Ian Anderson‘s house is haunted. Or at least the Jethro Tull leader has good reason to believe that it’s haunted. Sitting in the dining room of the very old but modern-updated “Bucks” home in the English countryside for this interview for the anniversary of 1971’s Aqualung album, we shared in common the fact that we both live and record on working farms , Anderson’s less than an hour west of London. The current house was built more than three centuries ago on the ruins of a nunnery plundered by Oliver Cromwell during the mid-17th century English military/political leader’s genocidal campaign against Catholics. In this classic rock interview, Ian told me that there are historical accounts of the nuns being raped before they were murdered by Cromwell’s troops, which could explain the curious reactions of certain visitors to Anderson’s isolated home over the years.
It seems that without any knowledge of the home’s history, one popular British comedian became convinced during a visit that intensely strong paranormal vibrations were emanating from beneath the house, while on another separate occasion a female guest stayed but a minute before running from the house in hysterics. Anderson’s lovely wife claims on occasion in broad daylight to see a white horse running up the stairs, which one would surmise could present a problem getting good domestic help. And while Ian himself has never witnessed that specter, once he did glance up into a wall-mounted mirror, the angle of which allowed him to see into their downstairs laundry room, where he observed clearly the back of a dark-haired young woman dressed in an ancient gray robe. Thinking it was his wife, Anderson called out to her but received no response. When he entered to peer into the laundry room, no one was there.
The moral of this story? Don’t expect anyone to volunteer to help you with laundry in the next world, either.
Meanwhile, few albums from any time in the Rock Era continue to satisfy quite so well as Jethro Tull‘s masterpiece Aqualung. Ian Anderson smartly wrote songs for all seasons for a superb band, including the timeless rockers “Aqualung”,”Cross-Eyed Mary”,”Locomotive Breath,” and “Hymn #43“, but perfectly paced the album with tasty acoustic classics like “Wond’ring Aloud“and “Mother Goose“. And the Steven Wilson( Porcupine Tree ) remix and 21st Century remastering results in a stunning listening experience. Ian Anderson is my guest In the Studio with insights and revelations concerning Aqualung on its forty-fifth anniversary.( Note: I misidentified original bass player Glenn Cornick, who left Jethro Tull before the Aqualung sessions. Thanks to longtime fan Bob Schiller for catching my error) -Redbeard