Bruce Dickinson on the corrupt side of fame: "The big moment is when you realise that you can manipulate people"

Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden performing on stage
(Image credit: TORBEN CHRISTENSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Bruce Dickinson has discussed the dark side of fame as well as the "scary" power given to successful individuals that allows them to abuse and manipulate others without consequence.

During an appearance on his Psycho Schizo Espresso podcast, the Iron Maiden frontman opened up about life on the road and his platform as a rockstar giving him the opportunity to sleep with countless women. Dickinson then goes on to explain how this 'hook-up culture' can grow into a system of abuse when orchestrated by a corrupt person of power, citing examples in Harvey Weinstein and R. Kelly.

Speaking of this "scary" level of manipulation, he explains (as transcribed by Metal Injection): “We toured with bands who were [sleeping with multiple people on the road], and they’d look at us like we were just weird. Yeah, obviously, we all had girlfriends, and sometimes you had girlfriends who were temporary girlfriends. [Laughs]

"But I don’t like it when there’s this undercurrent of abuse. It was [The Who’s] Pete Townshend, who knows a bit about abuse, I think, because he underwent quite a lot of it, and he said — and it clicked for me — he said, ‘The big moment is when you realise that you can manipulate people because of who you are.’"

Of his initial reaction to discovering the power that comes with being famous, he continues, “Because when you first start out, you don’t have any realisation that people might want to sleep with you because you’re onstage. You think they want to sleep with you because they want to sleep with you, because it might be nice and because they like you. And often that’s true — it’s often that it’s true… And yes, there are some people that want you as a notch on the bedpost, just as some guys have that [same thing] with women, and, yeah, we’ve all been guilty of it, no doubt.

“But there comes a point," he continues, "which is incredibly corrupting and corrosive, in which you suddenly go, ‘Hang on a minute. You can actually kind of click your fingers and make things happen.’ And that’s a really scary moment, to realise that that power exists. And that’s why the Harvey Weinsteins and all the rest of it, and the whole Hollywood thing… So that awareness of that, that’s when it becomes really corrupting. I mean, the guy… What’s his name? R. Kelly, who’s been indicted, been convicted, I think. It’s the same thing for actors as well… And then when you throw in a bucket of mood-altering drugs into the equation, then the wheels really come off the bus.”

Iron Maiden are currently in the midst of their North American Legacy Of The Beast tour.

Listen to the full podcast episode below:


Iron Maiden North American tour dates 2022

Sept 13: Austin Moody Center, TX
Sept 15: Tulsa BOK Center, OK
Sept 17: Denver Ball Arena, CO
Sept 19: Salt Lake City USANA Amphitheatre, UT
Sept 21: Anaheim Honda Center, CA
Sept 22: Anaheim Honda Center, CA
Sept 25: Chula Vista North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre, CA
Sept 27: Concord Pavilion, CA
Sept 29: Seattle Climate Pledge Arena, WA
Sept 30: Spokane Arena, WA
Oct 3: Sioux Falls Denny Sanford Premier Center, SD
Oct 5: Chicago United Center, IL
Oct 7: Columbus Nationwide Arena, OH
Oct 9: Detroit Little Caesars Arena, MI
Oct 11: Toronto Scotiabank Centre, ON
Oct 12: Hamilton FirstOntario Centre, ON
Oct 15: Ottawa Canadian Tire Centre, ON
Oct 17: Worcester DCU Center, MA
Oct 19: Belmont Park UBS Arena, NY
Oct 21: Newark Prudential Center, NJ
Oct 23: Washington Capital One Arena, DC
Oct 25: Greensboro Coliseum, NC
Oct 27: Tampa Amalie Arena, FL

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.