Vixen Of The Violin: The Anna Phoebe Column (No. 8)
This week, Anna Phoebe goes for a stroll with Ian Anderson, reflects on the influence of Eddie Jobson, goes crazy earning 40 Roxy Music songs, hugs Richard Briers and drinks vodka with Michael Nyman! Go here to read Anna’s previous columns.
Went to Ian Anderson’s house for lunch this week. Well, it’s actually more of a castle. I took Wallace the dog who christened the place within the first two minutes by peeing on the kitchen floor. After a delicious lunch we walked through the beautiful English gardens and then over the fields of the 400-odd acre estate into the forests where the bluebells were in full bloom. Lovely.
It’s always inspiring chatting to Ian – a man of infinite wisdom and stories! This time we discussed political systems, wireless microphone set-ups and touring back in the 70s. He told me about Roxy Music opening up for Jethro Tull at Madison Square Garden – and Ian being disturbed to find that Brian Eno’s outfit was even more outrageous than his own! I can only imagine!
Even though this was all before I had popped out of my mother’s womb, it makes me rather nostalgic about touring back in the good ol’ days of rock’n'roll. I truly wish I had been born a few decades earlier; one of my favourite films is still Almost Famous.
Apart from the fact that Tull and Roxy toured together nearly four decades ago, the obvious link between the two is violinist Eddie Jobson. Eddie joined Roxy Music in 1973, replacing Brian Eno on synths and adding violin to the band. He truly is a pioneer of the electric violin, and was one of the first (if not the first) to start to play with guitar pedals and effects on the violin. His biography reads like a Who’s Who of rock’n'roll – from Zappa, to Patti Smith, to Fairport Convention and King Crimson. Amazing!
Apart from solo projects, Eddie is now working in Texas on the advisory board for a keyboard manufacturer, and has been involved in developing a fold-up
MIDI keyboard controller(!). Anyway, it’s brilliant and an honour to step into his shoes and try to replicate his violin solos and keyboard sounds!
Actually – while practising the Roxy songs, I have noticed a distinct similarity between the wacky synth solos and Tom Morello’s guitar solos. Have a listen to Editions Of You on the 1973 For Your Pleasure album. Go to 90 seconds into the track – see what I mean?! That could totally be Morello. Made me smile.
Apart from hours of Roxy practice (nearly 40 songs to learn) I have also been rehearsing with my solo band. So excited for the gig on Tuesday, May 11 at The Underworld – the stage is going to be full: drums, guitar, bass, keys, violin, tabla, and possibly even a ballet dancer for one number!
Hopefully it will all be captured on film and stuck up on YouTube for those of you unable to make it! Apart from the musicians from Jurojin, my old school friend Anna Tobert has joined the band, which I’m excited about – the last time we played together was aged 16 or so in our school music rooms.
The week ended last night with the final Sonnet 155 show. Full house at The Almeida Theatre and a standing ovation at the end! The project has been fascinating to work on – a one-of-a-kind project! Highlights of last night (apart from playing the music) include hugging Richard Briers and meeting Michael Nyman. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Nyman’s name… just Google him. He is Britain’s most successful and talented living composer! In 1993 he was nominated for both a British Academy Award and a Golden Globe for the score he wrote for Jane Campion’s film The Piano.
I met him after the show, and a group of us ended up back at his house admiring his collection of fencing helmets, and drinking vodka. Best of all, it looks like we may work together before the year has ended!
Inspiration track of the week:
Jethro Tull Living in The Past
Tags: Anna Phoebe, Anna Phoebe Column, Brian Eno, Eddie Jobson, Fairport Convention, Frank Zappa, Jane Campion, Jethro Tull, Jurojin, King Crimson, Michael Nyman, Paiiti Smith, Richard Briers, Roxy Music, Tom Morello