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Ian Anderson's Diary - October 2002
September announced the foliage season for me with the end of our August tour spilling over to the first of September in the glorious Lakes region of New Hampshire. Gilford is a tiny town with an amphitheater venue set on a farm. Fun place to play but a chilly evening as it turned out. Good last show, nonetheless.
The tour had gone from Minneapolis and the Midwest through most of the Northeast of the USA and taken in Festivals, Theaters, amphitheatres and Casinos providing me, at any rate, with the variety on a daily basis which means that it is never boring. There was some arduous travel, as always, due to long road trips now that security at US airports makes travel by plane so tedious. Not the fault of the security folks, but .
As always in our band, there was a mixed set of emotions at the end of a long touring period: part of the mood is relief and weariness after so many shows and weeks away from home, while the other half of the brain admits to a certain sadness and feeling of impending loss at the thought of weeks to come without live performance. Not so bad for me, perhaps, since I had a couple of orchestral shows in Italy to prepare and look forward to as well as the Rubbing Elbows outing in October.
But I guess the others will have had a doubt or two regarding the eight months to come with little in the way of Tull activity. However - if, like me, they have the buzz of following some other musical endeavours of their own, they should not be bored. Martin is due to start work on a new solo album. Jonathan Noyce was last seen on British TV playing with a house band on a late night talk show. Doane Perry tells me he has barely moved from his office desk since got home (his fault for answering all the e-mails), and Andrew Giddings will, doubtless, be ensnaring some nubile singer-songwriter (by the name of Jeff) in his greasy but creative clutches in pursuit of mutual musical pleasures. Don't worry, lads - the months will whiz by - you'll see! Elsewhere on this web site, you will find the work-in-progress tours and concert date schedule as it begins to take shape for 2003 (and 2004!).
After returning from the USA, I spent a Perry-like period in my office with a bunch of chores - domestic and musical - to take care of. Pre-production for Italy and Rubbing Elbows, including much promo phoning to press and radio took up most of the month apart from recording a few more tracks of flute and vocals for Leslie Mandoki's new album "Soulmates" which features me, Jack Bruce, David Clayton-Thomas, Bobby Kimball, Steve Lukather, Al Di Meola and Anthony Jackson amongst many other "name" musicians from the worlds of Jazz and Rock. See elsewhere on this site for details of Leslie's record or go straight to www.redrock.de for info on Mandoki's production and recording empire!
Then a couple of days rehearsal for the Italian orchestral dates with my pal Andrea Griminelli, eminent Italian Classical flautist. Andrea had asked me to come up with a piece for us to play as a duet so I obliged with a nod to both Celtic and European Classical influences with a tune which I called "Griminelli's Lament" - a musical soliloquy to the ending of a long relationship with his girlfriend. Just the thing to cheer up a pal with!
Andrew Giddings, James Duncan, and Kit Morgan were the accompanying musicians and we had a jolly time with three days in Italy in beautiful Parma and not quite so beautiful Cesena a hundred miles, or so, to the south. Both shows were with the Orchestra of the Teatro Regio Di Parma conducted by Danilo Rossi. Danilo had done his homework well and the orchestra had the hang of it by show time. See elsewhere on this site for "Ian Anderson on the orchestra" feature.
Shows are planned with orchestras in the USA in 2003 and 2004 - not official Tull shows - but with me as a solo acoustic guest of the various symphony orchestras in the major US cities. I have a real hankering, however, to do some shows with the bewildering array of small town symphonies which seem to exist wherever I go on my US travels. I know they can't pay the money but it might be a lot of fun.
Right on the heels of Italy we went into rehearsal for the Rubbing Elbows tour. In advance we had arranged with local radio stations to organise the audience member guests and with the local promoters to whittle down the applicants for the nightly local musical guest. I already had many of the songs sent to me for us to learn each day by the time we left but it was a close call getting the music copied to minidisc for the band and the names of all the co-presenting radio personalities and non-musical guests for the show. There really was a huge amount of detail in the nightly production and we began to feel the stress immediately the tour began. Usually, the pre-production is the tough part and when the tour itself gets underway, we all relax and get on with the fun and easier part of doing the gigs! This time it just seemed to get more hectic and there was hardly a moment free to do the usual things like see the town, take a walk, check e-mails and bring the website up to date
I would like to thank the many guests who ventured on to the stage with me every night. It must have been nerve-wracking for many of them - even the radio guys who were out of their usual work format - and the musical guest varied from supremely self-confident to the quaking terror-stricken! We, in the band, had to learn the new guest's song for the day each afternoon and have it all sorted by soundcheck at 5 pm. As well, of course, as doing the rest of set-up and our own soundcheck, prepping the radio guys, lighting man and security people etc. etc. See elsewhere on this site for "Ian Anderson on Rubbing Elbows".In Milwaukee, apart from the excellent ex-Genesis Daryl Stuermer - see Daryl's excellent new works at www.darylstuermer.com - we renewed acquaintance with one William Porter, veteran of many Tull shows as opening artist, and he and I played "Big Yellow Pine" together on stage that night. Check out Willy's new album at his website www.willyporter.com and make a Milwaukee man happy.
Other highlights included Raymond The Amish Comic who was one of the guests at Easton's State Theater. Raymond is an unusual, funny and genuinely nice guy. Not a lot of competition out there, I guess, Raymond. See Raymond's website www.amishcomic.com
Tarrytown NY, Keene NH, Ridgefield CT are really nice towns with really nice folks and I hope to get back to those places on the expeditionary vacation tour with Shona next year. The Poughkeepsie Bardavon Theater was a fine place and most worthy of support.
I met with Dick Boak and the folks at Martin Guitars when I was close to Nazareth PA to discuss the potential Ian Anderson signature Martin Guitar Limited Edition which they asked me do design a year, or so, ago. For Martin enthusiasts, it will be based on a single 0-28 pre-1898 model and will come with a special nylon string/steel string swappable bridge assembly, making it somewhat revolutionary in guitar design terms. It will feature a Fishman transducer pick-up and no nasty control panel on the body to mar the beautiful contours of the legendary C. F. Martin parlour guitar profile. It will be closely modelled on one of my many vintage Martins of the late 1800's and grace the collector's as well as the player's range of instruments. Probably, only one hundred will be made so get your order in now. I have mine in already. See www.mguitar.com for all news and details of the Harley Davidson of American guitar-making history.
I have suffered for a few days at the hands (do bugs have hands?) of a flu-like virus and only now do I summon the resources to make these long overdue updates to our website. Ahead lies the alluring prospect of a few days in Munich, Germany where I will appear with Jack Bruce, Al Di Meola and Leslie Mandoki on a TV show. We will stay over for the Toto concert on Sunday where I will rub elbows with Bobby and Luke in their show at the Olympia Hall. I wonder; do they know the chords to Aqualung?
Next, is a week vacation in Barbados. The Caribbean is not necessarily my first choice of holiday destination but Shona likes the familiarity of it and the weather is reliable. So are the bloody hotel rates but a happy wife is a blessing from the almighty.
I have a show in Croydon on the 1st December at the Fairfield Halls. Really a London suburb, Croydon sports this concert venue which is a regular haunt of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. We will join in unholy matrimony for an Ian Anderson Orchestral concert and have a jolly time, methinks.
Then, off I go into the studio for work on a new solo album of acoustic material. Some will be esoteric folksy stuff and some will be with orchestral components. Yes - I know you might want a new full-blown Tull rock album, but my ears hurt - OK? Joking aside, they are a little sensitive and I have difficulty working with loud sounds in the studio. On stage it's different. The atmosphere and the adrenalin overcome the dodgy ear syndrome. But it is increasingly difficult for me to rehearse and record loud electric music. Is that an excuse or what? Let's move on.
Jethro Tull will be back on the road in June when we start a European tour, followed by some US dates in August. There may be a few odd dates before June but they are currently under review. See "Concert Dates" for an interim update on almost confirmed shows.
Well now - that's quite enough news for me or you at this moment. I have a lot of new songs which require my urgent attention and a desperate desire to get back in the studio for a few weeks.
But, I do have access to the daily computer interface between me and you. Websites can be fun!
Speak to you soon.
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