Progressiv: stufenweise, fortschreitend, sich entwickelnd, fortschrittlich (Duden). Seit der Reunion vor sieben Jahren zeichnete sich bei Iron Maiden eine progressivere Ausrichtung ab, erste Ansätze zeigte "Brave New World". "Dance Of Death" ging mit Songs wie "Paschendale" oder "Journeyman" noch weiter, und tatsächlich, hier ist "A Matter Of Life And Death", quasi die Prog-Metal-Offenbarung der Eisernen. Im internationalen Vergleich ist es zwar "nur" ein Metal-Album, doch diesmal ist einiges anders als sonst. Das ließen schon kleine Signale im Vorfeld der Veröffentlichung erahnen.
So haben Maiden nicht etwa den prädestinierten Opener "Different World", einen klassischen Uptempo-Rocker, als erste Single ausgekoppelt, sondern "The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg". Die Nummer mit dem Gänsehaut-Intro ist nicht nur aufgrund des Titels eine ungewöhnliche Wahl. Hinter "These Colours Don't Run" verbirgt sich keine Anspielung auf den sabotierten Ozzfest-Gig im letzten Jahr, sondern eine zynische Abrechnung mit jeglicher Kriegspropaganda. Im Finale des Songs wird klar, dass dieser im Live-Set der nächsten Tour auftauchen muss. "Oohoooh ..." singt Bruce Dickinson, und vor dem geistigen Auge sieht man ihn schon die Flagge schwingen, während das Publikum mitsingt.
Trotz einer durchschnittlichen Songlänge von knapp über sieben Minuten ist nicht einer der zehn Titel zu lang geraten. Und keine Sorge, bei aller Progressivität ist "A Matter Of Life And Death" ein glasklares Maiden-Album. Harris und Co. sind bekanntermaßen fähig, ihre Musik weiterzuentwickeln, ohne den Kern aufzugeben. Und stellenweise geben sich Iron Maiden sogar klassischer, als zu erwarten war. "Out Of The Shadows" etwa klingt so, als wäre es damals für "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" aufgenommen worden. Es endet mit einer großartigen Zeile: "A man who casts no shadow has no soul."
Das epische "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" ist an Intensität und atmosphärischer Dichte kaum zu toppen, was nicht zuletzt an der subtilen Keyboard-Untermalung liegt. Der Höhepunkt wird jedoch erst mit dem atemberaubenden "For The Greater Good Of God" erreicht. Das Epos kulminiert in einem Gitarrenexzess, dessen extatischer Bombast den Eindruck erweckt, ein Orchester würde die Band begleiten. Obendrein hat der Song die intensivsten Lyrics: "Please tell me now what life is, please tell me now what love is, well tell me now what war is ...". Harris ist ein Poet in der Welt des Heavy Metal.
Wow! Das dritte Studioalbum im Sextett-Lineup ist progressiver, düsterer, intensiver und anspruchsvoller. Das heißt auch, dass "A Matter Of Life And Death" volle Aufmerksamkeit verlangt und ein paar Durchläufe braucht, um sich in den Gehörgängen einzunisten. Doch dieser "Aufwand" wird reichlich belohnt. Iron Maiden haben ihrer Diskografie ein weiteres Meisterwerk hinzugefügt, das ist eigentlich keine Überraschung. Überraschend ist aber, dass "A Matter Of Life And Death" die Platte des Jahres ist. Grandios!
Wie viele andere Heavy-Metal-Bands musste die britische Gruppe Iron Maiden harte Zeiten überstehen. Doch zuletzt feierte man ein kommerzielles Comeback. "Die letzte Platte schaffte eine Goldauszeichnung in Großbritannien. Wir sind in unserer Heimat so erfolgreich wie seit zehn, 15 Jahren nicht mehr", sagte Sänger Bruce Dickinson. Die neue CD "A Matter Of Life And Death" (EMI) wurde am Mittwochabend im Wiener Planet Music präsentiert.
Fans. Die Band selbst war zwar nicht nach Österreich gekommen, die Fans feierten die Veröffentlichung dennoch. Es gab erste Hörproben, Videos und den Auftritt einer Coverband. 75 Minuten an harten Klängen haben die Herrschaften von Iron Maiden eingespielt, die Songs sind episch und mit mitunter fast zehn Minuten Spielzeit bewusst nicht formattauglich.
Instinkte. "Bei den Aufnahmen zum Vorgänger ('Dance Of Death' von 2003, Anm.) haben wir sehr viel gegrübelt. Diesmal sind wir mehr unseren Instinkten gefolgt", betonte Dickinson, der nach einer Solo-Karriere um die Jahrtausendwende zur Band zurückgekehrt war, in einem von der Plattenfirma verbreiteten Interview. "Beim letzten Mal haben wir auch sehr lange gebraucht, diesmal ging es schnell und live."
Teamgeist. Der Sänger hob das funktionierende Bandgefüge hervor: "Wir waren stets gemeinsam im Studio. Ich will auch keine Leistung hervorheben, denn es haben alle spektakulär gespielt, aber Nicko McBrain ist für mich der Mann des Tages! Sein Drum-Sound klingt fantastisch. Wir hatten noch nie so ein wuchtiges Schlagzeug."
Themen. Die Texte beschäftigen sich in erster Linie mit Krieg und Religion. "Wir sind doch ständig mit diesen Themen konfrontiert", so Dickinson. "Nach dem Fall der Mauer hat der Terror den Kalten Krieg abgelöst." Jeden Tag würden neue "Mini-Apokalypsen" bekannt werden: "Egal ob Schmutzige Bomben oder Vogelgrippe."
Songs. Live wollen Iron Maiden das ganze neue Album in der entsprechenden Reihenfolge der Songs bringen. "Wir müssen aber erst proben. Die Lieder verlangen meiner Stimme einiges ab - das mag vielleicht das einzige Problem sein." Über Österreich-Termine wurde vorerst nichts bekannt.
Pilot. Dickinson arbeitet übrigens nicht nur als Rockmusiker, sondern auch als Pilot bei einer Fluglinie. "Es ist großartig, im Urlaub eine Platte mit Iron Maiden aufzunehmen. Eine coole Sache!"
Bruce Dickinson hat Humor. Auf dem neuen Maiden-Album, so doziert der Jahrhundertsänger der Heavy-Metal-Szene, "die Goldene Stimme vom Grab", wenn man so will, gibt es "Texte über Religion und Krieg, über Angst und Paranoia, Leben und Tod."
Als ob es bei Iron Maiden je um etwas anderes gegangen wäre und nicht ein Blick auf dieses unglaubliche Martialo-Horror-Coverpic von "A Matter Of Life And Death" genügt hätte, um festzustellen, dass inhaltlich alles beim Alten bleibt. Zu Maiden gehört es eigentlich traditionell dazu, dass man sie mitsamt ihres finsteren Heavy-Metal-Konzeptes anlässlich jeder Veröffentlichung überholt und anachronistisch schimpfen - oder, angesichts all der weltpolitischen Sauereien, als brandaktuelle zeitgeschichtliche Kommentatoren in den Himmel loben kann.
In musikalischer Hinsicht, da sind sie eh eisern, die Eisernen Jungfrauen. Warum sollte sich eine Band, die sich seit so vielen Jahren - mehr als 25 sind es - auf derart hohem Niveau bewegt und in ihrer Liga ganz vorne spielt, auch neu erfinden. "A Matter Of Life And Death" ist also nicht die Revolution, mit der sowieso niemand gerechnet hat, aber dieses, soll man's sagen, "Konzept-Album" ist der Höhepunkt einer Entwicklung: Mehr und mehr konzentrierten sich Dickinson, Dave Murray, Nicko McBrain, Steve Harris, Janick Gers und Adrian Smith in den letzten Jahren darauf, nicht nur gute Heavy-Metal-Songs zu schreiben, sondern es mussten immer häufiger bis ins letzte Detail ausgefeilte Epen sein, produktionstechnische wie virtuose Meisterwerke mit düsteren, mystischen Passagen, weit ausholenden, großen, pathetischen Refrains und teils minutenlangen Instrumentalparts. Dichte Soundorgien, die, laut genug aufgedreht, jedes Wohnzimmer in ein Schlachtfeld verwandeln können. Bildergalerie Eisernen Jungfrauen
Iron Maiden sind eine wahre Institution des Heavy Metal. mehr
"For The Greater Good Of God" ist so ein vor Intensität triefendes Kunstwerk, und "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns", auch das abschließende "The Legacy" wird in Sachen variantenreicher Songstruktur Maßstäbe setzen wie einst vielleicht ein "Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner" oder später auch "Paschendale". Ja, das ist durchaus die Preisklasse, in der sich dieses neue Maiden-Werk bewegt. Musikalisch hat die Band eine Höchstform, wie in den ganz großen Zeiten, produktionstechnisch ist das Album wohl sogar so gut wie nie zuvor, und Dickinson übertrifft sich seit seiner Rückkehr eh stets aufs Neue.
Freilich sind die meisten Tracks von jedem Format-Gedanken, von jeder Geradlinigkeit völlig losgelöst, gestehen in ihrer Komplexität jedem dieser fantastischen Musiker eine schier unglaubliche Freiheit zur Entfaltung zu. Dass es ihnen dennoch immer wieder gelingt, in diesen teils fast zehn Minuten langen Songs wie spielerisch ergreifende Stimmungen und ständig wechselnde Atmosphären zu kreieren, den Hörer mitzunehmen auf ihre düsteren Ego-Trips, das zeugt vom einzigartigen Songwriting Iron Maidens.
Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life And Death
Bleibt eine spannende Frage: Um wen geht es in den Lyrics des Songs "The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg"? Die Suche nach Hinweisen ist eine höchst unterhaltsame Sache. Deutsche Maiden-Foren sind mehr oder weniger ratlos, erst in England gibt es unter http://www.benjaminbreeg.co.uk einen vielleicht entscheidenden Hinweis ... Ist ein Maler und Schriftsteller gemeint, der angeblich 1978 spurlos verschwunden und bis heute nie wieder aufgetaucht ist?
In Deutschland gastieren Iron Maiden am Donnerstag, 7. Dezember, in der Stuttgarter Hans-Martin-Schleyer-Halle und am Freitag, 8. Dezember, in der Dortmunder Westfalenhalle. Pflichttermine!
"Ich glaube, er sagte: 'Gepriesen sind die Skifahrer.' " "Was um alles in der Welt ist so besonderes an Skifahrern?" "Ich glaube, es ist mehr als Gleichnis zu sehen. Weißt du meine Liebe, es bezieht sich auf die ganze Wintersportindustrie."
Kritik: Iron Maiden werden für ihr neues Werk fast durchgehend mit Lob überschüttet. Fangen wir trotzdem mit etwas Kritik an: Produzent, Mixer und Toningenieur Kevin Shirley schafft es auch auf „A Matter Of Life And Death“ wieder nicht, einen anständigen Sound auf CD zu zaubern. Wie schon bei früheren Produktionen klingt das Endergebnis nicht 100% überzeugend und versauert irgendwo auf der Strecke zwischen Verstärker und Lautsprecher.
Selbst die teuerste Anlage kämpft mit diesem schwachbrüstigen Sound, gegen den es nur ein Mittel gibt: Alle Regler nach rechts drehen und dann ab dafür! Bruce Dickinson (Gesang) sieht dies natürlich ganz anders, aber was soll er auch anderes sagen? Vielleicht liegt es ja daran, dass das Album in weiten Teilen live und in Rekordgeschwindigkeit eingespielt wurde. Geplant war die Veröffentlichung jedenfalls erst für Oktober/November. Sei’s drum. Das kleine Sound-Handicap wirkt jedenfalls nicht so schwer, da es sich bei „A Matter Of Life And Death“ um ein starkes Album handelt und nicht um einen Stolperstein wie es der Vorgänger „Dance Of Death“ (2003) war. Deshalb drücken wir einfach ein Auge zu.
Dass „A Matter Of Life And Death“ in der Tat eines der besseren Alben in der jüngeren Geschichte der Eisernen Jungfrauen ist, erkennt der Hörer allein daran, dass er diverse Hördurchgänge benötigen wird, um die volle Pracht der überdurchschnittlich langen und äußerst progressiv ausgefallenen Songs zu erfassen. Im Grunde handelt es sich zwar um typisches Maiden-Material, aber keines, das sich simpel und vorhersehbar gestaltet. Das erlaubt sich das Sextett eigentlich nur beim eingängigen Opener „Different world“. Doch schon mit „These colours don’t run“ beginnt ein 70-minütiger Parforceritt aus ruhigen Passagen und harten Riffattacken, die sich mit messerscharfen Soli aus den Mündungsrohren von Dave Murray, Jannick Gers und Adrian Smith abwechseln. Ein früher Höhepunkt ist dabei das hymnische „Brighter than a thousand suns“, das an die Großtaten aus den 80er Jahren erinnert und auf Alben wie „7th Son Of A 7th Son“ (1988) oder „Powerslave“ (1984) einen Ehrenplatz gehabt hätte.
„The Pilgrim“ – der zweitkürzeste Song des Albums – verbindet orientalische Einflüsse mit treibendem Riffing und Dickinsons charismatischem Sirenengesang, während ein Song wie „The longest day“ endlich mal verdeutlicht, wozu Iron Maiden drei Gitarristen brauchen. „Out of the shadows“ ist eine reinrassige Steve Harris/Bruce Dickinson-Nummer mit balladesken Zwischentönen und einem Refrain in „Tears of the dragon“-Regionen und „For the greater good of god“ – das längste Stück des Albums – orientiert sich gleich noch eine Stufe höher und nimmt es in Sachen Intensität und Stimmung mit dem Klassiker „Rhyme of the ancient mariner“ auf.
Wer nach 30 Jahren noch ein Album wie dieses aus dem Hut zaubert, darf seine Karriere gerne fortsetzen. Dann verzeihen wir auch die überhöhten Ticket- und Merchandisepreise, sowie die schlimme Phase in den ausgehenden Neunzigern. Der Ausrutscher „Dance Of Death“ ist damit getilgt.
Eine Übersetzung des Interviews mit Steve aus dem spanischen Metal Hammer:
Q: It is quite sure that the fans might frown and not like the album on the first listen Why is it so dark?
Steve: Everybody has a different way to see things. We have been doing interviews the whole week and some of us went to Japan to do promo last week and everybody has a different idea of what they think this album means. Right now I have been interviewed by 3 Spanish journalists and all of you have found it a dark one. Previously just 2 journalists have mentioned it. However, it really goes on well with the opening track. ‘Different world’ talks about the different perspectives that people see things with. I think that the record has more hope than darkness, with a huge progressive feel. It’s quite epic. We have more long songs than ever and don’t ask me why, as we never plan these things. I usually call the guys…
(Infinite thanks to GhostOfCain for the translation and the typing !) Q: ...and you tell them that you have a lot of songs completely written.
S: Well, I tell them that I will go to see them on the following week (laughs). I tell them that we have to get together to start working on the new album. I think that most of the stuff was written with Adrian on the first day we got together. It’s quite spontaneous and inspired. Then I met Dave and Janick. Bruce wrote the lyrics over my melodies. However, there isn’t a master plan behind each album…
Q: As a writer, do you have fun making people have opposite views on your work? Do you laugh at them, thinking “you losers”?
S: (Laughs) Nothing further from the truth than that. Everybody has a different opinion. It is like reading a book: everybody reads different things, although the book is still the same.
Q: It is certainly a progressive album, although I think it seems intentional, due to the number of repetitions featured in the songs or certain parts of them. Some of them have reminded me to ‘The angel and the gambler’, from “Virtual XI”. The song was pretty good, but the chorus repetition was painful. I have found songs in “A matter of life and death” apparently made last longer for the sake of making a long song. Don’t you think that songs 2 minutes shorter would have been better?
S: You are the first one to mention this. It is a matter of opinion. When we write something we think it is correct the way it is, we do not stop to think is the song is longer or shorter. We have not written long songs in the album for the sake of having long songs.
Q: Do you think that Maiden music can just head into the progressive direction? Why not a change towards something more extreme? To name just a possible example, that is.
S: No, because we did not grow up with Death metal. Hence, it can not influence us. Our musical influences come from the 70s and that is what you can hear in our music. Death metal is out there, but it doesn’t say anything to us when we are writing tunes, as we did not grow up listening to that music.
Q: I was referring to if the progressive path is the only one to follow in your evolution.
S: But we don’t think about it. We don’t think about evolving to one place or another. That’s the reason why the album has songs much more epic, because we haven’t even thought about it.
Q: A great bunch of the album was written with Adrian. I think that 5 songs out of 10 have been co-written with him. In the hypothetical situation where he would leave the band again, how do you think it will affect the sound of the band?
S: I don’t think he’ll leave again, because he did it once and had the chance to come back (laughs). I don’t think he’ll leave for a second time, although you never know! I don’t think it will happen so I don’t see it as a possible problem. I think that in this album, more than in any other, Adrian’s influence is bigger. For the next record I will go first to Janick’s house or Dave’s place (laughs) and so there will be more songs by them in the album. This way round things have worked like I said. We are not a band that writes 20 songs and chooses 10 for the album. We stop when we think we have enough songs to have a new album.
Q: Metallica have worked for a long time with Bob Rock and he became an important part of the band. You have been working with Kevin Shirley in your last 3 albums. Do you think that a change in the production department would benefit the band?
S: No, because we have found what we were looking for. In this album we sound better than we have ever done with Kevin. We feel comfortable with him and we work quite fast. Why change the combination if it works? It would be something to take into consideration if it wasn’t working…
Q: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Q: The band sounds much more organic than other bands from nowadays. Were you trying to find that sound or do you think that it is the definite Maiden sound?
S: The only thing we have changed in purpose in this occasion is the bass sound. In the last 2 albums I think that I went away from my classical bass sound, due to the presence of 3 guitars. So, we looked back and listened to our early stuff to recover the bass sound of our first four albums. I told this to Kevin and I think it now sounds much better, with more space for the drums. I think that’s the only thing we wanted to intentionally change, the rest came naturally. And I agree that the album sounds much more organic. We do what we do and that’s the result of it. Kevin is really settled now. This is his third album with us. He knows how we all work and knows how to get the best possible sound from this band.
Q: The recording was done mostly live. Am I right?
S: The initial backing tracks were done real fast. The way we have changed things this time is that we have worked with a very lively feel. We worked in the backing tracks of one song, we added all the extra stuff, we mixed it and then off we went to the next song. It was a great way to work.
Q: I read Kevin’s diaries and I have noticed that the album was done really quick, in just 2 months.
S: That’s because it’s Kevin’s third album and it accelerates many things. The writing was done quite fast, so we could work much more time with Nicko. Thus, he knew the songs much better when we entered the studio and we could record the basic tracks quite fast. Moreover, we worked tune by tune. It has not been lethargic. If you spend too much time in the studio you get fed up with everything and the tension and discussions arise. This time we focused on each song and once it was finished, it was time to do another song.
Q: What I heard is the final album?
S: Yes, but it has not been mastered.
Q: I think that Bruce’s voice sounded a bit hidden in some songs, mostly in ‘Different world’ Is it some kind of punishment for not behaving properly in last years Ozzfest?
S: (Laughs) No, nothing like that. It depends on the song. Sometimes the voice needs to be up in the mix and sometimes needs to be mixed slightly hidden. If you put the voice up you lose that big and fat sound that you want to achieve. That’s the reason why his voice might seem hidden in a few songs. But it was done in purpose.
Q: His melody lines are reminiscent of past works in some cases. Especially when he holds the notes at the end of the verses (Harris nods). In the past there have been songs with faster and convoluted vocal lines, like ‘Hallowed be Thy name’.
S: Well, it depends on what the songs needs. In a way it depends on me, not on Bruce, because I wrote the melody lines for this album and the previous one. If you have to blame somebody, I’m the one (laughs). I try to have things sounding in a certain way and I have my own style of writing. Some people like it and some don’t, but what can I do? It’s my style. I don’t analyse it too much. If you listen to an album and analyse it, you can have an opinion different to that of another listener.
Q: Without analysing it deeply, do you think that a casual Maiden teenager fan will find this album easy to listen? It is difficult to digest.
S: I don’t think in that. If I wanted to catch the attention of teenagers I would write material in vein of Bullet for my valentine, with vocal lines more focused to what’s on, but we don’t give a fuck what’s on. We want the young fans, because that’s what makes a band evolve, but we also want the other fans, we want all the fans, old, new and all in between. We don’t write what people want to hear and we have never done it, because people do not know what they want to hear.
Q: Why do you think Maiden have lasted this long? Are you the reason, the other band members or is it everything together?
S: The main reason is what you have mentioned before: we do what we want. If we tried to write for teenagers… First of all, we could not do it, as we are not teenagers anymore. And if we did, we would upset the fans in their thirties. You can’t write what people want to hear. We do what we do and then they have to decide if they like it or not. If they like it, great. If they don’t, tough. That is our attitude and that is why we keep on being relevant. If it wasn’t that way we should do surveys: “OK, what kind of sound do you want for the next album? What songs do we have to write?” (Laughs).
Q: And then give them an ice cream at the end of the survey.
S: That’s it (Laughs).
Q: Now I am going to ask you about another subject, although I do not want to insist much on it: last years Ozzfest. You have always been a professional band that has kept the shit under the carpet and has not discussed their issues in the press. However, it seemed that there were some problems among Bruce and the rest of the band.
S: We are professional musicians and we acted like that. They would have preferred if we had gone away from the stage, I’m sure, but we didn’t. The great thing is that the audience was with us and when the PA sound was cut, they supported us. That made me feel proud and actually gave me goose bumps. It was incredible what happened. It’s not that they threw shit to us, as our own road crew has done too when we ended other tours (laughs), but it’s sad to see people acting that way when they have a problem. If you have a problem, why can’t you be… I was going to say a man, but I’m sure that if a man was involved things would have been different. The issues would have been discussed and that’s it. Done and dusted. But it wasn’t a man who did it, so the acting was completely different and I won’t even try to understand it.
Q: I thought that there was some problem with Bruce, as he was especially vocal in his displeasure with the fat fans sitting in the first rows in the USA.
S: Whenever we go to the USA, Bruce is very vocal in those things because there are things completely wrong in that country. The fans are great and loyal and I feel sorry they understand the message in a wrong way and think that we do not enjoy playing in the USA. The problem is with the venues. They sell the front row tickets to people that do not even care for the band. The real fans are in the 20th row and the people from the front rows have been invited or have the money to get those seats and sit there eating fucking fried chicken. Imagine playing in front of that people. You get really upset!
The problem is that, when you are in the 20th row you can’t always see the reason why we are so pissed, because you don’t see what happens in the front rows. In the future we must play in other places. There are other venues, but not always available. Sometimes you have to play in the venues where these things happen, but we’ll try to get the real fans to the front rows. When we headline in Denver, to say a place, we play in the same venues Ozzfest takes place and the problem is exactly the same. There are assholes in the front rows that do not care for what you are doing. Seriously, it seems that if they had a remote control they would change the TV channel (Laughs). Why do they go to the show? Why are they there? That’s the kind of people that should be at the back. They have their right to be at the show, they have bought their ticket, but I don’t think they should be sitting in the front rows.
We get the feedback from the fans in the first rows more than any other band. We need that contact to enjoy the show. We can be professional players and get on playing, but it shouldn’t be that way. The real fans should be in the front rows.
Q: The problem is that most venues are owned by Clear Channel and one cannot fight against the elements.
S: One can, and we will. We will see what happens.
Q: People do not see what happens in the front rows and think that Bruce is having one of his tantrums. Perhaps due to his reputation, although he’s more mature than 20 years ago.
S: But Bruce has always complained about what happens in the USA, because the problem is not new. If Bruce can’t stand something he has to say it and I feel the same way, although I would say it in a different way. When Bruce complains about MTV he is right, and I’m not referring to The Osbournes. It’s not a show as big as they think it is. I like The Osbournes, I think it’s an amusing show. The problem is that MTV just has reality TV shows and things like that, they don’t care about music. That’s what Bruce is complaining about. They think that when we criticise MTV and all that shit we are criticising The Osbournes. It’s a problem of their ego.
Q: But she [Sharon Osbourne] thought it was personal.
S: Why? Because she has an ego the size of fucking California!
Q: I don’t know Steve, it seems that Sharon Osbourne is a peculiar woman. Those of you who have worked with her might know it better than me.
S: I met her several times over the years and I haven’t had any problem with her before, but what she did wasn’t professional. If she had a problem with somebody, she should have talked with Rod or directly with Bruce. Why did she wait until the end of the tour and did she act that way? If she didn’t like something, she should have stopped it way before. I’ll tell you something. It wasn’t just that. We played a great show on the first night of the tour in Boston and she did not say anything. But on the second show, we went onstage and we had no sound. Nothing was coming from the PA during the first song. I think that it’s highly unprofessional.
Q: Do you think that a possible reason is that in Iron Maiden the singer still sings, instead of stutter or babble?
S: No idea, I don’t know what made her act that way. It’s a shit… We would not do it again. We have headlined in the USA since fucking 1983 and if we did Ozzfest was to try to reach a new generation of fans. It’s difficult to get to them in another way and I think it worked. However, look what happened in the end…
Q: How was to play an extended set because Ozzy could not perform in certain nights?
S: We knew it would happen. We knew he would not be able to do two shows in a row. We knew it could happen.
Q: So it wasn’t a surprise then.
S: No, we were ready for it. We did not have any problem with Ozzy. One of the nights he could not perform, Bruce said some kind words from the stage, wishing him a fast recovery and all the best. Apparently his wife wasn’t listening...
Q: Ozzy is not the problem, his wife is.
S: Oh, I haven’t said anything. I have said too much (Laughs).
Q: Back to the album. There are two songs that have surprised me: ‘For the greater good of God’ and ‘The reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg’. Those are the tunes I find more similar to the material from “Dance of death”. Are they leftovers from the recording sessions of the previous album?
S: No, everything in this album is new. There is just a part of a song where I have used a bass idea from a previous song, but it doesn’t have anything to do with “Dance of death”.
Q: I think that sometimes you try to make room for 3 guitars when the song hasn’t got enough space for 3 guitar solos or multiple harmonies. Do you think the 3 guitars are overused in the band?
S: Not really. In the past we have done twin harmonies with a third rhythm guitar. The three guitars are not the reason behind the length of the songs.
Q: What is the plan for the future? Some years ago you said you were going to tour less, recording albums in the winter and touring in the summer.
S: To be fair, we do not want to do 9 or 10 months tours. We can’t do them physically. If we did those tours, we would risk ourselves to be burnt out and then have some years off. The last tour was 4 months long and when we finished it we were still wanting more, something that it’s really good (laughs)! It means we could return to work faster, instead of touring for 10 months and then have a year off.
The only problem is that we can’t do more than a date in Spain and that we don’t play in Portugal, Greece or Belgium, places where we should play.
Q: But you don’t do 7 dates in the same country, like it happened before in Spain.
S: We are not 20 years old anymore. The problem is that the band gets bigger every year, but we cannot be on tour for nine months, because then…
Q: ... You feel old.
S: It’s not that we would feel old; it’s a matter of quality over quantity. It’s better to do things well. We have to be realistic.
Q: There have been many rumours in the press about the end of Maiden.
S: We can’t go on forever. Now we feel strong. The only reason why we keep going is because nowadays we plan things in a better way. If we kept on doing things like in the old days, we would realize that we could not keep playing.
Q: Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Maiden to end!
S: Of course, but it’s a typical thing to speculate about. We have to plan things well and then we could keep the band alive longer.
Q: I believe you would do this album tour. Then, another retrospective tour with songs from “Powerslave”, “Somewhere in time” and so on will follow and, finally, a last album and a tour before retirement.
S: We don’t know it yet. We would like to do many things. We would love to do another studio album and we would probably record one. Or perhaps we wouldn’t. We have to be passionate about what we do.
Q: If it wasn’t for the private jets, would you have continued touring?
S: When touring becomes a problem you realize that you don’t want to do it. Now we enjoy touring. Due to our popularity, we should be playing much more shows, but we can’t anymore. Now we play in certain cities one year and in different cities the following. Perhaps people would have to travel to see us live...
Q: It’s what many classical artists do: tours with just 15-20 dates. People go to see them instead of them going to play to wherever the people are.
S: Well, we have been one of the hardest touring bands ever and we have earned our right to tour less. What do people prefer? A nine month tour and then the band breaking up because we could not keep on doing this? I think that’s not the best possible solution...
Q: People should check the World Slavery tour schedule.
S: Unfortunately this is a problem for our younger fans that haven’t seen us live many times. But we can’t do anything about it. We can’t do long tours. Nowadays flights are cheaper and a fan has more chances to catch a plane to see us. I know it’s a problem, but we can’t do anything about it if we want to keep going.
Q: In this way you also avoid to be seen live too many times, as it has happened with Saxon, that play in every European festival year after year.
S: You are completely right. We are going to get loads of shit for not playing in Portugal – especially myself, as I have my second home there – or in Belgium, Greece, Australia and all those other countries. But what can you do? You can’t please everybody. ______________________________________________________________________________________________
Out of the universe, a strange love is born Unholy union, trinity reformed
Um eine Frage von Leben und Tod dürfte es sich bei der neuen Maiden vermutlich eher weniger handeln. Allerdings steht doch noch der Beweis aus, dass sie ein eher schwaches Album wie "Dance Of Death" vergessen machen können. Ich wage zu bezweifeln, dass Kollege Cordas die Scheibe noch einmal so gut bewerten würde. Zu ausufernd, zu nichtssagend, zu belanglos waren die meisten der Stücke auf dem 2003 erschienenen Longplayer. Legendenstatus hin oder her, aber "Brave New World" war da doch von einem ganz anderen Kaliber. Zwar besitzt "A Matter Of Life And Death" nicht ganz die Power vom Comeback-Album, doch dafür mindestens so viel Spielwitz. Das zeigt sich schnell an der fast schon progressiven Ausrichtung des Materials. Dream Theater-Fanatiker werde hier natürlich nach wie vor nicht fündig, doch schon der Opener
"Different World" sprudelt dermaßen frisch aus den Boxen, dass man den sprichwörtlichen Jungbrunnen doch mal irgendwo in England suchen sollte. Die Nummer hat ordentlich Power, und Bruce zeigt endlich wieder, wieso man ihn zu den besten Sängern der Welt zählt. Vor allem der Chorus klingt erfrischend modern.
"These Colors Don't Run" setzt hingegen auf bewährte Maiden-Technik und startet mir einem ruhigen Intro, das sich nach einer knappen Minute in den eigentlichen Song steigert. Eine recht typische Maiden-Nummer, in der auch die Breaks gewohnte Schemata setzen. Vergesst alles, was ich gerade gesagt habe, wenn ihr euch das düstere, vertrackte
"Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" anhört. Selbst in den ausgeprägten Solopassagen sorgt das Gitarrentrio für einige neue Aspekte, die neben Bruces großartigem Gesang Akzente setzen.
Leicht orientalisch, aber immer noch deutlich der Band zuzuordnen, beginnt "The Pilgrim" und greift auch im Verlauf des Songs noch mal auf die ungewohnte Melodie zurück. Im Vergleich zu den meisten anderen Nummern ein beinahe kurzer, zügiger Rocker.
Deutlich epischer präsentiert sich da schon "The Longest Day", das mit wirklich tollen Soli glänzt. G egen Ende des Tracks fühle ich mich vom Gitarrensound her fast schon an Blind Guardian erinnert, s pätestens hier erfährt man mal, wofür drei Gitarren gut sind.
Sehr balladesk beginnt im Anschluss "Out Of The Shadows", legt aber ungemein an Power zu, kaum dass Mr. Dickinson seine Stimme ein wenig erhebt.
Was uns zur Single "The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg" bringt. Wer immer der Kerl auch gewesen sein mag, als Inspirationsquelle ist er für die Briten jedenfalls Gold wert. Die eigentlich recht straighte Nummer ist sehr düster, episch, ungeheuer kraftvoll und die absolute Höchstleistung des Sängers.
Auch wenn "For The Greater Good Of God" ein weiterer fast schon typischer Maiden-Song ist, der für altgediente Fans kaum Überraschungen bereit hält, dürfte er doch bald in der Tradition von Nummern wie "Alexander The Great" oder "Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner" stehen.
Deutlich progressiver zeigt sich "Lord Of Light", auch wenn der Track nicht unbedingt zu meinen Favoriten auf dem Album zählt. Hätte auf "Dance Of Death" aber noch zu den spannenderen Songs gezählt.
Ganz großes Kino fahren die eisernen Jungfrauen schließlich noch mal mit dem abschließenden "The Legacy" auf. Ein weiteres, episches Stück, das trotz seiner Dauer zu keiner Zeit Längen aufweist, wie das noch auf dem Vorgängeralbum der Fall war. Ganz im Gegenteil ist der Aufbau sehr interessant, abwechslungsreich und fast schon ungewöhnlich. Ein Highlight des Albums und auch im Fundus der Band allgemein. Ganz so überflüssig wie gedacht scheint Yannick Gers doch nicht zu sein, immerhin stammt das Stück von ihm und Steve Harris.
Musikalisch gibt es an "A Matter Of Life And Death" also nur wenig auszusetzen. Allerdings wäre es an der Zeit auch mal wieder ein Cover am Start zu haben, das es mit den alten Sachen aufnehmen kann. Klar, Eddie ist nach wie vor dabei, aber seit "Fear Of The Dark" scheint der alte Knabe schwer von seiner Ausstrahlung eingebüßt zu haben.
2 minutes to midnight, The hands that threaten doom
In Antwort auf: Musikalisch gibt es an "A Matter Of Life And Death" also nur wenig auszusetzen. Allerdings wäre es an der Zeit auch mal wieder ein Cover am Start zu haben, das es mit den alten Sachen aufnehmen kann. Klar, Eddie ist nach wie vor dabei, aber seit "Fear Of The Dark" scheint der alte Knabe schwer von seiner Ausstrahlung eingebüßt zu haben.
Habe die beurteilung auch gelesen, schließe mich Michael Edele zu 95% an. Vor allem beim Cover: Meine Rede!!! __________________________________________________
"Wenn dir Heavy- Metal nicht einen überwältigenden Stromstoß verpasst und dir heißkalte Schauer über den Rücken laufen lässt, dann wirst du es vielleicht nie verstehen. Entweder du spürst es oder nicht. Und wenn nicht, das macht nichts, denn wir kommen sehr gut ohne euch klar!"
I thought I'd link to it here as well for those who don't have access to the IMOC
What an honor this interview was. Talking to a member of IRON MAIDEN is like talking to Royalty. These guys have been around forever and they never disappoint. I was given this opportunity just one day in advance, for most that’s pretty short notice. I tried to stay away from some of Foundry’s dumber material and get real serious with Nicko. There’s so much to talk to him about regarding his career and history with the band. Low and behold, Nicko is a real down to earth guy and even prompted the first fart joke of the interview himself. Great guy, great sense of humor, and I hope to speak to him again in the near future regarding whatever Iron Maiden is working on!
FoundryMusicRob: Before we get too far into the musical questions, I know the members of Iron Maiden are very into soccer. What did you think of the World Cup this year?
Nicko McBrain: Ah, miserable mate. Really bad, it was a bit of a shambles, for us especially. It was still good soccer though! I must admit, it was some great games, ya know. But for England to have done as well as we should have done, well, never mind. It’s a game, man, and there has to be a winner and there has to be a loser. ::laughs::
FoundryMusicRob: Is the U.S. team as much a joke everywhere else as they are here?
Nicko McBrain: I think they’ve got some great players. The World Cup, although it was a disappointment from England’s point of view, has probably been more of a blessing for American Soccer. A lot of people got behind the country in this match, and I think it brought it to the forefront a bit more than it has done in the past and therefore it could really be a springboard for leagues. My friend played the last year with The Fusion down there in Florida in 2001. It was a shame because they got dropped and there was no finance for them. It’s Big Business and I think it might be a springboard for America to get more serious about the game. A lot of people really got into it this year. I think it’s going to be healthy to really kick it off. Make it up there as one with basketball, baseball and American football. There’s great players there, some of the guys on the Fusion team were Brits. It’s just not as well known and popular in America as it is in the rest of the world and I think that’s going to change. Maybe it’ll get some of these sports financers to go “let’s kick it out there again.” It is an hour and a half game, it’s not long, it’s intense, two 45-minute halves. I think it’s a great game, a great spectator sport.
FoundryMusicRob: First thing I want to ask about is what is probably on most people’s minds, who is this Benjamin Breeg character? There are lots of theories out there and they all sort of come back to theme of war, about how Eddie is Benjamin, or Benjamin is a metaphor for war, perhaps the third World War that seems to imminent these days.
Nicko McBrain: ::Laughs:: That’s a secret. ::laughs:: I really can’t tell ya, I don’t even know myself to be very honest with you. All I know is that it’s an idea that Steve came up with, with Shaun Hutson, who is a horror writer. I think it’s an alter ego of Eddie, or a part of Eddie’s past, is all I can make out of it. Until I’m clued in completely, 100%, I cant… ::laughs:: Ya know? I mean, you’re asking one of the band and I don’t even know. ::laughs::
FoundryMusicRob: There are a lot of theories out there…
Nicko McBrain: Well, that’s what we wanted. We wanted to keep it a bit vague and let people make up their own mind. Is it Eddie? Is it a reincarnation of some kind? Is it a brother? Is it an alter ego? It keeps you thinking, like a good thriller, see? ::laughs::
FoundryMusicRob: The new album shows a more mature group of guys. You seem to have been able to write a unique album together that doesn’t really copy your previous efforts, but at the same time, it’s still without a doubt an Iron Maiden record. Was this the band’s intention?
Nicko McBrain: We’ve always had this [idea of] “How are we going to top that record? How are we going to do this?…” Now we don’t think of things that we’ve done in the past like that. We think of it as “We’re going to write the best songs that we can. We’re going to make the best performance that we can, at that time.” So it’s like making the first record you’ve ever made each time you get together, if you see what I’m saying. You can’t live on your past, although sometimes you know you’ve got a benchmark you’ve got to surpass or live up to. There was a magic on this album. The way we recorded it, was one part of the chemistry. We’ve never done this before, we mixed each track as we recorded it. We didn’t have a sit down session after the record was recorded. The old day’s you’d strip it down, re-cue everything. You’d start with the kick drum and then the snare and then you’d lay down the drum track, and then the bass to that and you build it. A lot of the influences in these tunes, I personally feel it’s very retrospective of the late 60’s/early 70’s. There’s a lot of progressive stuff on this record. I’m the oldest man in the band but I’m the youngest looking, suave and debonaire, people don’t think I’m as old as I am. That kinda crap. ::laughs::. Stuff we listened to growing up, Yes, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, there’s a lot of our early roots in this album. Kevin [Shirley] was the seventh member of the band on this album; the sounds he put together as we were recording was just... right… for each track. I think a lot of our early influences came out on this album, like on “Lord of Light” for instance, you’ve got flange in the cymbals, panning the stereo effects on guitar. Stuff they used to do in the early 70’s that was psychedelic. In my opinion, Rob, this is the best record Iron Maiden have ever made, and that’s my honest feeling about it.
FoundryMusicRob: I like the honesty in the record not being overproduced. Anyone can go in these days with Pro-Tools and digitally come up with anything and put it out there and then fail to perform it live later on.
Nicko McBrain: Of course we took advantage of being able to take best sections of songs, that sort of thing. But we performed these songs 5 or 6 times on a run through and the live vibe of the tracks was there. There was a lot of guitar interaction between the 3 guys. Usually whoever wrote the song would take the first solo, but when we recorded them they were scratch solos and some we kept and some we didn’t. Some were done again because they wanted a specific sound on the track. There was one where Adrian went “Oh! No no no! I can’t do a solo now I haven’t got me pedals!” But it sounds great as it is, a Les Paul plugged into a 100W Marshall head! But he went “Oh… I don’t know.” So we told him just blaze out a solo, and I think we actually kept that one, I’m not 100% sure. Most of the vocals were kept, so there’s a lot of a live vibe on this album. I can’t wait to get out there with this album; I’m leaving work in a few days and going to rehearse [before the tour]. I can’t wait to do these new songs, it’s like that with every record but this time there’s something else kicking inside me. I’m an old fart but I’ve got this young angst in me again. ::laughs:: It’ll probably be the death of me! ::laughs:: The writing on this record, and the quality of the songs, takes you on a journey, to me. It kicks off with “Different World” and then you’re off in the first 5 songs of the album and in the middle of it we’ve got “Out Of The Shadows.” It’s a very musically conceptual album, it’s like a piece of orchestral music to me, this record. For me personally, my playing is more musical on this record.
FoundryMusicRob: The drummer in any band is always considered the backbone, the almighty timekeeper. Have you ever felt ill before a show and wonder if you’d be able to be dead on with your timing? What would happen if you got a case of the hiccups or had to sneeze really bad in the middle of some intricate drumming?
Nicko McBrain: ::laughs:: I happens! What I do in that case is I try and get the timing right so it works like a percussive effect. Especially when I’ve got a fart coming on! ::laughs:: We shouldn’t be going down that street, this is crude. ::laughs:: But honestly, when you do have an upset stomach and you’ve got to go onstage and you’ve got that feeling like you’ve got to fart. ::laughs:: That’s the worst thing in the world when you’re jamming and you know the changes are coming up and you nail it and you think “Oh! Oh! I’ve gotta fart!!” ::laughs:: It’s the worst! But adrenaline is the most amazing natural drug that you’re body makes. The endorphins and whatever happens when you get these adrenaline rushes and stuff, it’s amazing how you can feel so very very unwell, and I don’t mean when it’s self induced like a blazing hangover. ::laughs:: But your body is sick, say you’re going on stage with the flu, and you think you’re never going to make it. But then you’re onstage and the adrenaline kicks in, and the vibe, and the kids, and you’re there with the band. You feel fine as you’re playing and you don’t even think about how poorly you felt just before. It’s when you’re finished playing and you come down a bit, that’s when your body screeches to a friggin halt from 2,000 miles per hour to zero.
FoundryMusicRob: On a similar note, can you share with us an embarrassing road story? Something silly or frustrating that’s happened while on tour? It can be from any Maiden era, I just always like to ask this because a lot of people think it’s all rock star glory and glamour all the time.
Nicko McBrain: Oh, gosh. I can’t really recall anything straight off the top of my head, anecdotal-wise. But some of the frustrations you tend to find are… There’s a lot of the traveling side. We’ve been fortunate enough on the last few tours to fly privately through Europe, and the last few American tours we’ve done we chartered a small airplane. So you lose a lot of the grief that you go through now with the changes in the world’s travel with security. The most difficult thing is with people turning up late. You’re ready to leave and the cars on at the gig, or they’re at the airport to pick you up and those things get a little bit annoying and frustrating. Sometimes you’re running so fast; and we always look after ourselves in this band, but the older you get you need a little more rest. They tell you “You don’t sleep as long” and that’s not true. When you’re running like we are, I need my rest. I must admit kids, I’m an old fart, and sometimes I need to have a siesta. Sometimes you’re ready to go and someone is running late, and that gets frustrating, but it’s not something you’re in control of. Sometime the things that are not in your control can be frustrating, but what can you do about it? You’ve got to grin and bear it. ::laughs::
FoundryMusicRob: I know a few decades ago it was a big deal for some people if they were able to have a single released from an album, but these days things are much different. Nowadays there’s multiple singles, there’s file on the Internet, and so on. How has the music industry changed from the artist’s perspective since you’ve been a working professional?
Nicko McBrain: From our perspective, in terms of the industry, we just do what we do, same old same old. The industry affects more the crew behind the band, such as the management, the record execs, the label we use. It has affected us in terms of how chart positions are determined. For instance “The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg” in Britain, because it’s so long it doesn’t qualify for the old 45 single, because it’s not 4 minutes long, it’s 7. For a band like this, we’ve established ourselves, we’ve been around 30 fricken years, so we’re not starting out. We’ve got a benchmark of a standard we’ve had from the 1980’s. For the new bands it’s tragic, nobody puts money out anymore, you’ve got to go to a label with the record finished already. It has changed, but it hasn’t affected us as much as it would someone trying to get going. To our fans, they still want to have a CD in their hand, with the artwork and the lyrics and stuff. I know you can download this stuff but it’s not the same as going out to get it printed up from the label, overseen by the band, the quality control and stuff. This is hence the story of the Dance of Death DVD, that’s been a nightmare for us, logistics and all. I must admit the industry is getting a bit lackluster. People are trying to get a fast buck without putting anything out for it and I think that really is affecting the way people approach their music and the compromises they start to make. I think if you stick by your guns and have your convictions in your music and songwriting, the ability of the guys you’re playing with, then try to ride out the wave and don’t’ fall off the board. I know it’s easy for me to say, I’m in one of the most successful bands in the world, but I’ve been there before where these guys are. We all had to start somewhere. A lot of great players come up and look at the industry and say “Oh, that sucks.” And they go off and become stockbrokers or something, which is ok. It’s easier for people to fall away from the passion than it was 20-30 years ago.
FoundryMusicRob: A lot of newer bands don’t have the same staying power that a band like Iron Maiden has.
Nicko McBrain: Yeah, there is that. I thin it does stand down to the way the industry is now. I think the computer age obviously has a lot to do with it. People listen to music in different ways nowadays. In the old days you stuck a piece of vinyl on a player and went “Wow, this is phenomenal” but now you put it on an iPod and you get the same vibe! ::laughs::
FoundryMusicRob: Whenever you guys record a live version of “Fear of the Dark” I always love to listen to the audience, and especially on Rock In Rio, that gave me chills hearing all those voices backing you guys up on that track. Since you’re the drummer you’re set pretty far back on the stage, can you hear the audience just as well from where you sit?
Nicko McBrain: Oh, yes of course I do. The thing is, sometimes it’s overpowering, it really is. I play loud, and I don’t hit the kit as hard as I used to but I’ve got my monitor system up pretty loud and I have to because I’m sitting behind all the equipment, and sometimes it amazes me that I can hear them so loud. Not just in open-air shows either, sometimes in indoor gigs when you’ve got 12,000 or 14,000 kids singing all together, it’s incredible. The one thing I love about Iron Maiden audiences is that they sing the guitar parts as well. ::laughs:: That’s one of the beautiful thing about the way Steve Harris writes his songs, he has this anthemic vibe and he goes “Could you image the audience singing that bit?” Like in “The Greater Good of God” in the middle section. There’s such a vibe, it gives you this kick, and it’s that adrenaline again. “Fear of the Dark” is usually played toward the end of the show. Sometime you get to the end of the gig, especially if you’ve really given it a bit too much through the gig. What I mean by that is you’re standing there and kind of sagging and slacking a bit. ::laughs:: You feel like “God I don’t know if I can make the end” and you get this vibe come out during these songs, when the audience is singing and it lifts you. That Rock In Rio was amazing, I’m surprised I kept my pants clean. You couldn’t see the back of the freaking field. All you saw was a movement, like an ocean.
FoundryMusicRob: I want to go back a few albums to Powerslave, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” has to be, to date, one of my favorite Iron Maiden songs.
Nicko McBrain: Oh yeah, that is an epic isn’t it? Funny enough, Steve and I were together in the Bahamas a few months ago and we were talking about that and we were saying maybe we should do it again. Maybe one time, reincarnate it. You never know, we’ve got the middle and end years coming up. That’s a 14-minute piece of music. ::laughs:: That’s half an album in the old days. What a fantastic piece of music, that’s a great song. I liked the middle where the narration comes in; you hear the boat and the deck creaking. Live I put a ship’s bell up and I sort of play this sort of 8 bells “ding ding.” ::laughs:: Rob, I love ya for that, mate. My all time favorite Maiden has to be “Hallowed [Be Thy Name]”, to play live.
FoundryMusicRob: That’s another favorite of mine!
Nicko McBrain: I so love that song to play live, it really is amazing, it’s fantastic.
FoundryMusicRob: I actually learned how to play the bass line to that song back in High School. Everyone knows Steve is an athletic player when it comes to his bass lines. I was tying my fret hand in knots trying to play that song.
Nicko McBrain: ::laughs:: He amazes me with some of the stuff he comes up with. Not only is he a fantastic player, he’s an amazing song player. He’s a gem, he’s one of those people like Beethoven that come out and make this symphonic music. Steve is classically, that good. He comes up with all the parts. He doesn’t do just the melody, he comes up with rhythms, lyrics. Especially a song like “Hallowed” and “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” For instance, on this record, these lines that he’s playing, he’s following the guitar part and as we’re rehearsing I’m saying to him “How in the flipping heck are you doing that?” And he says “What, what do you mean?” I said “That’s frickin ridiculously quick!” But I look at Steve and I tap him on the head and I say “What frickin planet are you from, mate?” ::laughs:: I’ll tell you mate, even after all these years it’s just a joy to sit with those guys and be there to watch Janick playing. But yes, Steve’s a great bass player, and ever since I’ve met this man he’s never changed, not a smidgen, and I met Steve back in 1979 or 1980, before I played in the band. He was just the same then as he was yesterday.
FoundryMusicRob: We’ll wrap this up the way I always end interviews. Do you have anything inspirational you want to leave for our readers or anything you want to plug?
Nicko McBrain: ::laughs:: Just uh, keep the faith, love the Lord, and stay in the word man. And that’s with everything in your life, especially Iron Maiden’s music. This new record is an eye opener. Please stay safe and I look forward to seeing everybody on the road.
#36 Steve Harris Interview in der neuen Gitarre & Bass
Hallo wem es interessiert etwas über Steves Bassspiel, und die Entstehung von "A Matter of Life and Death" erfahren möchte, sollte sich die neue Gitarre & Bass Zeitschrift holen. 6 Seiten Interview und ein paar schöne Fotos von Steve. Zitiere" Ich rief einfach Adrian an das ich ihn auf die Nerven gehen wollte, und ein bisschen marterial fürs neue Album hatte, es ihm zeigen wollte" So enstand die erste Sesseion zu AMOLD...
Intensity, attitude big-picture vision fuel Iron Maiden Oct. 12, 2006. 06:25 AM MURRAY WHYTE ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER
For most, the prospect of an international world tour is gruelling, to say the least: Strange beds in strange hotels; changing cities as often as changing underwear; and, oh yes, ear-shattering, throat-ripping gigs night after night after night.
So Bruce Dickinson's take on the current mega-tour of his original monster-of-rock outfit, Iron Maiden, is unique. "I was so looking forward to this. I really needed the break." Dickinson, fine-humoured and gentlemanly on the phone from Boston, is something of a modern-day, heavy-metal Renaissance man. He's been an actor, an author, a radio host, an Olympic fencer and currently, a father of three teenagers and a full-time commercial airline pilot. Hence the equation in his mind that tour = break.
"I've been working like a dog. I flew 800 hours last year. The maximum is 900," he says, laughing, in an exclusive interview. "I organize my life around the airline schedule. It's really my full-time job."
Some might find it odd the lead singer of one of the world's biggest, loudest, most-enduring and best-selling rock institutions — 70 million albums sold; the new A Matter of Life and Death leapt into the top 10 days upon release — might keep a day job. In fact their day job brings them to Toronto Monday for a show at the Air Canada Centre.
But Dickinson is hardly a typical rock star. "The paycheque's nice, thank you very much," he says. "I mean, shit, it pays the school fees," he laughs.
At 48, Dickinson and his similarly-aged mates in the band are more or less the antithesis of the rock star cliché. Practised and polished, professional and focused, Iron Maiden didn't get where it is by spending the days of its 31 years sleeping off the previous night's indulgences.
Dickinson looks at the current carbon-copy generation of young hard rock — The Killers, say, or the Spinal Tap-esque outfit The Darkness — with a gentle whiff of derision. "We were actually taking bets," Dickinson said, about whose five minutes would last longest.
The Darkness lost, in more ways than one, imploding from expectations and vanishing from sight. "It amused me, actually. I felt kind of sorry for them, really. They were put in this impossible place, and the media just loved it. That's all the stuff that can happen when it comes too fast, too soon." he said.
"It's a question of where you're coming from, in terms of what you're in it for, when you first start making music. Is it because you want to leap around on stage and be a rock star, or do you want to develop an incredibly solid body of work? And with Maiden, it was always the latter. The shows, the attitude, the intensity, all came out of writing the music in the first place."
The philosophy has sustained the band over three full decades. Not that Maiden hasn't had its harder times, of course. The band's line-up has shifted constantly since Dickinson took over lead vocals in 1982, for the iconic album The Number of the Beast. Of several former members he says: "They thought it was more important to be conventional rock star celebrity-types than be Iron Maiden, but it's actually the other way around," he said.
Dickinson himself broke with the band in 1993, but not for that reason. After a decade of mega-tours and recording sessions, it was time for a break. He added to his already-full plate the role of solo artist, which produced a No. 1 hit, Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter, for the Nightmare on Elm Street 5 soundtrack. He returned to Maiden in 1999, and it's been a staple in his busy schedule ever since.
But if the only thing on that plate was Maiden, "I'd go crazy," he said. "That's something all of us have realized — that there are lots of other things in life. But what's important, is that when you're with Iron Maiden, that you're 100 per cent committed to it. You can't be looking over your shoulder thinking, `Now what else is there to do 'round here?'"
Dickinson cringes at the word `professional' — "to me it smacks of lawyers and accountants ... what I prefer is a word like `committed,' because it tells you that there's serious business to be done here."
Like flying, maybe. But different, in at least a couple of respects. For one, there are no lives at stake on stage (though some who have seen Maiden's extravagantly mechanized, pyrotechnic extravaganzas might disagree). "I'm one of these guys who always has the glass half-full," he says. "I'm looking ahead going, `Okay, I'm almost 50. What am I going to be doing when I get to 60?' Well, I might be running around with Iron Maiden. But probably not. So what am I going to be doing? Shit, I'll be flying airliners — that's cool!"
Dickinson is reminded that mandatory retirement legislation doesn't apply to rock stars (see Jagger, Mick) but Dickinson demurs when asked if Maiden's days are numbered. "Yes and no. We're looking ahead now five years. When we get five years down the line, we'll sit down and say, `Well, what do we want to do next?'
"None of us are going to give up doing music, but there is a point where we have to turn around and say, `Can we still sustain that energy that we have on stage?' In 10, 15 years, we might have a stage set that's a bit more friendly to our slowly disintegrating bodies," he laughs. "If our music changes and shifts, and people accept it, who knows?"
But one thing's for certain: You won't catch a 65-year-old Bruce Dickinson belting out "Run to the Hills" in Wembly Stadium.
"God, no," he laughs.
"I'll get my kids to do it instead."
#38 RE: Steve Harris Interview in der neuen Gitarre & Bass
Zitat Bruce: "We're looking ahead now five years. When we get five years down the line, we'll sit down and say, `Well, what do we want to do next?"
Na das sind ja mal gute News:
...noch mindestens 5 Jahre Iron Maiden. Das Jahr ist gerettet und all den Endzeitpropheten das Maul gestopft. _________________________________________________ Out of the silent Switzerland, out of the silent Switzerland we are Bern sucks, Bodensee rocks!
British rockers Iron Maiden are playing their new album, "A Matter of Life and Death," in its entirety during their current tour--an idea that could've gone over like a lead zeppelin with the group's longtime fans. But guitarist Dave Murray said that the new material--which the English metal legends play during the first half of their shows--is adding a new dimension that the crowds appreciate. "Maiden have always done the songs that everyone wants to hear," Murray said in a recent telephone interview from Boston. "They're great songs. We love playing them. But it was a case where it's a challenge for us to play the new album. It pushes us a little bit further. It's just a lot of great fun playing these songs.
"We thought the songs were so strong it justifies playing them live. There's a lot of highs and kind of lows--there's a lot of moods with these songs. They're not just straight-ahead bang, bang, bang. There's quite a lot of quiet passages and where it changes tempos. The fans can stand there and listen to the music as opposed to going out there and bashing their head away for two hours. This is a very musical set. You can really get down with it, or, if you want to sit down and listen to it, you can do that too. On every level, you have a nice balance during the set."
Iron Maiden is enjoying a revival of sorts thanks to "A Matter of Life and Death," which debuted at No. 9 on The Billboard 200 album chart, marking the first Top 10 entry of the band's 14-album career.
The sales figures could partially be due to the publicity the band received during a 2005 run with Ozzfest. During Maiden's final Ozzfest performance, organizer Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy's wife, turned off the sound several times, threw eggs at the stage and chanted "Ozzy" through the PA system, according to published reports. Sharon Osbourne then took the stage and called lead singer Bruce Dickinson an obscene name.
Murray talked with LiveDaily about the Top 10 spot, the songwriting process and Iron Maiden's career-long mascot Eddie.
How's the tour going so far?
We just started a couple of days ago in Hartford and it was great. We're starting to play the whole album. We have big production and a stage set, and it went very good. A great reaction from the audience. They were singing along to all the new songs. It kick-started really well, and we're proud of that.
How did you make the decision to play all of "A Matter of Live and Death" in concert? It's pretty ambitious.
I know. [Laughs] When we were making the album, we just had a really good vibe in the studio. We just felt each track was telling a story. The way we rehearsed and recorded, it felt really natural to play. A lot of stuff on this album, there's a lot of musical, kind of, tricky bits. When we play it live, we have to be right on top of it. It's a case of, it was going to be a challenge for us playing the type of music we've created. We thought, "Well, every tour we've come out and we've been playing a lot of the old material, maybe two, three, four, five, six songs from the new album." We just felt like, "Let's do this whole album." The reaction from the other night was quite stunning, so we thought we had made the right decision. It could fall flat on its face because the music is so strong with the melodies. As well, I think the fans have had enough time--the ones who have the album--they're coming to the show, they know the tunes. It's been out for a few weeks. Hopefully, they would have played it to death. Watching them, they would sing along, they were listening, they were singing along to all the new stuff. We're doing some of the older material, but they have to wait for that until the end. In a way, we feel now this time of Iron Maiden [where] it's justified. "Let's do the new album." There will be other tours when we're going out doing all the older stuff. So, this time around, let's just do this and see what happens.
Congratulations on how high you charted in the United States.
Yes, I think it's the highest ever. The highest entry we've had ever in the US. Also throughout Europe. It was No. 1 in nine different countries. For some reason, it's gone through the roof sales-wise in the first few weeks of release. It's quite incredible that Iron Maiden fans are out there looking out for it.
What do you think it was about "A Matter of Life and Death" that struck your fans?
It's hard to say, really, because I think we've pretty much done the same sort of things that we've normally done. We make an album, and then we prepare for the tour. Maybe stuff like the Internet has made the band more accessible and, through that, they can follow what's going on. I don't know, really. For some unknown reason, this album has shot up. Maybe they've been listening to the earlier stuff, and [were] just waiting for this one to come up. It's been a few years since [2003's] "Dance of Death," anyway. That's a good question. If we knew why, we'd bottle it and sell it as a magic potion. [Laughs] The rock fans are in tune with what's going on today. Through the Internet, they can get access to this band or any band. They're more on top of it.
The success shows you're still relevant in the 2000s.
Yeah, it's nice to be relevant. [Laughs] I think everybody wants to be relevant--especially now. It's such a diverse time of music. But with the Iron Maiden fans, they kind of know what they're going to get. They hook into the whole package--Eddie, the whole thing. I think this is the 14th studio album we've done, and God knows how many tours. It's nice to feel that, yeah, OK, there's still a buzz out there. You just want to go in and make an album, have fun with it, go on tour and have fun with it and enjoy it. When the fans are coming to the shows and the ticket sales are going amazing, and the album's going amazing, it's all worthwhile--and relevant. [Laughs]
I'm assuming you bring Eddie out on stage with you again?
Yeah. Absolutely. In fact, this production on this tour is pretty incredible. It reminds me of going back to the  "Powerslave" type of production we had with all the visual stuff that's going on besides the music. Eddie's certainly part of that. He's larger than life in more ways than one. So there's a lot of visual stuff going on as well, and Eddie's part of it--not to give too much away. It's a pretty huge set. I don't think the fans will be disappointed when they see visually what's going on.
What do you see for the future of Iron Maiden? Will you continue cranking out albums?
Absolutely. We're touring until the end of the year, and then we're going to take some time off and maybe do something next year. We definitely have plans to do another studio album. Obviously, the dust hasn't settled on this one. There's definitely plans to make a new studio album but fans won't see that for a couple more years.
What is the songwriting process like with the band?
Steve [Harris, bassist] and Bruce write all the lyrics, and then the rest of the guys come up with the music. Steve will kind of, like, be the nucleus, so everyone collaborates with him. With ideas, everyone individually goes to Steve and he kind of knocks them into shape. Eventually, people will go to Steve and show them what they got. Sometimes, they're as good as they are. We kind of work like that. Before we go into rehearsal, the song will basically be there in acoustic form. Once we get with the band, it really starts to come into shape. It's a little seed and everything grows out of that. It's a very natural process. Nothing is really forced. No one is bashing their head against the wall. The guys have really got some strong ideas. We want to keep it fresh.