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Steve Harris and Bruce Dickinson Interview
Author: Don Kaye
Date: 1-May-1999
Category: Interviews
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\"We want this to be a long-term thing,\" says Iron Maiden bassist and founding member Steve Harris about the just-announced reunion of his band\'s most popular lineup. \"The first thing I said to Bruce [Dickinson, lead singer, who departed in 1993] was, \'Why do you want to come back?\' and the second thing was, \'How long are you staying for?\' We didn\'t want him coming back to do a one-off tour and that\'s it. We\'d rather get someone else. And that\'s what we probably would have done if Bruce\'s attitude hadn\'t been right and we didn\'t believe that he was coming back for the long-term.\"

With his long hair, faded jeans, and black T-shirt, Harris looks almost exactly like he did nearly 20 years ago, when his band--the cream of what was then called the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal--first emerged with a punchy, intricate, very English brand of hard rock that influenced a generation of musicians and survived the genre\'s alleged \"death\" several times over. But even Maiden staggered in the last few years as metal was swept back into the underground. The band\'s last two studio efforts, The X Factor and Virtual XI, were released on indie label CMC Int\'l to poor sales, at least in the U.S., and critically lambasted, with most of the venom focusing on replacement frontman Blaze Bayley.

Now, however, Harris, Dickinson, returning guitarist Adrian Smith (who split in 1990), axeman Dave Murray, and drummer Nicko McBrain have reassembled what many consider the classic Maiden lineup, which lasted from 1983 to \'90 and produced successful albums like Piece Of Mind, Powerslave, and Somewhere In Time. Also along for the ride is guitarist Janick Gers, who joined nine years ago and is sticking around to make the band a triple-guitar threat for the first time ever.

Reunion rumors had been in the air ever since Smith joined Dickinson on a solo project last year; Bayley\'s subsequent departure paved the way for a full-fledged return to form. \"We were getting asked these questions even during the last tour,\" says Harris. \"So we said to Rod [Smallwood, band manager], \'Well, what\'s happening? Does Bruce want to come back?\' And Rod said, \'Yeah, he would be up for it.\' So at the end of January, we had a meeting which went very well...and we just decided to go for it. After that, it was more or less my idea to get Adrian back. If Bruce was definitely coming back, it felt right to have Adrian back as well.\"

Dickinson, the archetypal \"air-raid siren\" singer when he first joined Maiden, sees the band\'s mission now as a simple one: \"The aim is to do a great Maiden record. If it\'s just good, it\'s gonna be sh-t. It can\'t equal people\'s expectations--it\'s got to exceed them.\" A warmup tour will take the band through the States and Europe during June and July, before they get down to work on a new album this fall.

\"None of us need to do this,\" chuckles Dickinson, referring obliquely to a recent securities deal that offered future royalties from the Maiden back catalog against an advance of some $30 million to the band. \"But all of us want to do it. In a lifetime, most people never get to be the best in the world at anything. I\'ve been really lucky, because in my lifetime, we were kings of the world in 1984, \'85, \'86, and I\'ve just been offered a shot at doing it again. You don\'t pass that up.\"

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