“Presented for your benefit…” Many Americans such as my lifelong friend to this day, attorney Bob Lyon of the Dallas Texas area, first saw Jethro Tull with me in Fall 1971 because of their soon-to-be-classic album release earlier that year, Aqualung . But they were the changes in musical direction and key personnel made on Jethro Tull’s critical preceding third album, Benefit, in April 1970, that provided the oxygen in “Aqualung” ‘s tank a year later, as you will hear in this exclusive classic rock interview with Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson.This is the most highly-detailed oral history of Jethro Tull’s first formative years from the “Inside” by Ian Anderson that exists anywhere, with some stories he’s never previously revealed, such as why Mick Abrahams exited Jethro Tull after the debut This Was ; how the late Joe Cocker was involved in Tull’s #1 success with Stand Up in the UK; and which member of the band YES wore paper underpants on tour!
This edition of In the Studio is fondly dedicated to music industry maven Neil Lasher, who helped to facillitate my relationship with Ian Anderson. Neil and I were both Northwest Ohio radio deejays in Winter 1972, like two pebbles dropped in the inky black cold still water of some long-abandoned limestone quarry south of Toledo, with the ever-expanding concentric circles rippling out seemingly forever. Neil and I were two Buckeyes in Exile, leaving there independently, “runnin’ down a dream” and never looking back. Over the next half century, Neil would see the ridgetop of fame and fortune, then the lowest valley of substance abuse and despair, and finally the mountaintop of sobriety, spirituality, and serving others.
After almost two weeks battling on a respirator, Neil Lasher died of the coronavirus.
Now those of you who did not know Neil Lasher are probably wondering, “Gee, I wonder if he had any underlying or pre-existing medical conditions?”
“Hell yeah I had ‘pre-existing conditions, ‘Beard !”, Neil would laugh if he was here, eyes twinkling, “I’m an alcoholic!”
Not anymore, buddy. Not anymore. You’re free. –Redbeard