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Martin Barre Comes to La Mirada Theater March 22

Former Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre.

March 4, 2024

By Stepheny Gehrig

Martin Barre, the lead guitarist for the band Jethro Tull, will be coming to the La Mirada Theatre of Performing Arts on March 22 and will perform to a sold-out show. But before he comes to La Mirada, Barre gives Los Cerritos Community News a detailed look into life with advice, appreciation, and regard for the space he occupies as a musician.

As Barre prepares for his performance in La Mirada, he said that the last time he was in California was before COVID-19. Feeling like time was frozen, Barre rejoices in the opportunity to return to the Los Angeles area and perform for fans who thoroughly enjoy his music.

Barre said that being on stage is a surge of emotions from joy to enthusiasm and adrenaline, but most importantly, a feeling of gratitude for the opportunity to give back to his audience.

“It’s always magical because it’s like if you’re in the worst mood you’ve ever been in you’ve had the worst day, travels have been horrible, people are being really rude to you, you’re feeling really tired, you’re just really negative and then you go on stage and it disappears. And that’s the worst day. On a great day, you feel fantastic and then you go on stage and you feel even better. It’s a therapy really. I can’t really live without it because it’s a feeling I never want to lose,” Barre said.

Barre played for Jethro Tull, which incorporated the sounds of rock and roll and folk melodies to occupy a niche space as they rose to fame in the ’70s, for around 45 years.

But getting to that point in fame, touring with bands like Led Zeppelin and The Who, wasn’t a simple feat for Barre.

For about 60 years, Barre has been playing music in a band and on his own, but being on stage as a performer once posed a challenge for him.

Shyness became a difficult obstacle for Barre to overcome. At 14 years old, when he first picked up the guitar, Barre found his passion with music and began working to overcome his shyness.

“I was incredibly shy when I was in school. I mean horribly, it was an affliction, it wasn’t cute,” Barre said. “The first year I was in a band, I used to face the back of the stage. I couldn’t face the front. I mean, it must look ridiculous — I was that bad.”

But as his passion grew stronger, Barre found the only way to get through his shyness was to simply just do it. The remedy, he says, is honing in on confidence rather than inflating one’s ego.

“I think you just have to overcome it. You need confidence, but you don’t need ego. It’s that sort of fine balance. Ego is unpleasant, but confidence is part of being professional, so you have to learn how to have that competence and confidence and appearance of being in control,” Barre said. “It can’t get harder because it’s really hard, so it can only get easier.”

But now, Barre said that the only instance when his back will face the audience on stage would be if he needs to pick up a plectrum that has fallen to the ground, as he will soak in the joy and happiness of the atmosphere as he performs. Barre divulges that his passions lie with performing. Although still feeling pangs of nervousness, Barre said that it is a reminder of his humanity and the reignition of the excitement of performing.

“I want to be nervous. I don’t ever want to take anything for granted. I think that little adrenaline, you don’t know how it’s going to go, it’s got that unknown factor, and that puts you almost on edge in a really nice way,” Barre said.

With the flattery from loyal fans, Barre said that he also appreciates the challenge of entertaining those who don’t quite know of his past successes.

“A lot of the fans [of Jethro Tull] would come to 10 [or] 12 shows in a tour — I mean, you could do exactly the same show. I always felt a little uncomfortable; I always thought they’d seen it all before, the same show exactly, note for note. So when we tour, every few gigs, I’ll change a couple of songs and that way I notice people who have been before they just get something a little different. It’s like a little nod,a “thank you” for their loyalty.” Barre said. “In some ways I quite like the challenge that you are entertaining people who have no idea what you do, so you convince them they’re getting entertained”

Barre’s heart remains truly with his fans as he continues creating art through song and words. With a book on the way, arranging and recording new music, Barre continues to provide new media for his audience.

“I’ve been doing a book for a long time. It’s an ongoing project,” Barre said. “It’s difficult because it’s something you put on your sideline and really you should do nothing but that and get it done. But it’s something that is secondary to gigs writing music and playing music.”

Including a medley of both pieces from his career in Jethro Tull and as a solo artist, Barre’s La Mirada performance will definitely be an ode to his passions and his fans. Humbly, Barre expresses his gratitude for his experience in Jethro Tull, and as a solo artist, directing his love to the audience.

“I love audiences. I am so lucky to be able to do what I do. And so I respect and appreciate that people want to come and hear me and the band play. It’s a fantastic experience and I love every minute of it. I’m going to be very very nice to them and polite and hopefully play the best gig weve ever played,” Barre said.