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Dave Murray & Bruce Dickinson Interview
13/February/1999 - Bruce & Dave
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Source: Rolling Stone Magazine
Date: February 13th, 1999
Two decades, fifteen albums and three singers since they first blew the bonnet off Britain, Iron Maiden are back in their nearly maiden form. On Wednesday (Feb. 10), the seminal heavy metal mob capped months of rumors by announcing that long-time vocalist Bruce Dickinson and decade-long guitarist Adrian Smith have signed their names in blood once again.
"There have been a lot of people pussyfooting around the idea of bringing metal back, and a lot of it has centered around exploitative people and graveyard labels bringing sad, tired, old metal bands back to life," Dickenson says. "And it has really pissed me off." Dickenson, who replaced original vocalist Paul Di'Anno for the 1982 album The Number of the Beast adds, "this is simply our opportunity to make Iron Maiden into the biggest and best heavy metal band there has ever been. I wouldn't have come back into Maiden if I didn't believe our reunion would set the world alight." The skeletal Maiden -- bassist Steve Harris, drummer Nicko McBrain, and guitarists Dave Murray and Janick Gers -- first lit the fuse late last year, after a lukewarm tour and mediocre sales of the 1998 album Virtual XI forced a career crisis of sorts. Third vocalist Blaze Bayley served the band well for five years, but Maiden's shock value was fast becoming disproportionate to Marilyn Manson's.
So, flying in the face of the Maiden lyric, "don't waste your time always searching for those wasted years," the group rediscovered the fulfilling ones. "It was a case of asking, 'Where do we want to take this now?' We needed to move on," says Murray, who has served as an Iron Maiden foot soldier since 1979. "We approached Bruce and Adrian a few months ago to feel it out and see if they would be interested because their solo things are going quite nicely. It was immediate from them -- the response was one hundred percent 'Yes!'" Dickinson's only reservation was that Maiden not enter what he calls "the slurry and sludge of old farts who are poking their heads out of their coffins for five minutes."
After one conference, however, the entire band had wholeheartedly agreed to a resolution for absolute world domination, including a 1999 summer tour, a new album and a Millennial road riot that would reassert their heavy metal dominance.
Meanwhile, snubbed-singer Bayley responded in abnormal rock & roll fashion -- he ducked out of Maiden graciously, wishing his colleagues all the luck in the world. "The split from Blaze was totally amicable," Murray says.
"He is already talking about his solo career and getting a band together. We still have a strong friendship."
Likewise, the bonds between old school Maiden and their dormant fans are growing stronger by the day. Since the reunion announcement, the group's official web site www.ironmaiden.com has received more than one million hits. Dickinson feels confident that those teeming masses will gladly thrust their fists into the air and howl when Maiden launches a modest reintroduction tour in the U.S. and Europe this summer. "It's not going to be a monstrously long tour because we want to feed people's imagination just enough," says Dickinson, who declined to mention potential touring partners. Murray, however, says "there have been hints that Judas Priest or Twisted Sister might do it, but nothing is confirmed yet."
Alongside classics like "Run to the Hills" and "The Flight of Icarus," Maiden will experiment with new material on the road, then head straight into the studio following the summer tour. Murray says they are considering several big-name producers at this time, and hope to release the born-again album in March or April of next year. Though the sound of Millennial Maiden -- featuring three guitarists for the first time ever -- is only beginning to take shape now, Dickinson assures his fans that "Iron Maiden is not going to make a fucking pop record...a rap record... or an electronica-oriented album either. You will not see Iron Maiden-does-Rammstein or Iron Maiden-does-Korn. You will see Iron Maiden-does-the-world."
It is humble expectations like that that are fueling this reunion, inspiring Maiden to embark on an eight or nine-month tour in 2000 with various unspecified "surprises that will make Iron Maiden fans very happy. " Dickinson insists that Maiden is not out to "get some cash and then go off an retire," but rather scare the holy Mariah out of MTV, mothers and commercial radio.
"What Maiden should be doing is slugging it out with Korn and Marilyn Manson. Maiden is going to be up there toe-to-toe with the brightest and the best and the youngest and the fastest," he says. "And they are going to have to work pretty hard to try to top us. You want to close the show after Maiden? Here's the guillotine and the rope."