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Nicko McBrain Interview
Author: Metal Masters
Date: 1-December-2003
Category: Interviews
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MM: Twenty years ago when you first joined Iron Maiden did you ever think that Iron Maiden would become as big and as influencial as it is today in the music industry?

NM: No I hadn't thought that far ahead, but I'm sure thankful to our Lord for the sucsess of these last twenty years.

MM: Unlike most drummers you don't use a double bass drum pedal, you chose to only use one, any particualr reason you perfer using the one pedal?

NM: I find that using one is hard enough and I think that using two would be double trouble.

MM: How'd you develop the technique you use which allows you to kick so fast using the one bass pedal?

NM: Its a lot of practice and plying time. Also it depends on what the bass line is laying down. The more intense it is the more you have to play on the foot. It just comes from a lot of playing. One of the most important things to be aware of is your balance. By this I mean how you sit behind the kit in relation too the distance from the bass drum and the hight from the floor. I sit very low and my upper leg is parrallel to the floor. I only use the side of my big toe on the bass drum pedal. You should find what works best for you.

MM: How do you think your drumming compares to that of Clive Burr's?

NM: I don't compare the two, but Clive was a superb drummer. A different kind of animal from meself.

MM: If Iron Maiden were to split up today and disband, would you retire and call it quits or would you branch off and start your own bands/solo projects?

NM: I'm a player always have been, always will be. I would definately be on the lookout for a band.

MM: Please tell us about yourself as a child? What drew you to playing the drums? Was music prevalent in your home?

NM: My farther played the trumpet and keyboard and me mum was into the piano so there was always a heavy musical ellament in my house growing up. I was 11 years old when I saw Joe morrello play a solo with his band in 1964. I knew straight away that that was what I wanted to do. MY family were totaly supportive

MM: What artistís inspired you for their musicianship? What bands/artists did you listen to as a kid?

NM: Beatles/Ringo Starr, Rolling Stones/Charliy Watts, Led Zepplin/Joh Bonham, The Who/ Keith Moon.

MM: What do you do when your not on the road or recording with Iron Maiden?

NM: Look after my family, Rebecca, Nicholas and Justin me pussy cat, Hiedi, me sniffly puppy Kristy and play as much golf as possible.

MM: For the drummer tech-heads, give us your input on the perfect stage set-up? How about when recording?

NM: I would use a Premier series kit conprising of 6 8 10 12 13 14 15 16 toms 18floor 24x18 bd51/2x14 Modern Classic snare. Paiste signsture cymbals for live and the same setup in the studio. Check out web page for cymbal set up.

MM: What activity would you be able to go longer without - playing golf or playing drums?

NM: Mst definately playing golf, if I couldn't play me tubs with a bunch of friends it would drive me TOTALY nuts.

MM: Do either of your sons have any interest in drumming

NM: Yes, both of my boys,Nicholas and Justin play the tubs, they also play keyboards as well,and both of 'em are very good at it.

MM: Does your beautiful wife, Rebecca, have any musical talents?

NM: Oh yes she sings like an angel and writes the most amazing words and also music, she is guite the talent.

MM: Although you do own a home in Europe, is it hard being the only member of Iron Maiden who calls the U.S. home?

NM: I'm not the only member to call the US home Dave lives in Hawaii, and No its not hard as I love the States.

MM: Have you ever been asked to do anything professionally which you felt went against your morals and the teachings of your faith, and if so what did you do about it?

NM: No nothing that springs to mind and if it did I would for sure not do it.

MM: Are you a self-taught drummer or did you have professional training? Can you elaborate on this.

NM: I'm self taught. But I learnt from the best drummers in the world by listening to what they plyed and took in as much as possible from them.

MM: What is your favorite song to play?

NM: Most definately, 'Hallowed be Thy Name'

MM: Why do you sit down so low and your kit is so high around you that you really can't be seen?

NM: As long as you can here me that's fine. Its something that deveoloped over the years. I always sat low and my kit grew up around me.

MM: What kind of warm-ups (if any) do you do before a show?

NM: I have a smsll Premier Club kit set up in a room at the show and I'll take a ten minuet warm up about an hour before show time.

MM: You are a licensed pilot - what made you want to get a pilot's license?

NM: The passion of flight mate. I decided that I wanted to fly like an eagle!

MM: Do you have any funny cockpit stories?

NM: I once flew with a guy in the Channell Islands out of Jersey and it was in Febuary 1986, We hit some suppr cool air and the airframe decided to ice up. It was a fairly heavy 30 minuets of flight limping back too the airport. The engine also decided that it would rough run, that means that ice gets into the carbs and staves the fuel to the engine. We made it back and when we landed we left a whole bunch of ice on the runway. It was very invigorating.Not so much funny but then when you look at it I suppose?

MM: Have you and Bruce every flown together with one of you as pilot and the other as co-pilot?

NM: Yes we have flown together as left and right seat. I flew into Miniapolis on the Ed Hunter tour. We were in his Cessna 321 Golden Eagle It was great!

MM: It has been suggested (often) that you are the best drummer in Metal, does that make you proud, and did you ever think when you were younger you'd achieve so much aclaim?

NM: I wouldn't say that I'm proud, its more of an honor. It is very nice to know that people apreciate my playing. When I was a young boy I always wanted to do the best that I could and I guess that that means, that when you have a passion for something, you give it all and you will eventually meet your dreams.

MM: What new band(s) do you think will acheive a high level of success?

NM: Funeral for a Friend, Stay.

MM: When speaking to a band on the rise, please finish this statment: Beware Of _______________ .

NM: Drugs and bent managers

MM: Name your top 5 CDs of 2003.

NM: Haven't had time to listen to any new CDs this year, sorry. OH Dance of Death me top five CDs

MM: What was the last music video you saw that made you say "What a cool video?"

NM: Evanescence Bring me to Life. Great vid, Love it.

MM: Since Metal Masters is based in Tampa, FL and of course you live in Florida, when will Iron Maiden do another Florida show? The last time we were able to see you play was in Orlando during the X Factor tour. Which we must say that you really took care of the Metal Masters staff that night and it was very much appreciated!

NM: Sorry we won't be playing Florida on this tour. Maybe we will see you on the next adventure.

MM: Nicko, this is your chance to pimp yourself and Iron Maiden and plug anything we haven't already talked about, such as the new record, the tour, your website addresses(es), etc...

NM: Just go out and buy the New 'Kin Album.Or else!!!!!!

Now on to the personal questions. We hope you can have some fun with these:

MM: Name 3 famous people from history that you would like to have dinner with?

NM: Jesus Christ, Winston Churchill, William Wallace

MM: What was the last book you read? A brief review/commentary please.

NM: Rick Warren/Forty days of Purpose, Its about finding your heart for the Lord. What is His purpose for me individually, A must read to get to know God.

MM: What was the last movie you saw? A brief review/commentary please.

NM: Master and Commander, The Far Side. Great boys own film about a cat and mouse chase between an English ship and a French frigat set in the 19th century Napolionic war off the waters of South America, Great stuff!!!

MM: Are you superstitious about anything?

NM: Absolutely not!!!

MM: Do you have any fears or phobias?

NM: Just a fear of Scorpions.Yuck!

MM: Which do you prefer - boxers, briefs or do you go commando?

NM: I'm a Brief man. That's what she said last night!

MM: Your drink of choice?

NM: Superb Burgandy wines, the older the better, just like MEEE,TEEHEE!

MM: What golf course, any where in the world, that you have not played, would you like to?

NM: All of 'em

MM: Have you ever met any members of European royalty? If so, who and under what circumstances?

NM: Yes I have. I met with Prince Andrew at the Princess Trust show at Wembly Arena in the late eighties. I performed with Marrillion and Janick before he joined Maiden.

MM: Since you live in Florida, which teams do you prefer?

Football: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaquars?

NM: Miami Dolphins

Hockey: Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers?

NM: Florida Panthers

Baseball: Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Florida Marlins?

NM: Of coarse the Marlins, they RULE!!!!

College Football: Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles?

NM: Gators

MM: You are Rebecca are a great couple, but you are from Europe and your wife is a country girl from the hills of West Virginia - how did you two meet, court, get engaged and finally married? How long have you been together and how long have you been married?

NM: I met Rebecca at The Button South Fort Lauderdale in 1983. We saw one another for a while then we lost touch, We met again in 1984 and have been together ever since. We married in May 1989. She is the most amazing woman I have ever known. Very caring and sensitive, she loves the Lord and I couldn't be happier.

We wish to thank Nicko for taking time out of his schedule to complete this interview. Don't forget to visit the Iron Maiden official website at and pick up Dance Of Death at your music retailer!

[ Add Comment ]
23-January-2015 2:07 am 
:: says...

" I'm a huge Maiden fan and though countless songs of yours { " Rime ", " Phantom ", " Alexander ", many others }, the one song which resonates Ethereally Forever in my heart and soul, is " The Clansman "; not because it is lyrically and musically Awesome. . .I believe I'm descended from Sir William's lineage! What truly blows me away is that a Fantastic and Awesome rock group ENGLISH, NOT SCOTTISH, has given such high tribute to a man, Country and time when England was the " Auld Enemy "! ! ! GOD BLESS you Iron Maiden--Thanks for the multitude of fabulous years of Super music; hope you come to the Portland, Oregon area real soon! P. S. Mr. McBrain, are you truly an admirer of Sir William Wallace? I too would Love to dine with him and Mr. Churchill! "


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