IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson doesn’t understand why some of the group’s early musical output is being described as “punky,” saying that “there was no way on God’s green earth MAIDEN were ever, even remotely, a punk band.”
Speaking to SPIN.com about the supposed “punk” influence on MAIDEN’s classic first LP — which featured the band’s previous singer, Paul Di’Anno — Dickinson said: “If you look at all the old Steve Harris [IRON MAIDEN bassist and leader] interviews — he hates punk rock. The first MAIDEN album sounded punky because it sounded like a sack of shit. He hates that record. The first singer [Paul Di’Anno] gave it a little bit of that kind of vibe, but the punk thing was nailed to the band by the press. The band absolutely hated it, because there was no way on God’s green earth MAIDEN were ever, even remotely, a punk band. As soon as ‘Killers’ came out, which was a proper-sounding record, it was obvious — where’s the punk thing on ‘Killers’? You’ve got ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue’, which basically could have been off of DEEP PURPLE’s ‘In Rock’, you’ve got ‘Prodigal Son’, a proggy, sweet little ballad, you’ve got ‘Twilight Zone’, all this kind of stuff — where’s the punk thing? Don’t get it.”
Dickinson last year made headlines when he said in an interview that “punk was rubbish.” He explained to The Guardian: “The closest the ‘art establishment’ ever came to embracing metal was punk. The reason they embraced punk was because it was rubbish and the reason they embraced rubbish was because they could control it. They could say: ‘Oh yeah, we’re punk so we can sneer at everybody. We can’t play our fucking instruments, but that means we can make out that this whole thing is some enormous performance art.’ Half the kids that were in punk bands were laughing at the art establishment, going: ‘What a fucking bunch of tosspots. Thanks very much, give us the money and we’ll fuck off and stick it up our nose and shag birds.’ But what they’d really love to be doing is being in a heavy metal band surrounded by porn stars.”
In a 2012 interview with The Quietus, Harris was asked if shared the do-it-yourself sensibility with the punk bands of the late ’70s and early ’80s. He responded: “I didn’t share it with them. I wouldn’t share anything with them, because I hated them! They were taking gigs away from us. They came along — the upstarts that they were — and most of them couldn’t play their instruments, which was annoying. And most of them were getting gigs and publicity and not letting us get a look in. So we were lucky that we had a few places where we could play like the Cart and Horses, The Ruskin Arms in Stratford and The Bridgehouse in Canning Town. It was really, really tough. So no, we hated them and we hated what they were about. We had nothing in common with them. Most of them seemed to be kids from good backgrounds who were just bullshitting about being young and hungry anyway. They weren’t for real, most of them.”
MAIDEN’s sixteenth — and first-ever double — studio album, “The Book Of Souls”, was released worldwide on September 4 through Parlophone Records (BMG in the U.S.A).