Ever since he complained about weed smoke during an Iron Maiden show, it’s been hard to not see frontman Bruce Dickinson as the classic “old man yells at cloud” meme. I mean, the dude’s been in the spotlight and making music for decades now. He’s traveled around the world, become a pilot, and generally gets to enjoy the creature comforts of being born in the right generation.
During a recent interview with Dave Gleeson of Australia’s Triple M radio station, the outspoken vocalist commented about Iron Maiden’s ability to include new music amid a setlist of classics without fans losing their shit over it. And while he credits the fans for actually caring about the music, he dunks on some of the things today’s artists do to ensure their shows and sound is as perfect as it can be.
“I know that’s a really weird concept now — where people actually go to a show to listen to the music. But it’s because we’re not fashion icons or anything else like that. We’ve always been — how can I put it? We’re not like Michelin star chef-type grub; we’re meat and potatoes. And it’s straightforward, what people come to see is.
“I mean, the songs are not necessarily straightforward, but the attitude is. And we still play all the songs in the original key; we don’t drop, downtune and stuff like that. We still play everything too fast, because we’re all excited. We’ve never played to click tracks or like time code and everything else now, ’cause I see a lot of bands now, and I’m going, ‘Hang on a minute. Hey, you sang that without moving your lips.’ So there’s all this backing vocals being flown in left, right and center and everything.
“But we don’t do any of that. Everything is analog and real. So we are kind of old school in that respect. But I think that pays dividends ’cause the audience understand that reality is increasingly kind of rare now.”
While it’s easy to understand what he means by his statement, Dickinson sort of sounds like he’s saying “we’re going things our way and that’s the best way to do it because it’s real.” Never mind that other artists use backing tracks for vocal harmonies or other added sounds to a song. As for his quick comment on downtuning, while it does require less effort to sound extra heavy using such a tuning, you still gotta write and perform the music.
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