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Bruce Dickinson & Janick Gers Interview
Author: Niclas Müller-Hansen
Date: 1-March-2002
Category: Interviews
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Bruce och Janick var i Stockholm för att promota det nya livealbumet "Rock in Rio" och Niclas fick chansen att sitta ner med dem i 20 minuter och ställa lite frågor.

Welcome to Sweden and our crappy weather.

Bruce: It's great! I love this. I tell you what. It's only crappy because it stopped snowing. I like it when it snows. Janick: I've been out for a walk. It's great!

Is this the kind of weather you have back home, or?

B: No, in England it's warm and wet.

So you've got your new live album coming out in March. Recorded in Rio. When did you decide to record it? Was that before you came to Rio or while you were there?

B: No, no. It's just not a live album, it's a dvd as well. We knew about three months ahead of time, that we were gonna do a live album and we were gonna record it for dvd. We did a lot of extra footage. In fact we spent the South American tour, which preceded Rio, going around with cameramen filming other shows as well. For extra stuff to insert in the dvd. Because there are four hours on the dvd and only two hours in the actual concert. So there's loads of extra stuff.

Was it really 250000 people there?

B: Yeah, it really was.

Where was it? Was it a kind of football stadium or?

No, it's a purpose built stadium just for Rock in Rio. And it's ehh....The most amazing thing...I mean they have three huge stages. Each one with a complete lighting rig in place. Each one is on these giant railroad tracks and each stage slides into place and then the next one moves in stead of it. So there's no...Our equipment was set up the day before and was soundchecked and ready and wasn't moved. So it's not like these festivals you quickly have to set the stuff up and hope it works. It was a really, really incredibly professional, very well organized thing. It was all sponsored by AOL and it was just amazing. The backstage area was the size of an indoor... well they actually have an indoor running track going round inside with gymnasiums, bars saunas, you know. Big screens so you can see the gig. Helicopters going in and out of the site. Just really awesome.

You were headlining?

B: Yeah!

It's only the third Rock in Rio, isn't it?

B: Don't even know.

J: Iron Maiden played the first one.

B: Yeah, we played the first one, which was in 1984.

I know Status Quo played there one time.

B: Yeah! It changed location a few times. But this one was back in the original stadium that was built just for the first Rock in Rio. What happened was, they did the first Rock in Rio and it became paralyzed by local domestic politics between the promoter and the mayor of the town. And they weren't allowed to use the stadium again, so it was just left. But they rebuilt it. Now they've got a pretty good plan on how Rock in Rio works. First time they did it, it was two weeks every night and that was just too crazy. Too many crazy people. What they do now, is they run it on two weekends. So you get Thursday, Friday, Saturday and maybe Sunday and the following weekend the same thing. That works much better. And people can buy one ticket that gets them in to everything or they can buy a ticket for only the night they wanna see. So ours was obviously the rock, the metal night. The night before was Britney Spears. So obviously probably not too many of the same fans. Or well some, there might be some.

It's pretty amazing that they're able to control or to have some control over 250 000 people. A lot of stuff can happen.

B: Like I say. It's very well organized. I think that the Brazilian fans are ehh...well that's exceptional, because as well as being very...You know...They have a reputation for being Brazilians and they're all crazy. Well yeah, but they're not crazy like psychos. You know. They're just really passionate. There's a big difference. J: They're enjoying themselves as well. B: And a very enjoyable audience to play in front of.

I'll bet. You can really hear it on the album. I listened to it yesterday and the crowd is almost louder than the band sometimes. Unbelievable!

B: And should too with 250 000 people. You better believe it!

Amazing! And that must be the biggest crowd you've played to, or?

B: I think it is, unless...I'm not sure, there may have been more people the first Rock in Rio. I think, yeah, there may have been more people the first Rock in Rio, but it was not nearly as well organized. It was a bit crazy the first time in Rio. Out of control. And I think that they've really built the stadium properly this time around. It actually has... 250 000 people are in, that's it, no more. And there are actually loads of room cause they built the stadium for half a million. When they first built it they said it would hold half a million and they didn't get half a million. But they had three hundred, something, thousand the first one but then I think they thought: Let's say it's 250 000 and that's enough. So there's a quarter of a million and there's plenty of room for people to walk around in the back and for safety. You know. But it was fantastic. Really good.

When can we expect a new studio album? I know you're on a break now, I guess until next year.

B: Well until we're finished doing this. We're actually not gonna be on a break until the beginning of April. Cause we're going on promoting this thing and then we've got some shows with the Clive Burr fund in March and then some more album stuff. The dvd comes out in May, the beginning of May I should think. And then... after the summer holidays.

Do you have any titles or songs ready or anything?

B: No, and if we did we wouldn't tell you.

And I guess there will be a new world tour after the next album?

B: Oh yeah, next year.

Coming back to Sweden?

B: Oh yeah!

J: Oh yeah!

Seems like you've always had a huge fanbase in Sweden. And all the other countries around the world. I thought about it the other day and it seems like you and AC/DC are the only two bands that are from the 70´s -80´s that are still going on, that can really draw a big crowd. I mean a lot of the big bands that came when you came out, like the NWOBHM, Saxon, Judas Priest... All these bands kind of disappeared. But you're still out there drawing a massive crowd every time you play. What do you think is the secret? How come Maiden is still huge and all the other bands disappeared?

B: Well I wouldn't...I'm not in the other bands so there's not much point in speculating in why other bands disappeared. I can only really suggest why Maiden is still around. I think because we haven't...well we have changed what we do. Our albums now sound very different than 1983. So there's a very different style. So we have changed what we do, but we haven't changed it to fit any trend or fashion or anything else like that. The change has been within the band and our fans that watch that share it with us. So I think that's one of the biggest reasons that we haven't followed the dictates of trends and fashions.

Yeah, you didn't go do disco in the 80´s!

J: No, I think a lot of those bands...well not the bands you mentioned in particular. But a lot of bands kind of deviate what they do to fit in with trends and fashion and what's happening at a particular time. And they're probably the bands that disappear. You know, sometimes we're not the coolest band in the world, but we do what we do. And...say if grunge is happening. We're not gonna put an album out that sounds grungy. It's just not what we do. A lot of bands did and a lot of bands disappeared around that time. You have to believe in what you do. And when you're not cool...for instance, you know in the 90´s we weren't cool in America and in fact no rock band was. But we still went there and toured and all of a sudden last year we were cool again. A lot of bands, like Marilyn Manson, were quoting that they liked Iron Maiden. Suddenly we were the cool guys. But we didn't change what we play or how we play our music in any way, shape or form. So we didn't compromise ourselves by jumping on any particular trend and maybe some of those other bands did and maybe that's why...I don't know. But if we could bottle it and sell it we'd tell you the secret.

How do you feel about the new metal scene, like Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, the whole American scene?

J: Well there's plenty of room for all those bands as far as I'm concerned. A lot of it I might not particular like. I don't like rap and Bruce is saying how he's not into certain kinds of music. There are certainly types that not appeal to me, but it doesn't mean it's not valid in society in general. There's some good stuff out there and I think that's healthy for music. It would be stupid for us all to listen to one kind of music or one band, so I think there's some good stuff there. The prerequisite all for me is melody. If you're lacking in melody, I don't see how you can last that long.

What can you tell about the Clive Burr shows? What can the fans expect at these two shows at Brixton, isn't it?

B: Yeah, effectively it's gonna be more or less the same show as the Rio thing. We're doing the shows to raise money for Clive. So that's our primary motivation. We're not gonna showcase new material. Obviously our management and our record company love the idea that the shows are coming out...and by coincidence there's a double live album and a dvd! They can do what they like with all that bullshit, but the main reason that we're doing it is for Clive and that's the reason we added a second show. To make some more money.

Is he really ill or is he living a day to day life?

B: No, he's getting about you know. MS is a progressive disease and he's already at a point where a lot jobs that he would be able to do, he can't do now because of his disease. If he wanted to go drive a car or things like that, I'm not sure whether or...I don't think...for example if he wanted to go in a minicab, which a lot of musicians do when they're not working and stuff, he probably couldn't do that with MS. I don't know whether he could be a drummer, like a session drummer or something like that with it, how disabling the condition is. So progressively as he gets older and the disease maybe progresses, he's gonna need more assistance. A for lifestyle and B maybe for treatment, pay for drugs and it's gonna be hard for him to get that. So this is a good way to help him out.

What has he been doing since he left? He left in 1983, right? Has he been doing anything? `Did he leave because he was ill back then?

B: No!

J: He's done lots of different things. I think he had his own soul band. Was it Escape?

B: Yeah, Escape!

J: And he's played with other bands. He did a lot of things. I spent a few times working with him and then he joined some other bands. So I have met him in the past too. But it's difficult with musicians, because you're moving around, you're on tour, you lose touch with people. And it's one of those things, you might meet somebody after five years and it's like it was yesterday and you still have that camaraderie. You might not see each other for five years. I haven't kept in touch with Clive all that time. The thing is with the disease he's got, it's a horrible, horrible thing. One day you can feel fine and the next day you cannot get out of the chair. The trust fund's been set up to help him with that. I think Adrian spoke to him the other day and he's really happy. So that's great.

You're releasing "Run to the hills" as well. The old version as well as the new live version from Rio!

J: Yeah that's the first time we did it on that tour. In fact I think we decided to do it on the afternoon of the show. "So let's do that!" It seemed like a great thing to do. So the money from that as well goes to the Clive Burr Trust fund.

And it's said that there's gonna be some material from the Clive Burr era as well. Unreleased material, was it? What kind of stuff is that?

B: Well, before "Live after death"...the video, there was supposed to be a video from the "Number of the beast"...or the "Beast on the road tour". And we actually spent an awful lot of money recording the Hammersmith Odeon show and filming it. Unfortunately the filming turned out to be a bit of a disaster, because the lighting director didn't get on with the director. And he made everything way too dark on stage so we ended up with this gloomy kind of bootleg look to the video, which was not the idea. So we decided to...shit we'll have to do it next year. So that's why "Live after death" ended up being the one. However the soundtrack is amazing, the live soundtrack is amazing. So we thought we'd release some stuff from that as the b-sides. But also as a bit of a foretaste of what is to come. Because there's also Clive live at Reading, with me, on the "Beast on the road tour". That's a live album too and there's also a live album with Paul Dianno, live at Reading as well. So there's a lot of stuff and there's a boxed set of all this stuff, remixed and put together and it's all coming out later, later this year. Because it's our 25th anniversary.

Is it all live stuff?

B: Yeah, yeah! There's no recorded stuff. There's nothing spared out there in the studio.

Because that's what all the fans are kind of looking for!

B: No, there isn't! There is nothing

So Bruce, will there be any more solo albums? Do you have any plans for that in the future?

B: Oh yeah I do, but it's simply a question of when really. We're gonna be working until the end of this year on the Maiden album. If I did one this year I would have to be releasing it around about the time we've started work with Maiden, so it would be a bad time to release it. And the next year I'm gonna be out touring so it's a bad time to release it next year, because the Maiden album's coming out. Probably the year after that or something. I'm afraid people are gonna have to wait a while.

Any new books about Iffy Boatrace?

B: No, no, no! Nothing planned.

Do you write these days?

B: No, mainly just sleep!

So Janick, do you have any plans for solo work? I know you've worked with Gillan in the past and Fish from Marillion.

J: And him (nods at Bruce), and Bruce. No not at the moment.

So it's all Maiden now?

J: Yeah it is.

Do you have any favorite heavy metal albums, besides Iron Maiden, that you think every heavy metal freak should own? Classic albums that you listen to yourselves.

B: God yes! They're all very ancient and elderly.

J: As long as it got grooves. Great grooves.

B: Let's see! Deep Purple "Made in Japan", Deep Purple "In rock", "Rainbow rising", AC/DC "Highway to hell", Jethro Tull "Aqualung", first Black Sabbath, Wishbone Ash "Argus", Thin Lizzy "Live and dangerous".

J: "Sabbath bloody sabbath"!

B: Yeah, "Sabbath bloody sabbath", "Heaven and hell" Black Sabbath. There you go!

J: All stuff with groove!

B: If you glue all that lot together you'll get a heavy metal band.

J: A good collage of heavy metal.

Finally, I read a rumor somewhere that you were supposed to sing with Pavarotti. Is that true?

B: No that's not true.

Thank you!

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