Bruce Dickinson is worried that Iron Maiden don't "challenge" themselves enough when it comes to writing music: "We have this devoted following and they’re happy with the way we are"

Bruce Dickinson posing
(Image credit: John McMurtrie)

Bruce Dickinson is worried that Iron Maiden don't "challenge" themselves when it comes to writing music, and thinks that the band are perhaps too concerned in appeasing their loyal fanbase when it comes to the potential of straying away from their traditional, well-loved sound. 

In an interview with The Big Issue, the vocalist expressed his admiration for Maiden's following, comparing their intensity to that of football fans. 

"Iron Maiden fans are on another level," he says. "And it’s a whole life term. I don’t support a football team but I look with astonishment at how supporters react. And I don’t think there’s a word for the level of commitment and devotion people have to a football club. And people have that same level of devotion to Iron Maiden."

Noting how fan expectations might interfere with the band's creative development, Dickinson adds: "Part of me says, wow, that’s amazing. The artistic half of me worries that maybe we don’t challenge ourselves artistically because we have this devoted following and they’re happy with the way we are. 

"One reason for doing solo records is to push the envelope of what you can do emotionally and get out of the tram line. The tram lines are great. They’re quite broad, but they do exist."

Elsewhere, the frontman expressed his gratitude for his success, noting how his "younger self would have not believed any of this".

"And an airline pilot as well?" he adds. "Don’t be ridiculous. I was just trying to get my singing chops together, so the thought of a career was not really on the radar. But when Iron Maiden recorded Number Of The Beast, we knew we were making something amazing. 

"But we still couldn’t believe the avalanche that followed. And then we made a succession of great records in a short period, all of which stand the test of time. It was all the things I wanted to do with my voice and the songwriting. We didn’t plan it that way, but it all worked."

When asked what element of his career would excite his teenage self the most, Dickinson answers: "standing in front of thousands of people and having them all cheer", before adding: "But what excites me now is that, in spite of all the potential for turning into an absolute wanker, I’ve only partially turned into an absolute wanker. And somehow, I think, I’ve managed to be quite helpful for people in their lives, whether through music or other stuff. And that does mean a lot."

Bruce Dickinson’s new solo album, The Mandrake Project, is out now via BMG.

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.