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Nicko McBrain Interview
Iron Maiden is just like peanutbutter,who hasn’t grown old with it.Soon the 13th studioalbum from the legendary English band will be put,entitled Dance of Death.Time for us to ask some questions to Maidens drummer Nicko Mc Brain.
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Metalfan - When you started out 20 years ago,did you ever tought you could last that long?
Nicko McBrain - To be honest with you,no.I didn’t think how long it would last,if it would be 5 or 10 years.I just hoped it would last as long as possible.And when I was with the band for a while,en the success started to build,and the fanbase was growing.I knew it was something unique.Offcourse there are bands who are longer in the business,like Deep Purple and the Rolling Stones,but whe have something extra,namely EDDIE!!!
And he has to be the face whic fits the music and the band.Actually we’re touring just to show him to the people,hahaha.Because if he’s not present at our concert,the fans get mad.
Metalfan - Iron Maiden’s new album,DoD,is the 13th studioalbum,and your 10th with the band.Is the way you practice ,write songs and record them,different then in the early days when you started with the band?
NB - No,it’s practically 20 years ago.In the early days when we finished a song,we would go to the pub,and celebrate.
Now we only do that wen we are finished with all the songs.Otherwise we wouldn’t have the time to record an album.We present our ideas,and we work them out.Usualy Steve and work out our parts first,and then the rest of the band comes in.On Dod we go back to our roots,I mean we don’t use alot modern techniques to record.
We recorded the drums analog and then we put it on a harddisk.On the previous album,we immediately recorded that digitally.BNW was more drum oriented,and the guitars are reltively quiet.
Now it’s the other way around.The drums are still present put they are more quiet.Almost no overdubs,a few solo’s,some singing and that’s it.
Metalfan - On BNW we heard orchestra’s,will it be the same on DoD?
NB - Yes.On 1 number it will be present,and I think it would come out as a surprise.And with a few other songs,we also included a few orchestral parts.But I let you know into a secrets,t’s all done with synths.
Metalfan - Can you tell me something about the songs?
NB - Actually not,because then it wouldn’t be a surprise,hahaha
The themes are typical Maiden.There’s a song about the 1st world war.The title number is epical.There are alot of good songs,including a few short and fast songs like WD and Rainmaker.No More Lies is really a typical Steve Harris number.Montsegur is a fast rocker,and I think it a great number
Metalfan - The number reminded me of Piece of Mind
NB - Me too,The only thing I will say is that there will be something for everybody.
People who are new to Maiden will find something to there tase,and people who liked Iron Maiden and Killers will find something to their liking too.And like you said,that number reminds of Piece of Mind,it wasn’t done intentionally.It just worked out that way.There are a few short songs who last about 4-5 minutes,for Maiden standards that’s short.I think everybody will be satsified,coz the album has something for everyone.
Metalfan - You wrote the song New Frontier,did you write it alone,or did you get help?
NB - Adrian helped out a little bit on the chorus and the brdge,I had the melody’s and the couplets and the text,and I show it to Bruce.He worked a little bit on them because it wasn’t running that well.I did’nt mind if it fitted better for him.Because I’m not difficult when it comes to that.Adrian also fixed the solo’s.
Metalfan - It was the first time you wrote a song for Maiden.Did you write since Rhythm of the Beast more songs?
NB - I did write some stuff,with Danny Spitz,and with the band of my wife.The latter one is completely different than you would expect.
Metalfan - On the internet there’s a song belonging to you you and Spitz
NB - Yes exactly.If I find out who put it on there,I will do something to him!I wanted to keep that for the future. It’s nice tough,people already can here how the song goes,but for now nothing will happen until the album is out and the tour is over.
Metalfan - Who’s singing on it?
NB - Vanilla Ice.And it’s very good.First I didn’t think it would work out,because I didn’t knew he would fit in.Danny called me when I was in the studio and told me Vanilla asked him if he could try.So we went into the studio,to see how it would work out.That was the beginning of this year.When I got home after the recording session of DoD.I heard the results and was amazed how good it was.After that we wrote some more songs,and recorded them,and we are very pleased with them.I really am looking forward to next year,but right now I’m Maiden’s drummer.But when the tour is finished I will work with Spitz on my sideproject.No it’s not a soloproject,but a sideproject where I work on when Maiden is not doing anything.
Metalfan - In the diary of Kevin Shirley,you could read there’s an acoustic song that you guys recorded,am I right?
NB - That's right,we recorded one songs acoustically.I used bundlesticks,which look like a brush.It gives a very different sound,but it fits the style well.The number turned out great,it was the first time we did something like that.
Metalfan - How was it like?
NB - First we had the normal version,with electric guitars and normal drums,then I said we should use an acoustic version too.It was a real great experience to play a song like that.
Metalfan - Is it coincidence that Wildest Dreams,the opening song is,just like The Wicker Man was on BNW.And the songs has the same style?
NB - I haven’t tought about,but it the same style.Adrian wrote that song,which you can really hear.It has a double bass drum.
Metalfan - Did you say double bass,I tought u didn’t use that?
NB - No,I mean it has a fast double bass drum,it sounds like a double bass.I should have used to pedals because it’s so fast.But I have to confess that I used 2 pedals on one song.I had to,coz the fast piece is very long and I couldn’t keep it up with one foot.
Metalfan - You never did that before right?
NB - I get alot of comment about that from people,who think I can’t play that fast and that we use ProTools to sound it like that.Let them watch the live dvd then they will see it.Everything you hear is done by myself.Except for 1 song on the new album,where I use 2 pedals.You can immediately hear which song it is.
Metalfan - DoD will be released in September.When is the tour going to start?
NB - Probably in the third week of October.But it’s not final yet.
We don’t exactly know where we will start.We we’re thinking about Greece,but it’s not sure yet.
Metalfan - This summer you played alot of songs Maiden didn’t play for a long time.Do you think some of them will resurface on the upcoming tour?
NB - It’s hard to say.With us,you never know what you’re gonna get.Through the years we wrote so many songs,and we will never be able to play them all.We have 13 studio albums,so there’s so much material.Personally I would love to play Alexander the Great live.That’s one of the few epic songs we never played live.Now that we have 3 guitar players,there’s no reason why we shouldn’t play it live.So my vote goes to that song.But obviously we go on tour to promote the new album.So we will play many songs from that.It features alot of long songs,so we are unsure how we’re gonna fit that in,coz you cannot play too many of this long songs.Normally we will play 2/3 of the new album.Offcourse we will play a few of our regular songs,like Iron Maiden,Number of the Beast,maybe Run to the Hills.Coz people want to hear those songs.Just like Hallowed Be thy Name.It’s unthinkable we don’t play that song.It’s my favorite Iron Maiden song.
Metalfan - Really? And that’s not even a song you recorded?
NB - No but I don’t mind.Clive played that song pretty cool,I Play it different.
It’s faster live,because if we would play the song at the normal tempo it would sound like something’s wrong.
The feeling just wouldn’t be there.
Metalfan - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is something common with drummers.Does it bother you?
NB - Thank God no.Up to now I was lucky with my hands and wrists.I have alot of problems with my back and left shoulder.I think it’s because my drumkit is very big.To reach all the drums I have to reach out and I’m not the youngest anymore,so these days it’s a little bit more difficult.I Have rheumacism in my fingers,which gets them to swell up in the morning.So before I go out and drum,I will practice with them first.