Martin Barre, the 70-year-old guitarist for Grammy-winning rock 'n' roll band Jethro Tull, is playing the Revelry Room at the Choo-Choo on Wednesday night.
The leader of the Martin Barre Band took a few minutes to speak with "Press Row" on ESPN 105.1 on Monday. Here are some of the highlights:
Q: This happens in music and sports, you have marriages that last a long, long time. When you think about Jethro Tull lasting a long time, you and Ian Anderson obviously some personalities have to get along for you guys to make it endure. How have you made it work?
A: We were pretty professional and serious about music, and when you are really into what you do, the intensity, as you say, is what a sports person would be. You make it work at the end of the day. The differences you have in personality don't matter, and you brush those aside. In some ways I think it is good that people are different, because if people are the same you'll just get fed up with each other. We were 100 percent dedicated to what we did, and I think we respected that in each other and that made it work.
Q: The 1989 Grammys, when Jethro Tull's "Crest of a Knave" wins the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Grammy over Metallica -- what do you take away from that experience, which a lot of people consider one of the great upsets in Grammy history?
A: Yeah. for me it was a sadness that I wasn't there because our record label would not fly us out because they said you've got no chance at winning it. Really. Amazing. And then of course people presumed that we could not be bothered to be there, but to me it was a lifetime opportunity for something that was really important to me. So I was upset that I couldn't be there and do the little speech and the little tear and the wave to the camera. But I am very, very proud of it. At the end of the day, the category was a little confusing, but it was a good album and it was our time. Our time had come for the award, and Jethro Tull deserved it.
Q: Did you watch the Grammy broadcast live? Did you just go nuts?
A: No, it was not broadcast in England. In those days it was much less of a ceremony than it is now. So I was at home watching TV with my wife and got a phone call that said, "Hey, you've won." And we go, "Oh that's nice." We weren't going to do anything because it was like midnight, but my wife called everyone we knew in the area. And one by one they start turning up and have a big party until like 3 in the morning. So yeah, it was exciting, but unfortunately we didn't even watch it.
Q: Where does the Grammy live now?
A: It's in my studio. And I make sure when people come to visit me they look around and go, "Oh this is a cool studio" and then look to the right and say, "Hey, is that a Grammy?" Then I say, "Yep, it sure is. Get on your knees." I love it. I really do.
Q: We have all heard the phrase "party like a rock star." How does a rock star party?
A: I'll tell you, we're so tame. In the '70s we were touring England, and we were in the same hotel as the English cricket team, and we got to the bar after the gig and my goodness me. Our jaws dropped to the floor because these guys were partying like anything you've ever seen. They are serious partygoers, and all of us and the other bands who were on the bill were up against the wall just watching. We were learning. All respect to them.
Q: How many times do you think you have played "Aqualung," and are you tired of playing "Aqualung"?
A: Played it thousands of times, but I'm not tired of it because I don't play it any more. The reason I don't play it is because it is too obvious. You go and play your hit track and everyone will go "Yay." I want to win the audience over doing really cool music and things they don't expect where they go "Wow." We have a great set of music, and I don't want to be obvious. It would be too easy, and I have always liked to take the hard way around.
Q: When you think about the Jethro Tull classics, you survived the MTV age. What do you think about today's music?
A: As long as there's music, I don't care. That's not for me to judge. That people are listening to music is all I can care about. If people are listening to stuff I hate, then one day down the line they may start listening to jazz, bluegrass, country, rock, and people's tastes are going to change as they get to know and love music. So anything that brings people to music is great for me, whether it's TV or reality rubbish or whatever it is. I might hate it, but there's room for everybody. Live and let live. We're all in the same business. It's healthy, and every kid that goes and buys a guitar or drum kit it's great and keeps music alive.
Q: You've performed with Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin. Was there ever a time you performed with one of these artists and you were like really intimidated or nervous about going on?
A: I would say all of those occasions, actually. Yeah I was terrified. Paul McCartney was my childhood hero, and funny enough I worked with him for about two weeks. He was a very interesting, nice person. And he was telling a story one day about how he was recording with Michael Jackson and how nervous and intimidated he was working with Michael Jackson. And I was thinking, "Well, how do think we feel working with you?"
Q: What is your favorite sport?
A: Table tennis.
Q: Lot of people away from their day job relax by playing a guitar. What do you do to relax?
A: I play guitar. Honestly, that's how I relax. Sorry.
Q: Did you have a favorite musical group?
A: My go-to artist, whom I love, is Neil Young.
Q: How many people have come up to you wanting to know if Jethro Tull is a person in the band?
A: It happened a lot in the '70s mainly. I thought it was really, really annoying, and I had to stop explaining it. Yep, you're right.
Q: City with the best groupies?
A: I have a vague memory of the word. I will ask my wife.
Q: You have hit the big 7-0. What's still on the to-do list?
A: I still love playing. I love sports. I went running this morning. I want my body to hold out as long as it can. I love playing more than I have ever loved it.
Q: What is the perfect song?
A: Maybe Hendrix playing "All Along the Watchtower."