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Nicko McBrain Interview
(Translated from Swedish by Shadow)
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When Iron Maiden started to play many of the fans was not born. Still their popularity today is enormous. Drummer Nicko McBrain tries to explain why.
Nicko McBrain has been the drummer of Iron Maiden for 20 years. He takes most things lightly. About an hour before he’s going on stage with Maiden he’s sitting in a chair eating snacks.
Nicko is used to interviews and that’s obvious. He tells a lot of jokes but it’s hard to get any controversial opinions on anything out of him.
- Are you surprised that such a conservative band as Iron Maiden has so many young fans? So young that they could be your children.
“I’m 51 years old now but I can still rock! Just as everyone else in the band. And I’m the most handsome guy in the band! Only joking. Seriously, we love our fans, and we love what we do. We’re like a big, expanded family. I mean, there’s many kinds of music for the kids to choose from today. Still they’re loyal to us. We in Maiden have always done the same thing really, we have changed our principles. And still so many enjoy our music.”
Yes, Iron Maiden are big. So big that they can easily fill Stockholm’s Stadion, Globen and probably any enormous venue in any European city. Since Bruce Dickinson returned in 2000 after a 5 year absence as the band’s singer and frontman nothing has been able to stop the Brits. The period before Bruce decided to get back Nicko doesn’t want to talk about though. Blaze Bayley, the replacement, never matched the fans expectations, and immediately had to step aside when Bruce wanted to come back.
“The time with Blaze is just a side of the Maiden history. It was a different experience, but having Bruce back is just as it’s meant to be.”
- Your old guitarist Adrian Smith returned to the band with Bruce. How does it work with three guitarists?
“It’s perfect live when we try to recreate the sound from the records. And it’s never like the boys fight about who’s going to play what. They’re almost sickly polite. ‘I play after you. No, I insist.’ That’s how it can sound. Haha!”
On Iron Maiden’s last album ‘Dance of Death” is Nicko for the first time credited as a songwriter, on New Frontier.
- Why has it taken so long?
“I don’t know, probably I’m just lazy! Maybe the self-esteem isn’t very good either, there are such a lot of good songwriters in the band. Recently I’ve written a few songs with my wife, and I got interested in playing bass. New Frontier wasn’t first supposed to be a Maiden song, but my wife told me to show it to the band. So I did, and it made it on the album, after having been re-worked by me and Adrian. Bruce also wrote some new lyrics for it.”
- What do you think of today’s metal scene? Do you listen to new bands?
“No, I listen mainly to old stuff, like Eric Clapton, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. But my son likes new bands! He often asks me to play Brave New World in the car. Besides, I’ve never seen Maiden fully as a metal band. More of a progressive rock band. A little underground. At least we were in the eighties. Back then many people were scared of us, of our lyrics and the covers with Eddie. And many still question us.”
- Where is Iron Maiden in five years? Are you still around then?
“Yes, I think so! Perhaps we don’t tour as intensive as we do today. Maybe we do a festival gigs, at special times. But surely there will be place for us!