Bruce Dickinson talks about the future of Iron Maiden, maintaining his voice, and some past shenanigans.
A recent Facebook update from producer Kevin Shirley all but confirms that there is a new live DVD in the works for the British veterans. But the million dollar question is of course if and when Maiden will release a new album. And Vorterix.com posed just this question to the singer.
– Well, I mean, we are going to do another album, Dickinson says, but adds: – When we do it I can’t tell you.
In a reveal that’s sure to delight fans around the globe he also says that the band has already started to write material for what will be their 16th studio album.
– Actually I’ve written a load of stuff. You know, we’re all writing little bits and bobs all the time. We’ll see what happens, you know. But yeah, sure.
The band has been touring the world for the past couple of years with the Maiden England package, a concert presentation that revisited their classic Seventh Son of a Seventh Son era. Asked whether or not they will do a similar thing with their 90s material in the future, Dickinson gets a little ambiguous.
– We haven’t got that far yet. Let’s finish this one first and see what happens next year. But yeah, I do not think Maiden fans are going to be too disappointed for too long.
He also says that he misses playing some of the Powerslave tunes (even though two of them were in the Maiden England set) and even older songs like Children of the Damned and Revelations. At this point in the interview Bruce delivers a second early Christmas present to the fans, stating that Maiden have plenty of tours ahead of them.
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In contrast to other classic rock and metal bands like Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Mötley Crüe and KISS, Iron Maiden always stayed clear of the bad boy image of wild parties and overblown excess. Dickinson claims that this hasn’t been a conscious decision.
– No, it’s just kind of what we’re like, really. I mean, I’m not saying that nobody in the band has ever tried or mucked around with smoking dope when they we’re younger. Most kids have probably tried smoking dope. Most kids have probably tried a few other things that I’ve never tried.
In fact, lifestyle choices have threatened Maiden’s stability in the past, and been the cause of at least two departures from the band years ago. But Maiden are still around, and as good as ever, 35 years on.
– The reason why we started Maiden, the reason why we all became musicians, was because we wanted to be musicians, not to become druggies. We like a beer and beer is our favorite kind of stuff. We drink beer and we drink a little wine and too much coffee. That’s it really. Apart from that we’re just trying to have some fun.
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In another contrast to most other rockers his age, Dickinson is still able to belt out the lyrics to high-register anthems like Aces High and Run To The Hills just like he did decades ago. How has he kept his voice strong through all these years of intense performances?
– It’s kind of like a guitarist, you want to know about your instrument. You want to know why it sounds like it does, how to look after it. The one thing you can’t do with the voice, you can’t put new strings on it.
The singer muses that the voice is such as subtle thing. – And it does change with age, as you mature, as the spaces in your body change shape, he says. – All these things has a bearing on your voice. It’s like a wooden kind of instrument, the wood gets older and it develops tone and you get subtle changes.
Iron Maiden’s potential certainly changed with the return of Dickinson in 1999. His voice is a key ingredient in the witches’ brew that allows Maiden to alternate new albums and History tours and gives them the ability to execute any song in their catalog on stage. Almost 15 years on, Dickinson still maintains his voice in impressive shape.
The Maiden frontman highlights the importance of taking care of your voice when something is wrong with it. He estimates that he has only cancelled about 25 shows in over 35 years as a performer, but those cancellations have been important.
– That could be the difference between me keeping my voice or not keeping my voice. I’ve never taken steroids or these awful jabs they give you. If my voice is so bad that I can’t get it to sing without it, I shouldn’t be singing.
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Dickinson is certainly a pro when it comes to dealing with the occasional cold, and he knows where to draw the line. – If I’m sick with a cold, I can get through it, he says. – If I’m really sick with laryngitis or bronchitis or something, I just take the doctor’s advice. It’s better to cancel three shows and have your voice be excellent for the next 300.
Dickinson is still keen on developing his ability as a singer, even if his past and current voice work can be admired in the already long line of Iron Maiden concert DVDs available.
– I’ve kind of got my own style now, in a way. So I’m sort of investigating what I can do with my voice. I’m still trying to do the stuff I did when I was 23. But I can do stuff now that I couldn’t do when I was 23. So I’m looking at ways of how can I do some different things with my voice. How can I introduce different tones? As I get older it’s quite nice to have that stuff to be able to do with your voice, it gets fatter and it gets deeper.
It’s not very often that interviewers quiz Dickinson on the maintenance of his incredible voice, but here we did get some info about how the great singer thinks and works. And Maiden fans can rest assured that there is a new album and plenty of tours coming up in the not-too-distant future.
Maiden Revelations sends a big thank you to Vorterix.com for asking Bruce really good questions that fans around the world want to hear answers to!
And many thanks to GhostofCain for pointing out the interview!