Ipswich: Regent-bound Ian Anderson is prog rock god - official

Ian Anderson and his band come to Ipswich tonight

Ian Anderson and his band come to Ipswich tonight - Credit: Archant

Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson is now officially a Prog Rock God at least for now. The honour was bestowed upon him at the 2013 Progressive Music Awards.

“I take it with a pinch of salt really, but that’s not to say that I’m ungrateful for the award,” he says. “Actually, it’s only for 12 months then someone else takes it on.” It’s not the only award Anderson has received in his long and illustrious career, as he has also got an MBE and a Queen’s Award for Industry no less.

“I quite like the idea of peer group awards and it would be churlish to refuse these things. In perspective, it’s a nod and a wink from your contemporaries.”

Not content to rest on his laurels, he’s touring for much of the year and has been playing concerts around the UK since the end of April.

After founding Jethro Tull in 1968, Anderson’s unique brand of folk-influenced progressive rock garnered him many hit albums such as Aqualung, Thick as a Brick and Heavy Horses. In recent years he has toured and recorded more and more under his own name.

“For so many years, I’ve been the frontman of a band that’s had 28 members and I like to do projects so I don’t have to do a ‘best of’ Jethro Tull.”

The flute-playing musician has now put together what he calls a folk-prog-metal concept album which he will showcase on his tour.

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“It’s called Homo Erraticus – and you’re the first person I’ve told the title to,” he admits.

“It’s going to be entertaining and theatrical and it contains elements that could be classed as topical – things we are seeing in the news.

“There’s some pontification of issues, but it’s not weighty or political, it’s got to be entertaining and fun – after all, I’m not Gavin Esler,” laughs Anderson.

In 2012 he released and toured his Thick as a Brick 2 album to great acclaim and for the forthcoming trip around Britain he’ll be using the same musicians - keyboard player John O’Hara, guitarist Florian Opthale, David Goodier on bass, Scott Harrison on drums and Ryan O’Donnell.

“The first half of the show will be the whole of the new album along with a video which is almost like a virtual opening act, it then morphs into the actual concert. I enjoy bringing music to life in presentations,” he smiles.

It also features heavier, less acoustic guitar work and more of Anderson’s trademark flute.

“It’s not an end to the acoustic and gentler moments but more of an emphasis on the louder aggressive flute style which marked me out from the earliest days of Jethro Tull,” he says.

The rest of the show will be the cream of his solo and Jethro Tull material.

Ian Anderson and his band perform at the Ipswich Regent tonight.