Ian Anderson recently highlighted Jethro Tull’s history with progressive rock and gave his opinion on the genre in an interview with 101 WRIF’s Talkin’ Rock. He discussed the band’s growth and their part in developing prog rock in the face of growing tired of straightforward rock.
When Jethro Tull was first referred to be a progressive rock band by the British press in 1969, Anderson voiced his first pleasure. He noted that the name “prog” eventually acquired certain unfavorable associations, such as self-indulgence and excessive musical self-confidence.
Ian agreed with these complaints but added that prog rock, in his opinion, is motivated by a desire to transcend the constraints of straightforward pop and rock music. He was attempting to enhance the music in some way to sound richer and deeper for both the audience and him as a performer.
Ian Anderson wrote the following in response to Jethro Tull being called a prog rock band:
“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 He 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 the 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.”
In his interview, Anderson discussed the origins of prog-rock and his thoughts on Jethro Tull’s contribution to it. Although the phrase may have acquired some unfavorable connotations, the musician insists that prog rock’s attraction lay in its desire to explore more intricate and enlightening musical territory for both the writer of the music and the listeners who gave the songs a chance.