Source: Metal Attack Magazine (France) – Numero 13
Iron Maiden change their look!
With Powerslave, the new album due out in September, Steve Harris's band has gone back to heavier roots and Eddie, their monstruous mascot, has aged quite significantly. The new cover illustration depicts him as a massive statue on the front of an Egyptian temple.
The new world tour, the World Slavery Tour, starts these days in Poland. The whole artistic aspect of the band has been re-worked for the occasion. We're in for a few good surprises... I found Bruce Dickinson in his hotel room, after yet another photo session. He was smiling and relaxed and I started the conversation quite naturally on the topic of the new album..
So what's new with Maiden?
Our new LP is called Powerslave.
After our last tour, which ended at the end of last year, we took a few weeks off. In February, we seriously started to write new material, then in March-April we went to the studio. And in May, we did the mixing.
The past two months were spent rehearsing in order to be ready for the tour that starts in August in Poland.
Is Powerslave similar to Piece Of Mind?
There are many differences between the two albums.
Powerslave is closer to Number Of The Beast, which itself is reminiscent of the first album.
Piece Of Mind has got many similarities to Killers, these two being more on the technical side and and containing a lot of thoughts.
You shouldn't in any case lock yourself up into one type of music and do twice the same thing, this is not good for the band. Honestly, I think that this album is superior to the previous one. We took what was best in it, while stressing the aggressive style of Number Of The Beast and we released a high-quality record, artistically-speaking, of course!
If I understood correctly, this means that the next album will be similar to Piece Of Mind?
(Laughs) The next one will be a live recording... It'll be a double live LP! (What a revelation, my friends!).
We waited until the line-up was complete. I mean, we finally made two albums in a row without changing the team! We'll record the live album with the same line-up... well I hope so!
Are you going to release a single?
Of course: Two Minutes To Midnight, the second track of the A-side.
Your last tour was a massive success worldwide. Are you going to do the same with Powerslave?
Of course! It'll be the biggest tour ever undertaken! It'll last twelve months and we'll travel all five continents. More dates, more venues...
I read somewhere that you were going to play in Poland, Yugoslavia, and Hungary.
It this for you just a way to get across the iron Curtain, or do you want to please your fans in the East?
Well (after a short silence).
Our album will be released everywhere in September and the Slavery Tour starts in a few days' time, in Poland as I told you. We never toured over there and our (socialist) fans need to see us because they feel frustrated, forgotten by the rest of the world. They hunger for Heavy Metal, they've never seen any Hard Rock band and we thought, "Why not us?" It's the same for Hungary.
As for Yugoslavia, we haven't played there in a while although we are very popular over there. I think that it can bring a very positive experience. Basically, it's not about selling more records in those countries, but about broadening our usual itinerary. You see, ever since the beginning we have started touring from the UK, and it gets boring, it's too repetitive and tiring. It'll also be a way to hit Europe in a more relaxed way, as there isn't any pressure over there. We'll be nicely warmed-up...
Don't you find it strenuous to tour all year long and is it so important to keep in touch closely with the audience? Don't you miss home?
When we tour the United States, i sometimes feel homesick, that's true. But in general, I don't stay at home for long, so you know...
Last January, I managed to stay home for three weeks... Very unusual! So you see, that's not the main problem, you get used to it. Travelling is part of our lives and so many things happen on the road. Last year, for instance, I took with me – like I usually do – my fencing kit. You can't imagine the problems I had with the customs! I'd learned how to say "fencing" in ten different languages! And every time, I was asked the same question, "Oh I see, you're a professional fencer!" And my answer was always the same, "No, I'm a singer!"
They'd look at me pretty suspiciously!
We can't stay idle for six months, so we have to adapt our schedules around the needs of the band. It's really worth it.
There are rumours of MOtley CrUe opening for Maiden...
I hope they will. Last time I saw them, everything was fine.
I also read that your favourite monster had disappeared from the stage. Why that?
We killed him in Dortmund!
However, he'll still be there, even after his death.
If you take a close look at the cover of Powerslave, you'll understand what I mean.
Our visual concept for the World Slavery Tour will be about Egypt. The stage set will have everything related to it, with even an exact replica of the temple you can see on the cover.
Were you worried you'd end up boring your fans with Eddie, or are you simply changing the image of the band, as well as the stage set?
We don't want to change direction. Eddie is more present than ever, he represents evil. It's a logical evolution.
With our five albums, the audience has had time to get used to our mascot. He's on every cover sleeve and we needed to modify the way he looks in order to make him more threatening. He's evolving
I have a technical question, Bruce: how many lorries do you need for such a tour?
My God! About four lorries for Europe and six for the States. The venues are larger and we bring with us a massive PA system.
It seems that the attitude of the American audience is pretty different from that of the European one...
There are two types of American audiences. Some know all the details of the history of the band, these are the real fans as you can see them at home, in Europe, and you mostly find them in places like NY, Chicago, Los Angeles.
Then you have those who like Rock, but without being fans. The kids go to see the GoGos, as well as Iron Maiden, only because they have the opportunity to attend a Rock concert. You know, in the Midwest the music is sort of secondary; you find yourself playing for 3,000 people who are just out for the night to have fun with their friends. Foreign bands are hardly heard of.
Anyway, we still sold in the States about a million copies of Piece Of Mind and over 800,000 Number Of The Beast. This shows that people take interest in the band. They listen to a record and they like it, then they start looking for other recordings of that band.
On the other hand, Iron Maiden is not at all related to bands like Def Leppard, the Scorpions or Quiet Riot. American industry is based on airplay and singles, and Maiden don't quite yet belong to this "trade".
The DJs think that we play too fast and are reluctant to give us airplay...
Exactly! Although your style is getting more and more heavy, you are very popular.
Well, I think we're quite good! (huge laughter). I'm very proud to be doing what I'm doing, and the band is doing great!
Seriously, our job as musicians requires real abilities to do some work.
With every record, we try to please our fans and to give them what they want.
If you look at Rush, for example, their music is very sophisticated and complex, and a lot of people love it. In the same way, we try to keep our musical direction and to please our fans. But you can't force people to listen to a style they don't like. On the contrary, you must encourage them to try out something else, and this is why you must progress constantly.
The musical evolution of Iron Maiden seems to go towards something more and more technical...
Since the very first album we've been trying with each song to keep as close as possible to the original style we started with.
Powerslave has the power and energy of a live album, and this is why it's a great album. On top of this, Nicko, our drummer, brings in a touch of technicality that's absolutely fantastic. He plays fast and accurate, and we sound much better.
What do you think about these new heavy bands?
There are so many bands these days that I don't know where to start...
I try not to listen to them otherwise I might lose my creativity, so I just isolate myself in order to retain all of my inspiration.
I'm not like some musicians who feel that they have to listen to everything that's being released. I don't feel concerned.
Iron Maiden has nowadays reached stardom. Is it difficult to stay at the top?
We're not really aware of the pressure around us.
What matters is not to stay at the top, but to give your best and to work in the most professional manner possible.
Everything seems quiet in the band these days. We hadn't rehearsed together for six months and we just played for four days in the States.
Then we decided to stop it because we couldn't stand to play for nothing. All our reflexes came back to us instantly, that's great!
Don't you get the impression that you're a slave to your job? I mean, the fans are getting more and more demanding...
(After a pause). I don't think so.
We don't always realise how much the fans need to see us. We tour all year long, and all year long we meet the same fans, but in different places...
It's not easy in the sense that we can't be everywhere at the same time.
With the new album, we wanted to change our habits and take our time.
Now, we tour the States in the Winter and Europe in the Summer. We don't want to go 'round in circles: each year the album is released on a specific day, then the tour starts at another... It becomes boring!
The fans are always asking for more because they need to experience new sensations and to see the band in the flesh. We could make Eddie even more blood-thirsty, make him explode on stage, but that would be the death of the show. We could progress anymore...
With Powerslave, we wanted to increase Eddie's importance..
Do you miss Samson?
No. Paul and I are still very good friends and I have excellent memories as a singer because I was 20. I still like to like to the records, but I'm proud to be in Iron Maiden. I've never sung so well!
How can you imagine quitting Rock'n Roll?
With all the different activities that you can find in Rock, you haven't got time to get bored! (laughs)
I still have plenty of time before me. I'm the kiddo of the band, I'll be 26 in August.
You're a Leo?
Are you happy?
Yes. My deepest wish would be to never get ill. I mean, mostly these throat problems that all Rock singers encounter at one point or another. This happens to us all at any moment of our careers!
When you tour all year long, there are nights when you can't even talk.
In general, the best thing is to stay home, in bed, and not talk to anyone. You need about three days to get your voice back to normal, then ten days of therapy!
With these words, Bruce gets up and starts digging into the cake offered for the anniversary of Metal Attack Magazine. And I thought that lions were exclusively carnivorous...
This Intreview is taken from the Iron Maiden Commentary