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Iron Maiden Interview
How does it feel to be back together after so long?
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Bruce Dickinson: It doesn't feel like so long, in fact, at all. When we got back in the room together, me and Steve gave each other a great big hug. He's only ever hugged me three times in my life! Fantastic and great fun. We're all looking forward to making great music and having a phenomenally good time. It was great. We're all making plans as to how we're going to enjoy ourselves while playing this great stuff.
Steve Harris: I think it's going to be really exciting to have Bruce and Adrian back. I'm very excited that there's six people in the band. Three guitar players and all that - I'm looking forward to it a lot. As far as I know, there's no-one in metal or rock that's really done the three guitar thing apart from Skynyrd. I really like the Skynyrd stuff - not that it'll be like that, but it should be interesting. Adrian jammed with us at Donington and it felt great to have three guitar players.
Dave Murray: I think the chemistry within the band has increased with getting Bruce and Adrian back. The magic that was there before, I think we can re-create again. There was something still there from X amount of years ago between us, and getting back together, there's a real excitement. It's a kind of excitement between everybody. You can really feel it, and I think it's going to be great. There's so much chemistry with this line up now.
Janick Gers: It's incredible to be back together with Bruce. He's an incredible singer. We've kept in touch over the years anyhow, as I have done with Adrian, and it's going to be really interesting with three guitars. I don't know how they're going to fit us all on stage but it's going to be a very powerful sound and we're all really excited about it.
Adrian Smith: That feels great. It's great to be playing back with the guys again. Everyone's relaxed and happy about it and we're looking forward to playing all the classic Maiden songs on this tour. It's kind of uncanny. I've seen everyone individually over the years, but it's the first time we've all been together in a working situation for a long time - it must be almost 8 years in times of the band. We built up our own language over a period of time. We fell back into that straight away.
Nicko McBrain: Really good, in that it doesn't really feel as though we've been apart as long as it has been. I suppose when you get a bond like the one we had, it's very, very strong. It's quite a strong essence, the bonding side of things, to actually feel like that after 7 years for Adrian and 4/5 for Bruce. It was really good and very exciting.
Three Guitars for the first time - how will that work and do you find it exciting?
Bruce Dickinson: I'm really excited. The characters of the three guitarists actually blend very well. Jan has this completely anarchic style, which in a sense can now be set free, as before he had to fulfil Adrian's parts and his parts. Davey has a very distinct style. They all have. They're all capable of being as disciplined as they need to be, but they've all got such separate personalities that it's going to be fantastic. I think with Adrian back in the band, he's going to make such a huge contribution. Having worked with him he's as good, if not better than he ever was. There's always work for three guitars in a Maiden song, simply because of the number of guitars that we laid down in the studio that we never ever do live. In actual fact the old Maiden songs will sound even better with three guitars. The new stuff may possibly take to a whole new level.
Steve Harris: It's difficult to say if the three guitars will affect the writing, as in the past we've written stuff where there were two guitars and another behind it or three either unison or harmony guitars anyway. So I don't think it'll be a big problem and I don't think it'll take us in a different direction, or anything like that. Sometimes when we break away and do harmonies live, with the bass and drums, it opens it up and sounds really good like that, but sometimes on an album we put a rhythm guitar there, and live you can't do that. Now we can!
Dave Murray: I suppose Skynyrd are one of the only bands around with that sort of line up. With Maiden, on the material side of it, it really weighs favour between guitars. In fact there's a lot of stuff on the studio albums with three guitar harmonies anyway, and that's most of the old material, so we'll be able to incorporate that in. And also, I think with the new stuff as well. People are going to be thinking that we'll be doing three part guitar, so I think it's going to actually broaden the whole thing. It's going to widen and give it another dimension. Sometimes they say less is more, but I think in this case, more is heavier! More is going to be bigger, so I'm really looking forward to it, and the thing is, with Adrian, it's going to widen the whole scope musically, where we can do more things within the band musically, so I think it's going to take shape very well. Subconsciously, I think we will write differently also; it'll be there in the back of your head, because you can actually add things in there. I think it's going to affect things - slightly - it'll make things a lot broader in some sense, but that we're yet to find out. I really think it's going to work great. It'll broaden the sound and make it damn fat!
Janick Gers: Really interesting because the aesthetics of it. You can actually double up in various chords and stuff, so we can make it a kind of bigger sound in various parts. The galloping parts will be the same, but probably distinctly heavier, because of the extra part there. There may be various parts where we might leave the bass and the two guitars might go off and might have a rhythm under them. And obviously, where we can add three part harmonies, that would be real fun to do. There's quite a lot of different things we can actually put into the songs and bring them into the year two thousand. I suppose if you want to look at it like that, it could be very exciting.
Adrian Smith: If ever there was a band where three guitars could compliment the music, it was Maiden. There are a lot of guitar harmonies and guitar parts. The songs are long and I think there's a lot of space there for three guitar players. It will compliment the music and it's never really been done before in the rock and metal field - obviously Skynyrd, but I don't think in the metal field it's been done, which gives it an exciting dimension. I think it will sound amazing as we all play slightly differently. In a concert situation it will be interesting as well, because it keeps changing the focal point which makes it interesting from an audience perspective. I also think, as we haven't worked together in this format yet, I imagine that as we write together, Janick Dave and I will write together. There's a lot of interesting stuff we can work with - but I don't think it means we're going to have 98 guitar solos in each song, I think it'll be more of a textural thing. Who knows! It's difficult to say until we start working. At best, it will add another dimension to the band and will compliment what we already have.
Nicko McBrain: Chaos! Absolute chaos! First of all I think it's going to bring an added strength that has previously been un-tapped. So we know that Adrian's guitar style worked for so many years with the band and then when Janick came in, his style of playing is quite fiery and very effervescent, compared to Adrian who's more laid back and a more controlled player. We've got the best of both worlds there, but I said to the guys that they need to take out added insurance for on stage as there's 5 of them running around! It's going to be like the Grand National meets RollerBall! I'm looking forward to it and it's going to be a challenge, an exciting one, with the three guys, especially on the older songs. There's going to be picking and choosing who does what solo, and maybe even adding new parts as you can't have one guy standing there while everyone else is playing! The people are going to be so excited seeing the three guys up there in the first place, but with the added dimension of the musical parts involved, I think it's going to very exciting.
3) How do you think the fans will feel about the band reforming
Bruce Dickinson: I think they'll be quite pleased. It means that I don't have to play possum when people ask me questions. It's going to be fantastic. I've become very conscious, in terms of Emails and personal encounters with fans who have never seen Maiden with me, and there's an enormous number of young fans who have never seen Maiden except on video - Live After Death etc. - and that's terrifically exciting as I think this is a huge opportunity to bring together effectively three generations of Rock fans, from people who were into rock in the 70's and got into Maiden. Then you have all the people who have got into the band in the 80's and now a whole generation from the 90's. We're looking at another century of people. It's marvellous as I think that, certainly for me, I don't want to live up to people's expectations: I want to exceed them.
Steve Harris: It's difficult to say, but I think they will be excited about it, especially the young fans even more so as Adrian left the band 8 years ago. So there's a lot of fans that haven't seen either one or both of them. It's really exciting.
Dave Murray: The fans that are from the 80's, it's going to spark that excitement back again and get them interested again in a way, if they had decided to move onto other things. The old fans are going to be like "Yeah - let's go and check it out" and also the new fans - looking at the stuff on the Internet, and the general vibe - it looks like they're really excited about this anyway. These fans have never seen this line up - there's going to be a lot of excitement, and you can feel the buzz already.
Janick Gers: I think the kids who are into the band are really going to accept this, because there's been a grand swell of support for Bruce over the years, anyhow, and he's got a great voice. It's going to be very exciting and I think the people who are going to come to see it (I think there's a lot of people out there who haven't actually seen Iron Maiden with Bruce Dickinson in) are going to be very, very excited. From a fan point of view, I think you've got the best of both worlds. You've got the Iron Maiden of the 90's with Bruce in there, giving it everything, and he hasn't been there for a while, so he's going to be well fired up.
Adrian Smith: Well, we do get a lot of feed back from the Internet and there have been constant rumours for the last couple of years of a reformation of the 80's line up. A lot of feed back on that, so I think a lot of people are going to want to see it, simply because I've been out on the road with Bruce for the last couple of years, and from what I have gathered on the road, people will be very interested to hear it. I think it's going to be really cool, because of the atmosphere between us. There's a good feeling about this tour and you can sense the anticipation and the buzz about it.
Nicko McBrain: I think the fans will be absolutely ecstatic. There's going to be some people who will be upset as they were in to Blaze, but I think once they see the reformed band as it is, they'll be probably very happy about things - it's still Maiden - I think they're going to be as excited as we are As far as what the kids will think; I think they'll be really happy.
We understand you've done a photosession which was probably the first thing you've done since getting back together. How did it go?
Bruce Dickinson: You know you're back in Iron Maiden when you get sandwiches and beer. No other photo session where they ever provide anything! Seriously though it was very easy. Being with the guys and Ross Halfin taking pictures it was just the same as ever. It really felt like we'd been on holiday and just got back after a couple of weeks. It's scary! Time travel!
Steve Harris: Really normal. Really natural. It felt right. It didn't feel strange or anything like that - it felt really good.
Dave Murray: It was a case like we'd never been apart! It felt like the band had never split in loads of directions. It was very natural - very comfortable - and there was a spark there and a glimmer in everyone's eyes. You felt that something special was happening there. It was as though we hadn't really parted. Bruce just did that photosession, just like we'd had a couple of months off. It didn't feel like 5 years at all. It just felt like a couple of months. Which is great because it shows that that magic is still there.
Janick Gers: Yeah, it was very weird, the photosession, because, obviously that was the first time we all got together. I mean, I've known Adrian for a long time anyhow, but the actual 6 of us together. You know when you walk into a room, you feel a chemistry with the people you're with, and I must say, I felt a really good atmosphere when I walked into the room, and it held right through the photoshoot. Fun was had. There was definitely a kind of electricity between the characters in the band and if we can get that into the music and get it on stage; I think the chemistry between the 6 of us could be very exciting.
Adrian Smith: It went really well, apart from the fact I had flu. It went very well. There's a lot of peripheral stuff you have to do, but it was actually fun and painless, and that's the highest praise you can give to a photosession! More importantly, it was a chance for us all to meet up and hang out for a couple of hours and we started to scratch the surface talking about the musical side of things. I think you need the chemistry as the band is made up of such personalities and that makes it what it is.
Nicko McBrain: It was great - as I said earlier - it was as though we just walked in and picked up from we'd just walked off stage and off the end of a tour the previous week. It really was. It was really just a question of a bunch of old mates, getting together who hadn't had a drink up for a while! Although we were talking about making a new album, making music, but that was the general feel. Very good. Everyone had a great time and a bit of a chuckle. There wasn't any tension in the air, even at the beginning. It was just "Oh! Here we are. OK, let's get on with it. What do we want to do now". It was a great day and we got an awful lot done. You think it would be absolute chaos because of everyone getting together for the first time for 7 or 8 years, but we got a lot of work done and we thoroughly enjoyed it, as we normally hate photosessions, but it went really well.