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Adrian Smith Interview
Adrian Smith Interview - April 29, 1999
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Eric - What's going to happen to Psycho Motel?
Adrian - Well, I think it could be a positive thing for that. I have a second album that came out only in Japan and it's been a real uphill struggle to get it out anywhere else. I think the tide is beginning to turn and hopefully the second album we did, which is with a new singer, which was called Welcome To The World, will be more widely available. I don't know if it will be on the Maiden web page, which is a possibility or come out on some label. It's nice 'cause the album is already recorded so it won't interfere with the priority, which is Maiden right now, for the next year and a half. But I hope to get that out, cause I was real pleased with that album.
E - Will you still record, tour and try for a label in the US, when you 're not busy with Maiden?
A - I'd love it to come out in the US because I think it's a good album and we are already pleased with it. As far as touring, I don't know. We never really toured that much.
E - But you are still planning on recording during the off times from Maiden?
A - To be quite honest with you, I can't really foresee any time in the next year and a half certainly, but that's not to say that it won’t happen in some form in the future.
E - Psycho Motel is still around, it is just going to be on the back burner for the next 18-20 months?
A - Yea, the guys are doing different stuff anyway. It was never like a marriage, like when you have kids and a band and you stick through thick and thin. It was like, we did a couple of albums and when the time is right we'll do it again.
E - What was the rest of the guys' reaction to you rejoining Maiden?
A - They were a bit surprised. They really wished me luck with it and thought it was great. I guess there was a tinge of regret that we weren't going to be doing a tour, but like I said, the guys will get on with their own projects anyway.
E - I would like to congratulate you with getting back with Maiden. They have never been the same since you left.
A - Thanks
E - I am certainly glad you were apart of the reunion. I would have been a little disappointed if they go back together with out you.
A - We prefer to call it a reinvention. I don't think I would have come back in the band if they said, if you come back Janick's going to go. Unless he left on his own free will. That wouldn't have been cool. I think it's really cool that I've come back and there's three going to be three of us doing the guitar stuff. It's like we are going forward we're not going back. It's like a challenge. It's a bit of an uncertain thing really. But I think that's good because it's a bit on the edge and it hasn't been done before. I think it's going to be great, personally.
E - How were you approached about the reunion? What was your involvement?
A - Since I joined up with Bruce to do his project there has been a lot of people saying when are you guys going to get back with Maiden. I kind of felt bad because the had Blaze and they were doing there own thing and going in their own direction. I said, well I can't see it at the moment. But I guess Blaze is going to leave and before they asked any other singer they asked Bruce. Inevitably, I suppose, they got around to me and said why don't we try to get Adrian back, as well, to do this new three guitar thing, cause then it gives it an extra little twist, which is quite interesting.
E - Would you have been surprised or upset if they did not ask you to return?
A - I guess I would have been a bit upset. Although, there was a strong rumor that Bruce was going to do it.
E - Did you ever talk to him about it?
A - Yea. And I think that he was kind of suggesting maybe getting me back in. Steve thought it was a good idea and Davey. The other guys thought wow and get the heads around it. I like to think that I could really contribute something fresh to the band because I haven't been here for the best part of 10 years. I've come back with an objective view of everything and I've done 5 albums since I haven't been in the band and I've learned a lot and I'm hoping to channel back some of that into the Maiden thing.
E - When you left the band back in 1990 you were unhappy with No Prayer for the Dying. What were the major things that needed to change for you to come back?
A - I did get a bit frustrated for various reasons. I was probably a bit drained from recording and touring for 10 years and being in a high-pressure stress situation. I think I just needed to step back. I think I've come back like a fresh energy.
E - So there wasn't anything like, I don't like the way this is done?
A - There are certain political things. We're getting around to discussing those things. I think basically, in principle, if they'd have only asked me just to come back and do a greatest hits tour I'd had been only to pleased, I'd love to play the songs. It would be very uncomplicated. Getting to do a new album could be a bit dangerous. I think we can do a great album. I think we're all kind of really focused in on it and we are getting a really top producer and we're negotiating with a top record label, who are really going to put a lot in the band. That's a challenge to me because in every band you have politics. Hopefully we can sit down and make a great album, that's the main thing.
E - How did the Bruce tour end up in Brazil?
A - It was amazing. I think we played to 20,000 people in 6 days. We did five shows in 6 days. We couldn't go outside our hotel there were kids out there. It was insane! We had a fantastic time. We came back and we started promo, in New York, the very next day. We flew out on a Sunday night right after show, which was an extra show they put in and we came here and started doing promo the next day. We still rolling man!
E - Are you guys leaving today?
A - No, we're going up to Toronto to do another day of promo then going home for the weekend then going to Portugal, to start writing for the new album.
E - How long will the upcoming tour and the new tour in 2000 last?
A - The Ed Hunter tour will be 2 months max.
E - How long will the 2000 tour last? As long as Powerslave?
A - No, Absolutely not! It will be a big tour in the sense it will be big places and far reaching.
E - It's not going to be as long as Powerslave, is it?
A - I don't want to do that to be honest with you. You have some sort of perspective. You've got to keep things focused. Otherwise you just stretch it too thin. I think we learned that from doing it in the 80's a bit too much.
E - I though that was a big burn out for you guys on that tour (powerslave)?
A - It certainly burned me out. I think we wanna keep sharp and give a great show every night. To do that you need to tour sensibly. We want to get around to places and just play hopefully bigger places and come out with a really great album and give people a great show. We just don’t want to burn ourselves out.
E - What do you have to do to prepare for the next 18 months?
A - To be honest it was difficult before I started doing the last leg of the Bruce thing and then thinking of the Maiden thing it is very difficult to do two things I find. I'll go back to Europe and it will take me a couple of days to get over the jet lag. It's a kind of mind set. Part of me wants to be at home, but it just goes with the territory and in fact, When you are on your own you can concentrate. I'll be doing a lot of writing.
E - How will the guitar leads work for the up coming tour?
A - The stuff I did on record I'll play. Basically it goes from the first Maiden album, "Phantom of the Opera" right through the lastest album "The Clansman" and everything in between. So, Janick will play solo's from the albums he did and I'll being doing stuff up until 7th son, I guess.
E - And Davey's doing everything?
A - And Davey's gonna have some sore fingers (laughs). Davey's gonna be out there, we're gonna have to put him on his own stage, cause he's gonna be playing a lot. We might extend things like in Phantom we may extend it to 3 solos instead of 2. We don't want to get into over doing the guitar thing, it's a band thing.
E - How will the harmony's work? Will you add another harmony or just have the other guitar playing the rhythm with Steve?
A - Yea. We might put another rhythm guitar underneath or we'll try a three harmony and see if it works. These are things we haven't really done yet, but I'm looking forward to sitting down and doing. I think playing the older stuff is easier and when we start writing the new stuff then we're gonna have to see who's doing what.
E - What songs didn't make the set list that surprised you?
A - I was surprised that "Iron Maiden" was number 1. Because the band tried to drop it , Davey was telling me, on one or two tours, cause it was always the last song in the set and they changed it cause it doesn't seem right not to play that song. Musically it's not one of the best songs but it's sort of got spirit so that was a surprise. "Run to the Hills" was way down the list. But this was just a poll taken over one or two days. The good thing about it is it gets around any problem we would had arguing about what we're gonna play. We looked at the list of songs and thought that was pretty good, its gonna save a lot of trouble. I'm into playing all the songs on there. We doing "Killers," "Wrathchild," "Wasted Years " and "Stranger…" We might be playing some different stuff off of one or two different (albums), but in the main it will be the same.
E - What will your involvement be in Bruce's solo career?
A - I don't know.
E - Have you talked about it?
A - No not really, because we just finished this thing. Bruce has a strong relationship with Roy, the producer and guitarist. I love doing it. It's been great the last couple of years, some of the best times on the road. We've played arenas and we've played clubs but it's been great. I don't see why not. It depends on where Bruce's head is at, he may want to do something completely different.
E - Would that upset you if he decided to continue his solo career with out you?
A - I don't know how I'm gonna feel about it, to be honest with you. I most likely will take some time off. I was thinking about doing a guitar album, as well.
E - No singing type of thing?
A - Maybe with some vocals on it, but mostly instrumental. I have met some great players who have become friends over the years and maybe I'll do something like that.
E - Have you started writing for the new Maiden record?
A - Yea. I mean I'm always messing around with ideas when I am left alone for a week. I had some ideas and Bruce came over and we did some very rough demos of 4 or 5 ideas and we're gonna expand on them when we go back and start writing.
E - Has the writing started for the rest of them?
A - Janick and Bruce have also go a good working relationship they are actually are living in the same house, so they are coming up with a lot of stuff. It just depends on how we are going to do it, whether we are all going to sit in a room I think would be fun to try that. We've never really done that, (having) everyone contribute something to a song. I think that would be great.
E - So there is a chance we could see a Smith/Dickinson/Murray/Harris/Gers song?
A - I think that would be fantastic. Having said that, we want to make the best album, so we'll pick the best songs. That band politics. That can be a sticky area. I think everyone is at the stage now where they want to express themselves. It's about expression.
E - Playing with THE GURU for all the European tour and playing with Roy, explain what the difference the stage vibe or the way the set went?
A - I think The Guru came and did a great job. He is a very very good guitar player. He's a great technical guitar player. He'd play some things in sound check that just blew my mind. I'd say "how are you doing that" and he goes, "I don't know man." He's a very eccentric guy, as well. He was a lot of fun to work with. He was very different.
E - Just starting the tour with Roy, last year, and building the rapport with him and then being thrown in with The Guru. Was it a little unsettling for you?
A - I had to take on a bit more responsibility on guitar. I had to play some things of Roy's, like "Tears of the Dragon," which really actually stretched me and I was really glad to do that. Because it wasn't immediately my style and I had to kind of learn some of his stuff and when you have to do that it stretches you a bit and it's good. It's done my very playing good.
E - Was their any difficulties with The Guru. Was their any problems with him learning the songs or on tour with him getting used to playing out again.
Yea. Obviously we had a few hiccups early on with equipment, cause The Guru hasn't been out on the road for a while. But once we got rolling it was great. The Guru had his own unique style with the way he looked (starts to laugh) and his whole attitude.
E - I saw some pictures of him. Interesting get up he had?
A - (laughs) He had this long coat and headscarf and all of these jerky weird moves. He was trippy. He was chasing the girls every night and we were kind of laughing, cause we'd done it all. But he has never really done that much touring, it was just funny. We had a blast actually. When Roy is back in the band there are a lot of his songs and a lot of his spirit in the band. So, we had to relearn stuff when Roy came back for the Brazilian part of the tour.
E - How much rehearsal did you go through with Roy?
A - We only had a bout a week. It sounds a lot but we'd run though the set once a day for a week and we did "Jerusalem" off of Chemical Wedding.
E - Did you just play that on Sunday or every night down there?
A - We did it a couple of nights and the first ones were a bit hairy, cause it's a bit of a epic song but I think we nailed it in the end.
E - When will the US dates be announced and are you concerned that Maiden will not generate the excitement that is expected?
A - As far as I know the dates should be confirmed by the middle of next week. Europe has been fantastic. Tickets went on sale in Scandinavia and did 9,000 the first day in Stockholm. That's just a measure of the thing in Europe. But we're just negotiating a record deal over here, but I think when we've done that also the things will be a lot more solid over here.
E - Is there any concern that America, being a trendy culture, will not generate the same type of excitement as Europe?
A - It's hard to say. From the reaction of the media, the industry in America being in New York and being in LA and talking to fans. The atmosphere is very positive and we can only feed off that. I think it's going to generate a lot of interest. There have been a lot of people who haven't been exposed to Iron Maiden. And this video game is probably gonna get across to people who wouldn't otherwise have heard it. And I think there is going to be no one doing quite what we do. People are going to go wow there's a guitar solo. Not many people are doing that. I think that Maiden will be valid in 2000.
E - What is your favorite IM song since your departure?
A - To be honest, I don’t sit down and study the albums.
E - But I take it you've heard them, right?
A - Yea I've heard them. I think "Man on the Edge" was pretty good. I remember seeing that on Top of the Pops, in England. I had to sit there and watch that. "Be quick of be Dead" was pretty cool.
E - What has your relationship with Janick been before Maiden?
A - Janick has been a friend of Bruce's for years, so Janick used to come down and see us play. So, I've been friends with Janick, we've hung out a bit and we used to play soccer at the same place. So I know Janick well he's a great guy and a great player. I think its gonna be good.
E - You once said that it was hard to see Maiden play your songs at Donington 92'. Is that true?
A - Yes it was. (laughs)
E - What did that leave you with after that? Did you have more a desire to establish your self again?
A - I left there feeling totally drained, to be honest with you. It was a very very draining experience. I think I was relieved to get the whole day over with, because I hadn't seen the band with out me I had to get it out of my system. We did "Running Free" just to show it was all cool and there were no hard feelings. I got on doing my own thing. I've been kind of going against the grain since I left band. It's hard because as soon as you are out of that, critics think that you are a stray antelope to the lions. They corner you and they criticize you where they might have been afraid to criticize something as big as Maiden, in the past. I kind of have been paying my dues for the last 10 years. I've been going against the grain a bit but I kind of appreciate being back with Maiden even more, having been outside the band, for a while, I think it's going to help me focus in on what we should be doing, making a great Iron Maiden album.
E - What is your favorite songs and favorite solos from the Maiden days?
A - I like the older ones like, "Wrathchild," "Killers" and "Number of the Beast" and all that. But I like the smoother sound we had on Somewhere in Time, as well, like "Wasted Years" and "Stranger." I think "Stranger" probably, sound wise, is one of the heavier things we did guitar sound wise.
E - What are your favorite solo's?
A - "Killers" is kind of special to me. The track "Ides of March" I like that little solo there, that was the first thing I ever did on record I guess that's kind of special. Also, "Prodigal Son" on that album was fun to play.
E - So basically a lot of the older tunes are your favorites.
A - Yea. Going right up to "The Evil That Men Do."
E - Has there been a producer found for the new record, yet?
A - I think we have, but I can't say. We've talked to a couple of guys that are very big names.
E - Would Roy Z be among them?
A - We actually discussed Roy but the feeling was that he was too close to doing Bruce's stuff. I think technically Roy would be great he understands what the band is about. I've talked to him about sound and I've learned a lot off Roy the last couple of year's production wise and playing wise, he's fantastic. You need a diplomat as well in the studio.
E - Is that going to be announced with the tour dates or separate?
A - It might be a little bit down the road, but real close.
E - Is this a person that you were excited about when you heard his name?
A - Yea, because he's done some great work and he give a big ol' sound. The first thing I said to him was we want a big fu**ing guitar sound.
E - This is such a generic question but how long will Iron Maiden go? Will it be album by album or will it go another 10 years.
A - Well I can say this. We are not doing it for the short hit and run. Maiden has always had credibility I'm not saying that all of our music has been brilliant all of the time, it's been up and down. We've always tried to be true to our fans. We haven’t sold out in a major way , like a lot of bands along the way, so it will definitely be this tour we are really going to go all out to make a great album and we're going to do a big tour in 2000. If that all goes well as we think it will I see no reason why we shouldn't do another album, if everybody's happy. So we could going on for another 5 years.
E - Will there be a Maiden Donnington 2000?
A - I don't really know.
E - It seems like that would make a lot of sense.
A - Yea, that's a good idea. I'll have to talk to our manager about that one.
(At this time Adrian's line had been beeping for about 5 minutes and he informed me that he had another interview at 3:30 and it was 3:34, so I quickly thought to ask this one internet question that was sent in by many fans)
E - One more question, Why do they call you "H"?
A - In England, everyone abbreviates everyone's name. They had trouble abbreviating mine to ADE so it's just H now.
E - I appreciate your time and best of luck to you.
A - Thanks man.