Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson is back with an all-new album, Homo Erraticus, out April 15, and he sits down with ETonline for a Skype interview from his U.K. home to talk about the impressive scope of the project; the pop-culture trappings of a song on the album that incorporates The Walking Dead references – and how his son-in-law, Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln, confides in him for some fatherly advice!
"He asks me what I think," says Anderson of his son-in-law Lincoln -- married to his daughter Gael -- checking in to see if he's seen the latest episode of the AMC juggernaut. "It's not going to change the way he acts, or influence the writers or the directors, but I think he's genuinely interested in my appraisal of it."
There's clearly a Walking Dead influence on Anderson's new song Enter the Uninvited, which compares the European invasion of Romans, Saxons and Vikings to the omnipresent invasion of pop culture iconography, from current fast-food franchises to binge-watching TV. Part of the song's lyrics list Star Trek, Baywatch, Friends, Sopranos, West Wing, Madmen, Walking Dead/Officer Rick will turn the trick and banish zombies - from our heads. Anderson explains, "Instead of men in boots, we send our culture out into the worldwide arena. … I rather like the idea that America's big contribution in terms of impacting upon the world is through the cultural exchange of media, particularly film and television, which America does so well."
Back in 2012, Ian Anderson dusted off Gerald Bostock, the fascinating child protagonist of his 1972 Jethro Tull album Thick as a Brick
, for a follow-up visit to see where Gerald was in life as an adult. Following the success of Thick as a Brick 2
, ETonline asked Anderson
if he had closed the book on Gerald for good, and he replied, "Maybe Gerald has a little life in him yet. ... I rather like the cantankerous, failed politician and middle-aged [Gerald], getting a bit kind of angry. I quite like the angry Gerald."
Cut to 2014 and the introduction of Anderson's follow-up project, Homo Erraticus, which interesting takes a look at the scope of history, from post-Ice Age hunter-gatherers to the state of humanity 30 years into our future, all interpreted through the point of view of Gerald. The concept of the "prog-folk-metal" album has Gerald discovering a dusty unpublished tome called Homo erraticus (The St Cleve Chronicles), written by a local amateur historian that "summarizes key historical elements of developing civilization in Britain and seems to prophesy future scenarios too," and dramatizing/exaggerating the manuscript's themes as metaphors for modern life.
"When you're doing a prog rock album for the 21st century, you've got to tackle big subjects and be brave about it," says Anderson. "And the slightly preposterous, over-the-top idea that you can cram 8,040 years of history into 52 minutes, why mess about? Get on with it – do something challenging."
Stay tuned to ETonline for more with Ian Anderson.