Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson Shares Honest Opinion on Roger Waters Reworking ’Dark Side of the Moon,’ Explains What Makes a Good Songwriter

While recently speaking on the “Classic Album Review” show, Jethro Tull leader and frontman Ian Anderson weighed in on Roger Waters’ decision to re-record Pink Floyd’s legendary 1973 record “The Dark Side of the Moon.”

When Ian was asked whether the decision has any artistic merit or if it’s just Roger Waters “baring his buttocks to his former bandmates.” He replied (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs)”

“Well, I’m sure there’s a bit of both, really. But I would certainly give Roger Waters the credit, artistically, to be doing it because he thought he was going to bring something new to what is already a well-attended and popular party that was in a part of the great history of rock music.”

Roger Waters - Time (Official Lyric Video, DSOTM REDUX)

As Ian adds, he doesn’t believe that Waters is doing this just to get some form of a revenge at his former bandmates in Pink Floyd. But, as he says, there’s a financial side to this decision:

“So I’m sure that he wouldn’t be doing it only because of somehow getting back at former band members and coining in all the dosh for himself this time, or at least on… I have no idea what the songwriting split is on those songs, but I’m sure he wouldn’t be getting all of it, by any means.”

“But certainly, on the recorded copyright of a new version of that material, then it would all go to Roger Waters, who wouldn’t be having to share it with with either living or dead members of the early Pink Floyd.”

Roger Waters - Money (Official Lyric Video, DSOTM REDUX)

In early 2023, Roger Waters announced that he’s working on a new version of “The Dark Side of the Moon.” Needless to say, this caused a lot of ruckus among rock fans online, with people questioning his decision. So far, Roger released two singles from it, “Money” and “Time.” Meanwhile, the record is expected to come out this October.

Introducing The Dark Side Of The Moon Redux by Roger Waters

Elsewhere in the chat, Ian also touched upon the issue of songwriting. In particular, he was reminded of Jethro Tull’s “Locomotive Breath” and some of the interesting songwriting and performing techniques that, ultimately, replicate the sound of a moving train. When reminded of this metaphor in the song, Ian replied that it all comes down to metaphors:

“That’s what it’s about metaphors, the tools of the trade. Where would a song songwriter be without tossing in a few good metaphors? Because it is a delight.”

“I mean, I’ve no idea what it must be like to try and write songs in another language, but we are blessed with a very rich language. And for goodness’ sake, let’s try and use it! Let’s use this great asset that we have in the English language to try and be a little bit entertaining, and at the same time, be a bit clever with what we write.”

Jethro Tull - Locomotive Breath (Rockpop In Concert 10.7.1982)

“It gives me, as a writer, great satisfaction to use the tools of the writers’ trade. And it should at least translate a little bit into what I think other people will appreciate, on some level, even if it is not necessarily deeply scrutinized, but it’s a feel of lyrics, a feel of words, a feel of music that imparts itself first of all, but at least there are other layers in the onion that you can gently unpeel and see what nastiness lies right in the middle.”

To explain his stance further, Ian mentioned novelist Stephen King as an example as sort of a parallel:

“Stephen King is an author. You know, he writes — as people would probably think of Stephen King— these rather Gothic horror tales, that he’d churn out two a year for all of his adult writing life.”

Jethro Tull – Ginnungagap (Official Video)

“But when you read Stephen King, you realize that not only is he a prolific writer, not only is he one that can write popular and extremely popular fiction, but in almost every book that I’ve read of Stephen King’s, there is a morality tale.”

“And he is talking about people, he’s talking about innate goodness, badness, the complexities of it all, the dilemmas — he does actually pose a lot of questions in the way that he writes, but it’s all delivered in the context of popular fiction that people who get a thrill out of reading scary stuff, or weird stuff, will enjoy on that level.”

“But behind it, every book contains one, two or three morality tales of a sort, and that makes me doff my cap to Stephen King, perhaps more than any other writer.”

“I mean, I guess I would prefer reading the works of John le Carré, but he’s no longer with us. And so I’ve read all of his books and enjoyed all of them. But in the absence of John le Carré, I’d rather turn to the enormous back catalogue of Stephen King wile away hours on airplanes or sitting in cars, or vans, or dressing rooms, or wherever it might be.”

“And it’s worthwhile reading because it’s good. It just shows you that in the world of pop writing, you can have some pretty progressive and even heavy metal approach to being a novelist and that’s what Stephen King does. So I won’t hear a bad word about Stephen King. That’s all. He’s an excellent writer.”

The Feathered Consort

As of this moment, Jethro Tull are promoting their 23rd record “RökFlöte.” Released in April this year, the album sees the current version of the band doing a total of 12 new tracks. So far, “RökFlöte” has received mostly positive reviews.

Photos: Public Domain (Ian Anderson 2), digboston (Roger Waters with My Morning Jacket and Lucius in concert)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.