When interviewing a London pub, Bruce Dickinson is awake and nervous. Again and again he stretched his foot across the bench. Guests recognize it but do not show it. After the interview, the licensed pilot moves directly into the management room to his driving office where he is waiting for a German airline manager and a Cardiff flight school chief executive. The three speak for pilot training concepts. They are staring at Eddie's raised figures, Iron Maiden's mascot.
In his biography, sex, drugs and gang disputes are rare. What rock star are you?
These are pretty boring themes. If there are people who are disappointed with the book, it makes me happy.
I'm not interested in people reading gossip columns wondering which beauty surgery Kim Kardashian did this week. I do not want them to take care of me either.
We sit in the pub. In one of these, you have also written large parts of your book. Have you ever been disturbed by intrusive fans?
No, nobody's bothering us here. Writing in the pub is fantastic. I sit in a quiet corner, drink a pint and write in my notebook.
After the final concert of his first Iron Maiden tour in 1982, there was more than a pint. They describe how they crawl along the corridor of the hotel on four legs and steal two loaves of bread. When you looked into the mirror, you were scared. Why?
It was a symbolic moment for me. After a year with the band, I had more success than I ever dreamed. And here, I was drunk and stole bread at the hotel. I have already asked myself a few questions.
"Will I finish like this?" "Is this the man you want to stay for the rest of your life?" I knew I had to change something so my brain would not fall apart.
Later, they became pilots trained in the British National Fencing Team. Was not it enough for you to be the Iron Maiden singer?
It is not the question that working as a Iron Maiden singer is not enough. But especially the first five years with the band was a matter of survival for me because we played so many concerts: My body, my voice, my psyche were cracked. I slept in the bus, worked hard, but I barely had time to think about what I was doing. At the end of the album "Powerslave" in 1985 I was completely exhausted.
Photos: Iron Maiden moved to Boeing 747
They were thinking music should be thrown.
Yes, I thought I'd become a fencing coach.
It does not sound very lucrative.
Of course, I would make a lot less money. But in fencing you always have to invent new, creative solutions. Iron Maiden had a routine. I remember playing five concerts in the same place in New York. Even on the second evening, I felt very uncomfortable.
I felt like a theatrical actor who just did my job. He felt wrong. Every Iron Maiden show must be special, explosive, different. If you play in the same place every night, watch the audience and you think, "Hello, guys, it's me again", it's not a rock-roll.
Iron Maiden's concerts still look like a theater today.
Rock show is different from a theater or a musical. Rock-n-roll must have its roots in anarchy. You have to have a crazy look, the possibility of something going wrong. Johnny Cash made several concerts, though he was very sick. I'm sure there are clues that would make his songs better. But when Johnny Cash was on the scene, the gravity of everything he'd been experiencing was spinning with him. To her belongs a certain naivety, a certain arrogance.
You left Iron Maiden in 1993. Two years later, as a solo performer, you played a concert during the Bosnian war in the besieged Sarajevo. What the hell did that make you go there?
Yes, it was totally crazy. But it sounded like an adventure. That's why I agreed. It is so easy.
They flew to Split and, sheltered by the military, landed by truck in Sarajevo. You never asked, "What did I actually lose here?"
But in an hour. It was an extreme situation, I felt fully at the moment and tried to think rationally. I figured I might have been transferred from a bus to England. But I must also say that we were not nearly in the same danger as the people who then lived in Sarajevo. They were shot in the ranks of the street by snipers.
Was the audience different from other concerts?
A documentary about this concert was released in 2015. The people who were at the concert said 20 years later what they meant for me during the Bosnian war. I first looked at the imperfect crude version of the interviews. I have almost never seen anything more impressive in my life. I felt great humility. I could only leave after five days, they could not.
"The rock show is different from a theater or a musical. Rock-n-roll must have its roots in anarchy. You have to have a crazy look, the possibility of something going wrong.
You later approached your death. In early 2015, you were diagnosed with larynx cancer.
No, no, I was not close to death. My oncologist first said, "I'll wipe out the cancer for you and make sure she does not come back." It was a good start. Then it quickly became clear that I had good chances to recover. "Good news for bad news," my doctor said.
Do you still have a chest tattoo that was used to fix you during chemotherapy?
Yes, do you want to see it? (unbuttoning his shirt and pointing at a small black dot on his chest). I never wanted to have a tattoo, you got me now.
You were in the pub during the treatment when your beard fell.
I have no hair growth on my neck now because of the radiation. It's good, so I save money for razors.
Distance: The Iron Maiden Show with Bruce Dickinson at the Rock Festival in Sölvesborg 2018. Image: Getty Images t
Even when you have not beaten the cancer yet, you were joking about your illness. Fans have to take their cancer with a tumor.
Yes, I got the cancer with humor. What else was left to me? A colleague told me that as a cancer patient he was formally considered invalid. I was looking forward to attaching a blue badge to my car and parking everywhere. Only then could I climb the stairs. That's why I ordered these forms. But when I wanted to fill them in three weeks, I felt better and I had no trouble climbing the stairs. And one question about the badge was: "Do you have trouble climbing the stairs?"
They have three children. Was not it difficult for you?
It was much harder for her than for me. They did not know how to handle it. When you hear your child say, "Dad has cancer," they can not say much anymore. In general, man's cancer is far more terrible for people who do not have cancer themselves.
Why is that?
When you turn to a person and say, "Hey, I have cancer," he's causing fear. As cancer patients, they remind people of their fear even of this disease. That's why I wrote so much about the treatment. In order for people to face their fears. It is bad when a person is paralyzed by fear and therefore no longer makes the necessary clarifications. I also went to my doctor last year.
How was it?
She said, "Are you 60 years old, when was your last time checking your prostate?" "And when was your bowel?" I said twice, "Never," and I wish I'd never shut up. I was so afraid of these examinations. But I had to be responsible and do these damn tests. And, thank God, everything was fine.
Let's look at the near future. They soon appeared in Zurich. Do you associate a special experience with Switzerland?
Yes, I remember how I once left Switzerland.
We played at Iron Maiden concert in 1988 in Lausanne. My wife and I wanted to go. The organizers insisted on sending a security officer. I said you should send it to the cuckoo clock factory, I'll go there. In fact, there was no such factory. We went to the station and took the night train to Venice. It was much better than drinking rich people in Switzerland.
A well-known picture is from Zurich airport. In 2016 they took the Boeing 747 with the group in Switzerland. Next to them were the relatively small plans of Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande.
Clean coincidence. At first I thought, "What a hassle, we have to park the plane in no-man's land." It was not until then that Merkel and Hollande had arrived. The damn iconic picture.
June 2016 in Zurich: The Iron Maiden Jambot with Merkel and Holland.
Are you still Brexit followers in the face of all the chaos?
Yes, absolutely. Though I think the Brexit politicians have made a huge mess. We thought the EU bureaucrats, these ideological dreamers, would be good for us. That was naive. We had to say to Brussels: "We're leaving" and then we start planning. Therese May tried to get a good divorce. But there are no good divorces. And now we have this crazy situation that more than half of the population voted for Brexit, and politicians are revolting against their own people.
You can solve the problem with a new referendum.
And what if the second referendum leads to the same result?
Britain must then leave the EU.
But we have already made that decision! And no one wants to live with the consequences. We had to make the plans two years ago.
They give motivational speeches to businessmen. What you mean?
I mostly talk about people. At the moment everyone is turning when it comes to artificial intelligence. Forget that people will not start to change as much as our technology. I was at a conference where a manager outlined his vision: "The guiding bezel will take you to the front door. The house knows what TV channel you want to watch. The food will be ready and the clothes you want to buy are already here.
What does he speak against?
That the man the manager describes would be the lonelier man in the world. But people want to live in communities. Everyone talks about robots who will clean the bedrooms – and no one thinks that it will deprive people of basic livelihoods with simple jobs.
Do you look pessimistic about the future?
The future vision of this managerial elite is funny. But it will not come that far, for we will rebel. Because we want to be human.
Created: 03.02.2019, 17:29 clock