Ian Anderson’s opinion on Motörhead and The Ramones
The singer and multi-instrumentalist Ian Anderson created Jethro Tull back in 1967 in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, that became one of the most important Progressive Rock groups of all time. The band influenced countless generations of musicians and sold an estimated amount of 60 million records worldwide.
Even though Anderson is known as a master of Prog Rock, he has a broad musical taste and gave his opinion over the decades on many bands from other music genres. Two of them are Motörhead and The Ramones.
What is the opinion of Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson on Motörhead and The Ramones
Every music fan has some bands on their playlists that they for some reason usually don’t listen to around other people. That is often named “guilty pleasure”. Talking with Classic Rock in 2023, Ian Anderson was asked which were his “guilty pleasure” bands and he mentioned The Ramones and Motörhead.
“I have a soft spot for the brutal, simplistic music of Motörhead and the Ramones. And I like Marc Almond (Soft Cell) too. We have performed together regularly at Christmas, in fundraisers and cathedrals. That might surprise people – we’re of a different era, personality and character, but we are good buddies,” Ian Anderson said.
The musician hasn’t become a fan of the two groups recently, since back in 1992 when asked by Marc Allen in an interview which albums he had bought at the time, he mentioned The Ramones “Greatest Hits”. He said that those kind of albums that gathered the most famous songs from a group were a good deal for music fans who wanted to know more about a group.
“I speak as one whose recent purchases include sort of Stranglers’ best of and box set and things from those, the Ramones. ‘Cause I go for that, you know. I’m not gonna go and buy all their bloody records ’cause the chances are that eight out of 10 songs are a pile of shit,” Ian Anderson said.
Even though the Punk Rock movement kind of “killed” the pinnacle of the Progressive Rock music in the 70s, Anderson said many times that he liked some of the Punk bands. Others that he already praised were Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Stranglers. He told Magnet in 2018, that those British groups appeared in the “wake” of The Ramones.
Ian Anderson curiously bought a guitar that was previously owned by Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister
The surprising connection between Ian Anderson and Lemmy Kilmister is more direct than many fans would imagine. When he was still trying to learn how to play the guitar well, the musician coincidentally bought a guitar that was previously owned by the late Motörhead vocalist and bassist Lemmy Kilmister.
The Jethro Tull leader recalled that incredible story in an interview with John Robb in 2021 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). “I did meet Lemmy (In the early days in Blackpool, England). I always remember, the last time I saw Lemmy. Many, many years ago, I did remind him that he still owes me a pound.”
“Because when he was absolutely…. He was always broke. Lemmy never had any money. We’d always be trying to tap people of a pint of beer, a bus fare or something. I had no money either. But I lent him a pound and never got it back, of course.”
“But what I did get, because Lemmy was actually the rhythm guitarist in Rev Black and the Rockin’ Vicars. When he had really fallen on hard times he was forced to sell his 1960’s vintage white Fender Strat back to the music store where we all went. I ended up taking on that Strat in sort of kind of hire purchase terms for a year or so. Until I gave up playing guitar and part exchanged the Strat for a Shure Unidyne III microphone and for no particularly good reason a shiny flute.”
“So the collective total was many 60 quid worth of flute and microphone against the guitar that today would probably be worthy 40 or 50 thousand dollars. Even if you didn’t know that both Ian Anderson and Lemmy had both owned it. It seemed like a pretty bad financial arrangement. But in fact it was probably one of the best deals I ever made (laughs),” Ian Anderson said.
Lemmy was a member of The Rockin’ Vickers from 1965 to 1967. After that he would still join Sam Gopal, Hawkind and Robert Calvert. He only created Motörhead in 1975.
Ian Anderson once said that The Ramones’ music was generic
Even though Ian Anderson said he likes to listen to The Ramones he labeled in an interview with The Guardian in 2022 them as “generic music”. He gave them as an example, alongside The Rolling Stones and The Who.
“I loved the blues. But for me it was just a pragmatic way of opening the door. Because it wasn’t really what I wanted to do musically. The signposts were the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Then Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. I thought: ‘I want to try to do something like that. Something that’s eclectic.’ Jethro Tull tried hard. Some people might say we tried too hard. But it’s better to do that and fall on your face once in a while. Rather than sit comfortably backpedaling in order to keep on an even keel.”
“I’d get restless if I did generic music like the Stones or even the Who. Or the Ramones in the world of punk. I feel I’ve gotta get on and do something that allows me to get close to what I think I can do. If you can elaborate all of that and put it in a three-line epitaph for my tombstone. I’d be most grateful to receive the result by email at some point. In fact, I could get the stonemason working on it right now,” Ian Anderson said.
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