Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson discussed Tony Iommi leaving his brief stint in Jethro Tull in a new BBC radio interview.
How did that [Iommi stint] come about and why was that short-lived? To me, it seems obvious because your chalk and cheese of what he then went on to become and the roots you took, but how was that union come about?”
“Well, it was chalk and cheese also in terms of what Jethro Tull had been in that first eight months or so of being Jethro Tull when Mick Abrahams was the guitar player in the band, being a great blues guitarist and singer.
“We had been very much put into that pigeon hole of being a little old blues band with a slight quirky oddity of having a flute placed in the middle, and wobble around on one leg.
“But it was definitely chalk-and-cheese with what would have happened if Tony had become a permanent member of the band because his musical style was completely different to mix, and he certainly – you wouldn’t call Tony then or now ‘a blues guitarist.’
“He didn’t do all those licks and play that sort of stuff, he was very monophonic – big single-note things. And the band that he played with, called Earth, who then became subsequently Black Sabbath, he was just so different.
“But it would have radically changed the way Jethro Tull’s music had gone, it would have changed the way I wrote songs because the batch of songs that became our second album ‘Stand Up’ in 1969. I ran through a couple of things with Tony and it seems it was not his cup of tea, the shape of those songs that I was working on.
“But he was a great guy and I was enamored of his guitar playing when Earth played with Jethro Tull at some gig in a university, somewhere around, I think, November of 1968. And I just thought, ‘Wow, that that guy might well have something to offer.’
“And indeed he did, he offered it to the world. And he lives not too far away from me. And the scary thing is Tony still looks like Tony! Whereas I don’t look like me.” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his remarks.