Jethro Tull are coming to Mallorca later this month. | Jethro Tull


Mallorca is about to experience and witness an important part of music history this month when the legendary British group Jethro Tull perform at the Auditorium in Palma on February 24 with founder Ian Anderson fronting the concert as part of their 70 Decades tour.

Jethro Tull are one of the few rock bands born in the ‘60s that are still actively producing new and amazing high quality material today.

The Blackpool-formed band burst onto the scene in 1967 with a sweeping new sound that made a huge global impact and have sold over 60 million albums.

Between 1971 and 1975 they released a series of albums that remain masterpieces of popular music today such as Aqualung, Thick as a Brick, A Passion Play and Minstrel in the Gallery.
Their leader, composer and front man Ian Anderson, retains all the magnetism on stage. And his characteristic flute, which he famously plays on one leg, and voice, are the hallmarks of the band.

The concert will feature their greatest hits and also some of their new songs from The Zealot Gene and Rök Flöte, new studio works recorded over the past two years.

But after so many years in the business and considered one of the musical greats of all time, what is the driving force behind Ian, who once cleaned the toilets at the Ritz Cinema in Luton to scrape a living?

I guess I’ve got or had two choices. Retire or carry on. There is still something left in me and there is still plenty of scope for rebuilding as a musician and songwriter.
Look at the likes of Springsteen or McCartney, they’re still going. Why give up? If you’ve got the energy and can still physically entertain people, there isn’t much option. It’s a bit like tennis or football players, you just keep going, you die with your boots on,” he told the Bulletin this week.

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Ian, who is a massive lover of cats and lists protecting wild cats as one of his interests, shrugs off the flattery of what he and Tull have achieved over the years and that they still are very much a point of reference to the music industry.

To be honest, I’m not a music fan. The other day, for example, I had to Google Taylor Swift to find out what all the fuss was about. Growing up, I wanted to join the police force but got turned down, or become a journalist. Becoming a musician was not really high on the agenda. Musically I was never one to follow any particular trend and once I did start playing, in the ‘70s I gave up listening to music for a while because I didn’t want to add to my daily burden. I didn’t want to get bogged down and influenced by what all the other kids were listening to.

“I guess the soundtrack to my early life, thanks to my father, was the big band jazz sound on the old 78s. Then came Elvis, Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf, for example, and I suppose the blues has had an influence on me and my music.

“Then came the likes of Clapton, Dylan, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soft Cell, all kinds of great musicians and groups. But I tried not to pay much attention, I wanted to do my own thing, but obviously these things, especially great musicians, do influence you in one way or another. In fact, as a self taught guitar player, it was thanks to Clapton that I decided to teach myself how to play the flute and experiment with the instrument. I was never going to play as well as him. I taught myself in just under three weeks and I’m a better player of the flute than I am a guitarist. What I did was simply start playing my guitar tracks - the blues, jazz and rock, for example - on the flute and it worked for me and Jethro Tull. It’s very freestyle.

“Having performed and travelled all over the world and come into contact with a vast array of musical styles and cultures, they all rub off on you. And while, like I said, I have no great influence, I do use little bits and pieces of music I have picked up over the years to spice things up. It’s a bit like the herbs and spices you would add while cooking, they all help the overall production and the result but they are not the meat and bones - they help the flavouring,” explained Ian who also has a great passion and interest for Indian cuisine.

“And when I’m writing I love being blessed with the English language and its literary giants who enable me to express my observations from a human point of view of society and what is happening around us and I love using public transport in the UK.

“I catch the train everywhere and I’m always going on day trips. It could be to beauty spots, historic sites, old towns and villages or the big cities and industrial powerhouses. I’m a Michael Portillo on a flute; we’re all very much looking forward to playing in Palma. I’ve been to Mallorca on holidays, but off the top of my head, I don’t think we’ve ever performed there; it’ll be a great experience.”