By Kevin Murphy
As 2020 begins to fade what can the entertainment industry particularly the music business expect for 2021. Losses have been staggering as a result of the efforts to somehow control the spread of Covid 19 especially in the UK.
As Covid had began to become a full global pandemic with lockdowns and mandates it was reported by the end of March 2020 by Music Business Worldwide that:
'In the UK, so far, a nation-wide quarantine has resulted in over £50 million (circa $61m-plus) in lost revenues for artists and managers in the UK. That includes at least £3.1m ($7.8m) lost by music managers in commissions.'
It was also reported in late March 2020 that this had caused governments to establish crisis funds for donations both public and private to help offset loses for recording artists. The German music licensing society GEMA started with €40million, Sweden creating a cultural response fund with €45million and Norway €25million.
In mid-November 2020 the BBC reported that as a result of the shutdown revenues for the concert and festival live music business was expected to decrease nearly 85% in 2020.
UK Music's Jamie Njoku-Goodwin told the BBC that the pandemic had been 'catastrophic blow' and that 'tens of thousands of jobs were at risk'.
A report from UK Music on BBC reveals the financial impact on the UK economy from the recorded and live music industry showed revenues for 2019 of £5.8billion having contributed to the economy, £2.8billion in export revenue, 28.5million people attending concerts and 197,168 full-time jobs.
'The report predicted that musicians and songwriters would lose 65% of their income this year, rising to 80% for those most dependent on live performance and studio work.'
'Before the pandemic, a typical musician earned £23,059, well below the national average of £29,832, according to the Office for National Statistics. A 65% pay cut would mean an income of just £8,070.'
So what can the music industry look forward to in 2021, will the gloomy results so far continue to haunt the music makers and its related workers?
I decided to take this issue to one of the worlds most iconic composers and musicians, Ian Anderson founder of the legendary rock band Jethro Tull.
Jethro Tull 1977
Jethro Tull 2020: L+R DAVID GOODIER, JOE PARRISH, Ian Anderson, SCOTT HAMMOND and JOHN O’HARA
Like so many in the music industry Ian Anderson has expressed his concerns about the state of affairs for musicians and music publishers that not only includes the Covid 19 virus but the other issues of rules and requirements of going on live performance tours.
On 1st July 2020 Anderson sent a letter titled 'How to Get (Some Of Us) Back To Work' to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and then on the 12th of August the same message was forwarded to Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture. The detailed letter was a review to the spread of the virus in entertainment venues, outdoor concerts and indoor performances (theatrical and musical).
'Many of us are champing at the bit to get on the stage immediately, without the benefit of the bigger picture. I share their frustration, lack of any income any professional desperation to get back to work.'
Mr. Anderson made his sentiments known:
'In my opinion, the reluctance the UK Government has shown regarding implementation of mandatory face masks for all scenarios other than public transport, is a major mistake. Having initially implied that face masks were a waste of time (really it was to discourage us from limiting much-needed supplies to front-line medical staff) they should have fully-embraced the practice back in April and made it mandatory in all indoor spaces as well as public transport for staff as well as customers. That would make life much easier in reopening performance venues now without the additional impediment of having to insist on mask-wearing for audiences in the face of resistance from some.'
'However, with careful economic management and planning, many shows could soon resume in appropriate venues albeit with reduced production values and personnel but with greater costs for staffing, security and those physical venue modifications to allow COVID certification. Not a dime of profit but employment for tens of thousands and safety for audiences.'
'Many of us are champing at the bit to get on the stage immediately, without the benefit of the bigger picture. I share their frustration, lack of any income and professional desperation to get back to work.'
Photo taken at Manchester Apollo by Nick Harrison
As for 2021 I spoke this week with Ian Anderson from his Calliandra Production studio in Wiltshire, England to get his latest perspective for this year and perhaps beyond.
With 2020 now behind us along with the staggering loses for the UK music and live performance industry what do you see for 2021 and perhaps beyond?
Ian Anderson: 'Well as you will be well aware the music industry in the sense of live entertainment along with theatre, ballet and other forms of arts and entertainment taking place in the real world to a real audience all of that came to an end for the UK back in April. In fact during March, I say we- I and my team were working on the assumption we would have to at the very least postpone a lot concerts last year and we ended up in fact postponing everything into 2021. We saw promoters who wanted to take a chance postponing into the latter part of 2020 but most as we went through the next few weeks realized that it would be fool hardy so we were gearing up for 2021. I have to say that now we are pushing it out of the first half of 2021 but we didn’t start doing that back in November because it was quite apparent that we were going to hit another huge second wave certainly in the UK and most European countries if not the rest of the world. It seemed prudent to assume that there would be no concerts taking place in the first half of 2021 either. So we are now pushing everything into the even longer grass of latter part of 2021 and we are already filling up the first half of 2022 with postponed concerts some of which will have been postponed for 2 years before they actually take place.'
'So that is the reality. I think we have to face reality and face the facts. The facts demonstrate that we are now looking particularly in the USA and in the UK we are looking at infection rates which are in the region of 20 times what they were last summer. Last summer concerts were being cancelled and postponed because the rates then were too dangerous to risk a spreader event by performing to a live audience. If you take into care that today we are talking 20 times in fact it is actually more than that. We looked at last June and July in the UK we were averaging for a period of about four to five weeks we were averaging at less than a 1000 cases a day of new cases. That figure yesterday was just short of 60,000 so we are looking at on average certainly if you take last years worst months as a whole we are looking at 20 times, if you take the best months of last year we are looking at 60 times the infection rates.'
'It is just totally unreasonable to bury your head in the sand and talk about when the pandemic is over. Which people keep doing.' Ian Anderson
'It is just totally unreasonable to bury your head in the sand and talk about when the pandemic is over. Which people keep doing. They have to believe that when the war is over and everything returns to normal. Well this war is not going to be over. The reality is that when you combine the efficacy of vaccines the unproven maturation of whatever degree of antibodies you are able to maintain in order to have a high level of immunity none of that is proven. Lots tests lots of things being done. Our government and I’m sure we won’t be alone in this is already bending the rules by talking about the single dose and postponing the second dose for 12 weeks in order to try and cram in more vaccinations to more people in the short term to give them some partial immunity in order to reduce hospital care and reduce the number of people dying.'
'Whether they are musicians my road crew or indeed and hopefully members of the audience, I do not see in 2021 a return to normal unrestricted full house seating indoor concerts and that is not going to happen.' Ian Anderson
'Vary laudable but scientifically very stupid. That’s not what the vaccines were designed for or indeed testing and trialed for. We are playing with fire here and I think the idea that somehow all of this is going to just quietly go away after Easter this year is utterly ridiculous. We will be facing an endimic level of corona virus with it’s various mutations for generations of people to come as this is not going away. It is here to stay. It is highly infective, much more so than influenza and other things that we accept, the common cold virus usually a rhinovirus but sometimes a corona virus causes the common cold. These things we’ve been living with since the dawn of man and now is no different, it’s just we have a new kid on the block and this kid is a bully, he’s a fighter and he is a viral form of Donald Trump. This is a virus that is aggressive, bullying and it will constantly keep pressuring and taking no hostages. This is the real world we are in. So we can talk about this in musical terms. It’s as simple as I think trying to accept that there will be I hope this year maybe in the summer things will calm down in enough countries that we, we being Jethro Tull might be able to some concerts safely in a few countries during those warmer months if the infections rates get back down to the few hundred in Italy, Spain, Greece and so on rather than the thousands. The authorities agree to have reduced capacity, socially distanced mask wearing concerts. That’s the reality as far as we can see into the future. We have people who assume ‘Oh well the vaccine will take care of everything’. It’s going to be an enormous help but it isn’t necessarily going to stop infections. You don’t get sick if you’ve had the virus, so you only get a little bit sick but that doesn’t mean you are not going to spread it because you spread it through contaminated surfaces or you spread it because you have a certain number of viruses in your system and you breathe them out when you talk and shout and whistle and communicate with people generally. I have to assume that if I go back to work that I’m going to assume that out there facing me are a number of people who are carrying the virus. Unfortunately being a flute player I cannot wear a mask to play the flute. It’s impossible. So I’m in a situation where I’m far more exposed than most people who have the option to wear a mask. Whether they are musicians, my road crew or indeed and hopefully members of the audience, I do not see in 2021 a return to normal unrestricted full house seating indoor concerts and that is not going to happen. Much better that people accept the reality. I think the idea the spurious talk about if you’ve got a vaccination certificate you can come in and you can have entrance to a concert or an airplane for that matter.'
'The PCR test at 150 quid let’s say within 72 hours which is what it usually takes to get your results back but going to a concert only goes to show that the three days ago you didn’t have the virus.' Ian Anderson
'As I’ve said a vaccination certificate does not prove in any way that you are not capable of spreading the virus and so that may stop you or reduce the chances of picking up the virus but if you do pick up some anti virus you will still spread it. It’s not a real get out of jail card to simply have a vaccination certificate. They’re an enormous help I’m not talking it down. I should be at the front of the queue the day that they call me to say can you come in for your vaccination. I'm there like a shot. I have my flu vaccination every year for example but it’s not the simple cure all that people are hoping for and the other idea of having covid testing to allow you to safely come into an indoor concert currently here and you can only get tested if you go out into the commercial world and pay for a test otherwise the free testing on our national health service is limited only to people who think they have the virus who have symptoms or are ill with something else and are tested if they are having to go to hospital and potentially need to be cleared. Otherwise you pay for it whether you are a formula one driver whether you are working in the arts and entertainment and tour doing closed venue performances. Chances are someone is paying for your test for you to be tested every two or three days. It costs in this country somewhere around about 150 pounds minimum to be tested with a PCR test which is accurate as opposed to lateral flow tests or antigen tests which especially if you have no symptoms and you’re not highly infected then they are really give you a 60% class of a true results. In other words it’s the number of false negatives that is really too high for that to be reliable in my opinion. The PCR test at 150 quid let’s say within 72 hours which is what it usually takes to get your results back but going to a concert only goes to show that three days ago you didn’t have the virus. What have you been doing for the last 3 days since you walked out of the testing clinic and then you go into a concert and I’m standing on the stage and you’re amongst a couple of thousand other people and it turns out you do have the virus you just picked it up you are in those early days of being infected. Yes super spreader events happen that way. So I think we have seen that in the White House for example people have been tested but since they’ve had the test they have picked up the virus suddenly and spread it. And again all of these things are not going to be the answer. On top of that let’s say a 50 or 60 pounds concert ticket are you really going to want to pay another 150 pounds just to able to get in. I don’t think that’s reasonable I don’t think people can afford it. To my mind probably not going to an effective answer to say if you don’t have your PCR certificate you can’t come in. Maybe if you’re flying long haul to another destination and it’s your once in a year holiday you’d be prepared to spend the money on a covid test. But if you’re traveling like I would normally do which is 2 or 3 times every week I’m traveling some distance whether it’s by road or more likely by aircraft to have that many tests is just impractical. It’s just impossible to get. I can’t pop into my village shop to get a covid test. None of these things are going to produce the miracleously hoped for results of returning to so called normal. I think we have to get used to the fact that the new normal means the end of the music industry for the foreseeable future in the sense of returning to unrestricted indoor concerts. That is not going to happen in 2021 and if it does it will be an enormously foolhardy act for anyone to do such a thing. The virus will not have gone away by next Christmas. And if that was being said differently it’s just either wishful thinking, stupid, or is unaware of the facts unaware of the statistics or has an ulterior and usually political motivated reason for saying those things.'
Sacha Lord cofounder of Manchesters Park Life Festival made one recommendation that is having insurance for cancellations due to Covid for the festivals particularly small festivals which they fear may just drop off all together as time goes on with this. What do you think of that idea?
Ian Anderson: 'I’m sure they will and the idea of getting Covid insurance against that is… At the moment the only Covid insurance that I could get and other than that going back to last July when it looked like we might have a concert outdoors in Spain and another one shortly afterwards in Greece. Of course I looked into insurance in terms of having Covid insurance that would cover for travel if anybody was hospitalized should they be tested positive in any of my band or crew that they would be covered for medical expenses. And that was possible to due at that particular point bearing in mind infection levels last July were pretty low across the board. Maybe not so much in the USA which was already peeking up big time but elsewhere it was relatively low. You could get Covid related travel insurance. Covid insurance to cover you for the cancellation of a concert or a festival is so high as a premium. It’s a bit like any form of cancellation for concerts that the premium is so high that it becomes virtually your single biggest line expense when you do a spreadsheet on your profit / loss for doing a concert which I presonally do because I’ve been doing that for a long time. I know how to do it and I’m pretty accurate with my budget. It’s just not feasible to carry that kind of insurance. I have not carried cancellation insurance since..I would say the last time was back in the ‘80s. I remember being in the USA actually in Boston and Rod Stuart was supposedly appearing that night and I know this is tittel-tattle but it’s based on some reality heard from some promoters that are responsible for the concerts- that Rod Stuart had a bust up with the girlfriend and refused to play the concert that night as he faked some illness or injury and presumably tried to cancel with the cancellation insurance. But between Rod Stuart that year and Michael Jackson notorious concert canceller and even worse Luciano Paveroti those three people in one year brought about a doubling and tripling of cancellation premiums. If you were to go to the one and only entity really that you could get cancellation insurance from . There are a number of brokers who do it but it all ultimately feeds of a lead through that you go through a insurance broker called Willie Roberson and that was via Lloyds in London. So that was cancellation insurance and because of the cancellation of from just three three major feature artists that one year it pushed it into the point where it was just not feasible. As an expense it was just unreasonable to do. And given I think I had at that point cancelled less than 5 concerts in my entire career through illness or injury. Then I thought well it’s better for me just to self insurance in the sense that if I should have to cancel concerts still after 50 years, it’s less than ten. So when we look at it in that context I think that maybe 4000 concerts at least 4500 …then it’s an acceptable once in a blue moon that I’ve had to cancel a show and lose money. Usually it’s not me that’s cancelled the shows it’s the promoters that have cancelled the show or it’s the Gods who have cancelled the show through rain storms, thunder, lightening and the authorities have closed down a performance. But on the occasions where it’s cost me money well you know I write that off over the big picture. Advertised over 4000 concerts it’s a whole lot cheaper than to carry cancellation insurance. I think that the idea that Covid insurance will be a way out for somehow festivals in particular to carry on it’s going to be when you think of what they have to actually cover in enormous artist fees and all the things that are involved in refunding tickets, etc.etc.etc. the premium would be astronomical and given that you’re pretty hard pressed anyway and the likelihood is that any festivals that do take place will be to restrictive numbers. Artists are not known for dropping their fees dramatically or at least their agents are not and I think it’s probably going to be the case that if you decided your lifes’ ambition was to become a hairdresser or the owner of a gym or a pop singer or a thespian …a hair dresser… sadly it turns out you probably made the wrong choice. Much as I feel enormous sympathy for hairdressers and pop musicians..honestly I have not worked since last February. In fact the only concerts I did last year were one or two shows in Spain then a couple weeks later we went off the Finland to do a tour, an hour after we arrived the government decided to have kind of a lock down or at least cancel all public gatherings. So we flew home with considerable losses to me because I had to pay all my expenses of getting there, the band, the crew, wages and per diems. That was all we were able to do last year. And I think that in reality I’m not anticipating more than a handful of possible shows this year and they will be done without any form of cancellation insurance because I cannot afford it.'
'You can phone up Robertson Taylor the brokers and say what would it cost me to insure for a festival given that these are my costs, this is the artist fees, blah, blah,blah and I’m sure they will be working on that because they will be getting other professional promoters and festival organizers calling them and they will happy to make these quotes. If against the odds Glastonberry was to take place next summer, I personally doubt that it can for economic reasons as well as health reasons. But I’m sure this dialog is taking place and the media reports about insurance I mean the nitty gritty is when you come to see that what those premiums are and you factor that into your costs as another line item in your P&L account, it’s a deal breaker- it’s gone- it’s just crazy money. And partial insurance which is very hard to get. Insurance companies always want you to insure for everything at a massive premium. And they do partial insurance to cover you for some degree of losses or certain specific kinds of losses it can be done. And I’ve tried to do that in the past but it’s not really very cost effective in the sense that it’s still an enormous expense. It is just way way too high. And I understand why. In reality if I was an insurance broker or an insurance company I would say o.k. I can give you insurance but the risk you’re taking is so ridiculous the chances of you calling upon your insurance are so high that in order to pay you out along with all the other people who have decided to take out insurance we have to charge you one hell of a premium. It is the supply and demand and covering your bases and Covid is so new and I don’t think for any insurance company ultimately it comes down to Lloyds of London and they are going to be taking a very pragmatic long hard view at the idea of Covid related insurances whether it’s for travel or for concert promotion.'
You wrote a letter in July that was sent to the Culture secretary Oliver Dowden and you also sent it in August to the Minister for Digital and Culture called ‘How to get some of us back to work’. Just curious- did you ever get a response from them?
Ian Anderson: 'No I had one response that said “Thank you for your letter as you can appreciate we get a lot of letters so there could be a delay in replying.” That was back in July. Thing is…I am in touch with industry bodies discussing the realities of things. In fact only last night I was able to offer a little of a ray of hope to the body representing British musicians as least one of them because of course there are more than one but the end the M.U. I suppose would be at it the longest in terms of what was happening since Brexit since the actual publication of the Brexit agreement took place then we were able to get some idea of the perils facing British Musicians since we are not as a breed included amongst those specific exemptions from work visas. So with many areas of life and activity between the EU and the UK it has been agreed that there will be exemptions where you can work without having to have specifically a work visa. Which is fine but they left off people from the world of arts and entertainment and so we were in a vacuum. And so it seems from the latest things that have been published that what is on that list there is some agreement that with some countries that musicians and those on cultural visits do not have to have a work visa but it specifically after a couple of days ago excluded Spain, Italy and Germany which happens to be three of the countries I play most often. And in those cases they were all asking for a specific work visa which you have to apply for and pay for. But it is not clear whether it is a single entry visa or a multiple entry visa covering a period of time. That was the situation two days ago. It’s my son was in touch with the German consul in a nearby town in Bristol and then subsequently with the German Embassy and they told him unequivically in fact that Germany is now going to authorize musicians from the UK to be able to perform in Germany without a work visa under the same rules within the period of 90 days or a period of 180 days whatever you sense…They seem to be decided to be more lenient. If that’s true and I have an email from the German Embassy in London saying that is the case. I hope they haven’t made a mistake. But that’s what they said and so I reported that yesterday and it seems that were some possibility that things may smooth over and that more countries are going to agree to honor amongst those other trades and professions that professional people in arts and entertainment can go and work in the EU countries without the need for a visa. It doesn’t obviate the need for an a carnet. And 'carnet' (an international customs and temporary export-import document) are an absolute stinker. The Rolling Stones or U2 so many items and you can organize carnets, PCR test and everything else just bowl along to the airport and do your gig at the other end and do you thing and come home again. But if you’re in the middle rank or you’re a small group or classical orchestra or whatever might be the idea of carnet is an absolute stinker. That you actually then would have to show up at the airport approximately two hours earlier than you do. Then you’ve got to factor in perhaps PCR testing or other issues to do with Covid. It is a nightmare especially if you’ve got a 6am flight and there is no carnet to inspect your equipment. It gets to be crazy. As I for one am looking a purchasing a separate set of instruments and the high tech equipment that we use and storing it in a central warehouse in Europe in order to have it satellite out to us when we play in the EU countries. And again it’s going to make it very expensive but anything to avoid having to tie people up at the airport any longer than will be necessary doing carnets going in and coming back . So how you look at all these issues that effect musicians touring not only in the Covid world but in the post Brexit world. So whilst there may be some optimism in regards to the issue of not requiring work permits to perform in the EU then I don’t have that degree of optimism in regard to Covid, no optimism at all in regard to carnets. Having spoken myself a couple of years ago to one of the head honchos at HM Customs regarding carnets for musicians carrying their own personal instruments with them. And he said well of course you can just go through and then if he gives you a hard time just give my name and tell him to call me. Which is all very well but I don’t want to have a confrontation with any Immigration Officer in any form or shape. So the attitude is was well if you’re taking just your guitar or your flute in and carrying it with you as your personal luggage then there shouldn’t be an issue. And indeed up until now this has never been an issue. I’ve been questioned a few times in various countries of the world but basically we’ve managed to do it without a carnet. But we don't travel on a bus, we don't travel with all our back line equipment. We get everything supplied locally in order to try and cut down on the paperwork and the issues of government through borders. I think more and more musicians will have to take that view and then consider the possibility of renting or borrowing a guitar when you get to where you are going in order to play. None of use want to be having to perform using somebody else’s instrument. But I’m afraid reality is reality. It’s like renting a car, it might not be the one you would choose to rent but its got four wheels, and an engine and some brakes and so I think we may be having to look a those realities in order to travel abroad in regard to obviating the need for carnets if it is forced upon us in a draconian fashion.'
'And if it turns out to be unworkable for whatever reason then I just have to hang up my hat my codpiece and my flute in that order because my days will have been done and I’ve had 52 years of being a professional musician. I’ve got no reason to complain. So it’s more to do with young musicians who’re just starting their careers dreaming of the possibility of going and playing in some Roman amphitheater or a club in Hamburg or where ever it might be. That’s going to be the real sad reality that’s going to get a lot harder for people who are early on in their career to be able to do what those of us oldies have taken for granted and managed to do very successfully over a long period time. You know we.. don’t feel sorry for me don’t feel sorry for people of my vintage we’ve had our day had a great time we should be very grateful for it and do what we can to try and lubricate things for the next generations of young musicians. What I was telling you about the German Embassy, it says addressed to my son, 'Thank you for contacting.. Musicians with British citizenship are allowed to perform for up to 90 days within 12 months without work permits requirements.. best regards- and that’s from the German Embassy from the visa services department in London. So if that is correct and it’s coming from the horses mouth, we would hope that these things are going to get maybe not as bad as we thought two or three days ago after everybody digested the context of the Brexit agreement as it regards musicians. So maybe things won’t be so bad.'
I understand that you do holiday performances for the preservation of Englands Cathedrals?
Worcester Cathedral, England
Ian Anderson: 'Yes, the sad news is we had three show scheduled for last December and back in April I think we were very concerned both the Cathedrals and I that these things would be jeopardized especially as we went into the winter months and the anticipated second wave would be upon us and indeed that turned out to be the case. Much worse than we might have thought back then. But we sort of put it on hold for a while but by the summer we had the three Cathedrals involved had all decided that restricted audiences just made it not worth while to go to all the work and effort managing if you had to cutdown to one third the capacity which would be the case in Cathedrals. So I did my own analysis of indoor theaters as well as of Churches and Cathedrals and came to the conclusion that with social distancing and obligatory no exception mask wearing then there be a reasonably safe assumption that you could get to somewhere around the upper 60s, 68 69% capacity in most theaters provided they had good and effective ventilation. But in Cathedrals and Churches they don’t usually have any form of air conditioning or a way of controlling or exchanging air. It would more likely 60% pragmatically perhaps 50% capacity you could arrive at. It just got to the point that it just wasn’t very cost effective to do. If they had wanted to proceed and we had been allowed to proceed by government then I would have turned up to work as usual. But it’s not in the Churches or Cathedrals interest to hold the event then we all stay at home so those three shows have been postponed into again with wishful thinking into December 2021. And whilst I might hope that they would take place I’m not that optimistic that we would be able to do large scale concerts. Anyway the whole point was to be raising money for charity particularly if it’s a Cathedral and it is for the funds to keep the Cathedral going then you try and get as many people as you can into the space and it’s a worry when you have to put all those people together. The one thing that appalls me with all of this is my first responsibility to the audience who bought tickets and paid money to come and see a show. It’s their health and safety has got to be my priority.The second priority is the health and safety of my band and crew. The third priority is you like is me. So taking into account all these things it’s a tough decision for me to make. I’ve got to be very sure that it is in my view safe to do. And I do not see that in foreseeable future that it is safe to do indoor concerts. So sadly you know that still my be the case next December.'
You have ‘Jethro Tull and the string Quartets ’ Could you tell us a little more about that?
Ian Anderson: 'Well that was an album that was released in 2017 based on some variations on tunes and different delivery of some well known pieces done by a String Quartet and with me playing flute. Half the time playing guitar and singing but mostly it was instrumental music based around some classic Jethro Tull songs done for string Quartet plus flute essentially. Represents the majority of the cases and it was arranged by keyboard player Jon O’Hara who studied at the Royal College of Music in Manchester had the skills, the experience and the general expertise not only of working with me on the arrangements on the pieces but also the recording of them and the working with the string quartet both prior to the recording date and on the day when we were looking for a certain kind of a performance certain nuances . We were an excellent group of musicians I found called the Carducci quartet are youngish were very diligent and very spirited players and so we had a jolly time with them. It was recorded over a period of three days in the crypt of Worchester Cathedral a little less 'echoie' and a little less public and a disused a Heritage historic church in the wilds of the English Countryside where we worked for two days. Was it two days there and one day in Worchester, or the other way round can’t remember but it doesn’t matter It was split between two venues. But at the end of the day it wasn’t really about acoustics or the ambiance of the building in terms of the mechanics of making a record it was more about the spiritual ambiance. It was more of the setting in which that music felt somehow more correct as a performance. And so it was the idea of being able to record within the physical context that I think and somehow I hoped it would give the music some kind of spiritual reference not just merely recorded in a bland featureless recording studio the typical traditional sort so I was pleased to do that and I had a concert anyway it was to raise money for Worchester Cathedral either just before or just afterwards so they were in the mode to do me a favour.'
Currently Ian Anderson says:
'I’ve been doing a few things for other artists who have asked me to appear on their records which I do. I get free of charge, I don't get paid or anything I do it just for fun but I'm afraid until I can actually look at my date sheet look at my diary with some degree of confidence that I’m about to book a flight and I’m about to do a concert then I shall get excited about music again but until then I just try and keep a moderate level of performance capability in terms of doing practice and rehearsal but I’m afraid at the moment my heart isn’t really in the idea of creatively doing something when I can’t go out and actually perform live in front of people. I’d rather save up my ideas and my energy for when I think I can take that on to the live performance stage. Not really that keen on recording in isolation without my fellow musicians so I’m doing something that is effectively a bedroom recording. I’m just not enthused about that I think of myself as more of a live performer and therefore it’s the synchronicity of working with other musicians in a live context with all the ideas and arrangements and rehearsals together and all that stuff. It’s the enjoyable part of the creative process and sitting on your own in your own house as your own office desk it’s hard to have that kind of enthusiasm. But I’ll be playing on other peoples records they sent me a little bit of a challenge and I have to learn their music and understand what it is that will possibly fit or not and try to deliver my best efforts over a period of a few hours of dedicated time hopefully they are pleased with the end results and I’ve done a few of those in the last few months.'
All content is used with permission courtesy of :
©2021.EnglishLiving.All Rights Reserved.