Iron Maiden Interview

Promethean Crusade: Iíve been asking fans to contribute questions for this interview and the first question on everyoneís mind is when are you going to record a new album.

Janick Gers: Yeah actually thatís very important to me this whole thing about Bruce coming back and Adrian coming back, itís not retrospective, itís not looking back, if it was like that I wouldnít do it. Itís about going forward about utilizing the talents and the musicianship within the band and actually going out and making what we ought to make which is the ultimate Iron Maiden album, thatís whatís important to us. The thing is that we have this computer game coming out, Ed Hunter, which is scheduled to come out May 17th in Europe and come out here a bit later. We had the kids on the internet who voted for the songs which they wanted on it, it came out to I think 22 tracks which we put on to the game. When Bruce and Adrian came back we felt that immediately that what we should do is go out and tour with those tracks. So the game, weíre out promoting the game, but itís not a retrospective thing you know weíre gonna do two months a really short tour, weíve never done a tour this short, our last tour lasted a year and we just finished it last December. Two months across America mid July and I think we start in Quebec, the dates will be released in the middle of next week. Then across Europe, but in fact Europe the tickets are going incredible, I mean we always do very well in Europe anyhow, the tickets were released yesterday and we did 15,000 a total of 9,000 in Stockholm, 5000 in the first 2 hours and 6000 in Gothenburg, so the tickets there sell like hotcakes which is great. Like you said the important thing is once youíve gone out and done this youíve got to come back and go straight into the studio possibly October maybe a bit earlier and we hope to gave an album out next year. Now the tour weíre gonna do this year the productionís gonna big itís gonna be like an Iron maiden big, big production, but the tour that we plan to do next year is gonna be ginormous, so thatís what weíre looking towards. This oneís a taste of whatís to come. Iím glad you said that because to me itís really important that itís not retrospective itís very edgy of what to call the band getting together to perform, thereís a big difference between what people call a reunion.

PC: Thereís a lot of young kids out there, I mean Iíve been a fan since í84 and the last time I went to a Maiden show there were little kids there that werenít alive when I saw the band for the first time.

JG: We did Brazil in the end of December playing to 31,000 people every night at festivals and there were kids, 11 year old calling our names and stuff as well as people 40 years old. So if there really is a conception of an audience there, we still hold on to our audience. I think thereís been a big fashion change here in America, thereís a big grunge thing and everyone kind of hops on what MTV is throwing out, but to our credit we never followed that we just carried on doing what we do and I think because of that thereís a kind of integrity about the band. We never threw in a crap ballad or something like that just to try and get more sales you know and they know that they wonít be sold short. I think thatís really important, this band will never sell out that way, it canít be done. I think there is a lot of young kids coming to the gigs all over the world and thatís healthy. I donít want to play to old people, old people have seen it all before. I want to play to young kids I want to give them the same thrill I had when I went to see bands when I was kid. Canít do that with an old guy whoís seen it all before I mean youíve got a few licks and a you can pull a few tricks, but that figure of seeing IM for the first time is it, Iím in it for the kids.

PC: IM was the 1st show I went to in 1985 when I was 14 and everyone I mention that to especially recently asks, how did you go to other shows after that, nothing could compare to it.

JG: I think we took it as far as we could probably on Seventh Tour it was a massive tour. When I joined the band and we came out with No Prayer we really made a conscious decision to cut back on the stage show because we felt, well first of all we felt that the five of us onstage had a lot to give as an onstage persona anyhow. We felt that that was getting lost with the massive shows that we become accustomed to using and since then weíve since built it back up, itís getting bigger and bigger. I like the big shows, the show weíre gonna take out this year is gonna be pretty big with three other acts on the bill. Weíre talking to a few different record companies and some major producers, 3 or 4 that we have in mind to do the album. We want to make an album with a major producer and try and capture that essence of what this bandís about, because I donít think weíve done it yet, production wise. I think we feel that was one of the reasons when we got together to talk straight away about we need a producer to come in. Martin [Birch] doesnít want to do production anymore heís gone, I love Martin, heís done everything Iíve loved over the years, but he donít want to do it anymore so weíre looking for fresh pastures and weíre moving on.

PC: Do you want to go with someone thatís well known for a sound that youíre looking for?

JG: No, I think IM have a sound I think it needs tinkering with. We donít want to bring somebody in who brings their sound. A sound wouldnít be what its about we want somebody that can enhance the sound that we have. A major goal is to capture the sound we have live with all the excitement and the aggression and the power and everything else that goes with it on the record which is very rare. And if we can get someone to do that and we get the songs together that I think we have the ability to write then weíre in for a cracking IM record.

PC: Howís writing working out with six people in the band, are you teaming up or are you each doing your own thing?

JG: Weíve already started a little bit of writing, weíve got a few songs together already and itís quite exciting stuff. Weíve got ideas all the time, weíre always putting ideas together you never know what itís going to end up like at the end of the day and thatís what I like. I donít like it when it becomes calculated, I like the spontaneity and I think it comes from all over the place. I have no objection to writing with anybody, so itís an open book for me.

PC: Have the six of you played together yet?

JG: We did in í93 at Donnington, but we havenít since then, no. But Iím not worried about it; itís going to be very interesting. There isnít another band in this genre that has three guitars, there just isnít one, you have Skynnrd and people like that, but thatís kind of rock and roll or country rock and roll which is great but a different thing altogether. The textures that we can apply to this music I think itís going to make it a lot heavier and the musicianship within the band is well capable producing something that could be very, very exciting.

PC: Will you be going away from keyboards and guitar synths to back up the sounds now that you have the third guitar?

JG: I was brought up playing with keyboards, I didnít play a whole lot of guitar before Maiden. With Gillan we had a keyboard player and with White Spirit we had a keyboard player and also with Fish, with Bruce it was just guitar. I have no objections to using whatever we need, whatever sounds good to me Iíll use. Itís not a question of moving away from keyboards. If you think that a nice keyboard would make that better then use it by all means Iím not against anything, personally. I think thereís going to be a lot of texture with the three guitars, thereís already maybe three or four guitar parts on each track doing different things but we couldnít play it live before. Take Led Zeppelin, thereís a guitar army there, but only one Jimmy. If you had three more Jimmyís there you could play all the other parts and make it sound even better. I think that weíll be able to do the parts we normally wouldnít be able to do like to keep the gallops going while the harmony is going or put a third part harmony on. Put a clean guitar on and leave the two other guitars attacking on either side, there are a lot of options. So we havenít go together yet, but when we do itís going to be great fun.

PC: Do you have rehearsals scheduled for the tour in July?

JG: We go back to Portugal after this, actually first to England for a couple of days then to Portugal where weíll be writing until May 15th. Then weíll have rehearsals with writing from the 15th to the 6th of June and then from the 6th of June onward weíll be rehearsing for the tour. There will be production rehearsals just prior to the tour in Quebec or that area and then itís on from there, its all mapped out.

PC: Why no British shows?

JG: We want to do something special in Britain and the time isnít right at the moment. Weíd rather come back next year and do something really big. This is just a taster tour, something weíre doing with the game. Weíre doing some shows nearby to Britain.

PC: I saw that some travel agencies in England are putting together package tours to go to the Paris show.

JG: Which is weird, actually itís quite exciting [at this point a young female hotel employee enters the and says "hello" like sheís used to seeing rock stars interviewed in the stairwell, Janick makes the appropriate tongue wagging gesture for a man of his occupation]. Yeah so if youíre you really want to see us you can do that or you can wait Ďtil next year and see what we plan to be a very, very big show. We didnít want to get bogged down with people calling this a reunion tour. Weíre not going to Japan or Brazil or the rest of South America. Itís basically a taster tour across America; a taster tour across Europe and the tickets in Europe are going crazy. We did really well on the last tour as well and weíre in a situation where no one wants to be called Heavy Metal. I have no objection to whether people call this music Heavy Metal or Rock n Roll, whatever you want to call it, it doesnít bother me because it is what it is.

PC: As far as Iím concerned thereís only good music and bad music.

JG: Exactly, exactly. I think all people especially the media put things out there and say theyíre cool and then six months later itís not cool anymore and everyoneís written them off. Iíve never followed that, you just have to be true to yourself at the end of the day. Thatís all you can do. Itís like people who follow the audience, you become a big band and a lot of bands do this, I wonít name any here, but a lot of them do it. They become big and instead of writing what they want to write theyíll look at the audience and think, "I wonder what theyíll like?" And they write music they abhor that their audience will like.

PC: That or the record company tells them what they should write.

JG: Right. What you become in effect is a parody of what you were because the reason you were big in the first place is because you wrote what you wanted to write. You wrote with feeling from your heart and thatís what Maiden has done, weíve obviously had record companies say well if you did this or that perhaps youíd sell more records, but weíre not interested in that. Weíd rather do what we do with the integrity that we have and have longevity, be still around this amount of time.

PC: Have you been following the press in the U.S. with the recent events in Littleton Colorado?

JG: Yeah, itís not just the States itís all over the world. I think people that start blaming music and Marilyn Manson or whoever else theyíre blaming are wrong. Itís not music, itís a social problem, and America and the rest of the World need to realize thereís a lot of alienation going on with the kids. People are sticking their kids in front of the telly all day so they can get on with their own lives; thereís a lack of responsibility among parents. The fact that you can just go out and buy a gun, so that if you lose your temper with someone you donít punch them you shoot them, you know thatís a social problem. Itís got nothing to do with Marilyn Mason or Ozzy Osbourne or Judas Priest or anybody itís got nothing to do with music.

PC: People are going to keep blaming music though.

JG: You canít blame music, itís passing the buck. Movies, Iím not too sure, I donít know, thereís a lot of violence in movies and I personally wouldnít let my kids see those kinds of movies that I know are available to young kids now. I donít think if you are watching movies that itís going to make you go out and shoot someone, but I think if you have a mind that isnít fully developed perhaps you might not be able to see the difference between reality and something thatís not real. I donít know, thatís my worry. I think thereís an artistic license in whatever you do whether itís movies or music you have to use your artistic license. It smacks very much of passing the buck to blaming Marilyn Manson for two cats going out and shooting people and I think itís more about the ills of society whether itís lack of parental attention or society as a whole. Musicians donít have the answers man we just have the questions, we pose the questions. Weíre not that kind of band anyhow, itís just two hours of fun if you come to our concert, we want you to have fun we want to take people on a rise, a roller coaster ride of our songs which can be quite thematic in content. Thatís what works with the computer game, it has all the album covers and you can go in there, the music fits so well with the imagery and everything. Basically itís theater, thatís what itís all about and if you can get some questions posed within that song structure, well thatís great, thatís what weíre really about

PC: You read more stories about kids bringing in their Maiden albums to play in history class.

JG: Yeah we can write about anything, I think with Alexander the Great or Rime of the Ancient Mariner, literary or be quick or be dead which is about the business of ripping people off. Stuff like Wasting Love, thereís things in there that are quite deep in the Maiden lyrics. Not every time I mean sometimes itís just rock n roll a good time there is an opportunity within our lyrics to delve into lots of things and weíre one of the few bands that can do that, thereís not just damn love songs. I think we appeal more to a kind of male-oriented young kids, which is great I find that exciting. To write about Dune in To Tame a Land is really interesting stuff. Man on the Edge is about society self-destructing and thatís whatís happening.

PC: There are more kids that go out and pick up books after listening to Maiden than pick up guns, but itís not news that someone bought a book.

JG: Of course, but when something like this happens youíve got to blame somebody and itís quite easy to blame a rock band, but itís just stupidity. If you tell me because you listen to a lyric by Marilyn or Ozzy, youíre gonna go out and shoot someone then I canít equate with that, the guyís got to be a bit mad anyhow. Iíd preferably ask where he got the gun from whereíd he get the idea to make the bombs, did he get it from the internet? When it talks about the info highway being so great, well itís great if you have the intelligence to deal with it, but if you havenít itís fucking dangerous.

PC: When I first got onto it I noticed that for every one thing you read thatís good and smart there are about ten stupid things that are just wrong.

JG: Itís scary, but you canít really do anything about it. Itís like the Hydrogen bomb, once you invent it you canít just put it away now and we wonít play with it. Itís there we developed it now youíve got to have the intelligence to interpret and deal with it, thatís a big deal. You canít get in there and censor the internet itís a very gray area. So youíve got people with minimal intelligence and dubious ideas able to get on there and thatís material that wasnít there before to someone whoís a bit edgy and a bit mad.

PC: He wasnít smart enough to go to the library and find it, but he can surf the net and have it delivered right into his room.

JG: Exactly. Heís lazy sitting at home on his computer. Also with computers I find they can be quite alienating I donít know if Iíd let my kid play on it all the time. Thereís a time and a place for everything like TV and all of that, itís down to parental guidance, thatís what weíre lacking itís certainly not Marilyn Manson, I donít think.

PC: Do you read the Maiden newsgroups?

JG: Iíve logged on once in a while and Iíll tell you what I think. Itís as if you could read all the letters of all the people you know and you could listen in on all the telephone calls and hear whatís being said about you and I think it just makes people paranoid. In fact I know people that are in quite major bands who resorted to tactics of recording people talking in an attempt to find someone talking about them and then when they found something, becoming so paranoid about it that they canít really function properly. And the internet can have that kind of effect on you. Iíll go on the internet to do interviews and hear what people have got to say, but youíve also got people who are supposedly Maiden fans, but theyíre really not and they just go in there to rile everybody up. Iím too busy living life to sit back and read what other people are saying.

PC: You see people bickering over words in song lyrics and their hidden meanings.

JG: Exactly, and itís not really my cup of tea. Iíll tell you that I find it humorless, the humor thing is really difficult to get across on the internet. You say something you think is funny and nothing happens.

PC: It just sits there, mocking you.

JG: Yeah, youíre like come on that was brilliant. I remember hearing a radio interview with Ritchie Blackmore when I was a kid and the interview ended with him saying, "Iím the best there is." And I thought what an arrogant twat. A couple of years ago I saw a documentary on him and in that interview the guy asked him about it. He said what actually happened was that he paused after saying, laughed and said, "Nahhh, Iím just kidding," but they cut then end off it. Itís amazing how you can edit things to make people look a certain way and itís the same with the internet. People ask me a question and I answer with a joke and Iím rolling on the ground laughing, but it doesnít come out as funny.

PC: Youíve actually got to write, "this is funny."

JG: Yeah right, youíve got to type ha ha ha ha ha. Itís a weird medium.

PC: What do you think of Maiden cover bands and Maiden tribute albums by death metal bands?

JG: I havenít actually, no. Thereís a lot of new bands I like, like The Verve and Radiohead people like that, but I prefer vocalists. I grew up with Plant, Gillan, Rodgers and to me everyone sounds like one of them. For me to like a band, Iíve got to like the singer and itís got to have melody I mean I like it heavy and edgy and I like things toppling over the edge into white noise, but it comes back to melody. The problem with a lot of bands today is that their singers just canít sing, I can get into the music but the actual singing isnít there. I do have a problem with that so I donít tend to listen to a lot of Thrash or Heavy Metal bands, but Iím quite aware of the kind of music thatís around and when I hear something I like generally itís got a melody.

PC: I come across a lot of new bands and to me a great many of them sound like cheap Maiden imitations.

JG: I think Maiden has a very idiosyncratic and taught sound and if people are influenced by it you can tell. Thereís nothing wrong with those bands if they lean on Maiden for a particular sound, but somewhere along the line you become yourself. I donít know, musicís an opinion thing and you pay the same amount for everything. Itís like paying the same price for a Rolls Royce and a Mini Car, you go into a record store and you can buy ĎPurple or ĎZeppelin or Maiden or you can buy the local Doo-Daa band for the same price. Itís one of the few businesses thatís like this, where everything costs the same. So itís purely down to opinion and nobodyís right and nobodyís wrong. My belief system is that if youíre doiní it and you believe in it then God bless ya. If you donít believe in it I can tell by the look in your eyes at a gig, our kids at our gig look in our eyes and know that weíre enjoying it and weíre not just pissing about. Thatís the only thing that I care about, I donít care if the Spice Girls are big God bless them at least theyíre doing what they want to do and thereís plenty of room for them. If I donít like it, it doesnít matter as long as they believe in it.

PC: Maiden was just voted the number one Heavy Metal band in Britain, did that freak you out a little bit?

JG: See, I donít pay any notice to that kind of shit because if you do then next year when youíre not number one itís bad. I donít see music as competitive, but itís very pleasurable to know that people respect us as the number one HM act, that was really nice, but I donít take too much stock in it. Itís also nice because it had nothing to do with us, the television station went out independently and audited everything and said youíre number one and we said yeah, we fuckiní know we are (laughs). Itís nice but itís not a be all and end all for me, we just go out and play our music. If weíre number one, great if we come back next year and are number ten well then fuck Ďem (laughs).

PC: Do you get much of a chance to go out and see other bands live?

JG: Yeah I actually just caught Jeff Beck. Itís very rare that you get the chance, but if someone like Jeff Beck is playing and youíre in town, well youíve got to go. If thereís a band Iíve heard about and I like, Iíll go check them out. I saw Page & Plant last time they were on tour, Jimmy came to see us in Cleveland and we went to see them the next night. They treated us like kings, they were really nice to us and we had a really great time.

PC: As far as looking back, Iíd heard that there was some archival live material that Maiden was planning on putting out.

JG: There is, but not too much. There is a record company in England that was looking into doing something with it for the 20th anniversary. We donít actually own it, I think the BBC have it, but I donít really have any more information on it.

PC: Are the 22 songs that the fans chose for the Ed Hunter soundtrack the ones that you guys would have picked.

JG: When we first saw the list we thought that itíd make a great set. But if we had to choose the songs ourselves, weíd still be fighting about it (laughs). So it was great in a way, when we decided to get back together it was in January, itís not like it was planned or anything it just felt right and youíve got to go with your gut feeling.

PC: Youíve got everything covered. You played solo with Bruce then in Maiden with and without Bruce, now youíre back with Bruce in Maiden again.

JG: Me and Bruce have known each other since the 70ís when he was in Samson and I was in White Spirit. When I was with Gillan he used to come see me with Gillan, so thatís when I first met the boys.

PC: What are the chances that Bruceís solo stuff will be played by Maiden?

JG: I donít think itíll happen, I mean those are some great songs, but Maiden is Maiden. Weíve got enough great songs to do three different sets a night.

PC: That was one of the things that I thought was interesting about the set list chosen on the internet, the fact that people wanted to hear older and more obscure songs.

JG: I understand, I think Killers is something Iíve never done with the band. I have been with the band for ten years and there are still songs I havenít played live.

PC: Ten years in the band and youíre still the new guy.

JG: Yeah, isnít it great. Blaze was the new guy for the last 4 years. God bless him, Blaze is doing his solo thing so thatís great and everyone wishes him well.

PC: Has he picked out a band for that yet?

JG: Heís working on it, I think he was going to put out a press release.

PC: How likely is it that Clive or Paul will be involved in the anniversary tour?

JG: You could do that, but then I think youíd be looking back and doing an old farts thing. Thereís too much excitement and talent in this band to do that kind of thing, thereís so much more we can do. With the musicianship and songwriting weíve got now that would be a waste. If I didnít feel this way then I wouldnít do it.

ENTER BRUCE

Upon entering I show Bruce the press release for the new S.O.D. album, with itís NOTB inspired artwork.

PC: Have you seen this?

Bruce Dickinson: No, oh I see.

PC: Is S.O.D. setting themselves up to be sued?

BD: I wouldnít do thatÖ

PC: Did you just get back from South America?

BD: Yeah, Monday, we actually did a matinee on Sunday afternoon and arrived here Monday morning.

PC: So youíve only got two more days of this?

BD: Uhhhhhh, whatís today? Three more daysÖ

PC: So you guys havenít eve played together as a full band yet?

BD: No, Iím not worried about it. Weíre just not worried at all, Iím sure the other guys feel the same way. Weíll just do it next week.

PC: Itíll just happen.

BD: Yeah, weíll play in rehearsals for the month of June while weíre writing.

PC: Howís that going to work, now that you have more options as to who you write with.

BD: Iíve been writing with Adrian already and little bit with Jannick. Once we all get together in a rehearsal room weíll just start jamming. Itíll all just happen; itís how it always happens.

PC: Is that how it worked for your last solo album.

BD: Yeah, well different musicians write in different ways. With Roy heíd send me a bunch of tapes so Iíd have an idea of what he was doing and Iíd sit down and throw some ideas in. Weíd usually come up with 4 or 5 songs in a week then put them down in demo form and play them over a month to let them kind of percolate through. Itís important to allow yourself some space to allow what you do to become part of you and that way either the other guys will work with it or go against it. What Iíve found with the stuff Iíve written so far is that it has nice clarity to it and thatís very important to me because this maiden album has got to be very clear what itís all about.

PC: Are you writing with the three guitar lineup in mind?

BD: No, Iím just really in tune to the moment trying to write good solid Metal tunes that are gonna sound great with a good vibe. Then introduce them to the guys and weíll all jam around a bit and see what they sound like in the flesh.

PC: Are you interested in having Roy produce this album or would he produce this album?

BD: No, Royís not going to produce the album. Weíve got a couple of major producers that want to do it and weíre talking to them now.

PC: Whatís the difference between the US and the rest of the world in terms of music scenes and fans?

BD: Itís hard to say. We just sold 9000 tickets in Sweden, if we put tickets on sale in New York City, I think we might do the same thing. Some people are going to be surprised at the reaction the tour gets over here, the way tickets are going to fly out the door.

PC: Do you think a lot of people are going to come back to Maiden who have been sitting on the sidelines for a while, disappointed with the scene in general over the past few years?

BD: Possibly. I think a lot of people are going to want to come out and see Maiden, see what all the fuss is about. What theyíre going to get is going to be quite a shock, because I certainly want the band to exceed everybodyís expectations. And I feel we can do that.

PC: You should be able to because people may be expecting a half assed reunion tour, but youíre perfectly set up to go out and blow everyone away.

BD: We will blow everyone away, Iím fairly confident of that, but this coming tour weíre only doing it with old songs. Thatís one of the reasons weíre not doing an extended tour, we donít want to do it with the old songs. We want to do an extended tour next year with a new album.

PC: So youíll be playing mostly new stuff on next yearís tour.

BD: Yeah, to what extent depends on the type of album we do.

PC: The last Maiden show I went to there were young kids who werenít alive when I saw Maiden for the first time. Youíve got both the younger kids and the old school fans just waiting to see what you do.

BD: Yeah, weíve got a really good shot at doing really good business this tour.

PC: You were just named the number one British HM band, did that surprise you?

BD: [Hesitates]Yes, considering the status that we occupy in terms of the English music press which is essentially zero, you know, of late. Thatís pretty good.

PC: Especially when you consider the other choices like Sabbath, ZeppelinÖ

BD: Oh yeah, Purple, Thin Lizzy, UFO and Judas Priest so yeah to do that is the best of feelings within the audience of the UK. But also worldwide, maiden is the biggest, well maybe not the biggest, but one of the biggest cult bands in the world.

PC: Yeah, there arenít that many bands that have been around as long as maiden has that continue to draw the same fans.

BD: Right.

PC: How much has the internet changed the way the band operates?

BD: Ooooooh welllllll ahhhhhhh, to me the internet not the message it is another medium. And in the 70ís bands pressed their own singles and started their own record labels and it was a revolution, then 4 years later everyone was doing it and all the major labels had assimilated it and they all got out. Well, now hereís the internet and gradually the big labels and big companies are all buying up the web. The web is being bought whether you like it or whether you donít. What I see happening is like everything else, if you want to use it youíre going to have to pay for it. And the majors and the big independents will all be selling stuff on the web and the little guys who started it in the hopes that it would be their savior are going to end up on the equivalent of cable access channel 49.

PC: Then theyíll go back to pressing their own singles.

BD: Well, theyíre going to have to because thatís the only currency that has any value, but I doubt theyíll do that. For us, because weíre a big band and because weíre very internet friendly, and we spend quite a lot of time on internet research, for us itís probably going to end up being OK. Weíll keep on top of it and weíll be able to make the band stronger and more independent. I donít think the internet is the huge saviorÖ

PC: Donít believe the hype.

BD: Right, donít believe the hype. The hype exists because a lot of people are going to make a lot of money at selling you the same shit in a different way. Itís a way to make people unemployed and to cut costs and improve profit margins.

PC: Speaking of selling the same thing in a different way, youíve got the whole Maiden catalog re-released in 3-4 different versions and a lot of people are upset about the inherent greed there.

BD: Well Ok, hereís the deal. You have all bought your IM CD, youíve already got it, if you want to go buy another one you can go buy another one, if you donít want to buy it, you donít have to buy it. End of story. We released the CD-ROM with the video and all kinds of extra stuff on it, if youíre a fan and you want it, go buy it, if you donít want to buy it you need not buy it.

PC: Itís sort of calmed down now.

BD: Well, youíve bought the CD-ROMís are they any good? Everyone Iíve talked to says that theyíre pretty cool, so itís not a big deal.

PC: I was just happy to see the rest of the LAD stuff finally out.

BD: Yeah. When itís well done and itís clear that youíre getting something extra I donít think people mind. And again you donít have to buy it if you got it the first time around. If you do buy it and youíre happy with it, great. If you think it sucks after you bought it, thatís quite another story. We designed them and we put them together if a lot of people think they suck and think they were ripped off then weíd be pretty worried because we did it wrong.

PC: How is the search for a record label coming?

BD: Well, with CMC weíre off CMC and Iím also off CMC as a solo artist and well, Iím not unhappy about that. As far as where weíre at now, thereís a lot of interest with major labels, expect a major label.

PC: Priest just signed to Atlantic.

BD: WellÖ[shrugs and smirks]. No comment as to who the label will be [at this time I should point out that Bruce has a pile of Columbia/Sony promo CDís in his lap].

PC: Iíve been in the music business for 6 years in retail and on the label end of it and it gets ugly, but the fans that have been around long enough see through all that.

BD: Yeah, exactly. But weíll go with a major and that will be a huge relief for us.

PC: Was it really bad with CMC? I mean it seems like theyíre going backwards and youíre more interested in going forward.

BD: Mmm hmm, theyíre backwards. Thatís just the way they are and they like it that way. I wasnít involved in the maiden end of it obviously, but I was with Chemical Wedding and we just had raging arguments. The email lines were blazing about what they did or did not do for the record. Theyíre not in the business; theyíre in for making their bucks.

PC: They want a fledgling band that they donít have to pay much and that has a reputation they can rely on.

BD: Exactly, exactlty. Itís not even a fledgling band, theyíre not after beginners, but one with enough of a track record to sell a lot of records based on their reputation so they can make a few bucks. Regrettably, thatís it. At the time they were the only game in town so we had to go with them. If you read the propaganda that they put out about how they were going to save the world for Metal and all the rest of it, itís quite stupid.

PC: Are you going to be signed before the tour this summer?

BD: Yeah, oh yeah yeah yeah. On the tour weíll be selling the PC game.

PC: What do you think of these Maiden tribute albums?

BD: Iíve heard A Call To Irons part one. I like it. What leaves me cold is when people just copy it, but what I like, I must confess is when you get somebody who tries to do a real chilled out version or something or fools around with the song and does something creative with it.

PC: I heard a great version of The Trooper from a compilation [The Spandex Experiment] where they use a female choir for the chorus and slow it down to half speed.

BD: Oh great, I like that sort of stuff.

PC: Whoís out there today that you like to listen to?

BD: Oh God, I listen to all kinds of stuff, not that I really remember their names. I like Monster Magnet and people like that; I like things with tunes and vibe as well. So Monster Magnet fits right in. I like Rammstein, good heavy stuff. I like their record.

PC: Do you think theyíll be around in two years?

BD: Rammstein? Oh yeah, yeah. I think maybe the German thing might hold them back a little bit, the language thing. Theyíre heavy. I saw them headlining in Austria two or three years ago, geez were they very heavy.

PC: With a great live show.

BD: Exactly, thatís what will propel them over here is their live show.

PC: Billboard is doing a big Metal issue this June.

BD: Yeah, weíre going to be a part of that. Itís about time really.

PC: Whatís going on with this archival live material?

BD: Yeah, thereís some discussion about getting all that stuff, I donít know when that will happen.

PC: Would it be a good idea to let them handle the old stuff so you can concentrate on going forward?

BD: Oh no, I think weíd like to handle it, itís our stuff.

PC: Why no British shows this year?

BD: Well the British press is really cold on anything to do with Metal at the moment. We donít want to give them the satisfaction of letting them take a pop at us this year. Weíd rather come back next year and do something really extraordinary and shut everybody up.

PC: Where do you like to play these days?

BD: I just got back from South America, which is a pretty remarkable place. Sao Paolo I think is one of the highlight gigs of, ever really. In terms of Metal itís unbelievable, the audiences are amazing. Iím not particularly chauvinistic about where I like to play; Iím more than happy to play anywhere.

PC: Have you been keeping up with the press on the Littleton Colorado shooting?

BD: Yeah, Iím sick and tired of listening to people trying to defend the NRA. You can almost tell from the kind of suit and tie the guyís wearing as he comes up that heís going to say well we need more research into why this violence is happening. When someone questions him about the availability of guns he gets very defensive. If people donít have guns and donít have high explosives, people donít die its real easy. But thatís too much of a mental leap for people to understand, but itís tough to slaughter 26 people with a bread knife. The degree of ducking and diving being done by the NRA is pathetic and sad. Moses or Charlton Heston, whatever heís calling himself leading the faithful is just dreadful. I canít understand this bullshit about the right to bear arms, Iím sorry I donít get it. This could be the last topic before lawmakers get voted out of office by a population thatís completely pissed off with the crap that gets foisted upon them. Bill Clintonís impeachment case in point and now on to something far more important that a blow job, a high school massacre. So weíll see what happens.

PC: So the big important question is, does this reunion make the football team better?

BD: Oh I have no idea. I am way past worrying about the IM football team; Iíve got my eyeball on the new album and the tour and everything else. If we end up playing football, then Iíll worry it about it then. And like everything else, I shall play to win. I donít lose sleep over football, but whatever I do I play to win.

PC: Did you learn stuff from your solo albums and tours that you will use with Maiden?

BD: Sure. I learned a lot of stuff and they learned a lot of stuff while I was away and thatís great.

PC: Itís just going to make the next thing better.

BD: Itís going to make it that much stronger.

PC: This may be a difficult question to answer, but what did you think of the last 2 Maiden albums.

BD: [Irritated] Itís not something I even comment on. Itís unnecessary to comment on. Whatís the point? Everybody has their own opinion.

PC: And howís your opinion really going to change anyoneís mind?

BD: What difference does it make? All itís going to do is provide some asshole with an opportunity to start bitching so thereís absolutely no point.

PC: Are there big expectations for the new album?

BD: Oh, Iíve got huge expectations. I donít want to equal peopleís expectations; I want to exceed them. Thatís whatís in my mind.

PC: The pool of potential for that is huge.

BD: We have more songwriting firepower than at any time in the band. The vibe within the band is just so on at the moment and I think it will remain so. This is the same kind of atmosphere that we had on Number of the Beast, it really is, it really is that good. I think we can do the greatest IM album thereís ever been.

PC: Iíve been asking fans for questions and thatís the one thing they want to know, when is a new album coming out.

BD: And that is a very good thing. Thatís the way it should be.