IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson was recently interviewed by the Belgian media outlet RTBF. You can now watch the chat at this location. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On joining IRON MAIDEN after playing with SAMSON:
Bruce: “Well, let me see… If you can imagine, I was playing for… playing striker for a third-division Walloon local football team, and the next minute, they say, ‘You’re playing for Barcelona and your partner’s gonna be Lionel Messi.’ ‘Oh…’ [Laughs] ‘I guess I’d better practice then.”
On how he managed to keep his feet on the ground after first joining IRON MAIDEN and playing his show with the band:
Bruce: “Never mind my feet on the ground, I couldn’t even open my eyes for the first five songs, I was so terrified to look at the audience. I was just, like, ‘I know they’re out there somewhere.’ But I was the singer, and therefore you’re gonna take it on; that’s it. That’s your job. And, obviously, I was working with some old material at first, but we pretty quickly were working with new material for ‘The Number Of The Beast’ album, and it was obviously… My voice enabled the band to write a completely different dimension of material. And that’s what made things an awful lot easier. ‘Cause I didn’t have to reinterpret old stuff. I had new material to work with. And then we did some preliminary shows, just to go somewhere where people wouldn’t really see too much of us. We went down to Italy for five shows, and it was the first time I’d ever done a concert outside of the United Kingdom — ever. So I had no experience of that at all. So that was really interesting. You have a very steep learning curve. But I was lucky I learned pretty quickly, and then rapidly made a nuisance of myself. I did warn my manager when I joined the band — he’s still the manager of IRON MAIDEN, Rod Smallwood — I did warn him; I said, ‘I am gonna be a pain in the ass. You know that, don’t you?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, it’s kind of why we want you. Because we want somebody who’s gonna contribute with ideas.’ And, of course, by the time we got to the next album, ‘Piece Of Mind’, we already had a Number One album. ‘Piece Of Mind’, I did a lot of writing, and ‘Powerslave’. Joining IRON MAIDEN was the world’s biggest roller coaster. Except that most roller coasters, you go down, then you go up, then you go down. This one just went down for five years. I mean, non-stop, one big adrenaline rush for five years. [It was] quite something.”
On whether it was difficult for him to integrate into IRON MAIDEN:
Bruce: “No, to be honest with you, it wasn’t, because… When I joined, I remember going the first day to rehearse… The first day when I went to do the tryout, for auditioning for them, it was in a rehearsal place. The old singer was still with them; they still had two more shows to do with him. So I thought, ‘Well, the atmosphere’s gonna be a little bit strange.’ ‘Cause, obviously, he didn’t know, but everybody else did know that he was gonna be fired. I wasn’t terribly comfortable with it. My ‘singers union card’… [Laughs] I was, like, ‘Ahhh…’ But I turned up. And Steve [Harris], the bass player, he didn’t turn up till later. But I turned up, and I knew Clive [Burr], the drummer, and Dave [Murray, guitar] I knew, and Adrian [Smith, guitar] I knew. And so we just started playing old DEEP PURPLE songs, which we all knew. And then we played a bunch of other songs that we all knew. And suddenly we discovered that we all liked the same music, we all knew the same music, we all loved the same music… The atmosphere was fantastic. And then Steve turned up. And we went, ‘Hey, we’ve been buzzing away. What should we do?’ And they’d asked me to learn four songs. Well, they only had two albums. I learned all the songs. So, I said, ‘Well, what songs do you wanna do?’ And we basically almost played both albums back to back. And Steve was, like, ‘Wow! When do we start?’ So there was no problem at all.”
Dickinson joined IRON MAIDEN in 1981, replacing Paul Di’Anno, and made his recording debut with the band on the 1982 album “The Number Of The Beast”. He quit the band in 1993, pursuing several solo projects, and rejoined in 1999.
Dickinson, who turned 60 in August, has several other interests beyond music. He is a licensed commercial pilot and owns an aviation company. He has also done some acting and brewed beer.