Gavin Esler Was Jethro Tull Frogman
BBC Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler contributed to the Progressive Music Awards build-up by admitting he donned a frogman suit to appear in a video for Jethro Tull mainman Ian Anderson.
Esler, who hosts the ceremony at London’s Kew Gardens tomorrow night, plays a cameo role in one of the projections used on Anderson’s Thick As A Brick II tour.
Ahead of the event at which Rick Wakeman will receive the first-ever Prog God Award, the journalist and author discussed his passion for the genre.
Radio 2 host Simon Mayo asked Esler: “Can we define prog rock?” He replied: “No.” Mayo said: “Have a go?” to which Esler responded with a laugh: “No!”
He continued: “People on radio and television and newspapers love to put things in pigeonholes. It makes life very easy for us because then we think we know what we’re talking about. Whereas most of us in our time off listen to different bands, music or so on. One day you wake up and find, actually, that’s prog rock.
“It’s so difficult to define, but it’s creative, it’s often British, and it appeals to people with very wide tastes. That’s why prejudice isn’t allowed.”
Discussing his friend Anderson – who he met via his partner, violinist Anna Phoebe –Esler said: “On the Thick As A Brick II tour there’s some complete idiot in a frogman suit walking around in the video. I am that man.”
He also told Radio 6 DJs Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie that album artwork is among the many reasons he loves prog. “For me the cover art is amazing,” he explained. “I’ve got The Court of the Crimson King on my wall.”
Focusing on the music once again he namechecked Pink Floyd, Tull and his recent discovery the Von Hertzen Brothers, saying: “Prog is essentially British in many ways, but there’s people from all over. It’s so wide and you’re discovering new people all the time.
“It’s not the stereotype of a bunch of old white guys from 40 years ago.”