Getting to interview rock legends is bar none the coolest perk to being a music journalist. When a chance to interview Jethro Tull fell on my lap I was ecstatic. I wasn’t a fan of theirs by any means. I could only name two songs off the top of my head, Aqualung and… I forget the other one. But I’ve totally heard of them and it seemed like a sure-fire way to make my dad think I had a real job. It was an excitement that lasted all the way until I got on the plane and looked Jethro Tull up on Wikipedia to prepare for my interview.
It turns out that’s not even a guy. It’s the name of a band that doesn’t even have a “Jethro” in it, which is confusing as all get out, frankly. But more importantly, who the fuck was the Jethro Tull I was about to interview in Oregon?! The guy on the phone very clearly identified himself as one Mr. Jethro Tull, not a representative of the collective Jethro Tull.
Jethro sounded a little out of his mind over the phone, truth be told, and the direction he gave to his “compound” sounded shady as hell. I had chalked it up to rockstar craziness at first, but under this new lens, it sort of felt like regular person craziness? Oh well, an assignment is an assignment.
We arrived at the compound, a 10 acre square of what used to be a farm where nothing would grow anymore because, according to Jethro, “dung dirt got the devil in it boy, yehehehehe!” He was full of sayings like that, and it scared the fuck out of us. It seemed that every 20 yards or so in any direction on the property there was an old rusting vehicle or machine of some kind with a really mean dog chained to it.
After spending way too long and getting way too much pleasure out of telling us what any one of those dogs would do to us if we were stupid enough to get close, Jethro ushered us to the tool shed where “the magic happens.”
We were hoping to glean some insight into the band’s controversial 1990 Grammy win for best metal album. Instead, we learned how to produce “the finest high octane peanut butter washtub crank this side of the equator,” a skill that, if Jethro is to be believed, can net us over $1000 a year if we “play our cards right and watch our intake.”
We wound up having a lot of questions for Jethro, but before we could get into that a fleet of vans came barreling in our direction, and before I knew it Jethro was throwing shotguns at us screaming, “duck and cover time boys!”
Long story short, shit got real Green Room real fast, and after my photographer buddy was brutally murdered by… I think Czechnyans? Either way, I got the fuck out of there. Toby, you were one hell of a photographer and an amazing frie… Locomotive Breath! THAT was the other Tull song I know. It just hit me!