Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, Bruce Dickinson and the band’s manager Rod Smallwood have paid tribute to producer Martin Birch, who died earlier this week at the age of 71.
Birch produced a total of10 Maiden albums: Killers, The Number Of The Beast, Piece Of Mind, Powerslave, Live After Death, Somewhere In Time, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, No Prayer For The Dying, Fear Of The Dark and Maiden England '88.
In a statement, the band said: “A man of many nicknames… and simply one of the greatest people we have ever worked with.”
Harris added: “He was just absolutely brilliant. He wasn’t just a producer, he was a hands-on engineer too, so he knew how to get a great sound. He was also fantastic at motivating people. He just had a knack of getting the best out of you.
“He was also a really nice man, great fun with a terrific sense of humour and that made him easy to work with. We all got along with him really well and the whole band is very saddened by today’s news.”
Dickinson said that Birch was a mentor who “completely transformed my singing,” adding: ”He was a psychotherapist and in his own words a juggler who could mirror exactly what a band was.
“That was his special talent as a producer. He was not a puppeteer, he did not manipulate the sound of the band, he just reflected it in the best possible way.
“Apart from all of that he was a wonderful, warm and funny human being. Martin and I shared a passion for martial arts – he for karate and me for fencing which gave us another bond too.
“I’m so very sad to hear this news, it’s incredible that he has passed away at such a young age for a man who was so full of life.”
Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood said: “He was a fantastic guy who always shared a mutual respect with the band. He never, ever, let us down in the studio. He was a true gentleman and he will be hugely missed by everyone in the Maiden Family.”
Birch shaped the sound of rock and metal thanks to his work with Maiden and artists including Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Blue Öyster Cult, Jeff Beck and the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac.
Sabbath’s Tony Iommi has also paid tribute to Birch, saying: “So shocked to hear the sad news of Martin Birch’s passing. Martin was a lovely guy and a great producer. He produced Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules for Sabbath. He will be deeply missed and my thoughts go out to his family. R.I.P.”
So shocked to hear the sad news of Martin Birch’s passing. Martin was a lovely guy and a great producer - he produced Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules for Sabbath. He will be deeply missed and my thoughts go out to his family. R.I.P.Tony pic.twitter.com/2JJWyqyvC4August 10, 2020