This sotry is incredible... at least for a "beginner" journalist like me. In a sunny but wet day in Milan, I'm at the Hilton Hotel, for another interview you can read on our pages. It was with the US sensation System Of A Down. I do my interview, I take my pics, I get my autographs and, truly satisfied of it all, I take the elevator to come back out. I find myself in the Hotel hall, i'm just about to exit, but I see Max, an Italian promoter of another label. I get curious because I can't understand the reason why he's there, so I decide to go to salute him. But he's got a hell of a reason to be there. I turn around, and right there, less than a meter, there's Him. Every metal head's hero. The poet. The airplanes pilot. Guys, it's with honour and pride that I'm next to Mr. Bruce Dickinson (and for those of you who don't know him: shame!). The thing's been hard to be caught. It's one of those things you'll never expect to happen... it's like find Angelina Jolie (or Bud Spencer!) in your kitchen, instead of your mom. I mean... surprise! But let's got ahead. bruce is in Milan to promote his solo career new release, a greatest hits, so nothing to do with Maiden. Max tells me to wait and gives me a three tracks promo, and a minute later tells me: "go, you have 5-10 minutes for an interview". The emotion, already high, reaches now the sky... and I think "I'm about to talk to Bruce! Fuck, Bruce!!!"... instead of thinking about interesting questions, thoughts like this one crosses my mind. Then, beyond the emotion, the fact is that I'm not a big fan of Bruce's solo career... I mena, it's a case that I was there and this fact was totally unexpected. But, even at the last moment, you can't deny such an interview. So I sit next to him, he seems a bit tired, age starts to push, but he remains gentle and available. This mini-interview is for sure not one of the coolest you'll ever read (it's stupid to pump you up and then give you crap!), but try to realize that emotion has played such a big part this time (I'd like to see you there :-)) and that it was absolutely not programmed and that we've had just 5 minutes. I know I like more the more modern music and artists, but Bruce's Bruce... come on, thank I've not lost my senses... Beyond all, I hope you won't get mad for the shortness of this interview with Bruce Dickinson. Until the next time, let this be enough for you...

Hi Bruce... well, first of all, how is it going?
Hello, it's going great. I'm a bit tired, but everything's fine!
Ok, how come you've decided to come out with a greatest hits in your solo career?
I thought that the time was right. You know, I've seven albums back, five in studio and two live, then there was some extra material. Then consider that this year everything is calm with Maiden. So i thought it was the right occasion to move in this direction; then tehre are some new songs, among which the original version of "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter". I say original because in the beginning, Steve Harris listened to it and wanted to paly it with Maiden too... no one has ever heard this version. It's some kind of a gift to the fans; on the second cd there are 5 unreleased tracks and a bunch of weird things, whether on the first cd there are the classics and the big hits.
Is there going to be a tour?
No, I don't think so, not for a greatest hits. The next year I hope to record a new solo album, but even then it'll be hard to start a tour; we'll begin the new Maiden album. Then I've not "my" own band, second thing I don't wanna spend one year recording the album, promoting it, doing the tour and recording another Maiden album. The next year, 2003, it'll be the year for a huge tour with Iron Maiden.
After so many years, are you still interested, as much as possible, in a "human" relationship with your fans?
Yes. Sometimes it's hard, for the big number of people. But it's cool to talk to people, it's cool understand what they think, about the songs, about Maiden, but even about anything else... yes, I still like it!
I've heard about some things you've been doing for charity...
Right, it's been for a kind of hospital for kids. It's not a normal hospital though. They give out nurses that can follow the sick kids in their own homes, so that kids can spend their last days in their homes with their families. The fact is that they're gonna die anyway, but at least their last time will be happy and "livable". It's much better this way than being brought in a  cold and anonymous hospital room. So I've put some money together for this charity, i thought it deserved it.
After so much time, how have you seen the hard & metal scene changing around you?
I wouldn't talk only about rock and heavy metal, the entire musical scene's changed. Let's say that music has remained important, but with the years the things you can do just for fun and the money that people have, have increased... so a big change has been the decreasing of the gigs and of the musical event. In London, years ago, there used to be hundreds of venueswhere bands could perform, today is not like this anymore; then there are not that many people that go to concerts anymore... It's to understand for me; when I think about it, where and how new bands can practice and make their own experience to reach high levels.
You were telling me about the unreleased tracks...
Yes, about "Bring Your Daughter...", we've already talked about that one. Then there's "Broken..." a new track, me and Roy Z have written it and it's a modern and heavy song. For "Silver Wings" instead he had this riff... I thought it was kind of Maiden, something similar to "Aces High"... we liked the idea and at the end we decided to write a song in the Maiden style... it wasn't such a bad idea.
How's Bruce private life?
Well, my family first of all. I've three extremely hard to please kids... well, couting even me we're four eheheh... I don't teach anymore, i haven't the time. I don't do that many special things, but I've some hobbies. I fly on airplanes, I pilote them, I've become pretty good ove r the years. But I've always the minutes couted and it's hard to practice with some regularity and constance.
Your opinion about the Royal Family?
The Royal Family?!? But they're so many eheheh... should we talk about the most important!?I've met Prince Carl a couple of times, he's got a good sense of humour, he takes care of people, he's interested into agricolture's problems and stuff like that (???; NDA). He raises so much money, but gives a bunch of it for charity, he does many "good" things... he's the only one I've ever met, but it seems a cool guy!
Is said that the Internet will help humanity. Do you agree?
From a communication point of view is a mean absolutely efficacious and versatile.But it kills personal interaction, which is an increidble thing. I and you are talking, there's a directness that would be impossible if we'd be hundreds miles far away from each other. E-mail are monodimensional. There's a book called "Silycon Valley", that talks about this Net world, apparently perfect, but that kills human beings sociality... it talks about thin men, with big eyes and long fingers to be faster in using the keyboards, and huge brains to contain more informations... it's a metaphore!
Has it ever happened to you that something incredible, but even unexpected, happens to you, and you can't calm down unable to understand anything? This is exactly what's going on with me right now!
Ahahahahah, sure that it's happened... but don't worry and try to relax.
(right, easy to say "just relax", when you're Bruce Dickinson, NDA). The time's over; if you'd have a fan right here (like me, NDA), what would you tell him?
You know, there are always so many Maiden fans around that don't know my solo material. I think this is a good opportunity to inform yourselves, start to understand what's happened to Bruce through these years. And then to understand other things connected to Maiden, like the history of "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter". They could find it interesting. Bye to the next!

(Stefano Gaspari)