|ian anderson "a" tour 1980|
For one reason or another, it goes awry and it's hard to control the agenda of the conversation. As an interviewer, that's what you are trying to do, to guide the conversation along the way you wanted it to go. One of these times was during the hot summer of 1980, when Jethro Tull played at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.
I was doing my show from Municipal as we did back then to let the audience "backstage" with all the inside scoop we could muster. Jethro Tull were touring behind the release of "A", a forgettable project which was long removed from "Aqualung".
Ticket sales were show, which means that Ian had to do the dog and pony show and actually converse with this mid western radio station in this "God forsaken cow town" which is what he called it off air. The first thing you realize about Ian is his voice. It is incredibly low and with his English accent, he was quite imposing. The next thing you realize is his dress, not quite equipped for 100 + degree heat and humidity.
"Oppressive" was his keyword. "How the hell do you people get anything done here?"
The interview started well, but then he began to sweat and I'm not sure, as an English chap, he was accustomed to sweating. We were literally backstage, in front of the back stage door, and it was hot. I asked him about the magic of Aqualung and at that point, I knew I had lost that part of the interview. "Magic? Not hardly how I would put it. Angry? Yes. It may be the angriest of any angry records. There was more magic in Thick As A Brick than Aqualung." I also mentioned something to him about his set list and what we should expect that night. "I don't know, why don't you but a ticket and see." OK.
We got back on track and I was feeling pretty good about snatching the momentum away from Mr. Anderson. As we were wrapping up, I asked him if there was anything he's like to say to his fans in Kansas City.
"There certainly is.." he started."When we get to a particular piece that's played softly because we've recorded that way and it set a dynamic tone...SHUT THE HELL UP!" "Why is it imperative for you Americans to scream and yell during the most melodic and quite pieces we play. We recorded it in a certain way and we did so for a reason...WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE, JUST SHUT THE HELL UP!"
"Oh, and there is one more thing about you midwestern Americans that just drives me crazy...what the hell is this obsession with BLUE JEANS? Blue jeans? Really? You mid westerners are just cowboy wannabes."
"What would you suggest we wear?" I asked.
"I'm not sure, but I can tell you I'm I corduroy fan myself..."
And, with that, he exited stage left.
I was very happy to have a chance to chat with a guy who affected my life in East Moline Illinois with a recording made in England.
That part of it was cool. Him looking down his English nose at Kansas City, those are fighting words, mister, you're asking my listeners to spend hard earned dough on your show, but then you trash the very lifestyle of those listeners.