Now that the 1995 leg of the tour is at an end, I thought I'd let you know my impressions of it so far. It's been fantastic so far !
It's a lot madder than I thought it would be, we're always travelling and playing with the odd couple of days off here and there. The rest of the time it's all work. There's no routine it's just take everything as it comes and live for the moment. You never know where your next hot meal is coming from so you eat when you can.
The highlights of the tour so far, have to be Granada and Brixton. In Granada we played to some 90,00 people plus many more who had managed to sneak in. It was the biggest crowd I'd ever headlined to. Brixton was just fantastic, it was a magical night - we were firing on all six, it was just great. There's been lots of good bits but those are a couple that come to mind.
In Milan we had an unpleasant moment. We were on stage and the place was packed when some idiot in the crowd through 2 fireworks on stage. One went off in our security chiefs hand but he managed to put cold water on it straight away. It could have been really horrible if they'd gone off in somebody's face. I don't know what these idiots are doing at gigs.
I liked Greece as I'd been there on holiday a few years ago. When I said "Good evening" in Greek, I don't think anybody could believe their ears and we got a loud cheer. We are going back there again in January. Everywhere's been really good to us, although at one gig I picked up a flag that was thrown on stage - held it up and couldn't figure out why the crowd were not cheering as loud as usual. When I got back to the Hotel, I looked at it and it said "Adrian Smith". I never hold up anything now unless I've read it first.
The Maiden guys are very easy going, because everyone's so experienced confident and laid back. The most outrageous things can happen and it's "Let's deal with this" instead of "Oh God ! What are we going to do".
The tour has just got better and better as it goes along. I can't wait to get back out to Europe again in the New Year and visit Canada, America, Japan and the rest. Thanks to everyone for your support. It's really appreciated by all of us. Until next time...
Album: "X Factour"
Label: CMC International
Producer: Nigel Green
The third time's a charm, as they say. On 2 previous occasions I tried to hook up with Steve Harris in Europe. Well, Steve and his band, Iron Maiden, are now in the U.S. Their tour in support of their latest album, "X Factor," was my opportunity to finally catch up with him.
The recording career of Iron Maiden has spanned 15 years and some 40 million units sold. This current project is selling just as well.
- Where are you calling from ?
- (Laughing) I'm not sure. Detroit is what it says here.
- Where did the title of the album come from ?
- It's just a term we were using, something we couldn't put into words. It's that magic that you find that brings it all together.
- What did you think of the pay-for-view concert of your final performance in Europe? I taped the whole thing. With it being Bruce Dickinson's last show, it was the end of an era.
- I suppose it was. We didn't look at it like that. To be honest with you, we were glad to get it over with. We were in limbo, so it was just another show. We wanted to get on with our careers.
- Are you excited about playing in the U.S.?
- Yes and No. It's been four years since we've played here, so it's exciting on that level.
- There was never any doubt that Iron Maiden would continue with a new singer. Did you get crazy when Bruce decided to leave ?
- Oh, not at all. The only thing, I suppose, is it's disappointing that we're playing to less people. In the rest of the world, we're still playing the same size venues and arenas. Then again, not playing for four years, we didn't know what to expect. So far, so good. We thought Bruce would be leaving because he lost the passion... Timing-wise, his leaving wasn't the best because he decided to leave before we finished that last tour with him.
- Your album is doing extremely well in the U.S. It's still climbing toward #1.
- It's top 10 all over Europe and in the rest of the world. Already selling over a million.
- You worked with Martin Burch on this album. How did that turn out?
- I'm very pleased. I think it's the best-sounding album we've ever done, but as far as the best album, I don't know. We'll be able to be more objective on that after we finish the tour.
- What's the difference in the two producers, Nigel Green and Martin Burch?
- I don't know. I helped produce all the albums, including this latest one. I guess just more free reign. Nigel is very easy going and fun to work with. He's been an assistant engineer on "Killers" and "Number of the Beast," so he knows how we work. He's great at getting the right sound.
- Did you know Blaze when he was in Wolfbane ?
- I did, because they supported us on a UK tour.
- Blaze was just one of 1,000 vocalists you listened to. What made him stand out ?
- He's just got the right-sounding voice. You don't want someone who's going to sound like any of the others.
- The highlight for me lately has been the reissue of all those great Iron Maiden albums, with each one featuring some great B-sides. Just think of the new audience you'll have through this venture.
- All the B-sides were never available in the states before. It's great to have it all in one place. I think what happened was, there were some bootlegs around from South America that had some of the B-sides on them. We picked up on that interest and decided to put them out ourselves. We've gotten lots of fan mail from the States, saying that they couldn't find those tracks, so we decided to do a special thing with them.
- I have a huge collection of Iron Maiden goodies. Did you keep one of everything ?
- It's great you're into it. I have tried to keep up with it. It's hard to get everything. I'm sure there are fans who have more than I do.
- What's the best song you've ever written?
- I suppose the all-time best one is "Hallowed be thy Name," but my recent favorite is "Strangers."
- I love "Lord of the Flies," on the new album. Who's playing the slide?
- That's Janick.
- "Judgment of Heaven" is another favorite, along with "Blood on the World's Hands." You've always written about mature, important things.
- We've always felt it was important to write something that means something, rather than just rock and roll bullshit. We try.
- "Man on the Edge" is the first single. I'm calling for "Lord of the Flies" to be the second single.
- It is!
- What's been the highest point for you with Iron Maiden so far?
- There's been so many high points, I don't know if I can actually pick just one. I'm pleased that we've had success on our own terms. We're having the same feeling playing the States as we did the very first time. We might be playing to less people at the moment, but we just do what we do and we're accepted for what we are. We're not going to change anything.
- What's your take on the music biz in the U.S. today ?
- It's very strange, what's going on in the rest of the world. We've been on the road since September of '95 playing arenas, but here, we have to play clubs. It's very strange, but having said that, we weren't even sure we'd sell out the clubs.
- Do you guys have an e-mail address or Website yet ?
- We've been talking to a lot of fans through the Internet. We've definitely got a Website.
- Your album just keeps moving up the charts. Somebody is buying this record. Do you keep up with how you're doing ?
- We get some of the numbers, but we're pretty busy with just the actual day-to-day tour stuff.
- Is McBrain still as crazy as ever? It must be a lot of fun having him around.
- There's never a dull moment, that's for sure.
- What's you favorite activity outside the band?
- Soccer. I play every time I get a chance. I've been playing since I was nine. The weather has been too bad in Europe for us to play too much. I play tennis as well.
- I've always considered you as the leader of this band. It's been your strength that's kept everything going.
- Well, I'm not sure about that.
- Did you catch the article recently in Spin about metal being over? Doesn't that make you laugh?
- I didn't read it. There was some bullshit about Capitol dropping us. It's ridiculous. We actually bought ourselves out of that contract.
- Keep the faith. It's a wonderful album. All the fans will come back, mark my words.
- We'll see you out on the road. Cheers!