Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood has recalled the band’s “naughtier” years – including the moment they asked him what to do when then-singer Paul Di’Anno had been arrested before a show.
The NWOBHM icons have just completed the British leg of their The Book Of Souls tour, continuing to support their 16th studio album, which was released in 2015 after a delay caused by frontman Bruce Dickinson’s cancer battle.
Asked about Iron Maiden’s longevity, Smallwood tells the Metro: “We don’t stay up so late at night getting pissed and doing things we shouldn’t do. I think that’s the only difference.
“The attitude of touring and playing is the same and the fans are the same. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. The band are all fit, but then again we were naughtier 20 years ago.”
He first encountered Steve Harris’ band at a pub gig in Hammersmith in the 1970s. “Steve came up to me and said, ‘Paul has been arrested. What should we do?’ About 30 kids had come down from the east end so he said – Maiden ethos, really – ‘We’ve got to play.’
“I said, ‘Can you sing?’ He said, ‘Not really.’ I said, ‘Can you try? Do you know the words?’ He said, ‘I wrote them all!’”
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Smallwood remembered being impressed by the way Harris and guitarist Dave Murray looked the audience in the eye. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It was quite special,” he says. “They still do – you watch those guys, they’re into the audience’s eyes. They make the stadium into a club.”
Last week in Cardiff, Dickinson issued a rallying cry to fans from the stage, in the aftermath of the Manchester terror attack at an Ariana Grande show earlier this month.
Dickinson told the crowd: “The biggest response we can make to the bullshit and the people who want to hate is to give them back love, joy and rock’n’roll.
“At an Iron Maiden show, we don’t care where you’re from, we don’t care what religion you are, we don’t care what colour you are and we don’t care what you had for breakfast. If you’re here tonight, we all come in peace, right?”
The band commence a run of North American dates on June 4.
Iron Maiden North American tour dates 2017
Jun 03: Bristow Jiffy Lube Live, VA
Jun 04: Philadelphia Wells Fargo Centre, PA
Jun 07: Newark Prudential Center, NJ
Jun 09: Charlotte Music Pavilion, NC
Jun 11: Tampa Amalie Arena, FL
Jun 13: Nashville Bridgestone Arena, TN
Jun 15: Chicago Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, IL
Jun 16: Minneapolis Excel Energy Center, MN
Jun 19: Oklahoma City Chesapeake Arena, OK
Jun 21: Houston Toyota Center, TX
Jun 23: Dallas American Airlines Center, TX
Jun 24: San Antonio AT&T Center, TX
Jun 27: Albuquerque Isleta Amphitheater, NM
Jun 28: Phoenix Talking Stick Resort Arena, AZ
Jul 01: San Bernardino Glen Helen Amphitheater, CA
Jul 03: Las Vegas Mobile Arena, NV
Jul 05: Oakland Oracle Arena, CA
Jul 07: Salt Lake City Usana Amphitheater, UT
Jul 09: Lincoln Pinnacle Bank Arena, NE
Jul 11: Kansas City Sprint Center, MO
Jul 12: St Louis Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, MO
Jul 15: Toronto Budweiser Stage, Canada
Jul 16: Quebec City Videotron Center, Canada
Jul 19: Mansfield Xfinity Center, MA
Jul 21: Brooklyn Barclays Center, NY
Jul 22: Brooklyn Barclays Center, NY