Dickinson Speaks in Trondheim: Taking a Leap in the Dark


Bruce Dickinson visited Trondheim, Norway today to talk about creativity, freedom, and chasing that elusive genius idea. He also claimed that “Iron Maiden have to make new music.”

Ever felt that you could do so much more? That there is something you’re meant to achieve, but you don’t really know what?

“99 percent of everything we do in life is rubbish,” says the Iron Maiden singer as he enters the stage. For Bruce Dickinson, the quest has always been about that 1 percent which is actually brilliant. It’s what led him to join Maiden in 1981 and also to leave the band in 1993. And it’s this same ambition that made him become a fencer, author, airline pilot, and entrepreneur.

Dickinson is not really taking that same leap in the dark with his new venture into motivational speaking. It’s something that comes naturally to him, and it’s probably quite an easy way for him to make money too.

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At this point, Dickinson started talking about his lack of anonymity and that there’s always someone around with a camera in hand. Dickinson pointed at us, the audience chuckled, Maiden Revelations smiled sheepishly.

The framing of the event made me feel a little uneasy, to be honest. It was obviously geared towards business life and there was a certain theme of self-empowerment to it. A long-winded intro by the hostess of the evening focused on her being drugged in a London bar and nearly getting into a fistfight with street punks, which had me slightly worried. The vibe seemed evangelical and cynical at the same time.

Then Dickinson was introduced as someone who not only has dominated the concert stage for decades, but also the radio waves, the printed page, and the silver screen. To this, the main attraction himself retorted that “it’s all lies.” As Maiden fans would know, all except the domination of concert stages.

But Dickinson was in a great mood and launched into an extensive one-hour speech about his journey through life, with a focus on taking that “unpremeditated leap in the dark” that he often talks about. The thing about “99 percent is rubbish” is not meant literally, of course. But accepting that most things in life are quickly forgotten sets you free, Dickinson says. You don’t have to get worked up about things. Go with the flow of the universe and chase the brilliant moments.

As a speaker, Dickinson is engaging, lucid, funny and inspirational. If you need someone to encourage people to think outside the box and let go of fear, he’s the right man for the job.

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Dickinson about the days of flying Ed Force One: “You can spot which one wasn’t up all night drinking. I look pretty pissed off about it too!”

The singer explained how his first nine months in Iron Maiden ended with an unexpected kind of epiphany. After a number 1 album with The Number Of The Beast, a big single with Run To The Hills, a successful world tour, and having a nice bank account for the first time, Dickinson found himself “so disappointed! Everything I had dreamed of in life had happened!”

He realized that every year with Maiden would mean a bigger album and a bigger tour, but that “there’s got to be more to it.” In other words, Dickinson started searching for “something else” as far back as 1982. The long process of taking unpremiditated leaps in the dark, more than a decade of activities, finally culminated in his departure from the band that made him famous.

Ever felt like quitting your job, but you just don’t know what would happen? Ever been afraid of the consequences? Dickinson understands this, and says others will always ask you “why did you quit?” and “what’s gonna happen now?”. These questions are more often motivated by fear than by curiousity. And the honest answer, he says, is “I don’t know. But something will happen, ’cause I quit my job.”

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Not just one piece of mind! Dickinson says that he needs to have his entire brain working, not just a tiny bit of it. Which led him into such divergent activities as fronting the world’s best metal band TWICE, and flying airplanes at the same time.

“Some of the guys in the band still don’t understand why I quit,” Dickinson says, and intimates that he has been faced with suspicions from his bandmates that some unknown reason was really behind the decision to leave. But Dickinson simply had to find out what else was out there, and what else was inside him. He had to learn to fly, both figuratively and literally.

And this is the leap in the dark that he encourages others to take, to try to look at adversity as opportunity. It might be difficult in the short run. Leaving the safety of Maiden to go out into the real world was terrible, he says. “It hurts like hell, but it’s good for the soul.”

Dickinson is a firm believer in taking the leap in the dark and trusting that new doors will open for you: “Abandon yourself to the universe. Leap, and the net will appear.”

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Dickinson about Iron Maiden’s resurrection after the 1990s and his part in their global Ed Force adventures: “I could never have done this if I hadn’t left Iron Maiden.”

If Bruce Dickinson never left Iron Maiden, there would be less of a chance that we had ever gotten his great solo records. But further, there would probably be less of a chance that Maiden, with Dickinson, would be around and bigger than ever in 2013.

Dickinson is emphatic that Maiden are performing “so much better now than we were in the 1980s or the 1990s”, and gets a wicked laugh from the audience when he denies that they have made bad albums. “They are all equal”, he says jokingly, “but some are less equal than others.”

Lately we have heard that another studio album will be added to the Iron Maiden pantheon. The income from album sales has dropped considerably in the past few years, and new avenues like the Trooper Ale is explored. But Dickinson claims that “Iron Maiden have to make new music! It gives us the authority to tour.”

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Dickinson about the business idea behind Iron Maiden’s own Trooper Ale: “The rock band’s revenge! Yes, you can listen to our music for free, as long as you buy our beer.”

There is also hope for his fans that there will be a new solo record. Dickinson referred to Roy Z as having been his producer and songwriting partner, and then pointedly corrected himself when saying “he IS my partner.” In other words, musical creativity is very much in focus for Dickinson as he continues to chase that elusive 1 percent that is brilliant.

The rest of us can only wait in anticipation and draw inspiration from his energy and philosophy. Taking that unpremeditated leap in the dark seems like the inevitable thing to do when Dickinson finishes and leaves the stage to thunderous applause. “If you give,” the singer insists, “the universe has a way of giving back to you.”


Bruce Dickinson. Always ahead to new frontiers.


21 thoughts on “Dickinson Speaks in Trondheim: Taking a Leap in the Dark

  1. Thanks for that report! I really like his quote from George Orwell’s ‘Animal farm’ when referring to Maiden albums… πŸ˜†

  2. You know, there is absolutely no question that Bruce is extraordinary. I mean, TRULY, amazingly extraordinary…and that’s one of the reasons why I have such a difficult time digesting his motivational speeches.

    Does he have wisdom to share? Absolutely. And I would love nothing more than to catch his leadership tour just to watch and hear him speak. The problem is, I don’t think he realizes how special he is, therefore creating an illusion within the “if I can do it, so can you” theme.

    Once ranked the sixth greatest Olympic fencer in the world.
    Best selling author.
    Soccer player.
    Race car driver.
    Composer and orchestral conductor.
    And all this achieved while touring the Earth and performing as one of the greatest heavy metal vocalists for one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time.

    Not slighting anyone, but I don’t think most of us have what he’s got. So, how on earth can we eat what he’s dishing?

    Yes, we all have something special, we all have our place, and we are all significant. But, as he quoted George, “Some are more equal than others.” And Mr. Bruce is unbelievably “equal.” It’s a gift! It’s beautiful! It’s a blessing and he so so deserves every single bit of success that he enjoys and I mean that with all my heart! But, if he thinks I or anyone else could just wake up one day, remember a few bits of fortune cookie rules of life, and conquer the world the way he has, then he needs to find a new dealer because the crack he’s smokin’ ain’t workin’.

    • I am not going to deny that I look up to Bruce and think he is really special, but you have got some wrong facts there.

      – “Once ranked the sixth greatest Olympic fencer in the world”. He was ranked 7th in the UK the year the best top fencers from the country were having a year off after the Olympics. He was an average fencer.
      – “Best selling author”. The two books he wrote sold well, but certainly not close to what most would consider to correspond to a “best selling author”.
      – “Soccer player”. He plays football and, by his own admission, he is mediocre at best.
      – “Pilot”. He is good at this.
      – “Acupuncturist”. First time I have heard this.
      – “Actor”. Mediocre at best.
      – “Historian”. Graduated from Queen Mary’s University with a degree in History, but I would hardly consider that makes him a Historian. πŸ˜‰
      – “Race car driver”. As Maiden frontman he was offered to drive a car in Brazil. He had fun, but again, I would not consider myself a race car driver just by having driven a race car!
      – “Dancer”. First time I have heard this.
      – “Composer and orchestral conductor”. If you mean classical composer and orchestra conductor, then this is absolutely not true.
      – “Entrepreneur”. Correct, and quite good at this.
      – “Best selling brew-master”. He has helped brew a best selling ale (and a really nice one, by the way), but again he is not a brew-master.


      • I have to agree with Ghost on this. As much as I love Bruce and most of the stuff he does, we can really tend to exaggerate sometimes. About the fencing, Bruce mentioned that. He said he was in the top 10 in the UK, which according to him was not even the top 1000 in the world at that time. πŸ˜‰

        And the theme of his talk was not “if I can do it, so can you”. That’s a misunderstanding. It was, as I tried clumsily to describe in the article, “we can all be happier and more creative if we let go of fear and take a leap in the dark”. Which is really not innovative at all, such talks often revolve around that theme, but a lot of people still need to be told these things.

      • Oh my…lol! Well, dearest Ghost & Christer, I am grateful to the both of you for the “clue-by-four” upside the head to point out that his mother was not seduced by a swan after all. Thank you for that!!

        As for the race car driving and the acupuncture, these are things he had talked to me about personally many moons ago. Dancing was part of his theatrical background and he’s very good, but admittedly nothing “Black Swan about it,” and I was referring to his re-work with “Pascendale” in regards to the conducting. “Historian,” where I come from, if you earn a degree in your field, you earn that title so out of respect so on that principle I would still call him that — but, like I said, it’s merely a cultural courtesy.

        But, overall, Christer, you’re right about human nature and how we tend to gravitate to extremes, especially we of the creative variety…

        I agree with the “letting go of fear” message completely. I went through 3 years of shamanic apprenticeship and a Trial-By-Fire to learn that concept. But, in your opinions, don’t you think it could be argued that every motivational speaker still using themselves as an example? You have to admit, he’s still a hell of an example!

        Cheers! )O( πŸ˜€

      • Ms. Ray, if with “his re-work with β€œPascendale” in regards to the conducting” you are referring to the orchestral version of ‘Paschendale’ that Maiden released as a B-side some years ago, Bruce had nothing to do with that, as Kevin Shirley was responsible for the orchestration. πŸ˜‰

        Apologies for being so pernickety! πŸ˜† I am an Academic, I cannot help it! πŸ˜†

      • Ghost — LOL!! No worries, I’m totally okay with the academics! I must’ve taken comps by proxy a hundred times, it’s all good! πŸ˜›

      • I have a feeling he would be the one correcting all those things, as he usually does. (I agree that you can’t call “historian” someone because they have a BD in history–sorry, i’m an academic too XD) He’s a brilliant man, and has this annoying way of being at least good at everything he does, and he surely is inspirational. But of course, he also had luck in life and other people around him to support him and inspire him in turn: a lot of what he does is also supported a great deal by Iron Maiden fanbase in the first place, out of love and trust for IM, let’s not forget this. I love him as only a fangirl can, and I don’t want to start a flame about “who’s better” but we should always remeber that without mr. Harris holding the helm for so long hardly anything of that could have been possible. So.
        I like his speeches beacuse he’s funny and you always end up with some fun facts about his life or IM, and he truly is motivating, but I hope this whole motivation speeches thing doesn’t get too “evengelical” or fanatical or something like that.
        Ps. Out of all the thing listed, you forgot the only one really important: sexiest man on the planet to date. XD

  3. Pretty sure the orchestral version of Paschendale (and Blood Brothers, for that matter) features the same synthesized instruments as the album versions, just up much higher in the mix. I can’t sense any other differences that that.

  4. Orchestrations for Blood Brothers, The Nomad, Paschendale, Dance Of Death and Journeyman were all done by Jeff Bova, a regular collaborator with Kevin Shirley.

    • My mistake. Apologies, I had forgotten that it was one of Shirley’s collaborators who did the orchestration for those tracks. And what a fine job he did!

      • Absolutely! I remember being disappointed when Shirley revealed that there would be no Jeff Bova on A Matter Of Life And Death, because I was so happy with his work on the previous two records. But AMOLAD turned out to be my fave post-1999 album anyway.

  5. I wouldn’t change a thing about Amolad… It’s my fave Maiden album … But It’d be interesting if we had orchestral versions of songs like For the greater good of god or lord of light as b-sides on different world or benjamin breeg, or even on later singles for TFF…

  6. Pingback: “Iron Maiden tiene que hacer nueva mΓΊsica”: Bruce Dickinson |

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