CR AWARDS: Ian Anderson
While the rest of us were quaffing Kraken (a lip-smacking rum-style beverage) at the awards, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, plus presenter Roy Harper, were occupied with a different kind of spirit: namely the Spirit Of Prog Award.
The Spirit Of Prog (sponsored by EMI)
Winners: Jethro Tull, presented by Roy Harper
Gentlemen, we trust that your evening is proceeding swimmingly?
Ian Anderson: Yes, immensely so. I’m really enjoying Roy’s company.
Roy Harper: Likewise.
Anderson: I’ve spent most of my time marveling at the impossibly tight-trousered people around us. And also at those sporting such incredibly exotic hair. In many instances I thought it had to be fake but now I’m up close to one of them I can see that yours is real.
[Your correspondent laughs with embarrassment and moves on]. Unless I’m mistaken this is a first time at the Classic Rock Awards for you both.
Harper: It’s much, much bigger than I thought it was going to be. I expected some homely little party, but it’s a very big deal.
Anderson: I’ve been very, very impressed by the mutual sense of support from everybody that I’ve spoken to; from fellow musicians, to those employed by the magazine, also those from the print media and radio stations. In these troubled economic times there’s a sense of everybody pulling together and saying: ‘Listen, we need each other in order to keep music going on at this level’. It feels like a family affair, but in very glossy circumstances. I’m glad that I’m not footing the bill for it all [laughs]. Let me ask you a question.
Anderson: This year you have Gene Simmons but who was the genial host at the last event?
Anderson: So you have a habit of picking Americans?
They tend to have a superior gift of the gab, but if you’re putting yourself forward then for 2012 then get in the application as early as possible. Anyway, let’s talk about the Spirit Of Prog. Why has it undergone such a spectacular renaissance?
Anderson: I couldn’t begin to explain it, but that’s definitely the case. During the last five years there’s been such a transformation of the audience, especially in Latin America. Whereas before it was mainly men in their fifties, now we get late teens to early twenties and even some girls – clearly with the money to pay for expensive tickets, but still having their vinyl copies of Thick As A Brick. It’s quite a sea change. We also noticed it in Italy and Spain, all throughout Southern Europe and the Mediterranean countries.
And in the UK?
Anderson: Here and in America the demographic is still skewed towards the geriatrics, but in the Latin counties there are kids buzzing for what is to them a whole different kind of music… not what their parents or even their grandparents listened to.
Harper: Things are coming round again, in a repercolated manner. In my own case, a lot of young American artists are claiming me as an influence – and we’re talking about some household names – which is creating a younger audience for the kind of things that I was doing thirty or forty years ago. I think this thing is going to carry on for some time yet.
(Interview: Dave Ling)
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