

He comes on stage with Slade like an overdecorated, perambulating Christmas tree – smothered in silver-stars, gold and glitter from head to toe – but somehow he never minces into the realm of the camp.

What he does is counter Noddy Holder`s version of a Space-Age bully with his own interpretation of Superyob.
Dave Hill is showman first and guitarist second by his own admission, but front-line men with his special brand of cavalier style and confidence are essential to any band trying to snare and retain the public`s attention.
Jagger was the supreme example of this type of rock-theatrics, despite the fact that in more recent years his reputation has been enhanced by that ethnic ingredient “blues” appeal.

What Dave Hill set out to do was to make himself a personality in a group which no one could ignore, and, if he never topped a guitarist poll, it wasn`t going to worry him too much in his formative years.
No one worried overmuch about the Beatles instrumental ability in their early days, Hill reasoned, so why should he at a time when Slade`s music is not meant to be anything more than fun.
“There are so many good guitarists in this business that if you can`t go out on stage and deliver, you might as well be dead,” says Hill.
“There`s only one Eric Clapton who can afford to lay back, but even he surrounds himself with musicians who project something more.
“I made up my mind some time ago that I really just wanted to help focus attention on the band, and I`ve worked at it and exaggerated my own style.
“I`ve always been a bit flash and all I had to do was get up enough nerve to go on stage and be as outrageous as I felt.

“The four guys in the band are really a very good cross-section of what our audience are like, and we`re really a good mix of working, upper, middle and lower class. There`s always an element in young people who want to dress up and be exhibitionists – I`m just one of them.
“I`m really not a pretty character because what I put over is more brutish, and it can only be a reflection of the music which has a hard masculine feel about it. I couldn`t be camp if I tried, because my background is working class and I`m tough at heart. Someone described me once as looking like an off duty navvy from 2001.
“Don`t get the impression that I think I`m any more responsible for Slade`s success than Jimmy, Nod or Don. I`m just trying to get over what I think my contribution is. Slade only really works because it`s a perfect balance. While there are four of us I can`t see us missing. If one dropped out it would be the end of the group.

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“I know some people seem to resent what they think is arrogance, but then you`ve got to expect a certain amount of that if you come on strong.
“I get a few who come looking for a fight, like the idiot who started throwing chips at me while I was sitting in my car in Wolverhampton recently. I just got out and faced him down. I don`t look for trouble but I won`t run either.
“You get problems with your private life, but then, that`s to be expected. I still go to places I want, like Working Men`s Clubs in Wolverhampton, and if I get a few odd stares and pestered for autographs, so what – that`s part of the game. I`m a freak attraction.
“The only thing that really makes me puke are the copyists – those groups who think that the way to succeed is by imitating everyone else.
“There`s only one way, and that is to be original – be yourself.

“The image only really works if you have something to back it up with, and I think the results in the NME Poll have proved that we do.
“As long as our singles and albums are selling more each time, and as long as the people are turning out to hear us, we must have something more to offer than just the way we look.
“Best `live` group must mean there are a lot of people getting some sort of charge out of us which has little to do with the glitter.
“What really helps is when someone like Pete Townshend puts in a good word for us – I was reading a feature recently where he said Slade reminded him of the Who in their early days.
“From someone like him, that really means something, and if we were to pick out our favourite `live` rock and roll group it would be the Who. And I`m not saying that just because he had a few good words to say about Slade.

“We`re not really interested as a band in improving our own stature as musicians – we`re only interested in entertaining and giving our audiences a good time. We don`t feel the need to educate them.
“We`ve recorded some numbers which we`ve deliberately held back because we feel they are too clever – too indulgent for our fans at the moment. As we get older as a group then we hope to take those fans with us as we change.”

When a group becomes as popular as Slade are at the moment, a possible over-exposure becomes a real threat.
“Can you have too much of a good thing?” asks Hill innocently when you raise the subject. “I mean, so long as people think it`s still good. I really don`t think we could afford to throw a moody and play hard to get, because while we were taking a six months break someone would nip in and steal our audience.
“I don`t think the Beatles ever really stopped. Even when they finished with touring they were always there – in the papers, in the news, doing films or appearing on TV.”
You`ll find the Beatles are a constant reference in the Slade`s comparative values department. Do they really believe that they could be that big?
“What`s the point in aiming for anything but the top,” says Hill. “If you set your sights any lower, you can only achieve something smaller.
“You just take a look at what sort of figures the champions have set, and go for a World Record. The way we are going, I personally can`t see us missing.”

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Those were the days of full page ads for Slade! With THAT single they just couldn`t miss.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Led Zeppelin, Jan Akkerman, David Bowie, Strawbs, Traffic, Pete Townshend, Chuck Berry, Back Door, Guess Who, Alice Cooper.

This edition is sold!