Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson: Rock Star, Accountant, Travel Agent

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Ian Anderson is about as far removed from a typical rock star as one can imagine. The frontman for the venerable Jethro Tull could easily be characterized as a businessman or accountant as well. It’s clear he’s nobody’s fool, and at the same time, someone who cares about the group’s fans, personally deciding the price of concert tickets.

“I prefer to pitch for the middle ground – a little over £20. I want to make sure that a night with Jethro Tull is affordable. Personally, I would baulk at the idea of spending as much as £100 on a ticket, but maybe my trouble is that what I do for a living doesn’t appeal to me – I don’t like loud music; so I would never be in my own audience", he told The Telegraph in a recent interview.

Ian anderson Pictures, Images and Photos

Anderson’s £20 comes out to about $33, which seems like quite a bargain compared to some other groups that will lighten your wallet by a hundred dollars or more to attend one of their live shows.

Although rock stars tend to have garnered a reputation for recklessness with their money, Anderson defies that stereotype as well. He meticulously plans each tour, taking time to negotiate the best deals he is able to for their travel and hotel requirements. It’s all part of Anderson’s plan to maximize the group’s income. Band members and crew are required to pay for “extras” on their own. There are no free booze parties on a Jethro Tull tour.

“Younger members of the band and crew learn quickly that this is a job, not a party,” Anderson says.

He confesses to spending many a spare minute tweaking his Excel spreadsheet, which he derives great satisfaction from, jokingly adding that he would “slit his wrists” if his budget wavered 2pc from its target. Presuming that “pc” indicates “pence,” that would be about 3 cents, but I was hard-pressed to find a definitive definition for “pc” as it relates to British currency.

Anderson also talks about some of his best and worst investments and some involvement he has had running other businesses, such as the fish farm that he ultimately sold which basically left him with break even situation.

Interestingly enough, Anderson has handed control of their personal finances to his wife. Something not terribly uncommon in my experience, and often times a sensible thing to do, although he adds that she runs everything by him. She also handles the band’s accounts and investments. A “bright girl” indeed, as Anderson points out.

Like many other aging rockers, the 62-year-old Anderson does not sounds as if he is planning his retirement quite yet. “There’s something distinctly depressing about collecting a pension – it’s bad enough having a senior person’s Railcard. I would prefer to delay taking a pension until I am using a Zimmer frame [walker],” he says.

Anderson goes on to say: “As a musician life is not over just because you are getting older and so I find retirement a very frightening and dark thought.” Music to the ears of serious Tull fans the world over.

Read the entire interview at The Telegraph.


  1. Jon August 28, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    “pc” is probably percent. That’s how I read it, anyway. “pence” would be called just “p”.

    • Real Rock News August 28, 2009 at 3:51 pm

      Makes sense.

      Thanks for adding that, Jon!

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