I was quite keen on silviculture, the growing of trees, and that was something I gave a lot of thought to. Maybe I could've gone in that direction. But it just so happened that while I was trying to make up my mind, I enrolled in art school, and there I began to develop my interest in music, parallel with my interest in the visual arts.
The original Jethro Tull was a 19th century English agriculturist who invented a seed drill you see... the first automatic process where by small holes were made in Mother Earth and even smaller seeds were deposited one at a time and neetly covered over as a cat does after having being naughty.
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Unnur Birna is a Reykjavik-based violinist and singer. She has performed as a session musician with countless Icelandic and international artists while recording and appearing as a solo artist as well. Unnur has joined me as an unpaid guest on a few Icelandic shows in recent years, so it is a great pleasure to return the favour and appear on one of her songs at last. This new track, Sunshine, came about in Italy, written as an ode to sunlight and happiness after fleeing the dark winter in Iceland
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I suppose when I started playing guitar, it was the means to an end. I never thought of myself as a fully fledged guitar instrumentalist. And my early excursions on the electric guitar were curtailed when Eric Clapton came on the scene, and I decided I was never going to be in the same arena as a Clapton or a Peter Green.
I think I've owned all the models of iPods so far. And these days between my iPod, iPhone and my personal laptop computer, I'm someone who is very, very grateful for all the ways to listen to music and completely switch off from people around me and listen to the music in detail, which is very hard to do if you're in a room with other people.
I don't think people really do listen. We plug into music, and we have short attention spans. We tend to download individual tracks from iTunes rather than a whole album. We buy music DVDs and watch them once, and then they disappear into a drawer, or we loan them to a friend, and we never watch it again.
When I was a young boy, I preferred cats to dogs. From the age of seven or eight onwards I just felt more comfortable with cats. And I felt more comfortable with girls, I didn't really like hanging out with guys. When I was about ten or eleven, I was friendlier with the girls in my school than with the guys.
When I was a teenager, I really didn't like loud rock music. I listened to jazz and blues and folk music. I've always preferred acoustic music. And it was only, I suppose, by the time Jethro Tull was getting underway that we did let the music begin to have a harder edge, in particular with the electric guitar being alongside the flute.
Martin, Dave, and I get together and rough out a few songs and put them on cassettes for some reference...With the actual music, I'm not interested in objectivity, quite the opposite. I want a solely and totally subjective experience...A lot of pop music is about stealing pocket money from children.
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We do hear perhaps too many accolades generally aimed at people like Steve Jobs. We have to remember that there are other classic things in life that we undervalue and take them for granted. If you think of the classic lines of the modern jet aircraft, it's really been there since early World War II.
When I was in my teenage years, I went to sign up as a cadet entrant to the police force but was at the very last moment rejected, just as I was about to sign my name on the dotted line. I won't get into why that happened, but it was a moment where it could've been predetermined then that I was off to become a policeman.
'Aqualung' marks the point at which I had the confidence as a songwriter and as a guitar player to actually pick up and play the guitar and be at the forefront of the band. It's also the album on which I began to address religious issues in my music, and I think that happened simply because the time was right for it.
As a songwriter, you tend to develop your own style, your own technique, based around what it is you're trying to write and perform, in terms of your own music. So a way of evolving a guitar style as a songwriter is much easier, I think, than developing a true style of your own just from listening to music or playing other people's music.