Bruce Dickinson is simply one of the (and certainly THE) metal artists I admire the most ; on top of that I think he's getting better and better : to me, The Chemical Wedding may well be the best he's ever done. I'm hesitating between that and The Number Of The Beast. Yes, that's serious. So, obviously, interviewing him really was a grand event for me. It felts a bit like I was gonna interview God Almighty....
Well. Obviously God Almighty had not slept very much the night before. He was slumped in his chair, and kepts yawning and stretching all the time. Obviously, as for most of the interviews in heavy metal, this was gonna be a cool, relaxed thing.
And I really had a great time. Bruce constantly goes from profound to silly, which made the conversation both interesting and fun. I was trying to concentrate (though it may not be the right word, since it was, of course, very casual) , but half (at least) my wits constantly insisted on going flying high, talking to the birds and all. What can I say ? , I was (and still am) on a Dickinson high.
One of the main aspects of the conversation was that the guy is obviously having a ball. Things are going great for him, and he's definitely focused on the present and future : I was not talking to Bruce Dickinson Iron Maiden's ex vocalist, but to Bruce Dickinson the guy who has a lot to say now and keeps even more in wraps for later.... Maybe that's why he seemed quite interested in my rather unusual questions about his new album (the ones I've kept for the end :) ). He told me after that it was a breath of fresh air among everything he does with the press, and as you can imagine I almost started purring. And, seeing that I was interested in the William Blake stuff, he also briefly showed me his book with the poems and the paintings he mentioned, most of which I had never seen. I think this shows well how friendly and open the guy was to me during the whole interview (did I already mention that I worship him ? :) ).

I'm doing this interview for an e-zine. Are you much into the internet ?

Mmm, yeah. In America, it's THE way of people,of kids communicating. Especially in metal music. It's really taken over, -certainly in America-, from the conventionnal media of printing stuff. Because over there magazines don't come out till 6 weeks after the information in them is over and done with.

Yet your official website hasn't been updated for months !

No, it hasn't. I'm actually very lazy about the internet, mainly because there are so many other sites on the internet.... You know, obviously, I would never go to an official website if I wanted to find out what was going on.

Yeah ! [laughs] You get rumors, months before, but it's good to have an official confirmation.

It is. We're supposed to be changing all that around within the next few weeks. The management company that manage me, Sanctuary, just bought a website company, so they're gonna change all their websites.

Here's a stupid one : what's the worst nickname you've ever had ?

Mmmm... [hesitates about 3 hours, shifting position every 2 or 3 seconds. He's obviously struggling very hard to choose one :) ] Bruce Bruce I think.

Hey ! [stupid smile] I like Bruce Bruce. You are known for your dreary clothes [after an hesitation, I prefer to add : ] onstage. What's the worst outfit you've ever worn ?

Yeah I've worn some pretty awful outfits over the years..Mmmm.. Possibly the stretchy pants with the furry bellbottom flares.

Yeah, I can picture it.. What are your worst and best memories since you've gone solo ?

Worst memories was the end of the whole Skunkworks thing, I was pretty down. Best memories is every new album I make.

What do you listen to ? What are your influences ?

Wow. Everything starts out as being the feelings I've got when I was listening to the first records I ever bought. Which is Deep Purple In Rock and the first Black Sabbath album, and things like that. That era. So, I just try to translate that into something that's a little bit more modern, you know, when I'm doing my stuff. And a bit more to it than that. I'm trying to tell stories on different levels as well. Probably mainly for my benefit, I don't know, but still that's what I do.

And are you a classic heavy metal fan ? I mean,do you listen to lyrical bands like Manowar or Rhapsody ?

Obviously not that much. I'm not the world's greatest Manowar fan.

There's quite a lot of blues and latin music in your music. Spanish also.

Yes exactly. I 'm not a huge fan of that stuff. I'd much rather listen to a Monster Magnet album, or a Garbage album, or even like Dimu Borgir or something else like that , than Manowar. I know there's a lot of people who like me who like Manowar,but..

Yeah, you're doing the same type of stuff, so it's natural..


Hehehe [I put on my most innocent smile] Everybody knows you like French and speak it very well-

I've forgotten completely how to speak French [over modest ? Well he doesn't fool me a second] , but go on, go on..

So... Are you interested in writing a song in French ? I want one ! Hehehe, we all want one..

Good god. No, you don't want to hear me start trying to do lyrics in French. It's tough enough doing them in english, let alone trying to write them in French and sing them in French.

You sang Man Of Sorrows in Spanish.

Spanish is easy cause Roy Z translated it for me. And also... He translated it for me and seeing as I don't speak Spanish, he also taught me how to sing it ! [laughs] .

What happened to the lost Keith Olsen album ?

Some if it has appeared already on b sides. But some of it hasn't, so I suppoooooooose [huge bearlike yawn] some of it might appear one of these days. When we do some catalog or something, reissues, it might make sense to have some of that album.

And was it finished ? I mean, was it a real album ?

Oh yeah, a whole album. There was like 8 or 9 songs, we had finished and mixed, everything.

Was it because.... I mean, I've always heard of it ,on the b sides, as the ® lost . album.So, [big grin] why did you lose it ? Or how did you lose it ?

[laughs] Well, we lost it deliberately.

Hehehe. Wasn't it good ?

It wasn't that it wasn't good. It's just that it was all over the place. There was so many different influences in it. And I think it was probably not...Of all the albums I did after leaving Maiden -I did 3 of them before releasing any one- the Keith Olsen was the one that I needed to do least, from the point of view of my audience, probably the one I needed to do most from the point of view of my head, because it taught me what I didn't need to do in the future. But it did... Tears Of The Dragon did come out of that record, directly, so that was quite good.

Oh yeah. So it's a bit like Skunkworks. [gives me a puzzled look] I mean,-

Skunkworks was an album which-....No, Skunkworks was a.... Actually, I really like the Skunkworks album...

Yeah but it wasn't... it was a change of style. It wasn't really a heavy metal album. So, was it just an experience, or did you decide to stop metal for a while and then decided to come back to it ?

Oh, no. I definitely decided to stop doing 100% metal stuff. But the idea was to do a hybrid because you see, I mean looking at a lot of bands today, metal now has widened its scope a little bit, and an album like skunkworks actually fit. If it wasn't Bruce Dickinson who did skunkworks, it would be a metal album.

I like it, but most of your fans don't...

I know, I'm aware of that.

...cause it's not what they expected.

I'm gradually trying to get around to that, so that people don't expect anything else except something interesting when I do a record. He !

And did the failure of Skunkworks affect you a lot ?

Yeah. I've put 2 years of my life into it, so, yeah. Pretty much.

Must have been quite a hard time...

I was a little sort of, ah, angry, depressed, miserable, pissed off.

[I laugh] Mainly pissed off I guess.... And do you still consider it as a full part of your solo career ? I mean for instance will you play Skunkworks titles live ?

I'am not gonna play any Skunkworks titles live, but that's only because-

Some would be quite good.

Yeah, I know, and actually, Eddie and Dave and Roy, you know, they like the album, so it would be easy enough. But I've got so much stuff which YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH [yawns like a whale] - excuse me, I was up some stupid time this morning- which they already have played on. They've got so much stuff they've already got time and energy and effort invested in.

You've got plenty of stuff to fill a playlist.

Yeah, exactly, exactly.

In 1994 you played in Bosnia. You even thanked the Unprofor in your live album for getting there and back alive. So, was it a big experience, and did it change you ?

It was a very big experience, yeah. Cause we basically went in through an active war zone with no protection whatsoever. In the first 7 hours of driving in the middle of the night through a war zone in winter. In just a soft top truck, and we all slept in sleeping bags in he back, on top of the equipment. It's the most extraordinary thing I've ever done. And I'm not sure what it changed, but it certainly changed something.

And did it influence your writing ? Did you write something about it ?

Well Inertia was about it.

You mentioned sleeping in the bus and all. After Maiden which was a big machine, how was going back to the roots, I mean going back to be a little band with no big money and big equipment and huge lot of fans. How did it feel ?

The band part of it feels exactly the same actually. In fact, from that point of view it's actually better. But, you know, my only thing was having smaller shows, and things like that... Yes,you do have less money, so you have less ressources to spend on things like the show, or even a lighting man, we don't have a lighting guy, we can't afford one [laughs]

One thing that must have been good is you're getting closer to the fans again.

Yeah, that IS good. But in a 2000-seat venue you're still pretty close to the fans. You know, it's a good compromise, those size venues...

I prefer the little venues, you know, you can reach out to the players and all..... The Zenith was a sort of compromise... There were all the hardcore fans, like me, we were in the front, but the whole venue was not interested in your tour, which must have been quite hard.

Oh, Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Lynyrd Skynyrd thing, oh yeah, that was a lousy piece of bullshit. I mean, that was the wrong tour for us to do, which we all know now, but at the time...

Was that the record company ?

No, it was the agency that booked us for this bloody tour, the booking agency. Unbelievable.

It was a little sad to see you do your stuff, give energy to it, and hear that nobody in the crowd was reacting.

[broad smile] Yeah, well, they reacted more in France than they did in a couple of places in Germany, I have to tell you [laughs]

Yeah, I was pretty surprised. I mean, we were quite a lot [Dickinson fans] in front, at least 50 or 100 persons for you. And I didn't think we would be that much [I remember, when going to the show, I was afraid that there would be 3 of us shouting and singing while all the lynyrd Skynyrd fans were bored or laughed at us.... a vision of hell] There was even a banner [much to my surprise]

I know, there was a lot of support in France, and in Italy as well, and that was really good.

After Balls To Picasso, what made you change your band and then go back to the Tribe Of Gypsies players ?

Well the Tribe basically got a record deal with Mercury records, and I didn't feel it was fair to put pressure on them to come and tour with me when they would be doing their own thing. So I looked for a band.

Then you met Alex Dickson- no, you had known him, you didn't meet him then, but-

No, I'd known him for ages.

But you had mentioned in your live that the Skunkworks line-up was permanent. That's what surprised me..

Yeah, it was supposed to be. But it became obvious after several things. Well after the tour with Helloween, it became obvious that this was not gonna work out on a long tour basis life. The personalities were not right on the road. And the atmosphere was not right on the road either. So ,that was the problem, and that's why it stopped, or I stopped it.

In your live album, you mention an acoustic tour, prior to the live. How was it, playing acoustic ?

Fine. We used the right kind of songs. Tears Of The Dragon actually works very well in acoustic.

I can imagine that. And did you play some guitars on it ?

[looks amused] Oh I played, yeah I strummed a few chords on Tears Of The Dragon.

And there's a photo of you playing the electric guitar on the Live At The Marquee album. Did it disturb you when you were singing ?

I didn't play when I was singing. I just played as a rhythm guitar to fill out the solos.

For me that's one of the main reasons that it didn't feel quite right. There was only one guitar.

That's why I picked only one guitar. I mean, the reason I picked one guitar is because the band is completely different, it plays completely different. And when you have only one guitar, it has to be much more... It's not gonna be as heavy a sound, cause you don't have this big wall of guitars.

Mentioning acoustic... Will your show, now that you have a real long show, will it have an acoustic part ? Cause some songs would be terrific. I mean, you mentioned Tears Of The Dragon. Man Of Sorrows, or Arc Of Space, or Omega would be great in acoustic.

[ stretches.... damn, I almost feel guilty for not letting the poor guy sleep :) ] Yeah.... The only one we're gonna do of those , obviously we'll be doing Tears..... Maybe Omega might be going in, I'm not sure... We have to see what works out when we start rehearsing.

Is it ready ? Is your live performance ready yet ?

Oh no. The guys are doing some rehearsal in L.A., we're doing two weeks rehearsal starting October 2nd.

So you're still... I mean,you've just finished the album and -

I've been touring for six weeks now. Doing promo.

Where ?

Germany, Sweden, Italy, France,.... Last week I was in Paris on Monday, Hamburg Tuesday, Berlin Wednesday, Frankfurt Thursday, Nuremberg Fryday, went home,came out here today.

Did you play ?

No. I did promo.

You have created your own label, Air Raid Records, which means that you are at last gonna get an efficent promotion.

I hope so, I hope so.

.. at least in France, because the promotion for Accident Of Birth was lousy. You had mentioned it at Le Zenith. Do you feel relieved to control that at last ?

Yes, because at least I only have myself to blame if it all fucks up. At least we know, if we're screwing up it's easy enough to go and find out why.

I think you like to control what you're doing a lot,..


...... That's one of the reasons you've gone solo. You now seem to have found the right band.

Ah yes I know... I agree.

It seems quite permanent. You're working quite well together. Besides, you have created your own label, which means you're gonna get an efficient distribution. So, [I give him a sugar smile] will we get a new live album soon ? Because you've got quite a lot of new material to make it different from the Live At The Marquee one.

[stretches and yawns like a ... well, you must picture it well now :) ] That's right, that's right. Mmm.... Not sure yet,not sure. I'm not sure it's necessarily the right time for a new live album, maybe a new studio album before that.

Well, to me it's always the right time for a new live album [laughs] . For the fans I mean.

Yeah. I'm just weary of releasing too many live albums, cause it tends to be what bands do at some point.

Yeah, there's a commercial side, but the real fans love it. I mean, I kinda like the idea of releasing many lives [if they are all excellent,of course ! ! ] , it also shows the evolution of the band.

Well, we'll see. We'll see is the only answer I can give to that, there'll be something. I hope we can figure out something to release next year. In the summer or something. But we'll see.

Maybe an LP or something. Mmm, some said Accident Of Birth had Maiden style parts because you wanted to sell more albums. They are gonna get quite a surprise when they listen to The Chemical Wedding, I think. That made quite laugh the first time I thought of it. SO waht do you say to them ?

[looks quite amused ] Well, you know, people wanna try and read things into the situation. But the fact remains that anything that sounds a little bit like Maiden on Accident Of Birth is there because I sound a little bit like fucking Maiden, because I wrote those frigging songs !

Yeah, that's what I think, but some don't understand that. I mean, Maiden style is partly your style, so it's natural for to sound a bit like Maiden.

Exactly, exactly.

But The Chemical Wedding is very far from that. It's much deper into the Accident Of Birth style. I mean it left out any remnant, I think...... except for the solos, maybe.

Yeah, maybe the solos are a little... That's because it's twin lead a little bit. But yeah, I think Chemical Wedding's a fantastic album. And it's doing very very well as well, it's doing really really good.

It's selling good ?

Oh yeah !

Cool. Because I love it, har har har. I read a review of Chemical Wedding which said that it was disappointing considering the potential of Accident Of Birth.

Oh. This is a French review.

Yeah, Hard Rock. I think this shows very well that some people still expect you to play Maiden style, because I think he wrote that because he had liked the Maiden style in Accident Of Birth and thought ® Oh maybe Dickinson is imitating Maiden again and it was disappointing in that point of view...

Look. French fans will discover this album, because France is not, you know... I mean, one review that says it is disappointing. He ! [shrugs] Hard Rock is the only paper in the whole fucking world so far. [I laugh] You know, between Metal Hammer in England, Kerrang in England, Terrorizer in England, Q Magazine in England, have all given me great reviews. [my eyes grow wider and wider as he enumerates :) ]Mmm, album of the month in Heavy Oder Was ?, it's album of the month in Rock Hard in Germany, it's got 4 out of 5 in Metal Hammer in Germany,it's.. It's got 3 front covers in Italy, it's number 22 this week in Finland,it's top 40 in Germany. And Germany just reordered 5000 albums within the first two days of release.

Much better than I thought it would.

It's doing fucking great.

Because it's so deep and difficult, I thought you were taking quite a risk.

Well I think because of taking the risk, and because the album is... Okay, it's deep 'n difficult,but it's fucking clear what's going on here. This is a metal record. Heavier than Accident Of Birth. A lot.

Deeper into it. Yeah, that brings me to the bass strings stuff. You couldn't do it heavy enough with guitar strings ?

No,we changed when we got this guy.... As a matter of fact Roy can't do the tour, over here, Roy Z. So we took the guy that was the guitar tech. who helped design those guitars, a guy called The Guru, and he's coming over and he's gonna do the guitar. [at that poin, I must have been stupidly looking at the halo of light that surrounds him :) for some time.... Apparently I cannot hide that I didn't quite grasp what he's just said :) , so he says more clearly : ] Instead of Roy. On tour.

[I finally wake up and kick myself for being slow...] Huh ? Yeah ? Really ?

Yeah, the guitar tech, it's all ready.

[still trying to focus myself] Huh ? Oh. I liked Roy.

Oh I love Roy, don't get me wrong !

I mean, he impressed me.

Oh Roy is amazing, don't get me wrong. Roy is probably gonna be doing the American tour next year, and Japan and everything. He just can't do this chunk, cause he has to be in L.A.. Unfortunately. But we've got this fantastic replacement, and he's the guy to ask about the bass strings, the G string from the bass guitar on the E string of the normal guitar. Because he was one of the guys that designed it.

Ah. Errr... Well, that quite surprises me, because I mean at the beginning I was a little skeptical about Roy, because having read where [what type of music I mean] he came from, I wondered if he could handle the lyrical parts well. But when I saw him live he blew me away.

He's amazing.

Yeah. I mean, he was equal to Adrian on stage. I thought Adrian would be handling the very fast and lyrical parts,and Roy would get the rhythm parts, and that's not what happened and he really blew me away. I think it's sad that he-

Roy plays all those on the album too. All the solos on the album, that's all Roy.

It's a bit a disappointment that I'm not going to see him onstage, for a whole show.

Yeah. I mean, obviously, Roy is kinda disppointed too,cause he wanted to come over and do it, but, you know, familiy's gotta come first.

Oh yeah. Of course. So... Your album is very mystical, and that's one of your - No,that's your big subject. Is mysticity just a deadly interesting subject to you, like it is to me, or are you a spiritual person yourself ? Are you involved in it, I mean, personally ?

Naah. I obviously can't say that I am,you know, like involved in it, like I'd start throwing spells, and things like that.

[I laugh] I don't mean that. But are you religious for instance ?

Not hugely, no.

Cause I'm not at all, but I looooove it, it's interesting like, huh, satanism. I mean, I love satanism, but only as a ground for stories...

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And it's a bit like that with me too. Although I must say that this thing, the big link between William Blake and the poetry and everything, I find that very inspiring.

Oh yeah. I discovered that recently, and it's really... really impressive. So [big stupid smile] you're not a Urizen or Los worshipper... Sorry, I had to say it. [laughs]

No, not at all. Except that Los and Urizen are in my head the same way as they are in Blake's head. I mean Los and Urizen are the two halves of William Blake, in his subsconscious. That's the genius of it.

The Poetry and the Reason.

Yeah. Always fighting with each other, always having to live in the same place.

And trying to convince one another.

Yeah. And so... You know, I have the same thing going on with me. The constant battle.

And how did you get into poetry and mysticity ? I mean, take me for instance : I had an introduction to French writers in school,...

Sure, and that's the same thing in England.

...but I will have to discover the English poetry like Coleridge and Ashbless and Blake,.... by myself. Because I'm into scientific studies. And.... [don't worry, I'll get to the point one of these days] I mean, I've read blake's work, and since I've listened to your album I've started rereading what he wrote, but I feel that without a guide I'm missing something. So, [see ? There eventually] the question is : how was it for you ? How did you come to it ?

Ah.... I just grabbed a book of his poetry, I started reading.... When I found he wrote.... Well, I took a book of his poetry, but it was the pictures you see. Cause the pictures go with the poetry. When Blake wrote poems, he didn't just write them on their own, he illustrated them. And if you see,the - it's the illustrations initially.... I was like WAOW !!! You know. And then you read,and the illustrations and the poems go hand in hand, if you can see the soul behind the pictures. With the poem. I saw this picture of Urizen... And it had -That was absolutely terrifying. I found it so anyway. And it was everything that I was scared stiff of. Everything that I was angry about.... was Urizen. So, wow !

Ok.... Mmm, you have written books, and I suppose they are about mystical culture....

Nooooooooooooooooooooo. These two books were... No. Pornographic comedies.

[A piano just fell on my head. So much for preconceived ideas. I start laughing] O-kay ! :) . Cause I have never been able to find anything about them in France. And believe me I''ve looked hard. So tell me more about them. I want to know !

Well they're not translated in French.

I don't care about the translation.

Well, they were two pornographic comedies, one following on from the other, about an excentric English landlord, who's transvestite below the knee only [I vainly try to picture it] , that becomes caught in a strange case of mistaken identity. It's farce, basically. With lots of sex and and lots of ...

So it's your stupid part.

Yeah, yeah, excatly. It's my silly part.

You know, I had imagined something very mystical and... Hehehe. So for the first time since you left Maiden your new album is not a big change from the precedent one.


It feels like you've been looking for you style and your band for years, and that now you have at last found it. And all you do now is just explore deeper and deeper.

That's sort of what it feels like to me. I'm not sure what's the next one is gonna be like exactly, but I think it's gonna relate to the previous two, certainly.

I mentioned that before : this album is a difficult one. And for instance, I think my favorite song is gonna be Jerusalem. It's so beautiful. But it's impossible to understand that song well if you haven't read Milton or The Book Of Urizen, or Jerusalem by Blake. [ one thing should be clear :I don't mean explaining the song like the shit critics think they can do, but just understanding the origin of the song, what he refers to in it ] What I mean is that one cannot fully grasp your album without a knowledge of Blake. So on the one hand it's good because it's very deep, and very moving, but on the other hand it closes part of the access for a lot of your fans.

Yes and no. Yes I agree with you. It can at times be maybe a little complex [laughs] But at the same time it's not necessary to explain everything to everybody. It works. All the great reviews about this album were written, and nobody had access to any of the lyrics at all. At first it was an accident, and then I thought ' This is a great idea ' because they would just write what they feel, and not be tempted to pick a part of the lyrics. There is nothing worse than a fool trying to criticize something he knows nothing about, and it's easy to be superficial about some of the lyrics if you read them on paper. But if you listen to them sung in context, it works. The fact they can't tell exactly what's going on, I don't mind.

I had a different approach to it. When I heard Revelation for the first time, and when I read the lyrics, it was ' What the fuck is he writing about ??? ' I wasn't into that kind of stuff, so the Hanged Man and all, you know, ' What the fuck... '. [laughs] But it was very beautiful and very mysterious, and I loved it.

It's because what it is, are actually....

Very personnal ?

Yeah but they're also.... There'a a psychologist called Jung.... There's Jung and there's Freud, they both argue about fucking psychology... They're both dead now... Jung had this idea that there was in some way a universe of consciousness that existed, and that in some way man's subconscious mind had access to a series of symbols that are imprinted from the day we are born, like a part of our genetic code, very primitive, but if you can decode those symbols, and Jung set about trying to do that... This symbology, that's why you can understand hieroglyphics. That's how people can understand rock carvings and things like that. It's because you know fundamentally enough. Primitive people in Africa did the same shit as primitive people in the rain forest. And it's not just coincidence. It's that this primitive stuff and the tarot and things like that all go back to the very most primitive primeval level of man's existence. And that's where it comes from, it comes from your subconscious, these are pictures from your subconcious. That's what the tarot is. People don't know why they feel something,but they feel it.

And it's a ground to communicate.

Yes. As a lyricist... If somebody want to pull it apart, it should work, as well, but you don't have to pull it apart for it to work.

That's not what I tried to do, but I had read it already, so I went back to it.

Yes, of course.

And in a way I regret not to be able to approach it like I did Revelations. I had found it very beautiful, and I could interpret it basicly, you know with the images of sin and all. But here I couldn't because I already knew the poetry. But I suppose it came back to the same, because Blake wrote about it because he felt like it and that's what we feel when we read what he wrote. It's not the same but it works too... Jerusalem really moves me.

Jerusalem is a very beautiful song. It's very uplifting, I think.

Yeah, I go swimming into the high spheres and all [ we laugh] Mmmm.. You said that the riffs on this album, alternating a very heavy greasy bass with the lyrical solos, were written to mirror the chemical wedding's alchemical and spiritual meanings.

It's probably not strictly true, because Roy when he was writing the stuff didn't have that much of a clue what I was doing with the lyrics and the melodies and stuff. But as we were writing I tried to influence him, you know. Roy is very good with that stuff, he has a great intuition, he feels things.

It could be felt on Accident Of Birth.

Yeah. Taking The Queen is just so amazing : there's a sense of tragedy on that track,that's why I picked up on it. And on this album I picked up on some heaviness, and that's what made my lyrics heavier, he pickep up on it and he made the riffs sound heavier.

Everything is linked. Did you write it as a concept album ?

Yeah. The only 2 songs that don't link are atcually Machine Men and Killing Floor. Lyricly they're not really part of the concept . They fit, because they fit musically.

Oh. Hehehe, my next question was to be ® I suppose the lyrics were all written first ... because the music matches the lyrics

Well, no. It's actually the other way around.

You wrote them separately ? I don't think it's possible, It wouldn't match that much.

Not entirely separately. Actually, most of it was written pretty much together. I went 3 weeks to L.A. with Roy.

How do you deal with all the diverse influences brought by the Tribe of Gypsies ? For instance, The Tower has a funky bass riff that is quite surprising but that fits into it.

It never strikes me as being hard when you do stuff like that. Because I hate straight same old fucking rhythms in metal. Good metal is always doing new stuff with rhythms. Listen the early Zeppelin stuff : Zeppelin were fucking with rhythms all over the place.

They were GOOD with rhythms, that was their thing. I love the Spanish influence in metal. There is a lot.

There is a lot, because it's guitar music. Who writes the best classical guitar pieces ? Bloody Spanish.

Your last album album was a new beginning, and you supported Lynyrd Skynyrd on tour which meant that the audiences weren't interested in you in general, and on top of that you had a lousy promotion. So I suppose you were quite down..

Well... Tell you what, it was such a great album and such a great tour that I could not possibly be down at the end of it, because we finished up in South America and we had a great time, and it really came up. What I was down about is I could have sold about 50% more albums. With a good fucking record company.

Now you have finished this album ; it's very deep and obviously you invested yourself very much in it, so you must feel very relieved now. Plus, you've got a tour of your own. And you've got your own label, which means that there won't be no shit anymore about the promotion.

Well there better not be. [laughs]

So, you must feel great now, feel like the future is yours.

[smiles] I'm cautiously optimistic [big laugh]

[skeptical smile] Yeah, right.

We've got 80,000 records out there for the moment, and we have reorders last week for another 10,000. And it's only been out for one week in Europe.

So you must feel like the bloody king.

Well, when we've sold all 80,000 and they've ordered another 80,000 then I'll really be happy.

You must be very optimistic right now.

I am. I wanna see what the live thing is gonna do, because the live thing is very very important. I wanna see if we're gonna sell some tickets.

With the material you've got the shows are gonna be great... I don't know the other audiences,but I know that in Paris it won't be a problem. I'm sure of that.

If we do good in all these places then we will really be happy.

Have you started thinking about the future ?

There's several things to do. I don't wanna wait.... The next time I wanna put out a full studio record, is probably sometime like the middle of the year 2000. [ I'm surprised ..... and show it] I'm not gonna have chance to make and put one out next year. Because we'll be touring America through till the summer. The thing is even if we made one next year : takes a couple of months to write it, takes 3 months to record it, takes 5 months... It wouldn't be finished till October or Setember . It then takes 3 months to promote it. So we would be releasing it in Decmber of 1999. It's not a good time to release a record. So what I'd like to do is maybe think about making or half make the record next year, complete it early in 2000 , and then have a really big promo campaign, set the tour up, set everything up, get it all fixed up. That's what I'd like to do.

And then kill them all :)

Yes, slay them all. But in the meantime I would also like to have a record out next year, something.

[I jump] A LIVE !!!!!! A LIVE !!!!!!!! [laughs]

Well, a live could work. I'll tell you what ,there are several songs : There's wo songs on this album didn't go on this, Real World and Return Of The King. And there's two songs off Accident Of Birth, two very good songs.

And the Keith Olsen album.

And there's also a couple of acoustic things that I did with Roy which are under wraps. One of Roy's favorite things I've ever done with him has never been released, and it was done just this last time around. So there's at least 5 or 6 songs there , actually there's a couple of other things. I'm not sure whether to do that ....

Do a jigsaw album.

Yes, do an album of rare tracks. Even still from Tattooed Millionnaire. People are always asking for Darkness Be My Friend, a little acoustic thing with keyboard, flute and stuff. And.... [I missed a few seconds here while the tape was reversing gosh, already 45 minutes gone] ... think of that later.

Mmm, want to talk about the writing of the Chemical Wedding a bit more ? I'm quite interested in the Blake stuff, and I don't have any other questions so....:)

The Blake stuff... really came about because a lot of what was going on in Blake's head was very similar to what is going on in my head, and I saw Urizen [ he means the picture :) he showed it to me after the interview, it's quite striking] The Book Of Urizen seems to me like Blake psychoanalysing himself in public. Los and Urizen, you could think of them as being the two halves of Blake's creative subcounscious. And all the guilt, all the anxiety, all the paranoia that Blake felt is bound up in Urizen.

The Creator, which is -


No, I don't mean the lyrical Creator, Urizen is the Creator of worlds. But as the same time a bloody tyrant. Guilt and pride opposing themselves.

Yes, He's the tyrannical father. And this has to do with the relationship between Blake and his father.

Wow, I don't know dick about that yet [laughs]

Blake's father was the one who beat his son when his son said he'd seen a vision of an angel. Blake's father said he was stupid and hit him. And Blake is always trying to make sense of the fact that 50 % of him is his father. Rejecting it. You know, Urizen is spewing out worlds like his father was spewing out... bits of blake. [laughs] And yet Los is creating , and he could never shake this tyrannical thing, this figure. And it's why throughout his career he would always find a new boss, and disagree with him, like he was always picking a new father figure. It didn't affect his genius, but god what a hard way to live your life. You know.

Well thanks a lot, time to stop. Want to add anything ?

No. Just that it's a great record, but you know that already. Excellent, thank you very much.

Big thanks, of course to Bruce Almighty :), and also to Olivier 'Mon Garcon' Garnier.

A sign from Bruce..