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Nicko McBrain Interview
Have you learned to play drums all by yourself?
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I started to play the tubs when I was twelve years old. A friend of mine called Ritchie Hudson; I first met him at his fruit and veg stall in Wood Green when I used to help me mum with the shopping on a Friday after school, also worked at the local Berry's music shop in Haringey. He'd let me go over to his mums and jam on his kit until he got home from work on the barrow. We'd sit and jam along to records and then he'd show me a lick or two, I used to really look forward to those times.
Bruce Dickinson have said in the Metal Invader magazine last year that the song he wanted to sing in Brave New World is Heaven Can Wait (which I consider it to be the best song for gigs). Why is it excluded from this tour?
Sotiris "Navigator" Stavropoulos
Well you can't have everything all of the time can you? It really is hard to pick set lists when there are so many favourite songs to play. I love Heaven Can Wait but we had played it on all the tours before, it had to go so that we could do a new song from The Brave New World album
Hi Nicko! About the writing process of the songs on BNW (and the other CDs): Janick told us in Holland (in 'Aardschok') you take part in the writing-process of songs, though you don't get credits for it. How does that work?
Have a word with Steve, mate!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi Nicko! Any chance that you guys come to Ireland soon? You're still the best by the ways. Keep up this Way!
Hi Tina, I don't think we'll be in Ireland this time around but hopefully on the next tour we can visit you.
Hi Nicko, you took flying lessons if I remember correctly, have you earned your pilots licence? Also have you ever tried parachuting, I can tell you It's a lot of fun. Great thundering you do on those drums!! Up the Irons !!!
Hi mate, yes I did obtain my Pilots rating twin engine. I haven't flown in a long while but I'm thinking about it very seriously since flying with Bruce and the Goose Gang. I would also love to Sky Dive; I have an opportunity to fly with the Red Devils maybe next year.
During a show, who do you find comes up to the drum kit to see you more often? Hextor
Hi Hextor, Bruce is the one that comes up to see me more than anybody else. It's great fun as he messes with me cymbals and sometimes he will pull a stick from the old stick bag and lays into me kit. It's great fun I can tell you.
Do you ever wish you could get up & run around on stage instead of being stuck behind the drum kit?
Santa Ana, CA, USA
Hi Shawn. No it doesn't bother me in the least mate. I'm very, very happy right where I am.
Nicko...by the time you read this, I will have been blown away by Maiden, Halford and Queensryche at Darien Lake in NY. My question is this: Since I'm a huge Queensryche fan, I'd like to know what you consider to be the best aspect of Scott Rockenfield's work behind the kit?
Hi Cory. I think that the best thing about Scott Rockenfield's playing is his power and consistency with each performance. He's very solid and a great guy as well.
Thanx for a great show at Roskilde. Why do you use a smaller drumkit in the studio than you do live?
Hi Thomas. I use a slightly smaller kit in the studio [drums instead of 11] just because there will be less two microphones listening to the tubs. It helps to let the kit be a bit larger sounding. Also I'm getting to that time in me life were it makes things a little easier.
Do the current album and single covers reveal a want to drop Eddie?
Hi Gor. No there is definitely no way that we would ever consider dropping Eddie. Eddie is alive and stronger than ever
Where is Nicholas nowadays?
Hi Timo, Nicholas is living with his mum in Somerset, England. He's getting ready to attend College to do a course for Microsoft.
Nicko, I have heard that you also have a pilots license, has Bruce ever let you fly his plane
Hi Anthony. Yes I flew the old Goose last year. I've had couple of hands on flights and thoroughly enjoyed meself.
What prompted you to appear on the Sooty show all those years ago? Btw, I think Sooty was the better drummer! ;)
Hi Christian. I think Sooty was the better drummer as well mate, but we can't win em all, Aahhee. I did the show as me little boy Nicholas was only five at the time and I knew that he would get a kick out of seeing his old man on the box with Sooty. I had a blast and I want a rematch.
How did you get stuck with the "Road Diary?" Can the others not type? Or are they a little lazier? (all meant in good humor)
Hi Sven. I love doing the diary. Rod asked me to do them and it has stuck. The rest of the guys would love to do some but I won't let em!!!! Tee Hee.
Nicko, where could I buy your drum tutorial video/s? P.S Do you keep all your old drum kits and cymbals?
Hi Edmond. I think you can order the drum vid through the fan club. I've got my entire drum kits, all except the Piece Of Mind kit, in storage. I sold the WHITE phonic plus kit a number of years ago. I wish I hadn't.
Hi Nicko how are you doing mate. I like to know if you collect drumsets? And also how long do you go without playing.. Thank you mate
Hi David. I do like to collect old kits and snare drums, I usually like to rest after a tour for about two to three weeks and then I'll start to practice at home.
Can you speak a little bit about your new-found faith in Christianity? Being a Christian myself, I was so excited to hear about your rebirth. Thanks.
Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Hi Ben. Yes I am a Christian. I came to know the Lord and asked him into my life going on three years now. It has changed my life. I have only just started my walk with God but I know that the footprints next to mine are those of Jesus. Praise the Lord.
Dear Nicko what does your drum kit consist of ???? i.e how many toms, bass pedals.
Hi Kiran, My kit consists of nine toms, snare and bass drum. 6,8,10,12,13,14,15,16,18 floor. 14x5 snare, 24x18 bass drum. Paiste cymbals 14 hats, 12,16,17,19,20,24 power crash's 20 medium crashes 17,18, rude, 22 china all the Dimension line. I use DW foot pedals One bass drum pedal and one Hi Hat.
For once and for all....how do you do to tap so f*cking fast with your foot without doublekicks????? I´ve tried but I promise that is impossible!! By the way, the concert in Stockholm really rocked....as Iron Maiden always do...and will forever!!!
Hi Per. I only have one DW Turbo pedal mate, that's it I can tell you. No kidding and it is possible to do it with one as I have too every night on the show!!!!!
Nicko, are you gonna bring here to Brazil all the stuff you use on Europe and US, the stage, the Eddies, etc. (I really liked the drums in this new album, man)
Hi Rafael. I'm very pleased that you like the new album, I think it's the best 'Kin album thus far me old matey, and yes to us bringing the whole kit and caboodle for our Rock n Rio show in January.
Hi there! Do you regularly go to church?
Hi Andreas. I attend church every Sunday when I'm at home. I go to Spanish River Church here in Boca Raton Florida. It gets a bit more difficult when I'm out on the road but I will read me bible and give that time to the lord.
Why Brave New World is the title of the new album
oscar bustabad feal
Hi Oscar. Why not Brave New World!!!! It's a great title don't you think?
In St.Etienne I witnessed you play "Fallen Angel", but in the other gigs I saw you played "Mercenary". Did you feel that "Fallen Angel" didn't work out live compared to "Mercenary"?
Hi Frode. Yes we decided that Fallen Angel although a great song didn't quite have the edge live that Mercenary has so we decided to go with that instead.
Hello, Nicko!!! According to your writings here in Maiden's page I can see that you are quite believer in God, so my question that I think they will be two, is the next: What is your opinion towards songs such as NUMBER OF THE BEAST or FROM HERE TO ETERNITY where things like hell or demons are stars in the lyrics and what is your concept of religion in case you are a religious man? I know that in England religion causes problems among people...anyway I'd like to know your opinion. Thank you very much,Nicko!!!
Hi Erick. First of all I am not a religious person, Religion has been a very misconceived event. I believe in the Grace of God and the Gift of eternal life with God through his blessing through his Son our Lord Jesus. I would argue the point on religion. Secondly as far as the lyrics to Here To Eternity and NOTB you have to realise that these are only observations and opinions taken from dreams and such and also we are to be aware that the Devil is out there my friend and to not accept that fact is spiritual suicide and a very dangerous thing, don't you agree????
Nicko, what do you think about Bruce solo albums? (I am of fan of him) thank you
Hi Michael. I think that Bruce's solo albums are 'Kin great.
Have you ever played drums in a setting outside of rock, like in a marching band, or strictly in rock music?
The Mad Dog
North Reading, MA (near Boston)
Hi Mad Dog. I haven't actually played in anything remotely like a marching band, but I was a drum Whore for many years before I joined the Maiden. I used to play on all kinds of records with all kinds of people with all kinds of music hence the whore thing.
Where you guys are intending to record the live album & video? Is there any special reason to stop using SONOR drums?
Hi Fernando. We're looking at doing a Live DVD in Rio on the 19th of January 2001. I stopped using Sonor because Herr Link the owner and designer of the Signature series drums sold the company to Hohnor, I wasn't to keen on taking another step with an unknown entity such as the like. Steve Jordan a very dear and old mate was and still is working with Premier drums always was very gracious and offered me a position with them many years before I actually left Sonor so the obvious choice was to speak with them first. We have had a great relationship since I came on board and it is still growing in trust and faith. They really take great care of my needs and make great drums.
You have been playin' in Maiden for more years than I have been alive. What keeps you goin'?
Martin Deverud Umeå,
Hi Martin. One of the main reasons that I have been playing so long with the guys is simple; we love what we do together. The music is the entity of Maiden my friend it's that simple.
In almost every band, the guy who plays drums is the least famous. How do you feel about that? Would you like a bigger part?
Hi Luciano. You are kidding aren't you!!!!! I am the most famous guy in the band. I am most definitely the best looking and most handsome geezer out there. That is why the rest of the guys like me to hide behind such a humongous kit.
Why no S. Florida dates????? Nicko, with you being a South Floridian now, you must know we have a state of the art shed (Mars Music Ampitheater) for ya'll to play in. I met you once back in the days of the "Bowery" night club in WPB. Us S. Fl. metal heads need a good Maiden fix. How 'bout it mate?
Hi Scott. Nice to speak with you again mate. I'm sorry that there aren't any South Florida dates but we just don't have the time on this tour to make it down here. We were going to do a couple of shows early next year but due to the fact that Jan's misses is going to have a baby in early January we had to schedule the shows in London. I must admit I would love to play on local ground and I'm sad that we won't be down this way for a while.
Best and worst ever gig with Maiden?
Hi Micke, Best Maiden gig was Donnington 1998. Worst gig was Chicago 2000.
Why do you handle your drumstick on the extremity?
Hi Pierre, I use my left hand stick back to front as t gives me more weight and therefore more power for the snare hits.
Why did you change the version of Hallowed be thy name - studio for what is now? I personally enjoys your version it´s more powerful Do you have the tour dates of Brazil?And dou you and the band enjoy playing here because there´s always big audience The album Piece of Mind have some photos of brains and stuff, this was just a coincidence with your name or it was thought by someone in the band?
Hi Eduardo, I have a certain amount of personal freedom to play the older material as I feel it and not to play exactly as Clive played. I still have to keep to the arrangement but using my own interpretation. We will be playing at the Rock in Rio on the 19th of January 2001. There was no coincidence about the name of the album Piece of Mind and to my name with the brain thing. There is no such thing as coincidence.
Why do you have this strange nose?
Hi Guillaume, I have a broken nose because a guy at my school whacked it and it's been like this ever since, why would you like one like mine AAAEEEHHH!!!
Just a simple question, when are you guys going to play here...? Ii really like Iron Maiden... it`ll make my dream come true.
Hi August, We shall not be visiting Australia this year, sorry.
Nicko! Where did you go drinking with the boys after Madison Sq. Garden gig? What's your alc. beverage of choice?
Hi Bobby, I went straight back to the hotel with my wife and had a few drinks in the restaurant next door to the hotel. My fav drink right now is a 1983 Ducru Red Wine.
Will there be a second 10 Years boxset with listen with Nicko part 11-20?
Hi Erik, I would like to think that there would be, but we shall have to see!!!!
When did you use double-pedals for your bassdrum for the first time.
Hi Olli, I have never used two pedals with my band.
Nicko: Is there any Maiden song(s) that you have never played live, but would like to?
Hi Seth, Yes I would love to play Alexander the Great live I think it would be awesome.
Do you like to play drums on your free time and if you do, how much do you play in a day?
Hi Alchemist, I play with a few mates when I'm back in England. I play with Geoff Whitehorn, Jaz Lockrie, Phil Hilborn and Andy Frost. We usually play at drum shows and the odd Trade shows in Europe. When I'm home in Florida I practice maybe twice a week for a couple of hours.
Hi Nicko, In all the rock bands you've been and seen, who's the best singer you have encountered.?
Hi Roger, I think one of the best singers I've ever seen has to be Ronnie James Dio.
I can't see your hand when you make a fill, how have you reached this amazing speed????? d'you use double strokes or paradiddles? and why don't you use the double pedal for the bass drum?
Hi Davide, I use primarily single stroke rolls. I don't use two bass drum pedals, as I have never found one to be a problem. I am very happy to play the way that I do just now.
Hiya Nicko, Do you or any of the other guys play different instruments to the ones they play so well on stage :) We know Bruce plays guitar, dunno about the rest!! UP THE IRONS!!
Hi Alan, I play a little bit of bass and a bit of guitar [not very well I might add] Steve plays a bit of guitar and keys. Bruce also plays the tubs and he aint bad either.
I am in a band that is having a hard time finding a drummer. When you joined Maiden, were you searching for them or did they find you?
Erie, Pennsylvania, USA
Hi Scott, The boys were looking for a new drummer. I didn't go looking for them. I hope you can find a guy soon it's a real bummer when you can't jam when you want.
With which bassist (except Steve) you would like to jam?
Istanbul - Turkey
Hi Mehm, I would very much like to jam with Jack Bruce and also Jimmy Bain. I've always loved the way they play.
Hiya Nicko, Will we see ever see a song written by you on a Maiden album .. in the near future? If not, we don't bother becuase your personality makes up for that 10 fold :+)) UP THE IRONS!!
Hi Alan, You never know I had a hand in a few ideas in the past but nothing of substance. Maybe on the next album. Thank you for your kind words
Due to the basic count that Maiden songs are written to, do you find yourself playing the same beat to almost the same song album after album?
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Hi Andy, I find your question a wee bit strange my friend. Have you listened to any of the albums or what? The rhythm tracks are very diverse. When it comes to playing live yes they are the same, as the album.
Which country is the best country that you guy´s have played in..honestly speaking..
Hi Christopher, I would have to say South America, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil all really rock, but where ever we play is always very special.
What´s the reason for you never wrote a text for a song? Thanks Nicko, you are the most beautiful drummer in world (laughs)
Hi Pedro, I just haven't got around to it yet. Thank you for your kind words my friend.
Could you do some other kind of gig next time in Finland? It's always nice to see you at the festivals but......honestly....one time is enough. I miss the intense feeling inside the legendary Helsinki Icehall! True, over 50% of the finnish fans cannot see you there (capacity 9000), but why don't playing two nights a row?
Hi Luf, your dead right mate, I would love to play for you at a show indoors. I agree that they are more personal and there is a much more intimate vibe. I'll see what I can do next time, OK!!!!
Who puts your drum sets together before the gig? I, myself find it 'Kin hard to play drums if they are not adjusted just as I want them to be. Do you just go there and hope (with fingers crossed) that you can play the gig with the set being as it is? que?
San Antonio Hispaniola
Hi Hesus, I have a guy called Peter [Rusty] Clark that sets me tubs up at every venue, and he has been working with me for four years now and is truly the very best there is. I do not know what I would do without him. Every night I step up to me tubs they are always in perfect position. He also tunes me Toms for me and he has that down very well. I still do me snare myself as that is a lot harder to tune the way that I want to hear it.
Any plans to do blues album with Dave Murray after this tour?
Hi M.S, I would like to think that we would make a Blues album together sometime in the next year. After the B.N.W tour we're taking a year off so there should be time then.
Hi Nicko :-) I heard you wife also has got a band. What is the band's name and what does she play? Is their CD available?
Hi Reka, Yes my wife does have a project underway; we're just going out under her name Rebecca McBrain. There is a CD kicking around at the moment titled Rebecca McBrain and friends. It's not out on the market but I'll let you guys know through the Internet if it becomes available.
Nicko, how much pair of drumsticks you are breaking while one concert and the whole tour?
Hi Damien. I will go through five or six pairs of sticks a night, multiply that by five = thirty pairs a week, multiply that by the months on tour, six = one hundred and eighty pairs total, give or take a few extras.
What was the most funny and the most serious moments until now?
Hi George, The funniest moments on this tour were when we played in Philadelphia at the front of the stage there were three or four couples of old fart punters and they were eating and drinking through the show, it was really weird to see this going on, there was also a 'Kin waitress delivering said grub to them. What is the world coming to? The worst part was when Janick fell from the stage in Mannheim. It was an experience that I do not want to live through again.
How much did your bloody drum kit cost? It is so BIG!!! By the way Earl's Court (16/6/00) was fantastic
Hi Sam, If you went to purchase a kit like mine it would probably run you about six thousand pounds all in. I am glad that you enjoyed Earls Court.
Why have you started wearing boxers attire onstage? Where can I get boots like yours from?
Hi Luke, I decided to wear the old boxing gear just to wind up our manager Rod Smallwood. He doesn't really like Harry wearing his soccer get up, so Harry and I thought that would be a great way to piss him off. It was really comfortable to play in as well. You can purchase the whole get up from Lonsdale, they are located in the west end just off of Golden Lion square, ask for Dave and tell him that I sent you and he'll take very special care of you.
As you don't write any of the songs, do you still contribute any of your ideas?
Hi Susi, Yes I contribute to songs through my rhythms and ideas when we first start the writing rehearsals.
Any intentions of producing a drum book of Maiden tunes or a new drum video? p.s Thanks for posing for a photo with me and my family in London
Hi Craig, I think it is time to do another drum vid I would like that. As far as a book on the rhythms from the Maiden songs there is one out there called Rhythms of The Beast [just like the Video but not related] it's at least fifteen years old so it's about time we had a new one out there so maybe next year I'll work on something. It was my pleasure to have me pic taken with you me old mate, thank you.
Don't you think that Greece has helped you in your hard times? And what is your opinion about Greek fans? Do you love Greece? We love you anyway...
Hi Drummer, Greece has always been a great Maiden gig for us. You guys are very serious Maiden fans, and yes you always have supported us even through, as you say, the bad times. Thank you all so very much and I am looking forward to seeing you all in November at our show in Athens. Greece, YOU RULE!!!!!!!
Are you going to make a new album? When will you start to recording the new album?
Hi Maiden Fan, we're going to be making a live DVD at the Rock In Rio show in January 2001. As for a new studio album we shall not be working on that until 2002.
If you had a chance to live your life again, would you choose the same way? (drummer way that is :-))
Hi Jani, Yes Sir, I wouldn't change e one thing about the way I have lived me life if The Good Lord had me do it all over again.
Is Aussie wine and Any beer the only beverages you consume?
Hi Lord Carnarvon, I usually drink French reds but I am very partial to the Shiraz wines from Aussie, very nice. I don't usually drink beer if it ain't from Blighty
Will you ever play Children of the damned or Infinite dreams again??I hope so!!
Hi Hardrocki, I would hope that we at sometime at least will perform both of those tunes again sometime in the next couple of tours. I really love to play Children IT ROCKS!!!!!!!!
Are you going to release any live records from latest tours?
Hi Juha, yes we are going to make a live DVD next year. It should be out sometime in the fall 2001.
You are a great drummer. Lars Ulrich go home !!!! I have one little question for you: The drumvideo you made, what is it called ???
Hi Jens, thank you so much for your kindness. My drum Video is titled Rhythm of The Beast. I think you can still find them through the Web site.
Have you ever thought `bout quitting maiden?
Hi Michael, NO NO NO NO NO and 'Kin NO Way, it is in me blood forever!!!!!!!!!!!
Do you use doublebeat?
Hi Martin, I don't use double peddles on me tubs although I may do one day in the very distant future.
Thank you all from the bottom of me heart for all of your wonderful questions. I have really enjoyed responding to them all. I would like to make me apologies for the lateness of them but I have been having a rest these past three weeks before we head off to Japan.
Stay safe my friends and may the Lord Bless you all. All my very best, have a wonderful Christmas and an even better New Year.