In Defense Of Jethro Tull


Someone very close to me, whom I will not name, has compared Jethro Tull to Ron Burgundy in Anchorman doing his jazz flute solo.


Jethro Tull reminds her of a music at a Renaissance Faire.


I thought about it last night and I have to give her a little leeway on that opinion.

I consider Jethro Tull to be a rock band, and Ian’s flute is essential to the band… but yeah, some albums are a bit on the Baroque (if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it) side, although some of those are among my favorites. Very English countryside inspired. I’ll give her that one.

I of course heard Tull on the radio and became fluent with “Aqualung” and “Cross-Eyed Mary” and “Teacher” and other Tull staples which led me to purchase the “Live Bursting Out” double LP. It blew me away. I got into Tull BIG-TIME. I have to say I looked on the flute playing as a bonus. I suppose it is not exactly standard for rock bands.

Sort of like, my rap group features accordion.

I wonder if there are any other rock bands in which flute plays an equally prominent role?Traffic had Chris Wood, but it wasn’t the same. You can check out the band Camel, but no comparison. Jethro Tull just made it seem normal and awesome.

I sat down to write this and had a notion that I was going to make a CD of Jethro Tull songs that did not feature him playing flute, there are actually a lot of them, good songs, great songs… but in the end I decided that that was what I really liked about the music. I prefer the early albums where Ian played a lot of flute to the newer albums where the flute is less prominent. I allow for the changing of time. I have previously stated that “A” is not my favorite Tull album, and “A Passion Play”… meh, but Tull has been with me since my teen years and is a part of me now, like it or not. I think convincing someone to come to Jethro Tull just isn’t feasible. You either like it or you don’t.

I’m not sure what made a middle school kid start digging a flute playing rock band, but for whatever reason that live album really moved something in me. I remember getting “Heavy Horses” and wandering around singing “One Brown Mouse” over and over. Maybe that’s not normal. Oh well.

A quick check and I discovered that Ian is still kickin’ it.


He is touring a new album “Homo Erraticus”and performing Jethro Tull hits to boot. He has a show coming to Milwaukee in October. For fun I tried to set up 2 tickets at Best Available and there were no 2 together. I even tried the Floor seats. Again, no 2 together. I had to choose only 1 ticket! $65. Wow, The Pabst Theater in Milwaukee has no 2 seats together for a show 4 months away? You go Ian. Nice.

So, in the end, I have to give my beloved Jethro Tull detractor her due.


But, I still love the band.

Give ’em hell you crazy flute playing bastard!

Tull Hair



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