If I were to point out one of the most embarrassing moment on the music business, I’d easily pick Jethro Tull winning the 1989 Grammy as best Metal band over Metallica and other bands. Not because of the bands involved, actually Jethro Tull is one the art rock bands that eleven over ten metalheads respect, and Metallica… Well, that time Metallica were the real Metallica. Not only embarrassing, but on second thought, it was the most disrespectful moments on music business of all times. It’s possible to say many things about the event, but it was on purpose. Not by accident.
In an interview with the Herald Tribune, classic Jethro Tull’s guitarist Martin Barre talked about those events and some more. Take a look:
“I just thought the most uncool thing to do would be to go out as Martin Barre on his own, then you go out and go play the riff to ‘Aqualung’ and you think everybody’s going to go crazy.
“I never played it because I don’t want to win people over that way, so I played the really unheard songs – the ones that Tull hadn’t played for a long, long time – that were really, really strong.”
As for the decision to ultimately add the song to the setlist for the ongoing celebration of 50 years of Tull, Martin noted:
“It’s part of the show because it’s such an important part of the history. But we play it in the middle of the show, we don’t play it at the end, because it has its place in 1971 and that’s early on in the show.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, Barre talked about Jethro Tull’s controversial 1989 Grammy win with “Crest of a Knave,” when the band triumphed over Metallica in the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category. He said:
“It was sad because the record label wouldn’t fly us to L.A. They said, ‘Oh, you’ve been nominated and we didn’t know what to do,’ it was so out of our zone. And we thought, ‘Well, that’s nice, should we go over to the show?’ ‘No, you’re not going to win it, guys.’
“And so when we did, I felt quite rude. We should’ve been there anyway and I think it’s that one opportunity in your life where I would’ve loved to have gone on that stage, bored people to death with an overlong speech, thanked everybody in the world and had a little tear.”
The guitarist added with a laugh that the label people “traditionally knew nothing,” describing them as “the least qualified people in the music business.” He concluded:
“As much as it means to me, and I’m very, very, very proud of it, the fact I wasn’t there will always be my disappointing moment in my musical career.”
Martin also talked about his current relationship with Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson, saying the guys are basically “letting each other go separate ways,” explaining how they only interact via email regarding business-related matters “maybe once every six months.”
Saying that he and Ian have “amicably” and “permanently” parted ways, the musician added:
“We have no connection musically, physically, mentally or emotionally – not for any nasty reason, but just because I and he are in totally different places musically and with what we’re doing.
“I’m doing a different show to him, there’s no comparison at all. And I’m not saying one’s better than the other, I’m just saying that there’s no musical comparison, we’re in different places.”
“And I’m happy to be independent. I’m playing more guitar, I’m playing the songs that I want to play and I’m making the decisions that I think are correct.”
Watch “Aqualung” video here: