News Update: May 2001

God bless Deutsche Bahn and all those who roll with her.

I write this from the train en route to Magdeburg from Frankfurt, near which we played last night on the second concert of our European tour.

Quiet as a mouse, we snake our green and sunny way across the heartland of Germany – double glazed and vibration-free.  Oh, that there might be trains like this to whisk me about the grim satanic mill towns of England later this year on the UK tour. Our sad, overworked, money-grabbing but poorly funded privatised train systems in Britain don’t even begin to compare – with the possible exception of the UK East coast line. Still – mustn’t whinge.

Having returned from Nashville where we had a TV show a couple of weeks ago, I realised that I had a nasty bug. Country and Western influenza of a virulent sort. Laid me low for a week during which I tried to do UK promo but cancelled plans to perform two songs in the studio for Leslie Mandoki, the Hungarian Euro-Pop meister who occasionally makes records with his pals. I noticed on the tracklist one Pino Paladino – famous bass player and Bobby Kimball of Toto fame. More familiar names to follow, I guess. Finally got Leslie’s songs finished before heading off on tour.

Even now, I splutter, hack and wheeze my weary way through the early morning scrub-and-shave like some poor old sod from an ancient pre-prog ditty.

Looking out of the window, I notice the not-too-pretty suburbs of Hildesheim. Came through here yesterday and it looked just the same. What’s the betting we whizz through again in the opposite direction tomorrow about the same time?

I was working on the set list for tonight’s show in Magdeburg a hundred miles ago and there are a few changes in detail which I thought I might share with you.

MY SUNDAY FEELING

CROSSEYED MARY

ROOTS TO BRANCHES

THICK AS A BRICK

HUNT BY NUMBERS

BOUREE

THE HABANERO  REEL

SET ASIDE

THE WATER CARRIER

SWEET DREAM

MB INST.  PIBROCH

FARM ON THE FREEWAY

SFTW/2 OLD 2/HORSES

STRONGER STUFF

BUNGLE IN THE JUNGLE

LOVE STORY

PASSION JIG

AQUALUNG

LOCO BREATH/LITP

BALLOONS/CHEERIO

Some routine songs for you American buddies but 80% different to the last European tour.  It varies a bit every night and there will be good few changes by the time we alight on US soil from Big Bird Bargain Airways Business class section.

Stopped off briefly at Frankfurt station’s herbs and spices counter to buy some chile pepper powder for Doane “The Scrounge” Perry who always forgets to bring his own and borrows mine at mealtimes. May he choke on the stuff. Unless, of course, I should happen to forget my own. “Hey Doane, old pal – I don’t suppose…….”

We did a brief (two hours) radio appearance near Hannover a couple of days ago – the usual unplugged but still plugged sort of thing – except for me (being a naturally unplugged sort of guy and given to playing real instruments). For those of you who get the bootleg tape, yes, I did play a spectacularly wrong note, just to get your attention of course. We were all witty, intelligent, polite, informative – not bad for 06.45 which is when we had to get up to travel to the radio station.

Martin Barre has just finished his Farm Aid single, recorded at his Devon studio and featuring a local farmer vocalist. Titled, “Harvest for the World”, this is an old Isley Brothers track and proceeds will benefit the local community hard hit by the economic effects of the recent Foot and Mouth Disease.

Martin hopes to have details soon on this web site of how to buy it .

Arrangements are now in hand to begin the pre-production work on the Tull DVD scheduled for release around Christmas 2002.  I know it’s a long way off, but the huge job of compiling historical material together with the legal chore of acquiring licenses from the assorted owners of such archival copyrighted footage will take a while. A number of odd little performances will be video-recorded  in unlikely and intimate circumstances together with a major performance at a European venue in the summer of 2002 to make up the new live stuff and there will be snippets of backstage activity, interview material with band and audience, and a special section on Doane Perry’s laundry. This will be the story of Jethro Tull to date with about 50% contemporary recorded performance.

I spoke to Mick Abrahams last week regarding a possible “reunion” of the original band for a couple of songs subject, of course, to the availability and willingness of Glenn Cornick and Clive Bunker. Don’t hold your breath regarding other ex-band members appearing since some of them don’t play any more, but I will try to get Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond to make a cameo appearance which won’t involve him in trying to play the bass – something which he hasn’t done in 25 years!

We will see and play with Clive Bunker and David Palmer at the Italian Tull fan convention in Fidenza, near Milan on the 30th June.

Hope to see some of you there. Details available from the link on this site to the Itullians fan club.

Better switch off this tiny laptop to change trains at the next station.

Talk to you soon.

I.A.

Somewhere on a train near you.

25th May, 2001.