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What we learned from Iron Maiden in the new issue of Hammer

In the new issue of Metal Hammer we jetted off to Spain to sit down with the Iron Maiden legend that is Bruce Dickinson to talk about their upcoming Sonisphere performance and the aerial dogfight. Here are some of the things we learned...

Bruce’s love of flying comes from comics

“It started with Biggles and then Commando comics for me,” he says, with a wide smile. “I got very good at shouting, ‘Achtung! Spitfire!’ The thing was, they were all caricatures of people. I mean, old W.E. Johns who wrote all those stories really was a pilot but he got shot down and spent most of his time in a war camp. I suppose that fed his fertile imagination, but when you read what actually went on, it’s heads and shoulders above in terms of drama and heroism and courage. How these people coped with these unreliable, eccentric, difficult-to- control machines with no weather capability, no navigational ability and inadequate defensive weaponry is difficult to imagine. I mean, they were some evil fucking machines, but honestly, when I was a boy, it was all about the attitude – the attitude.”

They only ever wanted to play pubs

“From the beginning, we were never really thinking of world-domination, that was Rod [Maiden’s legendary manager]. We were always just thinking about the next pub gig, which always felt like a big step forward for us. That’s still true; we haven’t really thought much about what’s past this tour. You have to go away and do something completely different, or else you’d just end up in the funny farm. I mean, on the back of a really long tour, you just have to stop for a while.”

Even popstars are Maiden fans

“You’ll be on these mixed festivals and you get these equally big acts like the Black Eyed Peas, or Lady Gaga, who come down and act like kids… there’s just this buzz and excitement when they are on the same bill as Iron Maiden because they all want to come and hang out with the band. There’s this genuine reverence for the Iron Maiden legacy and what they are that cuts across everyone.”

Planes and metal go hand in hand”

“It was a devil-may-care attitude that pilots have, that they all have, that drew me to it in the first place. It’s all so very metal, the romance of it all. Bravery, derring-do, heroism – the two just go hand in hand. There’s such an affinity and resonance between metal and aviation, the sense of adventure and thrill of it all. Both groups of people are after the same thing.”

Read the whole feature in the new issue of Metal Hammer now. Available here (opens in new tab).

Alexander Milas
Alexander Milas

Alexander Milas is an erstwhile archaeologist, broadcaster, music journalist and award-winning decade-long ex-editor-in-chief of Metal Hammer magazine. In 2017 he founded Twin V (opens in new tab), a creative solutions and production company.  In 2019 he launched the World Metal Congress (opens in new tab), a celebration of heavy metal’s global impact and an exploration of the issues affecting its community. His other projects include Space Rocks (opens in new tab), a festival space exploration in partnership with the European Space Agency and the Heavy Metal Truants, a charity cycle ride which has raised over a million pounds for four children's charities which he co-founded with Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood. He is Eddietor of the official Iron Maiden Fan Club, head of the Heavy Metal Cycling Club (opens in new tab), and works closely with Earth Percent, a climate action group. He has a cat named Angus.