Bruce and Adrian interview

Paris, 22/10/97

What is the public reaction with the new songs, and especially the public of Lynyrd Skynyrd which is not really your public ?
Bruce: This is the wrong tour, in terms of, you know... The perfect tour would be, I don't know, like Megadeth or something like that, or some tour like that. But all the tours were full, there was no other tour this year, well there was the Whitesnake tour but when we agreed to be on this tour, the Whitesnake tour, nobody knew about it. So we took this tour because this is in Europe, in terms of clubs right now it's terrible.
This is why you did not want to have your own tour ?
Yes, this is because we've got this great record. If we had played clubs, we'd play to all the people who already had the record, and also what we needed to do is get the press to come and see this lineup. And the press don't come to four hundred seats clubs. They can't be bothered. They'll come to the Zénith, and so in a way this tour is a showcase for what we can do. The Lynyrd Skynyrd audience is not the perfect audience but it is the closest we could get under that circumstances, so we accept that it's not perfect. It's definitely a challenge. Germany was the toughest. You know, because in Germany it's fucking Country and Western, there were guys with John Wayne's hats in the audience, but you know you've got the attitude to go and say fuck you. And the journalists, when they're reviewing it, they go "Oh, wrong audience, great band". And that's what we want people to come away with. With Maiden, we toured with 38 Special in America, and it was weird, but all these kids came along and saw it and they said "We've seen it, we know it exists, it's real". And so that's what this tour is for, let the people know that this is real, and it's a great metal band.
According to the rumors we heard from people that went to the shows you have already done in Italy and Spain, we can tell you that the public of Lynyrd Skynyrd did like you, they were surprised.
Yeah, they have no choice ! If they don't, I'll jump and fight them (laughs) !!!
Do you wish to have your own tour after this one, or do you go straight to record a new album ?
No, the first thing is right now, we couldn't afford a tour. Because we used our resources from a big tour in South America, we're making money on that, so we took that money and we paid for this tour. We're losing a lot of money on this tour, we're not getting any support from the record company because they are bankrupted, Castle Records, they are like Chapter 11 in the USA.
In France also, 50/50 have bankrupted, and that is why there has been no promotion for this tour.
Really ? Oh God ! Fantastic (laughs) ! Is it the same for Victor Records in Japan ?
Oh no, JVC is doing very well.
Because Japan is a big market for Metal actually.
I mean, our album sells in Europe. We've done nearly 120.000 albums in Europe for this album already, which is really good. It's nearly double of Skunkworks. So we've pretty much doubled what Skunkworks did worldwide, which is great. And the new album will be out in September. Because Rod Smallwood is managing me now, so now everything is slowly coming together now. This tour is really the beginning of the next campaign. Because this tour... You know, we went to Italy, 4 shows in Italy, and the promoter, Franco, the biggest Italian promoter said : "I'll take 4 shows, headline shows in Italy, next September, and a couple of festivals". The people see the band, it's like " Oh OK, now let's put them on a festival". Same thing in Spain you know it's like "OK, festival". Same thing in Scandinavia, we already know we can headline. In Germany we know, so suddenly we've got the big opportunity, after Skunkworks. Skunkworks unfortunately confused a lot of people, and didn't give a lot of promoters confidence. But now this new record, everybody's like : "Yeah, great !".
So, will you continue together, as the new record of Psycho Motel is just on sale (in Japan) ?
Adrian: I'm gonna take 4 months off of Bruce's project next year, 3 or 4 months, so January, February, March. I will have to do something to promote that, until I get with Bruce in Europe next year, do some shows, in some capital cities in Europe, and in the meantime, we'll be writing some stuff. There's already some ideas around.
Bruce: The cool thing is everybody's got to have enough space to do what he wants to do. And the same thing with Roy. He is working on the new Downset record and he's also going to do a new Tribe of Gypsies record, but we can write, I mean I can write with Adrian, I can write with Roy, and it's the writing that's the songs. Once we've got the idea in the songs, then what we have to do is say "OK let's lock ourselves in a room and rehearse first for 2 weeks and then make the record". The last record took 7 weeks to be finished, plus 3 weeks rehearsals, but 10 weeks from beginning to end.
Adrian: Plus we now know each other, we've done the tour, everybody knows everybody else, so it might be out pretty quick.
Bruce: So a September release ...You know we are pretty comfortable, as long as we have the artwork ready. That's the main thing that always delays an album.
The artwork ? Is Derek Riggs really busy ?
No, it's not that even, it's the little shit, it's the mistakes, that's what takes all the time.
We love to find mistakes on the covers !!!
There's a lot of mistakes in this one. Eddie Casillas' name is spelled wrong (Eddie Casillias) for a start. I was so embarrassed by that. Adrian: The music things, you know, because you're doing music for so long, it usually comes together. But the artwork and the business side of it, you've got to get involved with that to make sure it's done right. That takes the time. And promotion.
Bruce: But Rod is very experienced so, he is very meticulous about details.
You said you needed to have space to do other things, was it the problem with Maiden, that you did not have space ?
Bruce: No, I actually had space to do other things. I didn't have space to finish them. But that wasn't why I left. I always, whenever I was in the band, I always accepted that... You know like I wrote a book. I promoted it. Then the second one came out. And the book company wanted to do a big promotion campaign. I couldn't do it. Maiden were off to tour . So I was disappointed, of course, but you accept it, because you're in a band, everybody has to make sacrifice. That's the way it is. So that wasn't the reason why I left.
So what was the reason for you to leave, Adrian ?
Adrian: I guess my heart wasn't in it. I had worked on a new record, I felt a little bit complied and it seemed like I didn't get a chance to contribute. I think I need to be creative, to write songs, and it just got increasingly difficult with Iron Maiden to make a contribution. And then you've got to go on the road for a year and do the whole thing, so if you're not really into it, it's very hard. So it probably was the best thing to go away.
And when you decide to leave a band like Maiden, do you sometimes awake asking yourself "Was is the right decision" ?
Bruce: Oh no, because I had thought about it, for a long time, not like years and years and years, but you know I started to think about it very very hard, like 2 weeks, like everyday, 24 hours a day, it all comes down, it's really in your heart you really don't want to be there anymore. That's the answer. This could happen and may not happen. Let's throw it all away. Do you really want to be there, or do you really not want to be there ? And I didn't want to be there anymore. And that was it. And so I don't regret leaving. I've had some success and some failures in terms of what I've been doing artistically and I know that, you know, and that was one of the reason why I left. In many ways I wished Maiden had been more up and down, I wished Maiden had done more mistakes.
Adrian: Making mistakes makes things interesting.
Bruce: You can't have a band which is like a flat line, because it's what makes it exciting.
Even if it is at the top ?
Iron Maiden wasn't anymore. It wasn't a flat line, our line was going slowly down, and I got to the point where I was like "Do I get off here, do I get off here ?", you know, and every time I did an album, it came a little bit further down and every time I started an album, I made a deal with myself, that I would commit in everything a hundred per cent once I committed to it, you know, when it's finished, I'd go away, and sit down and I'd go : "Damn, it's not a nose dive, but it's a slow slow slow sinking ship", artistically, not commercially, Maiden's fans are incredibly loyal. It got to the point where I had to say to myself "Is there anything I can do about this anymore ?". And I looked to the internal political situation within the band, where I was at and where Steve was at, and I was like : "No", because it's going to mean people (hesitation) changing, people are gonna have to change. Steve doesn't like change. So I quit. And ever since people have been asking, right until Accident of Birth, people have been asking me why. And that's why I've kept feeling like number 6 of the Prisoner when people said "Why did you resign ?". And suddenly after Accident of Birth, nobody's asking me why I quit anymore.
We do, even if it may upset you !
Oh no, it doesn't upset me. I could never answer it properly until Accident of Birth. Because when I quit Maiden, although it may sound strange, I was very very harsh on myself. I thought I had failed as an artist, because I hadn't done this maybe two albums before. And so in a way I decided that I'll go punish myself by not... by doing weird stuff, because I thought that, you know it was just I had to do everything that I haven't done the last ten years. Even if it failed. I had to try it. Just to find that way. And I also felt, at the time, I felt that I was completely and totally irrelevant to Metal. I've been in this band, we've done this Maiden sound, and I'm beginning to feel it sounded like a parody of its glory days. And I thought : "I don't want to go near that area". Because I can't make a joint, I can't make a clear joint anymore of what's good and what's bad, I don't know anymore, because we lived in this little world, we lived in our little Iron Maiden world. That was all there was. And stepping outside is scary !
Adrian: But you learn things, and find out it's a great experience.
Bruce: And I was very pessimistic. I sat down, and I had the attitude that maybe I'd never..., I'd do one album, and I'd never do it again. I'd just stop. I'd rather just stop completely and turn into some sad guy, in the corner of the pub saying : "Oh I used to be in..., let me tell you about the time when..., I used to be famous", I was off to stack boxes in the supermarket. And so I had the sentiment that if I got something I could contribute musically, I'll carry on. And I feel that within myself. And I felt that every album I did had something in it. Not the whole record. Like Tears of the dragon, which is a great tune, the Skunkworks record, there's some stuff on that which I think is really really good. Except if you're a traditional metal banger : "Oh my god !" (laughs). But I'm very proud of some stuff on that record. But with Accident Of Birth, I hit the bullseye. I hit the jackpot. Because not only was it the return to what I get everybody in the band wanted me to do, but it was also something that I wanted to do in the same time, because it felt good. And I was surprised. I didn't want to do it. Roy talked me into it. Roy phoned me up and said : "So, you're gonna come and write some stuff". And I was like : " Hmm, yeah, I thought we could maybe do some, I don't know", and he said : "I've got some amazing metal routes". I was like : "I don't want to fucking do that anymore. I've passed all that shit. I'm not gonna do it". And I went over there, five days. Five days, Five songs. I think it was Accident Of Birth, The Magician, maybe Darkside Of Aquarius, no, that was the second week. But it just came. Boom, boom, boom, the songs, and I came out, and I felt : "It's back. I know how to do this. I know what's good and I know what's bad again". And that was great fun.
When did you have the idea of phoning Adrian ?
Since I got back.
Adrian: He came over and we played a few songs, and I came to the same feelings. It's looking so good to work together. Then I heard the material, it sounded so fresh, and again it seemed so clear. You know, it just felt really good.
You weren't surprised of Bruce calling you ?
Actually I was a little bit, yeah.
Because it was a surprise for us to see you coming back together!
Bruce: I mean, as artists, we were responsible for being the change of Maiden after Killers, you know, that whole sound : Can I Play With Madness, Flight Of Icarus, Powerslave, Revelations, Flash Of The Blade, Two Minutes To Midnight, Wasted Years. You know, Steve's stuff is really very different. Not all of it, but a lot of it is very different. And as Adrian left the band, Steve's stuff and my stuff just got more and more divergent. And to now, when we get back together, it sounds like a piece of that time, but more up to date. Because Adrian's moved on, with a lot of his guitar workand stuff like that.
Adrian : I've worked with a lot of different people since I've left Iron Maiden.
Bruce : And Roy and the guys, I mean, on Darkside Of Aquarius, that's like a kind of Hallowed Be Thy Name thing, that's big epic stargazer, whatever you want to call it. I was like: "Don't be scared guys, don't be scared to go dum-dum-dum dum-dum-dum, if it sounds great, just go and do it. We'll kick everybody's ass with that. Don't even think that there was this band in the 80's called Iron Maiden, don't even think about that to write the new songs, because it will be there anyway as an influence, but don't think about it. Don't think if it sounds to much like it. Go all the way, just go for what you feel.".
You didn't want to produce the album ?
Me ? Oh I hate producing !
And you Adrian, you did the production for the first album of Psycho Motel, but you didn't for the new one. Was it a matter of time ?
Adrian: Yes that's time, and this is a long work. I mean Roy was there day and night, he's worked hard, he did a great job.
Bruce: Roy would live, well he lived in the studio, he had a room at the back. And we would work, Joe Floyd, who is the engineer at Silver Cloud, Joe worked with Adrian from about 11 in the morning until 6 or 7 at night, then I would come with Roy, and we'd sing from 6 or 7 until about 11o'clock or midnight. I'd got home and go to sleep and come back the next day. Roy would work until 4 or 5, or sometimes until Joe came in the morning. We were working like that. But Roy loves that and he's a great producer. And he is inspirational. I'm doing vocals for him, I love to sing for him.
You did not want to turn your name into a band's name ?
I tried it the last time and everybody said : "What the fuck is going on ?" (laughs). So everybody was really confused when I did it on the last tour, so we're keeping it like this. If we can sell enough records, when everybody knows who everybody is, perhaps then we can tell that we're not..., we are in fact ...
So what do you think of the record companies who always put these stickers "ex-Iron Maiden" ?
Ex-Bruce Dickinson ? Featuring Bruce Dickinson, ex of Bruce Dickinson (laughs) !
Adrian: I don't think they're necessary because you can sift around for hours through various amounts of stickers with clever band names that, as Bruce says, you could add on wax in record stores and people just won't buy it. So I think these stickers are not a problem.
Bruce: You know, too many too many too many people bought Iron Maiden records for years and know what my name is. So can you sell too many records ?
What are your best and worst souvenir with Iron Maiden ?
(Hesitation) I think the worst for me was always, was just getting sick on tour, being ill. I was really ill twice.
Some dates in Southern France were canceled (in 1990).
Oh yeah, that was just like average illness, but in America, I was so sick, I lost like 5 or 6 kilos of weight in like 2 days, and I was ill for 6 weeks. And I was still going on stage. And I hated this, because I felt like a fake fool every night, I could hardly stand up. And I was going out there and I knew I wasn't singing great, because I couldn't, and I just kept feeling really angry : "Why do we have to do this ? Why don't we stop 2 weeks and get better ?". I hate giving anything less than the best that I can do, and touring with the schedule like we used to do, it makes it more difficult to be on top. I used to be really angry about that, really frustrated.
And the best one ?
(Long silence ) When I got the job.
When you were contacted by Maiden, did you already want to quit Samson ?
Samson was really going nowhere. We sort of ran out of idea and thoughts, and I did not have a lot of confidence in our manager, and we had big big big business problems and finally the last straw was when A&M records wanted to sign us and when I discovered that what they wanted to do was make it like my solo band. Like David Coverdale's Whitesnake, Bruce Dickinson's Samson ! And I was 21...