Interview With Martin Barre
MWN: Hello! Thank you very much for taking the time to answer the following questions. Music, Why Not! Is very honored to have the chance to ask you a few questions! We have a lot of readers that are starting their own bands or just want to better their ability to play, so the first couple questions will be about the roots of playing and discovering your sound.
MWN: You are absolutely a class guitarist and have been playing for over 43 years. Over the course of that time what would you say was one of the boldest sounds you think you created with your music?
Martin Barre: I think of my sound as being my music writing; so if a song calls for mandolin/acoustic/electric guitar, these are all choices influenced by the writing. I,m always meticulous about sounds though and always search for new or better options.
MWN: Your passion and love for your craft are inspiring to many musicians, but we do all start somewhere. When would you say you discovered your passion for music and playing guitar?
Martin Barre: on day one !!! When I first saw a guitarist in a rock band in 1960!!
I was inspired and have never lost any of that initial passion for guitars and music
MWN: Now you made 43 years of beautiful memories with such and iconic band Jethro Tull. I believe that as a chapter ends other beautiful ones are waiting to bloom. You were making amazing music with Jethro Tull and to go off on a solo career must have been different. So how would you say your life as a musician changed? I know while you were in the band you had a few solo albums, but how did you decided on what you wanted to do as a solo artist.
Martin Barre: I am released from any restrictions imposed by playing in J T .. I am free to write and arrange music that I love and believe in. I can use 40 plus years of learning and application and I feel very comfortable having a major role in my band.
MWN: It is really sad that such a great band is not around anymore. I guess the cool thing is that now two bands are playing that music in their own ways. How have you changed songs to make them unique to you when you perform them?
Martin Barre: I never change them just for the sake of it. Sometimes an idea comes to me and I’m very careful to make sure it works musically and doesn’t detract from the original song Very often this is done to give the guitar more prominence.
MWN: In an interview with Acoustic magazine back in 2015 you mentioned that you believed it was a “pointless exercise to base your own style on your own hero” and that even if your style was not as good as someone you looked up to – it was still at least your own style and it was unique. Going back to your roots as an artist how were you able to develop your sound? Is it something that shifts, evolves, molds, and changes still to this day?
Martin Barre: I’m never aware of where my playing and sound is going. Essentially I do what I do!! I don’t analyze what I play but always strive to play better on a day to day basis
MWN: Last album you released Back to Steel (released on 71st Street Music). How was the process making that album and now touring with it? I am aware in the album Away With Words one of the guitars you used was a Gibson L-G 1. What sort of guitars did you use for this album- is there one that you grew fond of because you liked the tone it gave?
Martin Barre: Back to Steel is a band album to give us live material I usually play PRS guitars and Soldano amps and GHS strings; but I’m always reaching across the room for an instrument that looks rather nice, I’m never short of a lovely instrument and am quite spoiled !!
MWN: The album Away With Words was different it was a beautiful acoustic album. To me it had a lot of components of classical music. With the album Back to Steel you went back to those rock and jazz tones. Why did you decided to make that shift?
Martin Barre: as above , it was to provide a stock of material for the band and having indulged in the subtle nature of Away with Words I was ready to strap on an electric and crank up the sound !!
MWN: This questions I can only ask truly experienced musicians that live for their craft. What advice can you give to someone who is picking up a guitar, trying to start a band, or trying to find themselves in music?
Martin Barre: As you learn your instrument start writing, so the two disciplines progress hand in hand. Listen to everything and if you hate something, explain to yourself why and how you are influenced by good playing/music as much as the reverse.
MWN: Lastly as we come to the end of the interview- I like to finish the interviews by asking about the future. So, what does the future hold in regards to your music?
Martin Barre: Today is the future and I might wander into the studio and just “twiddle” or maybe an idea emerges for a piece of music; either way it will be a good day!!!!