Andy Johns, who famously produced or engineered ground breaking albums by Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull and The Rolling Stones, to name but a few, has passed away on April 7th, 2013. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, although Johns had recently been hospitalized with liver ailments.
Andy Johns was part of an amazing musical legacy that included his older brother, producer Glyn Johns, who famously worked with The Who (among a laundry list of legends). His sons Ethan and Will Johns are working musicians and his nephew, Evan Johns (son of Glyn) is also a producer.
Many years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Andy Johns when I was hired to write a bio for an indie band whose record he had produced. The band’s management and publicist were completely clueless about how to effectively spin this band and it was my idea to add John’s input to the bio. He was fun to talk to and definitely knew his shit.
Sadly, the group’s handlers disagreed with the artistic slant I put on the bio, another writer was brought in and I was paid a kill fee for my efforts. Hilariously, when I eventually received a finished copy of the band’s album, along with the new bio, I did notice that direct quotes pulled from my interview with Johns were integrated into the new piece, with no credit to me. What a bunch of dicks. Andy Johns was 61 years old. RIP, Andy.
Ian Anderson, singer for Jethro Tull, master flutist and mysterious pixie-man creature was born on this day, August 10th, in 1947! Jethro Tull sure was one of my very favorite bands when I was a teenager. Favorite Jethro Tull albums: Songs from the Wood and War Child. Favorite Jethro Tull Songs: “Teacher,” “Nothing Is Easy” and “Living In The Past,” which is basically my theme song. Happy Birthday, Ian!
Despite my busy and very ass-kicking social life, it’s not unusual for me to spend full weekends holed up in the Chick Pad working on my book or writing an article for Modern Drummer magazine. Because that’s just the kind of dedication to The Rock that I possess. Today I spent most of the afternoon listening to Quiet Riot’s Metal Health and Warrant’s Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Richover and over (at a volume that I can only hope completely annoyed the shit out of my upstairs neighbors) while composing 100-word reviews of each album for an upcoming issue of Metal Edge magazine featuring a section on “The 25 Essential Hair Metal Albums.” Honestly, I’m all over it.
And what I realized once the reviews were written and submitted to my editor is that I’d much rather indulge in a full afternoon spent listening to all my ’80s metal records than spend fifteen minutes weeding through the stacks of newly-released CDs that are gathering dust on my floor. Because, for the most part, modern pop and rock music sucks ass.
And then I started thinking about one of my favorite songs by Jethro Tull, though I’m not sure that what the lyrics meant to me at that moment is what Ian Anderson had in mind when he wrote the song:
“Once I used to join in
Every boy and girl was my friend.
Now there’s revolution, but they don’t know
What they’re fighting.
Let us close our eyes;
Outside their lives go on much fa-a-aster.
Oh, we won’t give in,
We’ll keep living in the past.”