Don’t shake hands with Ian Anderson, and don’t touch his guitars, either. In fact, the Jethro Tull mastermind thinks artists who use roadies to tune their guitars for them are “wimps,” and compared it to a police officer letting someone else load their gun.
During a discussion on Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz, Anderson explained that the reason he’s never shaken hands with people is that he’s been susceptible to different kinds of infections throughout his life, so he does his best to avoid germs in every way possible — which includes handling his own instruments and equipment himself.
“Playing the flute or the guitar, the last thing you want is greasy hands, either from shaking hands or opening doors or doing whatever,” he said. “You really wanna have dry, clean hands when you’re playing instruments. So nobody is allowed to touch my instruments and nobody is allowed to shake hands with me or otherwise contaminate me in those precious moments between leaving my dressing room and getting back to it.”
And with that, the frontman stated that he’d actually prefer to handle and tune his own gear rather than allow a roadie to do it for him.
“The idea of having a guitar roadie who unpacks your instrument, changes the strings and tunes it up for you — for God’s sake, you want your bottom wiped as well? Somebody that hands you the soap in the shower? What’s that all about? What wimps. You should take a pride in your instrument and take a pride in keeping it clean and keeping it in tune,” he remarked.
The rocker compared a musician’s guitar to a police officer’s gun, and noted that he wouldn’t trust anyone else to load or clean his gun if he were in such a position.
“It feels like a matter of life and death when you go onstage with an instrument that it’s gotta work for you. You don’t wanna have that little element of doubt that maybe it’s not quite in tune or mechanically it’s not operating perfectly,” he added.
“So I think it feels like a matter of life and death, and indeed the embarrassment that comes from something not working properly, you really do die a death. And I’ve seen a lot of artists, including me, and that’s happened to ’em onstage, and it’s not a pretty sight.”
Check out the full interview below.
Just last week, Jethro Tull released “The Zealot Gene,” the title track of their first album in 19 years. The record will be out Jan. 28, and will serve as the follow-up to 2003’s The Jethro Tull Christmas Album.
Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson Calls Artists Who Use Roadies to Tune Their Guitars ‘Wimps’
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