Ian Anderson freely admits he had to be talked into making "Thick As a Brick 2," a sequel to Jethro Tull's 1972 concept album.
"I thought of lots of good reasons why that would be a terrible idea," explains Anderson, 65. "Most of them still apply -- the most obvious one was I really didn't want to go back to 1972 and visit some kind of nostalgic moment from the past by starting off where the last one left off like some 'Rocky VI.' "
Nevertheless, Anderson was intrigued by idea of visiting the fictional Gerald Bostock, the child prodigy who was credited with writing the original "Thick as a Brick's" lyrics, and discussing what he'd be doing 40 years on.
It was not going back and saying 'What happened in 1973?' It was taking a 40-year leap into the present day," Anderson explains. "That was good food for thought, and applicable to all people of my age who might be looking back at their lives and thinking, 'I wonder if I had done this and not that...'
"So it turned into something that amused me enough to write a concept album for the year 2012."
The other difference now is that Anderson recorded "Thick As a Brick 2" as a solo album rather than with Jethro Tull and is touring to support it with his own band. Tull mainstays Martin Barre, who played guitar on the original "Thick...," and drummer Doane Perry "understood" his decision, Anderson maintains, joking that "they must feel a slight bit of relief they don't have to learn how to play a lot of difficult music and remember it all." But he thinks "Thick 2" will fare better as a solo project.
"The original (album) was greeted with a lot of impatience and derision by some of the more hard rock, beer-drinking buddies...which was disruptive and pretty disappointing," Anderson explains. "I decided I would never do that again.
"When I do something as Ian Anderson rather than Jethro Tull, it gets me over that problem. The riff-raff stay home and the people who come are usually supportive and more open-minded, which is what I want for this."
Ian Anderson performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Fox Theater, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $25-$99.50. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.
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