Re-Thick As A Brick

A quick note: In my 51 years, just never have been into Tull. But after your “Thick As A Brick” email, I listened to a bunch of the catalog. And now totally dig the music. Thanks for smacking me on the forehead…

Todd Schnick


As a dj at WSUA (carrier current SUNY Albany 1970-1974), Bouree was my closing song….teed up to end at the exact second the next show started (ok…sometimes I used The Beatles “Flying”). Ian Anderson will remain in that group of band leaders from that generation who mattered. Tull toured the college circuit regularly and they always delivered.
Wayne Halper, Esq.


“Can’t we do this while he’s still alive?” – Yes, please! Thank you, Bob, for the great trip down memory lane with Jethro Tull/Ian Anderson. We have lost so many greats in recent years, it would be amazing if we did much more to celebrate and cherish those that are still with us.

-Marcus Ryle


Hi Bob, just love your TAAB story, I was fortunate my older brother was a big fan so growing up in the 70’s I was exposed and it has never left me.

My only funeral song will be Thick As A Brick, only pausing to flip to side 2.

Lots of love Chris L!

Chris Lewis


Anybody who saw Anderson on his most recent tour (last summer? two summers ago?) will not come out of the woodwork when he dies. His self-absorption on stage, complete with pseudo PowerPoint presentation, made Trump seem like Mr. Genial by comparison. Martin Barre played a month or two later, and was exponentially better…

Tom Zito


Amen, Bob



Side 1 is a regular go to. Right up there with any “side” in prog rock history. Almost as good as side 2 of Foxtrot. Supper’s Ready, greatest prog rock track of all time.

Jake Gold


Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, June 4, 1972: Jethro Tull, in what I remember to be a day- time concert, plays Thick As A Brick in its entirety. And blows my mind in the process.

Regards, Steven

Steven Ehrlick


One of those albums that I will never forget the first time listening to.
Middle of the afternoon in a friends room, a great joint, and when it was over,
our silence for a minute as we absorbed what we just heard and collectively went “whew”

Van Easton


I feel exactly the same way you do about Tull. I remember 1972-73 and having parties where we sat around drinking and listening to Thick along with other similar concept albums like Tommy, JCSuperstar, Days of Future Passes and others for hours. No one does that anymore I am sure. Thanks for giving props to Ian Anderson. I listen to those Wilson mixes and he did a great job as you say especially with the earlier albums.

Van Fletcher


Amen, Bob! Thank you for this. Nice to know I’m not the only fan – esp of Thick as a Brick, the only CD in my car.

Chris Beytes


Thanks for the Tull blog Bob-

Just wanted to put in a plug for Minstrel in the Gallery. The second side is just gorgeous. I’ve listened countless times.

I sat with my date in the very back row of the Forum, as high as you can get, to see them in 1975 around the Bungle in the Jungle time.

Good memories.

Jim Reeder


And “One White Duck” is one of the saddest songs ever…

Stuart Gunter


Bob, was surprised to see that you didn’t cite “Teacher” when touting tracks on “Benefit”. It has always been my go to track on that album.

Scott Clare


truly still one of my favorite albums ever. listening was almost like reading a story, one that the more times you listened, the deeper and more rewarding the story became.

saw that band every time they came through denver; 9th grade through college! terrific live experience too!

Robey Gibson


Thanks Bob for this. Very few in my generation or younger seem to “get” Tull. But I fell in love from the moment I heard the acoustic breakdown in Aqualung when I was just a little kid in the 70’s. Agree also about Martin Barre and his guitar work. Ian was a storyteller, a performer, his lyrics could be funny, philosophical, sarcastic and sentimental. So many great songs, so many great albums, I cherish them….

Tom Dumont


You can’t talk about Tull unless you mention the master of Martin Barre. He was the glue. Him and Dave Cousins from Strawbs……..I knew you knew this

Chris Apostle


The song on Aqualung that remains my fave is Windup. Interesting to me is your no mention.

Corey B. Bearak, Esq.


Nailed it.
Thank you.

Paul Habert


Thank you for this.
Jethro Tull was not only my definitive teenage band to LOVE, I must have bought Thick As A Brick at least 5 times
from burning it out to the point of endless play. Truly an epic album and band!

michael plen


Well said Bob,
Who else sang about get my kicks from being thin ?Tull .,,
Such a part of my life and my 1970’s stereos . Advents , marantz Technics, audio dynamics , pioneer, Yamaha , klipsch, JBL, AR, phase linear and more …,cozy , friendly names of my youth
Boston , MA


Thanks for this tribute to Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull. I remember watching the Beatles land in the US and it was a memory I will never forget and when an uncle turned me on to Jethro Tull some 50 + years

ago,I was instantly hooked.They were my band and I still play their music on a daily basis when I am driving . Minstrel in the Gallery, Songs from the Wood, Heavy Horses are albums that I would add to your list.

Ian has received some great recognition from the Prog Rock folks but his body work is so much more that ! The band has sold over 60 million albums and I hope that someday they will make into the Rock Hall of Fame .

I enjoy receiving your newsletters.

Best ,

Rick Froio

(45 years, Warner Music Group,Gibson Guitars,Black River Entertainment)


That they aren’t in R&R HOF is a travesty.

Sidney Cooke



Michael K. Clifford


Check out 1980’s “A”, a hidden Tull gem.
I boought it because I was going through a New Age whim, and Eddie Jobson played violin on it…
A great disc!

All the best,

Tom “Smitty” Smith


Thanks for this one, Bob. A great reminder of why Jethro Tull was so great back in the day, and still is. Your deep dive on their music is most appreciated.
Burke Long


It is wonderful when you write about the bands of our youth and the melodies just float in to back the printed lyric.

Anderson was a mad, Scots, musician with a huge gift for fusion. Bach meets, well, the modern world.

I have very much the same need, once in a while, to listen to Tull. Maybe a couple of songs, maybe make a night of it. And, if I want the hard stuff, I go to Blodwyn Pig


Jay Currie


Wow! You are so right. An amazing remix!

Don Bartenstein


Thanks. 1971 – As a junior in high school, hormones raging, son against father – the draft hanging over you and Aqualung made you stop and think (and like all good music) it it reflected and put words and melody to your exact thoughts. My God, He’s not the kind you wind up on Sunday. Benefit honed the next chapter Tull audio hemisphere especially with Martin Barre’s identifiable signature playing and tone. Thick As Brick was genius from nowhere. The outlandish stage show (Oakland Coliseum with support by The Eagles) It all made sense. Tull playing in tandem with Sticky Fingers, Who’s Next, Hunky Dory, Allman Brothers Fillmore East…. it was a move from Laurel Canyon to somewhere else. FM Radio and the music was all we had.

Steve Lee


Why no mention of “War Child” with “Skating Away”? Just curious.

Greg Stricklin


Yes! I loved Tull. Still do. Thanks for reminding me.

Carole A.


Agreed! Accurate on all levels. I grew up with that LP and learned to play that difficult guitar lick jamming with friends. Tull were great in concert back then too. Codpiece and all…
-Uncle Jeff Holland


I usually agree with most of what you write but this time I agree 100%.
Spot on about Benefit, the Steven Wilson remixes, and Martin Barre being underrated (second only to Terry Kath in that regard).
Paul Ruta, Hong Kong


When I was at UCLA in the early 70s, a couple of my friends and would drop acid and listen to Jethro Tull for eight hours straight! Thanks for bringing back those wonderful memories.

Paul C.


Their best track will always be Dharma for One.

Rob Braide
Stay Positive,Test Negative.


Amen Bob

Bob Carey


The Tull line up with John Glascock was equal to any rock band on the planet. Past, present, and future.

Dennis Pelowski



Tom Abts


Never could come close to sitting that one out.

Kevin Gillespie


This is amusing. classical flutist reacts to ‘Yetro Tool’.



Excellent Bob, thank you. I listened to Thick as a Brick on a Walkman at Macchu Picchu in 1976 with all these monstrous carved stones everywhere you looked. It was amazing. Bungle in the Jungle bubblegum music in comparison to the early stuff.
Pat Mallahan Seattle/ Guatemala


i loved the christmas album that was only released to the FM channels – somehow I have the LP – it was small format

“and remember the christmas spirit is not what you drink”

David Kuller


It’s funny that you send this while a Pitcher named Ian Anderson is Pitching the 7th game of the NLCS against the Dodgers

Back in the early 70’s Tull sold out 3 shows every year at the Forum. I couldn’t get tickets for the Thick as a Brick tour but I did see the Passion Play tour the next year and it was an incredible show

And it is totally wrong that this band is NOT in the R&R HOF. (And they shouldn’t get blamed for the Grammys giving them a best Hard Rock Band)

A great band which as you say deserves recognition before Ian is gone

Randy Schaaf


Martin Barre – a fabulous and underrated melodic guitarist. Appreciate your mention.

Michael Gregory


brilliant piece about a forgotten hero.

made me cue up the vinyl. listening on 70’s JBL’s in laurel canyon.

Anthony J. Resta


1. Not sure if replying is the thing
2. Loved the article (and the band)
3. Totally agree Ian Anderson is cruelly overlooked, a master

Thanks for another brilliant meditation Mr Lefsetz!

Andy Halsey


I love Tull. Incredible stuff. Check out the Xmas CD.

Steve Monk


Whew Bob, great writing. I’m a huge JT fan…you nailed it when you talked about how the critics and IA couldn’t stand each other. He and Lester Bangs were arch enemies, and “Only Solitaire” is said to be poking fun at Steve Peacock (

I think what so many people miss is what an extraordinary lyricist (poet?) IA was in his prime, and in his early 20’s, at that. He’s not the only one, of course, but he is certainly among the best in the biz, over the years.

And, JT remains out of the HoF farce, like many others due to Lester’s legacy, as well Jan Wenner.

Chris Wraight


Great story. Thanks for the part about cartridges, I forgot about that, but you’re right, we did talk about that and buy the best one you could afford (Shure). And the ending, like what the rrhof did, only inducting Yes, after Squire had passed, sad

Ken Deslippe


When the Minstrel is in the Gallery, one must abide.

Doug Boehm


I’m with you on Jethro Tull in that occasionally I just gotta hear me some. I pulled out Aqualung only last week to scratch the itch and play it for my 12 year old son who is an aspiring musician and a big Charlie Puth fan. He had to agree that the music was a journey of sorts that we just don’t hear being made these days.

Long live Ian Anderson and his works.

Sean Dillon


Saw it LIVE…
Production was fantastic

Best Regards
Toby Davis


Finally a brilliant appraisal and re- appraisal of Jethro Tull. You nailed it. Only one thing I would add having seen them over those years in their hey day probably more than any other band – which is that they were absolutely brilliant live – sadly until later years when Ian lost his voice.

I shall return to that Jethro Tull listening story again now prompted by your piece. Oh yes one other thing – they have never put together a Jethro Tull compilation that really made sense of their music – one day I shall!!

Keep fighting the good fight!

Best wishes

John Benedict


I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve been a fan of this album since I first heard it. Back in the 70s, it was probably the only album that I could sing and hum all the way through. The melodic inventiveness and the sheer scope of the music is without equal for its time.

Ian Anderson long downplayed the record, saying it was a spoof, but he finally had to admit that he had created a masterpiece when he saw how popular it was. Unfortunately, he had to make a sequel…


Kirk McElhearn


Credit for he sonics on some of Tull’s Records must go the Robin Black.

From an online review of “Commoner’s Crown” by Steeleye Span:

“The engineering for both records was done by none other than Robin Black at Morgan Studios. Robin co-produced Commoner’s, takes the main engineering credit, and is solely credited with the mix. He is the sole engineer on TAAB (along with lots of other Tull albums, including Benefit and Aqualung).
Apparently he has no problem putting the dynamic contrasts and powerful energy of the live performance into his recordings and preserving them all the way through to the final mix. God bless him for it.”

I recorded parts of Procol Harums’s “The Prodigal Stranger” at his residential studio in Ripley and he dialed up the drum sound on that record in about 7 minutes. And both Robin and his wife were lovely people.

Matt Noble


I was Artist Relations in Europe for Shure mics back in the ‘90s, living in Hamburg. Jethro Tull were among a hundful of “original” Shure endorsers, along with The Who, Stones, Tom Jones, and a few other artists.

I was wandering at a music trade show in Frankfurt and ran into their tour manager Kenny Wylie — a gem of a human and a big part of their family. A minute or two into the conversation I was jokingly suggesting he bring Ian to the booth to hold court, just as Mr Anderson was placing a firm hand on my shoulder from behind. Oops…invitation overheard and accepted. Ten minutes later I found myself moderating an impromptu presentation on microphones with Ian Anderson at Frankfurt Musikmesse.

That evening a large dinner at a sushi bar where I ended up sitting next to Ian. Even in a gig with no shortage of interesting people, he was one of the more memorable. No surprise the man is erudite and whip smart, but he’s also hilarious, quick-witted, and totally down to earth. He’s a singular artist, as you’ve observed, but he’s also a brilliant businessman (not just in music — he also built a major salmon farming business) and a sincerely nice guy. It’s always great to be able to say that about someone in our crazy industry.

David Keller


I consider myself one of the few real Tull fans out there. A small gang of people who bared countless mediocre tours with Ian’s voice slowly diminishing in hopes of a rare gem of Jack in the Green, My God, etc. The holy trinity for me though was Songs From The Woods, Heavy Horses, and Minstrel In the Gallery. Steven Wilson breathed new life into those classics, and lit that magical flame for me once again. Saddens me that we will never see anything like Ian again once he is gone. He didn’t give two tosses what everyone else was doing, or what was commercially viable. Some of the rabbit holes he lead us weren’t particularly enjoyable(Passion Play), but none could be confused for another band. Tull will probably never get the respect or admiration they deserve. My wife will also continue to make fun of me for blasting “that D and D music” in the basement.
I am one of the proud and lucky few that appreciates the brilliance both lyrically and musically of Ian and his roving band of minstrels. I am more than happy that most sat this one out..



Sorry to beat a dead horse about its cliche, but: Jethro Tull not being in the Rock Hall of Fame is its #1 Glaring Travesty by Omission (there are a few by Induction).

If you were a white American kid in the 70s it was: Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Who. Then right on the next tier: Skynyrd, Floyd, Tull, Queen. Am I missing a few? Maybe, but point is, Tull was there.

Not Ian Anderson’s fault they gave him the first Heavy Metal Grammy over Metallica (obviously another travesty). Never even nominated? Must be some Jann Wenner shit going on there.

Hate on the flute and the medieval shtik now, but it all worked damn well all up and down the 70s when it mattered.

We need a campaign to get that band in.

(Relevance of that particular organization left to another debate.)

Then we can work on their Chrysalis label mate Pat Benatar.

Eric Chaikin


Amen!! The only 8 track(s) that were played through my home stereo (marantz amp & tuner / venture formula four speakers / technics turntable / some basic 8 tract player ) from my freshman year in high school 1972 .. through my senior year 1975 … was Jethro Tull albums .. first concert in 8th grade was Aqualung at the LA Forum!! Ian Anderson left a HUGE musical impression on me for many years to come.

I may make you feel
But a can’t make you think
Your sperm’s in the gutter
Your love’s in the sink

Ian – belongs as one of the great lead singers / front men.. right there with Mick / Bruce / Plant … 4 years all I listen to through my 8 track player was Tull..!!!

Scott Palazzo


Great piece on Tull. It is just astounding that they are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It says a lot more about the Hall than it does about Tull. There are so few artists that have actually invented their own unmistakable sound and took it through so many changes, all while staying true to themselves; Ian and Jethro Tull have done this.

Thick As A Brick is a total masterpiece. There has never been anything like it in rock and roll. It’s been on my all time top ten forever. (I suspect they cut it into eight tracks on Spotify for royalty purposes, not that Ian needs the cash!) How Rolling Stone could leave TAAB and Aqualung off of their new “Top 500” is a total joke. Britney Spears makes it but no Tull? WTF????

Is it because Ian is, and always has been, a bit cantankerous? Well, if that’s the case, then Van Morrison and John Lennon should be left off as well. But for some reason the posers think it is uncool to like Tull. Their loss.

I love the line you quoted:

“I’m sitting on the corner feeling glad
Got no money coming in, but I can’t be sad”

But the line that follows is my favorite: “That was the best cup of coffee that I ever had…..” So simple, yet it says so much……

Maybe next year. But probably not….

Rich Madow


Beautiful, Bob! My first-ever concert — 1971 — was Tull and Gentle Giant. The warm smells of pot everywhere, Ian on one leg playing the flute like a percussion instrument, Martin’s scorching riffs; hard rock and British folk, living side-by-side. After 2+ hours, lighters lit in a sea of darkness brought 3 encores, back when encores weren’t obligatory, the crowd needed to prove they WANTED YOU back.

I still have my poster!

Early in my high school years, I went to bed every night with one of three short-stacks of vinyl on my Soundesign junker record player (before my first real stereo, bought from Warehouse Sound in San Luis Obispo and Shipped to my house in northern Maine).

The stacks:
1) Dead, LIVE/DEAD “Dark Star”
2) Deep Purple, In Rock, “Child In Time” side
3) Nick Drake, Five Leaves … — either side!

1) Tull, Benefit
2) Pink Floyd, Atom Heart, “Alan’s Psychedic …” side
3) Tull, Stand Up

Worlds created in the darkness of listening. A beautiful era; glad I was alive then.

Thank you so much for your writing, over the years.

Kevin Ritchie


I’m so glad you brought up “Thick As A Brick.”

No album I can think of can surpass the mixture of musicianship, composition, concept, orchestration and yes, deeply witty HUMOR that TAAB did. Yes that includes all the greats-yes, Sgt. Pepper, Dark Side, etc….

At one point I wanted to form a band to just play THICK AS A BRICK (I was 19). I must have listened to it over 200 times. The DYNAMICS alone! Kids: you can learn from this. That’s not to mention the reiteration of themes and sub-themes. Classical in depth.

Glad you mentioned the packaging-I recently bought a fresh copy (as opposed to my frayed from cleaning pot seeds) album on Ebay just to read all of the witty “news” again about “Little Milton.,” AKA “Gerald Bostock,” What great days those were to marvel over the genius of artists like this…Zappa comes to mind of course. But there was something extra to this album………..

These were days when music was completely and utterly immersive. These guys were just smarter and better than most of the rest, it was something to experience. Jaw-dropping, really. A “Concept” album. Isn’t art all supposed to be about a “concept?”

Thanks for bringing this stunning masterpiece to the forefront for a second

Oh-and let’s not forget-45 minutes, ONE SONG.

Incredible album.

CJ Vanston


Enjoyed your blog on Ian and the long-standing glory of the TAAB album.

Do yourself and the rest of your readers a favour by checking out and shouting out about the under-appreciated TAAB2 album that Ian Anderson did to celebrate the 40th anniversary of TAAB back in 2012. Ian cleverly aged the young Gerald Bostock, the fictional kid who composed the lyrics the first time around back in 1972, and then he had him re-do another take, complete with all life’s choices that one tackles as they age and pursue a career, happiness, gestalt, etc.

As a Tull fan, it was the album I was waiting for for decades, and I was lucky enough to get to catch it on tour in 2013 in a modest venue. Even though it wasn’t an official Tull project and Martin Barre wasn’t part of it, Ian used top-rate musicians to make the album and then tour it. Like the initial TAAB, this one too is a concept album through and through and should be listened to attentively from start to finish.

Totally agree that Ian should be getting some love beyond his whittled-down core while he still walks amongst us.

Cheers – Mark Abbott from T.O.


Thank you for delving into the man and the myth of Jethro Tull.

Of all the interviews, podcasts, conversations and hangs I’ve been blessed to have over the past 40 years—from jazz legends to rock stars—Ian Anderson was one of the most inspiring. Not so much for Anderson’s capacity to articulate his place the music world, the prog rock scene and debriefs of his seminal albums (including Thick as a Brick), but his views on politics, religion, health and things that don’t typically come to mind when you think of ‘Tull. Unless, as you pointed out, you’ve immersed yourself in his lyrics.

In preparation for a recent podcast with Anderson, I went back and listened to all his music on Spotify (as all my Jethro Tull LPs, 8-tracks, cassettes and CDs are in storage) and I began to make a “Best of Jethro Tull” playlist. When I realized that I was selecting almost every song from some of the albums you mentioned, I scrapped the playlist and just listened to those albums from start to finish—like those recordings were intended.

Though not a household name, in many circles, Ian Anderson has been accepted as worthy of comment, of renewal and exploration. I hope that with your audience (and mine), more people will enter the circle.

Michael Fagien
P.S. You can listen to my conversation with Ian Anderson at


Loved your deep dive into TAAB! Tull was my first favorite band (although it took until 1974 when I was 11 yes old hearing Bungle on the jukebox in our suburban Phila deli). Saw them 4X in the 70s, many times later, learned to play flute, and ended up working at Chrysalis Music from 1990-93. Only thing you missed about TAAB was….the HUMOR! It was a joke (done seriously) in response to the critics labeling Aqualung a “concept album.” (which it wasn’t). So, Ian went over the top mocking the concept of the concept album! The “one song” album created by putting music to the child poet “Little Milton!” So much British Pythonesque humor that I still don’t get!

One of the coolest things about being a Tull fan in the 70s was not caring if your friends liked them, because you already knew that most of them didn’t. You could just love it on your own, and then show up at the shows with the tens of thousands of fans like yourself. Of course, that was an illusion since they sold millions of albums. The most popular band that never seemed popular in your own sphere. Tull sounds even better and better to me now. Real musicians, not caring about being current or cool, just playing the hell out of their instruments. And Bob, A Passion Play is the biggest sleeper in the catalog. Maybe it didn’t work commercially then because THAT was their serious concept album, but it continues to reveal secrets on every listen (especially the SW remix with the “lost” verses)

Anyway, great review. I just love the seeming continuing fan growth of the band that started it all for me. Thanks!


PS did you see how the second season of the amazing Fargo TV series used “Locomotive Breath” UNCUT for the first 6 minutes of the opening to one of the episodes? Genius!

Gary Helsinger
SVP, Licensing and Creative
Spirit Production Music



Too often in life we do not get an opportunity to share a relevant story related to an event of yesteryear. So, your informative article brings back a memory that I feel compelled to share.

The year was 1991. I was working as a producer for Charles Laquidara at WBCN/Boston. I had worked my way up from answering the request line. One morning, I walked to the area where the request lines were and was greeted by my former partner Mark, who shared with me that Crazy Mary from Revere, MA was on hold. Crazy Mary was no stranger to Mark and I. She called pretty much daily and screamed at us to play some of the most obscure Jethro Tull songs that she craved that day — as if she didn’t have every record or cassette they produced. We generally humored Mary and just let her ramble and curse at us.

I went to speak with Mark because we were not finding a contestant for Charles’ daily game from 9:45-10:00 AM, which was called Mishegas and while I have long loved this word, its brand is owned in my mind by the WBCN show. Charles was looking for someone to join him on-air. He always looked for someone who met a certain criterion (i.e., a woman in her 30s who lives north of Boston). Well, on this day, we could not find a guest for Charles, who was mostly a great guy, but he was a self-described insane Sicilian nut case with a Type-A personality who used to keep a mason jar on the console that contained a particular powder. So, when he was pissed, it was hard to miss.

Charles saw Mark and I laughing in his hysterics about Crazy Mary or something else through the plate glass window that separated the studio from the request line area. He pressed the speaker button and proceeded to tell Mark and I that we were useless and if he wanted to get something done, he would need to do it himself. We continued to laugh directly at him, which ticked him off even more. So, he decided that it was now time to take matters into his own hands and find the Mishegas guest himself. He started furiously pressing buttons and screaming at people, who were calling in to request songs by Iggy Pop, R.E.M. or J. Geils Band. “Hello, ‘BCN, do you want to be on Mishegas?” “‘BCN, where you calling from?” He swung the bat about 6-7 times and never found his contestant. That’s when he picked up the caller on line 3. When he realized that Crazy Mary actually lived in a neighborhood and met today’s Mishegas criterion, he asked if she wanted to be on Mishegas with him that morning. She ate it up like a bowl of oatmeal on a cold day. He instructed her to continue holding the line and he would be back in five minutes.

Mark and I ran into the studio and told Charles in no uncertain terms that he could not put Mary from Revere on-the-air. Charles proceeded to tell us that we were idiots, who couldn’t find the easiest of criteria and that a dog could do our jobs better (of course his rottweilers had just eaten his pork-belly pig the week before). We told him that Crazy Mary curses like a sailor and mutters things about John F. Kennedy, Son of Sam and the Boston Tea Party, while at the same time, making semi-cogent cases for playing, “A Time for Everything” and “Benefit.” He said he would handle Mary and we shouldn’t call her ‘crazy’ because that wasn’t very nice.

Jump ahead to Mishegas and he has Mary on-the-air for 7-8 minutes. She hasn’t said anything in the category of hair-brained nuts. At the end of each Mishegas, Charles would address the contestant and, in this case, say, “Mary from Revere, thank you for playing Mishegas with us this morning, we have a whole bunch of great prizes for you, but first, is there anyone you’d like to say hello to?” That’s when Mary responded: “Oh I would, Charles. Thank you for having me on Mishegas today and, by the way, WHEN THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING TO START PLAYING MORE FUCKIN’ JETHRO TULL, YOU FUCKIN’ COW-SHIT ASSHOLE. WHY WON’Y YOU PLAY ‘LOCOMOTIVE BREATH’ OR ‘TO CRY YOU A SONG’ OR ‘AQUALUNG’ YOU PIECE OF SHIT….”

Charles, who had gotten complacent because HIS contestant had behaved and hadn’t said anything inappropriate, took close to seven seconds to get to the phone and hang up on Crazy Mary. Needless to say, Charles had a lot of explaining to do to the PD Oedipus and GM. Fines from the FCC were levied. Mark and I innocently asked Charles if he was having a good morning.

I’ve never forgotten this awesome story.

P.S. Mary continued to call daily and tried to convince Mark that she deserved another shot at Mishegas and she would be polite, but only if we played some more goddamn Jethro Tull.

Hope you enjoyed this little ditty.

Brian Kaplan


Here, here.
What a great stroll down memory lane.

Thick as a Brick and Passion Play are, IMO, epic masterpieces.

The timing of your article was erie – my Google Pixel phone will periodically give me a ‘here’s what happened x number of years ago via an alert. We…as it happens, my alert yesterday indicated that 7 years ago, yesterday, I saw JT at Massey Hall in Toronto.

During this tour, he played Thick as a Brick in its entirety and between ‘sides’ he did a Public Service Announcement to bring awareness to Prostate Cancer. I was fortunate enough to have scored front row seats – he came down and invited me onto the stage and put me into a doctor outfit and placed disposable gloves on my hands. Turns out I was the brunt of the joke as he escorted me backstage and while I was there with him for about 90 seconds, a video played to the audience showing how the procedure works…when we emerged from backstage he went to shake my hand to thank me for participating but then abruptly stepped back, not wanting to touch my soiled hand.

I also saw JT at the Montreal Forum in the mid 1970s. Quebec fans were always into acts that were just a little (or a lot) off the beaten path. Just as the show was about to start, an announcer came onto the PA and informed the audience that Ian Anderson would be unable to make it to the show. The fans went ape shit yet the ‘band’ started to play. Two minutes into the show, Ian Anderson slithered down a long rope from the ceiling and the show went on. God, I miss the 70s but even more so, I miss live shows.


Doug Collitz


Hi Mr. Lefsetz,

Is it age, location, or life experiences, it seems we all get a different take on music.

Mine is from a lowly hand-me-down 8-track of “Stand up” played on a Montgomery Wards portable 8-track player hidden under my bed with a cheap pair
of white Koss headphones scotched taped to the speaker output. You had to turn a knob to change the track and I could do this in the dark.

You see, playing rock music was not allowed in my parents house. Today, kids would have their parents arrested for this kind of stuff, they have never had to fight for their music.
If my parents would have found that I was playing it, my dad would have beat my ass to a pulp and destroyed my music system! I lived with this fear
until I technically move out at 16 to a friends house!

Stand Up got me through this and I stayed with Ian my whole life. I like “A Passion Play” too, I thought it is Ian’s experimentation into new sounds and modern instruments and production,
trying to make a biggie art happening! Ian leaned on the farce side because everyone else was taking it too seriously, trying to matter and be eastern religion.
Ian was not this, so he took us down the minstrel road, placing his stamp on synthesized music, trying to move the needle forward and most people didn’t get it.

The bootleg album of the L.A show during this tour is amazing also! It was the Bass players last and after that, the rhythm section lost a certain flavor to it that never came back, but the songwriting remained.
I also love how Ian gets it, that he is old now and cannot hit the high notes, so he has someone there who can, right next to him!

We owe a lot to Ian really, calling out the hippies for their bullshit and yes it was there. Just ask the people who got to eat steaks with Bill Graham at Woodstock, we are all in it together, RIGHT!
Kudos on the Steve Wilson remixes, they are a blessing!

P.S. Mr. Lefsetz, please interview Ian for your podcast, that would be amazing!

John Payne


As I’ve told you, I am always happy when you mention good audio gear and sound. Back when Stand Up came out I had just built myself a Dynaco Stereo 70 Amp and a PAS-3X Preamp. I bought an AR Turntable and a pair of AR3s. These were astronomic in cost at that time, but really cheap in retrospect. I had to talk my parents into letting me buy them, though I had the money. The result was the best stereo in town, and a lot of friends and others who came over to listen.

Great sound makes a big difference as you have written. Albums like Disraeli Gears and Stand Up had very different sounds and a good system let you hear them in immersive glory. It was fantastic to hear all the experimentation of that era as bands and musicians tried different things all the time both to stand out and to explore. Again, as you write the business aspect of things led to much more regimentation in sound overall, but perhaps the streaming age can once more allow unique sounds to come out. It seems possible.

Portable audio is not a bad thing, letting people listen anywhere and anytime is good, but the price paid for mp3 was high. The lossy formats throws away 75-95% of the data and can often leave a lot of sound on the cutting board as it were. Fortunately, this no longer needs to be the case as Amazon HD or Qobuz you also write about solve this from a file point of view. There is also a healthy market in high quality music players and headphones, headphone amps and DACS to support this, and I expect over time this to bleed into the mainstream of smartphones too. There is hope and movement toward better sound, but people need to be exposed.

So, when you write about it I am grateful. You are right about Ian Anderson. I saw him last time he came to Montclair NJ. He was still writing and performing new material and obviously did not care if you liked it or not, though he played the hits as well. He showed film from the late sixties. Wow, it really marked how long he has been at it, and the diversity of his opus. Perhaps that is why he is overlooked. He has not been a consistent sound or approach like many of the other “old” bands. Too bad, you are right he should be lionized for all the work, like it or not.

all the best
Robert Heiblim


Good piece Bob!

I’m Ian’s PR in the UK and fair to say I think that the Steven Wilson reissues have shone a spotlight on Tull once again.

Ian is still active and engaged – 50th Anniversary Tour a couple of years ago, the Ballad of Jethro Tull book, his popular ‘cathedral concerts’ raising money for beautiful churches across the UK.

He will be interested to read your piece, I am sure.

All best,
Pete Flatt


Now you’re talkin’.. Since high school Tull were my fave band. I almost saw them in concert as often as I saw The Dead..I had all their albums…In concert there was no elaborate light show etc.etc..Ian Anderson was a mystical character… He looked like he was busking on the streets in London..

When Kevin Sutter and Daniel Glass hired me to do Rock Promo here in L.A… “Crest of a Knave” came out and it was like a dream come true. I was kvelling.

The Sutterman put together a game plan that was infallible…From having listening parties at every major market that.. And as a special treat, everybody who attended the parties gave their names and on the record sleeve they were thanked…When was the last time you had your name on a Tull record?
I got as close to Ian as much as I could..At a bar in a hotel I told him that “Thick As A Brick” was never intended to be listened to on a C.D. all the way through in one sitting.. Rather, on vinyl you were suppose to turn the record over… and play side 2.. Its like intermission to a play… And let’s be honest, Tull albums were like plays. When “Passion Play” came out, the L.A. Times music writer, Robert Hilburn wrote in his review.. “Tull Rhymes With Dull!

I probably shouldn’t say this but Ian is a germaphobe. He will not shake your hand! He will hold his beer in his right hand.. and he would do the “elbow touch”..

The success of Jethro Tull’s, “Crest” was the best selling album for Chrysalis for a few months..It twas like the old days! Selling out arenas.. getting Top-10 rock airplay.. Life was good!

In San Francisco, Bill Graham said to Ian I want to do shows in arenas next year.. I was mesmerized by all that..
I had Ian over for dinner at my house and he was most gracious..
I’ve said enough…

Jeff Laufer


I just hope I live to see Jethro Tull added into The Rock N Roll Hall of
Fame Which he deserves to be Fuck the Grammys They’re the one who fucked up

I remember calling him that night after they announced that Tull won the
Grammy I woke him up His 1st questions was “Were You there to accept it for
Me” I got to admit I shed a tear when I told him I wasn’t

Kevin F. Sutter

Comments are closed