Ian Anderson Says Jethro Tull Was Bored Of Simplistic Rock

In a recent interview with 101 WRIF’s Talkin’ Rock, Ian Anderson discussed Jethro Tull‘s association with progressive rock and shared his thoughts on the label. He gave insight into the fear of boredom on the band’s evolution and their role in pioneering prog rock amidst being bored of simplistic rock.

Anderson expressed his initial excitement when Jethro Tull was referred to as a progressive rock band by the British press back in 1969. He mentioned that the term ‘prog’ later took on some negative connotations, as it became associated with self-indulgence and overconfidence in one’s musical abilities.

Ian acknowledged these criticisms but also explained that, for him, prog rock is driven by a desire to break free from the limitations of simple pop and rock music. It was him trying to add something more to the music to make it have a deeper and richer sound for the audience and him as a performer.

Ian Anderson’s words about Jethro Tull being referred to as a prog rock band read:

“Well, I was always very pleased when in 1969 I read in the British Press the term progressive rock, and Jethro Tull was cited among two or three other bands as being examples of progressive rock, which was a new a new term at that point, and I found that quite energizing really but prog, as it became known a couple of years later did tend to have some derogatory associations with self-indulgence and a rather overly confident view about your musician skills, etc. so prog got a bit of a bad name, but I couldn’t accept it I think with a smile on my face.”

He added:

“I don’t mind being referred to as a prog band, but progressive rock is a slightly more formal way of describing the fear of boredom because I think what drives progressive rock musicians is basically becoming bored with simplistic music in the world of pop and rock music that there has to be something a bit more or something a bit deeper that can occupy you and your skills as a musician so I think that’s what drives progressive rock musicians they are looking for something, there’s a got a bit more detail a bit more depth, a bit more enrichment both as a to listen to and as a performer, but nonetheless, it will, of course, strike some people as being very self-indulgent and, I can understand that it’s not for everybody.”

Anderson’s interview shed light on his perspective on Jethro Tull’s role in the prog-rock movement and the motivations behind the genre. While the term may have gained some negative associations, the musician maintains that the drive to explore more complex and enriching music was at the heart of prog rock’s appeal for both him as the creator of music and for fans who gave the songs a chance.