metal talk
Search here...
metal talk


  IRON MAIDEN: THIRTY YEARS ON THE EDGE, AND IT'S FAR FROM OVER YET...
Pippa Lang

19th August 2011
pippa lang



iron maiden

Picture by John McMurtrie. With permission. Copyright: 2010 Iron Maiden LLP


PIPPA LANG spends a weekend at London's 02 Arena in the company of IRON MAIDEN, and lives to tell the tale of thirty years on the edge of the Maiden Family, with references to the 'hilarious debacle' of her first interview with the band in 1980.

"Of all the people in the 02, it had to be you!" Bruce laughs, and we share a quick peck, because he's being hustled away at the end of a long weekend.

Article continues below...



It is the Aftershow party for Maiden's second 02 Arena gig, and the last night of 'The Final Frontier' tour which is, of course, just the 'pathway to The Final Frontier' rather than the actual... This Bruce announces onstage at both 02 gigs and, presumably, the rest of the tour.

When I express dismay to Dave Murray about the inevitable day the band break up, he confirms, "that's not going to happen for a long time." Reassurance for the legions of Maiden fans around the world. Indeed, I can exclusively confirm that Eddie's contract has been extended indefinitely!


iron maiden
Picture by John McMurtrie. With permission. Copyright: 2010 Iron Maiden LLP

Last night (the first 02 gig), 5th August, was exactly 31 years to the day that I interviewed Davey, Steve and Paul Di'Anno at Morgan Studios, London, during the recording of their third single, a cover of Skyhooks' 'Women In Uniform'. Wet behind the ears at only 21, this was my first-ever interview, and a hilarious debacle. I still have the cassette recording of it to embarrass myself with from time to time. But there's some priceless banter on there, particularly from guitarist Dennis Stratton and drummer Clive Burr looming about in the background. More on that later.

So, "of all the people", tiz I who is chosen to restart the Mexican Wave at tonight's gig, in the middle of 'Running Free'. Disgusted with 'audience stage left''s limp-wristed wave, which has wilted pathetically in the middle, Bruce decides to give 'stage right' a chance to redeem the situation, and swings his gaze in my direction. Standing furthest right than any other person, it appears I will be the 'chosen one', as Bruce shouts:

"You! Lady in white...!"

It takes me a while to suss that I'm wearing white in a sea of black. Bruce is squinting, as if perhaps he does recognise me, but isn't too sure. It's been a while, after all, since he surprised me at a Hallowe'en party at London's Metropolis Studios dressed as an alien gnat.

Anyway, I'm proud to say I – the, er, 'lady in white' – manage to instigate a rather exuberant Mexican Wave (it's all there on You Tube).


steve harris iron maiden
Picture by John McMurtrie. With permission. Copyright: 2010 Iron Maiden LLP

Like I said, this is the last gig of 'The Final Frontier' tour, and I've rarely seen Maiden play better, or with more energy. But then, they've always played every gig as if it's their last.

Bruce looks like he's been working out, galloping around like a rugby player on steroids in his 'Psych Ward' t-shirt and beanie hat. The three guitarists dance around each other as if choreographed but, of course, it's just the almost telepathic instincts of those who've played together for so long that prevent them crashing into each other.

I've never really noticed before, but Dave occasionally breaks into funny little jigs ("it's my Irish roots," he chuckles later), and Janick Gers is hilarious - mincing about like a ballet dancer, occasionally raising a long, skinny leg mid-solo. Steve Harris, as usual, is as solid as a rock, legs planted on terra firma, head nodding furiously in time to the music (they should make a 'Nodding Harry' for cars!) and Nicko, well, at least he has Sooty for company at the back.


iron maiden
Picture by John McMurtrie. With permission. Copyright: 2010 Iron Maiden LLP

This year's set has been scrupulously planned, and now executed with devilish skill. A splendid 'best of' melee of songs I'd dare anyone to complain about. Even the pre-gig intro tape has been seriously ruminated over, the joie de Maiden bubbling through the 02 before they even hit the stage, UFO's 'Doctor Doctor' stirring up a wonderful rapport and a mass, energised chant.

By the time Nicko's massive drum intro to 'Satellite 15... The Final Frontier' signals Maiden's arrival, the excitement is tangible. Like a football match... But wait.

I caught some of Dragonforce's support slot last night and, frankly, they're no more energetic than Maiden, and have the benefit of advanced technology to boost their sound. Having met ZP only a few nights earlier – what a nice guy! – I was curious to check out the new singer, Marc Hudson. Here's a boy around the same age as Steve Harris and Dave Murray when they first started Maiden, and playing his second-only gig at the 02 Arena (which he openly enthused about: "not bad, huh?", though to little response). What a buzz. But will Dragonforce still be around in thirty years?

Not unless they can extract the kind of chemistry from their music and performance that Maiden do and convey that to an audience. Throughout Maiden's set, we are reminded just why it is that entire families treat their gigs as family outings.


iron maiden
Picture by John McMurtrie. With permission. Copyright: 2010 Iron Maiden LLP

Like football matches, there is much to chant about: 'Two Minutes To Midnight', 'Blood Brothers', 'The Evil That Men Do', 'Iron Maiden', 'Fear Of The Dark', 'Running Free'... the list goes on. And like superhero movies, there is much to amuse: the sight of all those Dads running around the stage like Marvel Heroes!; and much to excite the senses: Eddie, of course, being the predominant icing on the cake of any Maiden gig, despite the appearance of some upstart, a horned bull swaying about during 'Number Of The Beast'.

At first, Eddie is a disappointing lump lumbering around stage playing guitar, but then, for 'Iron Maiden', his gargantuan green head rises up behind the stage, Eddie's fingers crawling towards the band, as if he's about to climb into the audience. Finally, he disappears back behind the stage into his cage (I've seen it, honest!) until the next tour.

Like I said, it isn't time for Eddie to run free yet (ouch), for the band have at least another album in them yet. And he's not about to be usurped by some beasty either!

Fabulous. But the Aftershow is still to come. The band have pulled out the stops by having not only Aftershow parties for both gigs, but Preshow parties too. It is at the final Aftershow where most of Maiden's old friends, roadies, band members, fans and family gather to catch up on old times. Obviously, there are a few journalists, record company personnel, etc., too, as a total of 800 peeps are staggering up and downstairs at the 02's three-storey Alphabet City, quaffing large amounts of free booze and food till the early hours.

But Maiden's original drummer Doug Sampson is here, a couple of other ex-band members (who I'll mention later), plus Dave 'Lights' (original lighting man), Steve 'Loopy' Newhouse (one of their first roadies), fans who've become friends, and the band's families, including Janice, Dave's sister, who greets me as if we haven't seen each other for thirty years. Well, we haven't.

THE 'INTERVIEW'

I first met Maiden at The Rainbow in London's Finsbury Park in 1980, when I was working for the long-defunct Sounds and Record Mirror. A short, but unforgettable acquaintance with a member of this band who were about to go global has developed into a lasting, if distant, friendship.

Years go by between tours, of course, but I am always 'sorted', treated well, and allowed access to the 'Family' whenever they're around, and for that I'm infinitely grateful. In return, I have never abused or exploited that privilege. Hey, even the vinyl copy of 'Iron Maiden' Dave gave me remains unsigned. I wouldn't dream of asking!


iron maiden

I still remember going to the Murray household in Clapton all those years ago, where Mrs Murray used to iron in the hallway because there was no room elsewhere to put up the ironing board. Dave's parents were salt of the earth, Mr Murray a big, solid Eastender, both of them lovely people, now sadly gone but not forgotten.

So, at that time, in August 1980, the line-up of Maiden was, of course, Paul Di'Anno, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Clive Burr and Dennis Stratton (who would be replaced by Adrian Smith shortly after). Bruce was still Bruce Bruce of Samson, and hadn't yet been kidnapped by Maiden, and Nicko was still hammering away for French rockers Trust.

I met them that memorable day at Morgan Studios, North London, where producer Tony Platt was mixing 'Women In Uniform', Maiden's only song never to appear on an (original) album because, frankly, the band didn't really like it.

iron maiden

What followed that day round a table in the bar at the studios was a total farce, with me getting constantly poked under the table and giggling most unprofessionally. Consequently, Paul Di'Anno grabbed my list of questions and decided to read them out himself:

"'Do you call yourselves Heavy Metal or... levvy rack?'!?!" He squinted at my bad handwriting.

(The most nerdish question of the NWOBHM era should read '...heavy rock' of course!)

Dennis Stratton and Clive Burr, meanwhile, can be heard in the background on the tape, both assuming the voice of David Bellamy (enthusiastic TV gardener – google it!) in turn impersonating Rod Smallwood, Maiden's manager. (Sort of three people in one - yes really.)


iron maiden

"Tony Platt?!" The Stratton/Bellamy/Smallwood person roars at one point, referring to Maiden's producer, "I call him Tony Pwatt!"

At which point Dennis and Clive snort uproariously, and the real Rod 'Smallwallet' Smallwood, 'The Sheriff Of Huddersfield', walks in...

"'ey oop! What's goin' on 'ere then?!" says he, before buying me a drink, necessitating Grand Opening Of Wallet, an unheardof phenomenon in Rod's case.

Well, you had to be there really. There is absolutely no point trying to transcribe the tape. It is just a wonderfully silly capsule in time, catching Maiden just before they went supersonic. A strange feeling to know a band just before they step through that door and get mobbed by the rest of the world.

I keep that tape under lock and key, and all I can say is, thank God I've interviewed them several times since, in a slightly more professional manner!


iron maiden

Back to the present, and apparently the two 'Bellamy' brothers are actually here at the 02 Aftershow. It's been decades, I believe, since Harry and Dennis have seen each other, but Maiden have been keeping in close contact with Clive Burr, who was stricken by multiple sclerosis in 2004. Indeed, the band are responsible for setting up the Clive Burr Multiple Sclerosis Trust Fund and have staged many charity gigs for him. Tonight, it appears, is a night of many reunions, much nostalgia and more than a hint of sadness.

An unforgettable weekend as only Maiden can host. Fantastic to touch base briefly with Harry, Janick and Adrian. Nicko seemed distracted, and I wonder if this has anything to do with his friend Jon Lord's recent cancer diagnosis? They've been working on a project called 'Who Cares?' with Ian Gillan, Jason Newsted and Linde Lindstrom – but that's obviously on hold while Jon seeks treatment.


iron maiden

Highlight of the weekend for me: quality catch-up time with one particular, very old friend who is as funny, sincere, gentle and unflappable as he was thirty years ago living in a two-up two-down in Clapton.

Some things don't change, and Maiden – apart from line-up changes – really haven't.

Oh and, sorry, can't resist this one: I'd rather be Maiden's Lady In White than Chris de Burgh's Lady In Red anyday. Ouch.











 

extreme GET THE FUNK OUT! EXTREME TO HEADLINE RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR
"We are honoured to be headlining the Ramblin’ Man Fair. Extreme has always had a special relationship with the UK fans..."

scorpions EXCLUSIVE: SCORPIONS TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM IN EARLY 2018 AND CONTINUE TOURING
Brand new opus will be their first with Mikkey, who was Motörhead drummer for twenty-three years...

nidingr EXCLUSIVE UK PREMIERE: NIDINGR RELEASE FIRST SINGLE FROM FORTHCOMING NEW ALBUM
"To me this song solidifies a thing that is fucking great about Nidingr - no rules..."

iron maiden BREAKING NEWS: CELLAR DARLING SIGN WITH NUCLEAR BLAST
"We are proud and excited to have found partners who understand our music and share our vision..."

iron maiden BREAKING NEWS: IRON MAIDEN TO TOUR NORTH AMERICA IN JUNE/JULY
Support on all North American dates will be Ghost and tickets go on-sale from next Friday...

iron maiden HOME OF METAL TO JOIN BLACK SABBATH ON THEIR FINAL DATES
"Fans are our lifeblood, they've always been there to support us. The audiences have been getting bigger as the tour progressed..."

hammerfall EXCLUSIVE WORLD PREMIERE: HAMMERFALL UNLEASH NEW VIDEO FOR 'BUILT TO LAST' TITLE TRACK
Hammerfall are currently on tour throughout Europe and there are plenty of dates left to catch their new epic show...

grim reaper GRIM REAPER'S STEVE GRIMMETT SEVERELY ILL IN ECUADOR
"Unfortunately the operation didn't work and Steve is currently in the operating theatre having limbs removed..."

bill price GUNS N' ROSES AND SEX PISTOLS PRODUCER/ENGINEER BILL PRICE HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY
Price worked with Rod Stewart, INXS, Pete Townshend, Elton John, The Jesus And Mary Chain and Big Audio Dynamite...

fish marillion FISH CELEBRATES 30th ANNIVERSARY OF 'CLUTCHING AT STRAWS' WITH UK TOUR
"These are the only dates this year as because of my shoulder operation next month with the extensive recovery period..."

ross the boss UK EXCLUSIVE: ROSS THE BOSS ANNOUNCES TOUR DATES AHEAD OF SPECIAL GUEST SLOT ON MetalTalk RADIO THIS WEEK
"We are going to devastate every audience, every night, without mercy..."

dokken WAS BREAKING NEWS: CLASSIC DOKKEN LINE-UP CONFIRMED FOR RAMBLIN' MAN
Dokken, Lynch, Pilson and Brown will play together in England for the first time in around a quarter-of-a-century...

grand magus DEF LEPPARD AND POISON ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN DATES
"I could not be more excited. I know all of us will give one thousand percent on stage..."

grand magus VIKINGS TO INVADE YORKSHIRE: GRAND MAGUS TO HEADLINE KEIGHLEY FESTIVAL
"Get your tickets now and prepare to raise your fists and bang your heads for the glory of Metal!"

armored saint ARMORED SAINT UK TOUR DATES AND 'MARCH OF THE SAINT (LIVE)' VIDEO ARE HERE
"We're really looking forward to playing these select UK shows in March..."

screaming eagles SCREAMING EAGLES TO FEATURE IN NEW AMAZON PRIME SERIES STARRING BRYAN CRANSTON
The band will be releasing a live mini-album in spring 2017 and will be touring in the UK, France and Germany throughout the year...

martyrd MARTYRD SET TO OPEN FOR METAL ALLEGIANCE, MARTY FRIEDMAN AND GUS G
"NAMM is a blast, total musical sensory overload from every direction. It’s like getting lost in a hurricane - I can't wait."

john garcia EXCLUSIVE WORLD PREMIERE: JOHN GARCIA UNLEASHES 'GIVE ME 250ml'
"This record is one of the most important of my career, difficult and challenging to do, but worth every minute of sweat!"

avenged sevenfold WAS BREAKING NEWS: AVENGED SEVENFOLD TO OPEN LONDON POP-UP STORE
The shop will be hosting in-store raffles and giveaways of exclusive and signed merchandise...

avenged sevenfold ROCK MEETS CLASSIC 2017 EUROPE LINE-UP IS HERE
Rock meets Classic has a terrific vibe and the legendary cross-over-project combines emotional classic with world-famous rock songs...

paddy goes to holyhead PADDY GOES TO HOLYHEAD ARE BACK FOR THE CRAIC ON ST PATRICK'S NIGHT
The band supposedly played their last ever gig two years ago in celebration of their 30th anniversary...

nightlord EXCLUSIVE THE UNKNOWN BAND WHO INFLUENCED METALLICA AIRS ON MetalTalk RADIO
Also featuring is the very first UK radio airplay of Cellar Darling, the band created by former Eluveitie members...

epica EPICA RELEASE 'BEYOND THE MATRIX' VIDEO - WATCH IT HERE
"The energy that lives within 'Beyond The Matrix' is extremely contagious. It will sweep you off your feet when the melodies enter your mind..."

nightlord JOHN COGHLAN'S QUO BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN
John Coghlan's Quo have announced UK dates across the Kingdom that will see them busy throughout the year...

jimmy bain JIMMY BAIN'S WIDOW NEEDS OUR HELP
"Jimmy recently passed away without a proper will in place and now his better half is in trouble..."

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST 'LIVE' TOKYO FEATURING BARDEN, BONNET AND McAULEY OUT IN MARCH
Features guest appearances from some of the greatest rock vocalists who have worked with Schenker...

ozzy osbourne OZZY OSBOURNE OVERDOSED WHEN SHARON HAD CANCER
"I watched him scoop his hands into a bowl of pills, swallow a handful of something, and then wash it down with vodka..."

eluveitie ELUVEITIE NEW LINE-UP IS COMPLETE, FIRST GIGS GO DOWN A STORM
"Above all we're super happy and thankful that we're complete again and given the chance to have such gifted musicians on board..."

gene simmons GENE SIMMONS RESTAURANT HONOURS US VETS
"The opening day of every Rock & Brews is dedicated to our vets, the public is not allowed in."

deep purple DEEP PURPLE SUE THEIR LONG-TIME ACCOUNTANT FOR FOUR MILLION
"I'm completely irresponsible. I'm ignorant about money as a commodity — I have never really understood it."

tony iommi UK EXCLUSIVE: VINCE NEIL FIST FIGHT WITH BOY GEORGE STOPPED AS ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER SHUTS UP PRESIDENT TRUMP
"They screwed up. That was a huge miss and someone should have a talking-to."

tony iommi GLENN HUGHES: "I'M THRILLED TO BE TOURING THE UK IN JANUARY"
"Let's get 2017 going with a killer night for ROCK lovers, movers and shakers. I'm in. Let's go!"

tony iommi TONY IOMMI HAS SUCCESSFUL THROAT OPERATION AND IS CANCER-FREE
"We had to have it checked in case it may have been cancerous. But it turns out it wasn't, which I found out Christmas Day..."

ronnie montrose RONNIE MONTROSE REMEMBERED: ALL-STAR MEMORIAL CONCERT TO TAKE PLACE AT NAMM 2017
"Ronnie helped light a fire in me and made me want to approach guitar playing with that kind of zeal and expression..."

motorhead beer PHIL CAMPBELL AND MIKKEY DEE TO APPEAR AT MOTÖRHEAD BEER LAUNCH IN LONDON
This is sure to be one superb night with beer, live music and Motörhead, but not necessarily in that order...

tony iommi BLACK STAR RIDERS PREMIERE 'TESTIFY OR SAY GOODBYE'
Black Star Riders are set to release their forthcoming album 'Heavy Fire' on 3rd February via Nuclear Blast...

tony iommi BREAKING NEWS: TONY IOMMI DROPS HEAVY METAL AND JOINS THE CHOIR
"It's a bit different to Sabbath!" says Tony, in probably the biggest understatement of all time...

tony iommi ROCK MUSIC IN SUPERHERO MOVIES
It's pretty wild to think that this whole ride that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe started off with a little AC/DC...

jimi hendrix JIMI HENDRIX'S WAH-WAH PEDAL AND AMP SURVIVES AUCTION HOUSE BURGLARY
"It was a very positive and uplifting experience to work for Jimi. He was like a shaman, a medicine man, a preacher.."

alestorm ALESTORM ENTER FLORIDA STUDIO BUT A CHALLENGE AWAITS THEM BACK IN BLIGHTY
"It is full of epic songs about pirates, drinking, and pseudoscientific cryptogeography..."

queen QUEEN GUITARIST BRIAN MAY WANTS TO BRING ROCK TO A NEW GENERATION
"It was actually all very planned and deliberate and came totally out of Freddie's fevered imagination..."

phil lynott MASS TRIBUTES PAID TO PHIL LYNOTT ON ANNIVERSARY OF HIS PASSING
"God bless my old friend, thanks for the faith you showed in allowing me to record your music..."

black country communion BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION ENTER STUDIO TO BEGIN WORK ON FOURTH ALBUM
"One thing I want to make clear to everybody across air nation is that Joe Bonamassa and I never fell out..."

hair metal heaven BLAZE BAYLEY BRAND NEW ALBUM AND WORLD TOUR DETAILS ARE HERE
'Endure And Survive' is set for release on 3rd March 2017 and will be accompanied by a world tour totalling some 120 shows...

hair metal heaven HAIR METAL HEAVEN FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FIRST ACTS FOR INAUGURAL EVENT
The Hair Metal Heaven Festival has a very eighties feel to it, as the team behind it explain here...

motorhead EXCLUSIVE TEST PILOT DROPS TWO GRAND ON NEW MOTÖRHEAD VIDEO SLOT
"A few spins later and I turned up a row of gold Snaggletooths which promptly caught fire and the voice of the man himself commanded: 'Turn it up!'"

deep purple DEEP PURPLE RELEASE NEW 'inFinite' TRAILERS AND EXPECTED ALBUM FORMATS
'Time For Bedlam', the first single which was revealed late last year, is available as instant grat as part of the digital album pre-order...

hollywood AEROSMITH FAREWELL TOUR COULD LAST FIVE YEARS
"We had a talk a few weeks back about going into the studio. When that'll happen, though, I'm not sure. We certainly have plenty of ideas..."

rick parfitt EXCLUSIVE MEGADETH MAINMAN DAVE MUSTAINE REVEALS HE'S AN ARSENAL FC SUPPORTER
Megadeth, formed in Los Angeles in 1983 after Dave left Metallica, are currently enjoying a rich vein of form...

hollywood FORMER PEARL JAM DRUMMER HITS OUT AT THE BAND
"We need music, each other and the spirit of Rock & Roll now, more than ever before..."

hollywood HOLLYWOOD SIGN CHANGED BY PRANKSTERS TO READ 'HOLLYWEED'
"An artist's role throughout history has been to create representations of the culture he exists in..."

metallica METALLICA GUITARIST KIRK HAMMETT'S HOME FOR SALE FOR £16m
Apparently a house like this doubles its asking price every six or seven years...

kiss EXCLUSIVE KISS' GENE SIMMONS DROPS BIGGEST HINT YET THAT ACE FREHLEY REUNION IS ON
Over 7,000 likes later, fans are in big speculation that it really is going to happen...

rick parfitt WAS BREAKING NEWS: BLOODSTOCK UNVEIL SECOND 2017 HEADLINER
"Megadeth had a blast last time and I can't wait to bring the Dystopia World Tour to Bloodstock this Summer."

rick parfitt EXCLUSIVE JOHN COGHLAN REVEALS TWO NEW TRACKS WITH RICK PARFITT ARE NEARLY READY FOR RELEASE
"It was going to be Status Quo PLC [Parfitt, Lancaster, Coghlan] and that was Francis' idea originally."

wizz wizzard WIZZ WIZZARD VOCALIST WIZZ BEAUPREZ HAS PASSED AWAY
Wizz Wizzard were signed to Rock Sector Records and labelmate Chris Appleton of Absolva led the tributes...

ronnie james dio RONNIE JAMES DIO TO TOUR IN 2017
"It was very emotional. I didn't think that I was gonna cry, but I did. I broke down...."

metal talk
© All written site content is copyright MetalTalk.net 2008-2017, unless otherwise stated, and is not to be used without prior permission.
Ads raid data recovery