Ian Anderson’s Halloween 2013 Update

NEWS from the front…

Another US/Canada tour draws to a close as we wend our way from Edmonton to Calgary. Miles of flat farmland with all the crops long since harvested as winter approaches. The leaf season is over. At least here. Back in Maine and New Hampshire, it was just beginning when we passed through from Portland ME to Montreal. But tourists (leaf-peepers) were thick on the road in their RVs and hotels full with jacked-up prices to boot.

Only another nine TAAB shows to go before it is put to bed – probably for ever. I shall miss it after the best part of two years touring the shows around the world. The support of the fans has been magnificent and the acceptance and appreciation of the TAAB2 sequel album surpasses all expectations.

pumpkin-articleBut now it’s time to turn attention to the new album and tours for next year. We start rehearsals late November and record through to late January with a break for Christmas, including the shows at Ely Cathedral and St John’s Church in Oxford (see Tour Dates).

The UK May concerts are set in stone and tickets on sale. European shows are planned for June and July and we are off to the USA for two tours from the end of September to early November. I am sure the odd festival will rear its ugly head along the line but not my thing, really. I like concerts where there are no other noisy, irritating rock bands and road crews to mess up the backstage area, run over time and ponce about in their ridiculous tight trousers and long hair. Snob and spoilsport? Who Me? You betcha!

Nice thing about the band and crew I work with is that they are all quiet, studious souls who read books with real pages, visit museums and art galleries and talk nicely in hushed tones to each other in catering as if it was a library. The only backstage noise and fuss comes from raucous security guards and local crew who seem compelled to laugh, holler and talk at the top of their voices all the time. Philistines. Am I beginning to sound as testy as Gerald Bostock? He is a thoroughly bad influence, that man.

Back to Canada as we cover the now rolling landscape miles in the white Hertz rental Jeep. The sky goes on for ever. Blue and cloudless today, for a change. I see they still have QEII on their coins. Nice to see but I’ll bet most of them would rather have a multi-ethnic Maple leaf instead. I rather doubt that Charles or William will ever see their visage beaming from the Canadian 25 cent piece.

I like coins. I bought a nice year-of-birth uncirculated penny for Shona for her birthday. Found nice gold sovereigns (or were they Krugerrands?) in their parents’ birth years for the grandchildren when they were born. Somehow a better commemorative gift that an iPad or a Starbucks voucher.

Have you seen the new OSSA Explorer off-road bike? Rather splendid. I have a 1975 Mick Andrews Replica OSSA trials bike and an old Fantic which need a clean-up and service. But that’s the sort of thing that it is nice to leave to the G-children. Shona’s old Yammie TY farm bike is going strong after approaching forty years with only basic service and a set of plugs.

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We band guys enjoyed a morning at the F6 Labs range in Long Island where various government protectors of Homeland Security go to experience the latest in hi-tech defensive handgun techniques with their video screen hostage situations and desert warfare scenes. Navy Seals too, apparently, have trained there. None of the other musicians had ever touched a handgun before so were a little apprehensive but they soon got the hang of it with expert safety advice from the range master. We were using Glock 10mm pistols. Not my cup of tea, really. I am a single-action Colt/Browning guy although I have a soft spot for the Sig-Sauer 9mm P228 and 229. Best and safest of the double-action modern breed of defensive weapons. My Barstow-barrelled Browning Hi-Powers with the reworked triggers and Pachmayr grips were my favourites. But now, sadly, deactivated under UK law. Balls cut off and no working parts. I know how they feel. Pre 1997, pistol-shooting was my golf. My darts. My fishing. No more…

We were invited courtesy of Colonel Bob Morris, with whom I have been involved recently over the campaign to rid the world of IED attacks and the merciless growth of these evil, cowardly devices. Having met many of the young victims of such warfare at our shows in the last months, as well as a courageous survivor of the Boston “Marathon” bombing, I can say what a privilege it has been to spend a little time with damaged bodies and souls and help in even a small way the awareness programme to support these homecoming veterans of war. No – Blair and Bush didn’t show up.

I hope you all get a chance to come and see the shows in 2014. I am on a creative and emotional roll regarding the production tours and we will add a second half of “best-of” Tull material with video and window-dressing to the new album show. Merchandiser Tom Lynch has only 9 on-stage prostate exams to endure. Then on to better things. A live colonoscopy? Root canal work next to the drum riser?

Happy Halloween and Thanksgiving. Gerald B says hello.

Ian Anderson, October 31st.