Join Dominic Forbes with his interview of Martin Barre of Jethro Tull. Music featured in this hour Thick As A Brick, Locomotive Breath, Aqualung, Cross Eyed Mary. Immediately following join us for Jethro Tull our Feature Artist at 10pm.
Martin Lancelot Barre (born 17 November 1946) is an English rock musician best known for his work with progressive rock band Jethro Tull, with whom he recorded and toured from their second album in 1969 to the band’s initial dissolution in 2012. In the early 1990s he initiated a solo career that has now spawned four studio albums plus several guest appearances.
He has also played the flute and other instruments such as the mandolin, both on stage for Jethro Tull and in his own solo work.
On the first album that Barre recorded with Jethro Tull, Stand Up, he said that he was: “terrified because I had just joined the band. It really showed a change in direction for the band and when it was accepted and became a successful album, we gained a lot of confidence. We extended that confidence into the making of Benefit, in which we were a lot more at ease.” On the next album, the world success Aqualung, Martin was more confident, stating that in the recording: “Everybody [the band] had input into the making of the album.”
In the following period, his solos blended virtuosity with classical music, like on Minstrel in the Gallery, where the opening track has a four-minute solo, or his piece (shared with Barrie Barlow) “Conundrum” and “Quatrain” in Bursting Out. Martin declared that much of the material from Jethro Tull catalogue was written by himself and Ian Anderson, with Ian getting the credit for writing the lyrics and having the initial idea for the music, which: “then I, or someone else in the band, contribute parts to it.” There are two albums where he is credited for having put “additional material,” both classics Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses, which Martin has already stated to be two of the albums which show his best playing. Curiously, his favourite album in Jethro Tull is the most controversial of the band’s career, Under Wraps, which contains two tracks co-authored by him. On his work with Jethro Tull, Martin also stated: “I’m quite pleased with my playing on Crest of a Knave, which was basically me, Ian and [bassist] Dave Pegg working in the studio for two months, so I had ample time to put a lot of myself into that album.” He is credited in only another two tracks of Jethro Tull albums: “Hot Mango Flush,” from J-Tull Dot Com and “Winter Snowscape” from The Jethro Tull Christmas Album. For his contribution to Jethro Tull music, Martin stated: “I’ve done bits and pieces on albums. Sometimes it’s a riff; sometimes it’s a little segment of music … I don’t mind taking a small role in the writing, and a larger input into the arrangement and playing.”
About the end of his involvement in Tull, Barre stated in 2015 that “It’s important that people realize there will never be a Jethro Tull again. There will be two solo bands: the Ian Anderson Band and the Martin Barre Band, and long may they exist, and long may they enjoy playing music. I’m not being pedantic. I always hate to hear, “Oh, you’ve left Jethro Tull.” I haven’t really. Ian wanted to finish Jethro Tull, wanted to stop the band completely.” – Wikipedia