Jethro Tull lineup debate leaves Anderson 'bemused'

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Jethro Tull mainman Ian Anderson says he’s “bemused” by fans who want to see him reunite with former band members for future live dates.

He’s been playing Tull tracks live under his own name since completing the Aqualung 40th anniversary tour in 2011. He released Thick As A Brick 2 in 2012 without longtime Tull members guitarist Martin Barre and drummer Doane Perry.

Some followers have called for a reunion for their upcoming appearance at the TeamRock-sponsored Ramblin’ Man Fair.

But Anderson says on his website: “I am rather bemused by the fan gossip surrounding who might be, or should be, at my side in concert. All of the musicians in the current band have performed as members of Jethro Tull during the last decade. They are fine musicians, wonderful people and my closest friends.

“There have been, arguably, 26 members of Jethro Tull over the years; a big extended family of musicians. A family who are usually delighted to see each other again after a period of absence but sometimes with the proviso that after a warm and welcoming cup of tea, they won’t stay for lunch. You know how it is.”

He underlines that he’d actively encouraged Barre to move on from Tull, saying: “Fans have their favourite lineup, and Martin features in most of them, having been the stalwart Tull guitarist from 1969 to 2011.

“That he now fronts his own band and, as he says, enjoying the best musical time of his life, is a great and fitting place for him to be in his life right now.”

The mainman adds: “Many other past band members went on to considerable success. Guitarist Mick Abrahams and bassist Glenn Cornick from the first lineup formed their own bands and enjoyed periods of achievement. Others, like Jeffrey Hammond and John Evan, left Tull to follow completely new paths in life. Some, like Barrie Barlow and Peter Vettese, became record producers and studio owners.

“Each of them has brought great joy and musical success to me in their different and unique ways. But forgive us if we don’t actually want to wake up in bed next to each other in the present day.

“I am sure they will feel the same – especially after a veggie curry the night before.”

Anderson’s band consists of guitarist Florian Opahle, vocalist Ryan O’Donnel, keyboardist John O’Hara, bassist David Goodier and drummer Scott Hammond. Along with their Ramblin Man Fair appearance, they’re preparing to tour Anderson’s latest composition Jethro Tull: The Rock Opera.

Tull issue a 40th anniversary edition of Minstrel In The Gallery on May.