Iron Maiden interview
IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson recently spoke to Australia’s News.com.au about his career as a commercial airline pilot with Astraeus Airlines.
Dickinson has been flying for Astraeus for six years and moved to the captain’s seat last May. “I never got into flying because I was pretty crap at maths and physics at school so I just thought I’d be too stupid so ended up being a rock singer instead,” he said.
“Then when our drummer got his pilot’s licence I thought, ‘Blimey, if he can get a pilot’s licence, I must be able to’.” After qualifying, the rock star flew the band around the world in a Cessna 421 but quickly developed a hunger for bigger planes. “Although they pay me pretty well as the singer with IRON MAIDEN, I’m not quite in the John Travolta league of being able to afford my own 707,” he said.
Dickinson circulated his CV and finally got a job as a 757 first officer with British World Airlines. The company failed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks but Astraeus rose from its ashes. The conversion of Ed Force One to a combination passenger and freight aircraft cost more than $500,000. Dickinson says the band is attracting a new generation of fans. “We’re playing to a million and half people on this tour, it’s incredible,” he said.
“I just think it’s the fact that we’re one of the last originals. We haven’t changed, we haven’t compromised ourselves, we haven’t done a deal with Mastercard. With MAIDEN it’s about the music and that’s it. What you see is what you get.”
Guitarist Dave Murray recently spoke to Australia’s The Age about the band’s Somewhere Back In Time – World Tour ’08, which kicked off on February 1 at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai, India.
“We can guarantee we’re bringing a big show. We’re bringing the whole pyramid stage, and basically everything from the ’80s,” cackled Murray, the first to join bassist Steve Harris in the fledgling IRON MAIDEN of the mid ’70s.
He could hardly have dreamt that the band’s biggest years would be 30 years on. “A Matter of Life and Death”, the 14th album adorned with the undead face of band mascot Eddie the Head, hit No. 1 in 10 countries and the Top 10 in 18 more in 2006. The second-generation metal veterans went on to crush their remaining elders (BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE), their contemporaries (PRIEST, MOTÖRHEAD), and the hordes in their slipstream with a humungous world tour that broke METALLICA and GUNS ‘N’ ROSES’ records at the Donington metal festival, and peaked with 250,000 headbangers in Rio.
“It’s astounding really,” Murray says with the air of an English squire. “We’ve never taken it for granted…our attitude has been to try and make the best album we can, then go out on tour, try and put on a big show, perform and play well, and just have fun and enjoy it.”