Jethro Tull Guitarist Martin Barre On His New Album

Posted May 03, 2016

PRS artist Marin Barre spent 40 years playing with British rock band Jethro Tull! However, these days Martin has his own band and is churning out a stream of original material including a new album, Back to Steel. -- Martin Barre recently interviewed with AXS.com about the new album. Take a look below! AXS: Back to Steel has some very bluesy moments, from the blues rock of the title cut to “Peace and Quiet” to a take on Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack.” What old time blues men have most influenced your playing style, and of today’s crop of young players, who do you most admire? Martin Barre: I love all the Kings: Freddie, Albert and BB. I grew up with all the American blues legends and found them all fascinating and exciting. There was nothing like it in the UK. Later on after Peter Green and Eric Clapton, we had Gary Moore. In the USA, Joe Bonamassa; all great blues players. Plus, of course, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robben Ford. / AXS: Back to Steel contains far fewer Jethro Tull covers than your previous release Order of Play. While fans likely will always consider you to be inseparable from your incredible Jethro Tull legacy, would you consider Back to Steel to be, no pun intended, a subtle move away from living in the past? MB: It’s really important to me to establish my own songwriting within the band. We play a lot of Back to Steel live and it works so well. It sits very comfortably with Tull material as well. Hopefully my guitar playing provides the link! AXS: You’re touring the US quite a bit this year, first in April and then again in the fall. While cell phones and the Internet and other modern day things surely make life on the road much easier than it was back in the day, is there anything you miss about touring in the old days? MB: Today is every bit as exciting and fresh as the "old days." Travel is easier, hotels are nicer, the food is better and people in the music business are far more professional and sincere. The fans are still the same; just mega! AXS: You just attended the PRS Guitars Convention in London. Did you come home with any new gear? MB: We really love the people at PRS. They are gracious and incredibly supportive of music and, of course, me. I take my loyalty with them very seriously and try to support them in any way I can. We do now all play PRS guitars. Why? Because they sound great! / AXS: You performed on the Cruise to the Edge last year along with many other vets of the ’70s prog and rock scenes. Was it kind of like old home week for you? Were you able to catch up with colleagues you hadn’t seen for ages? MB: I wasn't sure how I would take to a cruise with loads of bands and fans surrounding me all the time. I just loved every minute of it. The fans were polite and very respective of space and personal time, like during breakfast and chilling. Catching up with old friends and making new ones was a real treat; I think the whole concept was brilliant and I really was sad when it ended. I would do it again anytime! AXS: As with people mistakenly thinking there was a band member named Pink in Pink Floyd, you must have—over the course of more than four decades with Jethro Tull—endured amusing occurrences of people asking for Jethro. Can you share one of those experiences with us? MB: One morning Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull vocalist and front man) was in a particularly bad mood. We had a limo in front of the hotel and we were waiting for Ian to come out and go to the airport. The driver asked me where Jethro was and I said, “Whatever you do, don't call him Jethro!” Ian stormed out the front entrance and the driver approached and said, “Good morning Mr. Tull.” We fell on the floor laughing and Ian went purple! Learn more about Martin Barre, his music, and tour dates here!