Jethro Tull gets thicker on "Brick 2"

Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:19pm EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - One thing that never really dies is a truly progressive rock album. A case in point is Jethro Tull's "Thick As A Brick," originally released in 1972, before disco, punk and rap.

Back then, "Brick" was significant for its 44-minute song created around the idea it was an epic poem written by a boy. Now, Jethro Tull's singer, flautist and frontman Ian Anderson is commemorating the album's 40th anniversary with a followup to the original, "Thick As a Brick 2," and a tour.

As a sign that "Brick" still continues to lure fans, the new record recently entered U.S. charts at No.55, Anderson's highest debut in 25 years. The Jethro Tull frontman, now 64-years-old, recently spoke with Reuters about his new album, tour and the ever-changing music scene.

Q: Is it true you were asked many times to do a follow-up to "Thick As A Brick" but always avoided it?

A: "Yes, my attitude has always been unwaveringly ‘no,' as I don't want to go back in some nostalgic way to rekindle the music. But last year I started to think about what might have become of the fictitious child poet, Gerald Bostock, who wrote the lyrics for the original album, and what might have happened to the St. Cleve Chronicle, the 16-page newspaper which formed the packaging. And that inspired this whole idea of what might have happened to Gerald 40 years later. So I wrote down a number of possibilities, and saw that instead of just exploring one, it gave me a chance to examine a number of those life-changing moments that happen to us all."

Q: How personal are the lyrics?

A: "It always contains elements of personal experience and some elements of other people's experiences. So, it's bringing together a number of issues that aren't just about looking back, but are also relevant to younger people who're going to have to start making decisions in their own lives."

Q: Musically and stylistically the new album really picks up where "Thick As A Brick" left off. Did you feel any pressure to go for a more contemporary sound?   Continued...

Ian Anderson, flautist and vocalist of the classic rock band Jethro Tull, performs during a rock concert at Fort Manoel in Valletta's Marsamxett Harbour August 1, 2004. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi