News Update: November 1998

Boy, it’s been a busy little summer, with three tours in the USA as well as dates in Switzerland and the delightful Liechtenstein.

The record-breaking heat-waves in Texas and elsewhere proved most timely to stretch the endurance and resolve of even such sun-loving stalwarts as A. Giddings of the golden epidermis, and M. Barre of the little boy’s trousers. (His own only, I hasten to add.)

The concert flute in C and the squeezy thing, Accordionus Rex, do not take kindly to the stress of temperatures above 100 degrees Old Money, or 38 degrees of the Celsius sort, with which we good and compliant new British bowed and beaten Europeans must cope if we are to have our allotted share of Euros, the soon-to-be ubiquitous currency of the millennium. I always liked the romantic confusion of a bunch of crumpled bills of the essentially foreign sort to flesh out a sagging wallet, all the poorer for reliance on the Master/Visa/Amex/Diner thingies which, unless of the Gold or Platinum variety, always make me feel as if I have two mortgages and an ex-wife in Clapham. Or the other way around.

Lots of you willing and able supporters have joined us on our travels during these months and we salute you here and now with the late-night bar-cry of the deep-throated warbler,  “Ooooozegettineminthen?”. I believe this term is frequently heard from Mr. A. Giddings with his long-embedded cultural roots in the post-concert behaviour of the Pegg-man Dave, who recently (November 2nd) enjoyed another landmark descent into delightful and rosy-cheeked senility.

Jethro Tull, ominously silent in the matter of new records of late, has recently found itself out of contract with Chrysalis/EMI after 30 years of mutually profitable endeavour.

It would be a profound simplicity to suggest all-round happiness with the company’s performance of the late seventies, let alone the mid-eighties efforts of the ever-changing Butterfly Boys but, hey, a deal’s a deal and we’re all in this together.  Or so we accepted for a long while.  Alas, the dedicated pop aspirations of the new EMI means that  your friendly and distinctly non-commercial Tull-boys-true must now search elsewhere for recording representation. No traumas, no regrets and no unauthorised compilations.

It’s not that they’ve dumped us for Robbie Williams anymore than we played second fiddle to Blondie, Spandau Ballet, Billy Idol, The Proclaimers, Babybird  (who the f**ck?) or the rest in their regrettably short day, but the business of competing in the major pop league demands a different and more cohesive approach to marketing budgets. I can dig it, as D. Pegg once observed when the record company left the bar without paying the bill.

Happily, since we have been out of contract these last few weeks after carefully forgetting to record anything new before October 1998, thus time-barring the continuity of contractual obligation (recently aquired legal-speak), all kinds of record companies, little and large, behemoth and boutique, Euro and Yankee, have expressed their desire to have a serious crack at insolvency. We are, indeed, most humbled. They all, so they tell us, grew up with Jethro Tull. They all, so they advise us, need a hit.

A new Ian Anderson solo album, “The Secret Language Of Birds” is complete and will be released next year, albeit maybe after the next Tull album. The next studio J.T. collection is scheduled for last week of August 1999. The difficulty of the two releases being close together, in the temporal if not the musical sense, is evidenced by the reluctance shown in 1995 by the print media to give the last Tull record “Roots To Branches” a decent airing in the press following the release of  “Divinities” since they felt a tad over-exposed to Mr. A’s meanderings within any one six month period.

Still, like a fine wine………..things get better with age. Sexual foreplay with Martin is now, I gather a real treat. And he reciprocates by telling me that the feel of Sterling silver on black leather (flute between the legs) is frankly better than it has ever been.

A tour of the United Kingdom of Europe, the Seven Seas and the Ashes of the Empire, takes place next November/December, courtesy of the cosmopolitan and provincial capitals of the great Shires and Counties. I know those dressing rooms well and can almost taste the aftershave of  Steve Coogan in various guises as I relocate through that latter part of next year to the temporary haven of  the back-stage travelling Artiste. Sometimes it says, “Soloist”, “Orchestra Leader” or “Principal Dancer”,  but as long as the loo works……

The summer of next year will be filled with Euro-dates from June through (as our ex-colonial American cousins describe the moderate passing of time) until the end of August, when we will descend, vulture-like upon the Eagle states in search of payment at last for the beads, mirrors and BBC documentaries which bought that great wilderness country from the savage Indian hordes.

Well, at least they got the gambling rights in New Mexico.

Finally, a profound thankyou to Bill Gates for I.E.4, Windows ’95, Streets ’98, and Columbus ’92 (14) without which he would be building a f****ng  wigwam instead of a modest home development near Seattle.

Gods Bless for now, and in the immediate future if you’re awfully good.

And a Merry Christmas one-and-every, assuming you believe that Jesus makes the money-go-round and Sting makes the rain-forest-grow.

Mr. Real.