Ian Anderson - Flute, Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Harmonica, Vocal
Ian Anderson, known throughout the world of rock music as the flute and voice behind the legendary Jethro Tull, celebrates his 45th year as a recording and performing musician in 2013.
Ian was born in 1947 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. After attending primary school in Edinburgh, his family relocated to Blackpool in the north of England in 1959. Following a traditional Grammar school education, he moved on to Art college to study fine art before deciding on an attempt at a musical career.
Tull formed in 1968 out of the amalgamation of the John Evan Band and McGregor’s Engine, two blues-based local UK groups.
Still enjoying a lengthy if intermittent ongoing career, Jethro Tull has released 30 studio and live albums, selling more than 60 million copies since the band first performed at London’s famous Marquee club.
After undertaking more than 3000 concerts in forty-something countries throughout four decades, Tull has played typically 100 concerts each year to longstanding, as well as new fans worldwide.
Widely recognized as the man who introduced the flute to rock music, Ian Anderson remains the crowned exponent of the popular and rock genres of flute playing. So far, no pretender to the throne has stepped forward. Ian also plays ethnic flutes and whistles together with acoustic guitar and the mandolin family of instruments, providing the acoustic textures which are an integral part of most of the Tull repertoire.
Anderson has so far recorded five diverse albums under his own name during his career: 1983′s “Walk Into Light”, the flute instrumental “Divinities” album for EMI’s Classical Music Division in 1995 which reached number one in the relevant Billboard chart, and the more recently recorded acoustic collections of songs, “The Secret Language of Birds”, and “Rupi’s Dance”. The late sequel album TAAB2 was released in 2012, forty years after the original Thick As A Brick made Prog Rock history. Ian has been touring the elaborate TAAB shows during 2012/3 and plans a new conceptual album release in 2014.
These days, Ian Anderson often appears in concerts with orchestras or performing with other eclectic acoustic line-ups and repertoire. But Rock shows of conceptual content as well as “best-of” Tull material make up the bulk of concerts worldwide. His current touring musicians have also toured as members of Jethro Tull in the last decade.
Anderson lives on a farm in the southwest of England where he has a recording studio and office. He has been married for 37 years to Shona who is also an active director of their music and other companies. They have two children – James and Gael – who work in the music and TV/film industries respectively.
Gael is married to Andrew Lincoln, star of the US TV drama series The Walking Dead. Gael and Andrew have two children, Matilda and Arthur. They live in the rural splendour of England’s West Country. They keep ducks, chickens, a cat named Bhuna and a fruit orchard. Andrew has a new tractor and expensive wellies. (Wellington boots – the iconic waterproof footwear of the British countryside.)
James Duncan Anderson lives in London. He acts as agent, UK promoter and co-manager of the IA/Tull band and also works on video, audio and production projects with his father.
Anderson’s hobbies include the growing of several varieties of the hottest chile peppers, the study and conservation of the 26 species of small wildcats of the world and the appreciation of mechanical watches and vintage Leica and other cameras. He reluctantly admits to also owning the latest digital cameras, computers and scanners for his work on the photographic and promotional images related to Tull as well as his solo career.
In 2006 and 2010, he was awarded Doctorates in Literature from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh and the Abertay University of Dundee. He received the Ivor Award for International Achievement in Music and, in the New Years Honours List of 2008, an MBE for services to music.
He is an avid supporter of the Christian church, while insisting that he is not a practising Christian. He considers himself to be a spiritually aware Deist-verging-on-Pantheist but has a soft spot for teas-and-scones Anglicanism. He abhors extremist, manipulative and hate-generating religious views from any quarter. “Nothing wrong with a good religion,” he says. “It’s not the gun that kills, but the man behind. Applies both to firearms and that profound religious quest of much of mankind. Respect, tolerance and willing co-existence should drive all religious belief. Not power-crazy, evangelical bilious attacks!” Anderson performs each Christmas in some of the UK’s ancient cathedrals and churches raising money for their building works and maintenance.
Mr A owns no fast car, never yet having taken a driving test, and has a wardrobe of singularly uninspiring and drab leisurewear varying from light grey to black in colour. He still keeps a couple of off-road competition motorcycles, a few sporting guns and a saxophone which he promises never to play again.
He declares a lifelong commitment to music as a profession, being far too young to hang up his hat or his flute, although the tights and codpiece have long since been consigned to some forgotten bottom drawer.
Edited G. Bostock 2013
Birth name Ian Scott Anderson
Born 10 August 1947
Genres Progressive rock, folk rock, hard rock, blues rock, world music
Occupations Musician, composer, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, flute, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, bass guitar, saxophone, bouzouki, balalaika, whistle, drums, percussion
Years active 1962–present
Labels Chrysalis, Fuel 2000, RandM, EMI