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Bruce Dickinson Interview
Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson on reunion, DVD and 'groupies before AIDS'
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By MARK VOGER
It looks like Iron Maiden has ironed out its problems.
The recent reunion between singer Bruce Dickinson and the band behind "Children of the Damned" and "2 Minutes to Midnight" endures, with Maiden back on the road in '03.
Was there some sort of bury-the-hatchet moment?
Says Dickinson: "We started getting back together as a musical entity. I don't think any of us had any doubt that we could play live again and that it would be great.
"But like most things, it takes a while, you know, for people to stop sort of tip-toeing around each other a little bit. But it actually happened very, very quickly. As a band now, I think we're actually closer than ever before."
On this tour, Maiden will preview one track from its forthcoming album (due out in September), and dig back into the heady '80s.
"We've decided to go out and play, basically, some songs that people will not have heard for maybe 15 years," Dickinson tells PAGE X. "Stuff off of 'Piece of Mind' (1983), stuff off of 'Number of the Beast' (1982) and that era. As well as sort of a resume, of course, of the intervening years, including stuff from 'Brave New World' (2000).
"This is a celebration of metal going out this summer, a celebration of all the great stuff Maiden has done over the years."
Iron Maiden hopes to keep the celebration going with "Best of the Beast," a three-hour history of the band on DVD. You'd better believe Dickinson and company had a say in the DVD's contents.
"We're very picky about that," says the native of England, 44. "We don't just let people have a go at our stuff and get on with it."
Known for his onstage shrieks, Dickinson says vocal strain has yet to be a concern.
"I've been kind of lucky, I guess, in that I've never had any serious problems so far with my voice," he says.
The singer lets us in on a little trade secret.
"I've found what really, really helps," Dickinson says, "is singing with heavy-duty earplugs in. I've been wearing them, I guess, for nearly 15 years now. Not 'in-ear' monitors, I hasten to add. You see, they're actually 25- or 30-decibel plugs in my ears.
"Therefore, I hear my own voice in my head. And while you lose a certain amount of top end, you adjust for it. Psychologically, you make mental adjustments for that kind of stuff. I've found it really helps my ability to not strain and yell, especially in Maiden, which is basically a real high sound-pressure environment."
As well as a party environment. Were the '80s a non-stop party for Maiden?
"The '80s? It was an era of -- gosh, what was the '80s?" Dickinson says with a laugh.
"It was embarrassing guys in tight, white trousers. It was men who wore their socks outside their jeans. It was groupies before AIDS. It was a blast. And I wouldn't have missed it for the world."
Iron Maiden, Dio and Motorhead are scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. July 25 at the PNC Bank Arts Center, Exit 116 off the Garden State Parkway, Holmdel. .50-.50. (732) 335-8698. www.artscenter.com