LEGENDARY guitarist Martin Barre is ready to rock Bromley Cross with the music of Jethro Tull.

The 67-year-old says the band became stagnant before its split in 2011 but promises the gig at the Railway Venue, Chapeltown Road, on Friday, September 5, will be anything but.

Martin, who toured the world with the band for 43 years, said: “It just got stagnant.

“It shouldn’t have done because Jethro Tull was a band that was known for changing direction on a yearly basis.

“It just got a bit complacent in the later years.

“The same sort of formula. It was time to stop.”

Martin has sold a staggering 60 million albums worldwide and worked with international music superstars, from Paul McCartney and Phil Collins to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

He said: “The things I now think were great, at the time, were normal.

“We toured with Hendrix. At the time, it was another tour.

“Looking back I think, wow, I actually toured with Hendrix.

“Then we played Shea Stadium (New York City). On the night, it was not a great gig, it was foggy and planes were going over but looking back, it’s amazing.

“Things just fell into place.

“We didn’t play it down but everything was normal.

“We played five nights at Madison Square Garden, three nights at the Royal Albert Hall. It was just what we did.

“It didn’t make us big-headed and full of ourselves.”

It was at the age of 14 that Martin started playing the guitar because he “couldn’t afford a drum kit”, before going on to play with several bands.

He said: “I was about to quit playing in ‘68 because we had been playing for three years and never made it.

“I was about to go back to college then I met Jethro Tull and joined them.

“We lived from year to year, there was no thought of would it last?

“We took things as they came.

“I’m really happy that I have been able to carrying on playing.

“It’s a fantastic career if you can make it work but it’s a horrible career if it does not work because there’s nowhere else to go.

“If you’re a musician, it’s all or nothing.”

Martin is currently on a 65 date UK and European tour with his band, including vocalist and acoustic guitar player Dan Crisp and drummer George Lindsay.

He said: “We do a mix of classic Tull tracks, we rock them up and make them a bit more beefy.

“Then we do some classic blues that we mess around with.

“It’s all sorts of rock blues and some of the Tull songs.

“We want to make them a bit more raunchy.

“A really good live gig with lots of power, lots of energy.”

Next month will also see the release of new album, Order of Play.

Martin said: “It’s the set that we were playing last year, we were doing the live gigs and people did come up and say, if you did a CD of that set, we would buy it.

“It should be available at the gigs and it’s released at the end of September.”

With strong demand for Martin’s incredible guitar playing, festival dates include the Skegness Blues Festival and the German Haugesund Festival.

But Martin says he loves nothing more than playing intimate gigs, to 100 to 300 people, and is looking forward to his visit to the Railway Venue.

He said: “I’ve spoken to some of the guys in the band, the saxophone player has been there and he says it’s a really great club.

“The smaller venues are really good fun.

“The atmosphere is so much better, they are the great gigs.

“They are really satisfying.”

The Martin Barre Band will be at the Railway Venue on Friday, September 5. Tickets cost £12 in advance or £15 on the door. Call 01204 306450.