BRUCE DICKINSON – “What Does This Button Do?”

December 12th, 2017

Bruce Dickinson is a man who needs no introduction to metal bangers. Iron Maiden has enjoyed and still does the fanatical following in most of the countries among the metal and rock fans decades after decades. Bruce Dickinson could be described a modern-day renaissance artist. Besides being the Iron Maiden frontman, he has recorded albums with the Samson band, plus solo albums of his own. Outside of the music world, Bruce Dickinson has been involved in writing books, movie scripts, being a radio DJ and known as a highly ranked fencer. The legendary frontman of Iron Maiden is going and already has released the biography book of his long life called WHAT DOES THAT BUTTON DO where he unveils more about all those activities. The book is his first, maybe his last (according to him) biography covering all his life from his childhood till the most recent events in his life. Dickinson has been traveling all around the world, promoting his book quite a lot. He also visited Finland where he had two signing sessions. Hundreds and hundreds of fans arrived in the hope of getting the books signed, and he signed all of them. Despite two days of long signing sessions Dickinson also did a significant number of interviews with several journalists including Metal-Rules.Com. He deserves all the respect and other bands out there, take a lesson of Bruce Dickinson’s attitude and moral. Here is the interview.

Interview and pictures by Marko Syrjala


First of all, welcome to Finland again!

Thank you very much. Very nice to be here just the day before your Independence Day celebrations.

The reason you’re here is that you’re promoting your new WHAT DOES THAT BUTTON DO book. What kind of feedback have you gotten about it?

Well, I’ve been very pleased with the reaction here. We are doing amazingly well the book so, I think we’re into the third reprint already.

Are you a kind of guy who follows what media writes about you, the bands, your book or do you try to stay away from all that?

Well, I don’t get much choice about it now because the book’s out so that people can write and say what they want about it. So yeah, I don’t have much control over it, so I don’t worry about it.

I think the book is overall entirely personal. There is a lot of talk about your own private life, like for example, the cancer thing. How did you decide which topics and subjects are going to be included and which are not?

I didn’t necessarily need to go and affect other people’s lives that much was quite enough stuff going on in my life to make an interesting book. So, anybody, looking for scandals about loads of other rock stars or more that sort nonsense, was not there. In any case but the book is – I’m obviously a huge chunk of my life. But there’s no of other things in the book as well which I think people might find a hope interesting. I see writer afterward, and I say look – I made a decision when I started writing the autobiography-; “What are you going to put in what are you going to leave out? You can’t put everything in is 400 pages. What are you going to put in and what are you going to leave out?” I left out 40000 words anyway which I wrote. Concerning wives and children and all the rest of it then it affects their lives in a way which – I don’t think it is necessarily 100 percent positive. People just start gossip around them and talk about them, and everything and they’re not that they’re not obviously important to me, but they’re not necessarily important to the story of the autobiography of mine.

Bruce Dickinson in Helsinki 2017

Most of the biographies of the rock stars have the holy three themes included; sex, drugs and rock n roll. There’s not much talk about sex or girls in your book. Was it something that you wanted to leave out on purpose?

Well, I mean this is what it is. But it’s not that much about drugs, to be honest with you. Yeah, I smoked something, I smoked dope when I was at university. I put that in there just because I wanted to make the point that I don’t see the point in a drug they didn’t do anything to a great extent for me. So, stopping was pretty easy. I mean it’s not like I was an addict it’s not like I’ve ever purchased a drug in my life. Actually, I’m the worst guy on the planet because I used to smoke everybody else’s dope. And as for the sex bit of it, there is a little bit of sex in it, but not to the point where I’m describing how incredibly I’m in bed and not basically because why would you want to do that. Like people don’t know what it’s like to have sex. Most people have, and most people who have sex have with girlfriends, boyfriends whatever make love their whatever. Yeah, I can tell you it’s no different. Everything works just the same game. It’s just something that happens to the entire planet. So, what’s different. Why did that have to go in the book? It’s just sort of it’s another kind of Rockstar narcissist. That’s not the thing with this book. I didn’t want this to be a confessional about how big my Willey’s or “Ok I’m in Odessa” nonsense it’s so tedious it’s boring. I think a book should be entertaining. I think it should be a little educational a little bit informative and funny and I think it should celebrate life.

How this book writing process was different to writing a solo album – I mean, that’s always a quite personal project as well compared to working with any Iron Maiden stuff?

No, it’s not like writing a solo album. Writing a solo album is writing a solo album. You’re creating fiction with songs. So, it’s no it’s not it’s all right if I’m writing a book like this is a standalone process. I think because it’s not like writing a fictional book, and it’s not even like writing a nonfiction book you can stand back and do research because you have opinions. But this one that you’re already in it. You know so it’s a curious hybrid autobiography. And I know you have to be quite selective about it. You can’t put every single thing you’ve ever done in your entire life. Down here the red. Any of you know when people have they keep diaries. I never keep a diary. I never bothered to do that. So I couldn’t be asked as like you expect me to sit down and write what I did every day. God Almighty is boring. And that’s the problem is when I look at people that keep diaries, and they publish them. Got that boring and tedious. “Oh my god. Really”. You know I mean Richard Burton’s diaries. I thought “Oh wow. I bet these up. I learned something today I had halibut. It was undercooked, and the wind was disgraceful. However, the bed was beautiful and comfortable.” And so are many autobiographies. I don’t read them for that very same reason. But I occasionally in the build-up to writing this went and spent an hour or so just flicking through autobiographies. And the big thing that came across was like “Oh my god who cares about things how I think I like to write an autobiography that might just be a little bit more of the wool that might be a little bit odd.” The people might read it and go oh I didn’t know that. That’s interesting. Or something. Not just that, the rock star autobiography.

When did you make a decision that you wanted to write a book about your life after all?

Well, I had all kinds of people chasing me to write a book for 10 – 12 years or so, and I never bothered to do that because I knew what was involved. You had to spend a long time doing it. And I thought “Oh I can’t be bothered.” Then I’ve got the cancer thing, and I got clear of that, and I did the BOOK OF SOULS too and then at the end of it all kind of sorted out. After I get clear of cancer I thought; “This is a perfect place to end a book because one of the biggest problems with writing an autobiography is the question, when and where you’re going to stop it? I mean just before you die I mean, that was the point of writing it. So, you’ve got to stop it somewhere. And I thought this is the perfect place to end it. Having just gotten a clear concept that’s a great place to stop. And then, of course, the stop point is easy. It’s the beginning of the rest of your life. So, it’s a journey. I mean, in an autobiography like a novel should be it should be a journey from the beginning all the way through. My editor at Harper Collins’s Jack Fog was great because he took all my stuff which was just in sequential order and started to edit it. He edited it like a novel. When we sat down sat down together to do that it took us about three and a half days to get rid of 40000 words which he thought was going to be difficult. But once I understood what he was trying to achieve we were both doing cutting like crazy because it became really easy to lose eight or ten pages of one story because it was a story you didn’t if you didn’t know, it was that you didn’t know, it was gone yet. So, from that from that point once he understood what he was after.

Life is a lot easier so you can tell in the book that you missed Genesis show because you attended the school like one year after the band played.

Yeah yeah.

Are there some other bands that do you have wanted to see, but it never happened?

Oh yeah, I have missed every single band I’ve liked most. I missed every show of those bands, except Uriah Heep with David Byron, who is my biggest influences. I’ve never seen those other ones, not even a single time. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Jethro Tull. I never saw them, and there is some specific reason for it. I was at school. Ok, so, I was at boarding school. It was that also a money related. I just couldn’t afford to go because I was in a boarding school. And it was as simple as that. And they weren’t around you know so. So, I had to imagine what it was in real life. It was a bit like the Marquis De Sade for all of his crazy pornographic writing never had sex except in his mind because he was locked up in jail and he had to write down all these crazy fantasies on toilet paper. And this is the truth. The more they locked him up, the more insane his fantasies became, and in the end, it became utterly absurd. I mean it’s ridiculous. And it was a little bit like that with music. I imagined all these people doing all these amazing things onstage in my head because there were no videos back then. So, there was no footage you could see of people very much you know there was nothing like a Top Of the Pops or something, and we only had. And that was very rare. We were allowed to watch TV, so I imagined everybody in a real sort of kinetic way. People ask me why I run around like I do on stage and it’s because that’s how I imagined that all my heroes ran around on stage. When I finally saw them on stage, after most of them later on reunited, they just were just standing there.

Bruce Dickinson live at Helsinki, 2002

You have a lot of great stories about your old bands before Iron Maiden in the book. For example, Samson. You seemed to have quite a lot of difficulties with that group, but you’re very proud of those times.

I think we were such a strange band. I mean we were all over the place in so many ways. It was a great experience. I mean I wouldn’t have swapped it for the world because I learned a lot. I learned a lot of actually what not to do. I also got a huge amount of experience from particularly the second album that I did with them, SHOCK TACTICS. I learned a massive amount about singing from that album. And that led pretty directly into what I did with on THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST. Martin Birch then turned it into what I became subsequently as a vocalist.

Before Samson, you were fronting a band called the Shots. That band has a look, which was horrible, to be honest. Have you ever seen a group which was really bad but later on one or a few of its members have managed to have a great career in the music business?

Probably there have been a few bands like that, but I can’t remember any of them personally. I’ll have to think about that more “Laughs.”

One special thing about the Shots was your unique dressing which included golden jockstraps. Whatever happened to those?

The golden jockstraps are long gone and have been eaten by worms that can be just me on the right one. So, those are finally in a better place “Laughs.”

Shots promo shot. Bruce pictured in the middle with the hat. Photo by

There are great stories behind your solo albums. When speaking a bit about your solo career, you recently released a box set including all of your solo albums. Does that mean that you’re going to activate your solo career again sometime soon?

There’s a half an album of solo stuff sitting on a shelf in Roy Z’s bedroom right now. I just need to go and get some time and go in and writes some more material. I mean I was halfway through doing it. It was going to be a whole concept album, and it was going to be called “If Eternity Should Fail” and “If Eternity Should Fail” was the title track to my new solo album. And a bit like what happened “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter,” Iron Maiden wanted to use it, so that’s what happened again. But if I did do another solo album, which I think I will, I might just stick to my original plan and have that as the title track. I mean I did write it. It was there first. It was the first track that I wrote you know for it. So yeah, I probably still include that song but it would be the feel would be slightly different not very much from the Maiden version.

You have also said in the interviews that you really enjoyed writing this book. And like you already mentioned, you have some bits some parts which you cut off. Do you feel that there could someday be another book about your life or is this enough about that topic?

Well, there’s 40000 words of stories sloshing around. I’m not sure how you would organize it or how you would put it together. I’m not even seriously thinking about it at the moment because I’m in the middle in the middle of this one right now. It’s only been out for a couple of months, so we’ve got a long way to go with this book. You know it’s going to go to the whole the hardbacks, and it’s going to get released in Germany next year and then Brazil and Spain and Italy and all these places. And then there’s the back’s going to come out later, and it’s going to be going to be two years working on this book. During that time, I might write some other bits and I might not, but I need to figure out how they approach because you can’t do a second autobiography. You know people do that a lot. I mean some people are releasing their fifth biography, and they’re only 25. There are lots more spaces on the pages, and the paper is really thick again “Laughs.”

Our time seems to be up now. Here’s one more question left. The Maiden will be back on the road in spring, and then you’re also coming back to Finland. What can the fans expect from that upcoming tour?

Well, of course, you can expect surprises. The one thing I will say is I’m really pleased to be doing this indoors. We made a decision that we would try as much as possible to do indoor shows this summer. Obviously, there is some festival shows so, we can’t do that 100 percent. The main reason is that the show is we’ve been designing the show for almost a year now, that “Book of Souls” was such a great show. We thought wow how we’re going to beat this. So, now we’ve come up with something which I think is going to be pretty spectacular.  You definitely will not want to miss the beginning of the show.


The interview is released in courtesy of 


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Bruce Dickinson – officially given the all-clear by specialists!

May 16th, 2015
Bruce Dickinson

Bruce Dickinson

Iron Maiden announced that following his recent MRI Scan, singer Bruce Dickinson was today officially given the all-clear by his specialists. Just before Christmas, Iron Maiden vocalist Dickinson visited his doctor for a routine check-up. This led to tests and biopsies which revealed a small cancerous tumour at the back of his tongue.

Dickinson says: “I would like to thank the fantastic medical team who have been treating me for the last few months, resulting in this amazing outcome. It’s been tough on my family and in many ways it was harder for them than me. I’d also like to send a heartfelt thanks to all our fans for their kind words and thoughts. I’m a firm believer in trying to maintain a positive attitude, and the encouragement from the global Maiden family meant a great deal to me. Right now, I’m feeling extremely motivated and can’t wait to get back to business as usual, as soon as I can!”

Iron Maiden Manager Rod Smallwood adds: “We are of course all absolutely delighted that Bruce’s doctors have pronounced him free of cancer. Although Bruce is naturally eager to resume Maiden activities, it will take a while before he is completely back to full strength, as we explained previously. Because of this, the band will not be touring or playing any shows until next year. We know our fans will understand the situation and, like us, would prefer to wait until Bruce is back to his usual indefatigable levels of fitness before going out on the road. For now, the focus will be on putting the finishing touches to the new Iron Maiden studio album and that is what we will be concentrating on over the coming weeks. The release however will definitely be this year. Meanwhile, I’d like to echo Bruce’s words and thank all Maiden fans. You have been incredibly patient, putting Bruce’s health and well-being first during this difficult time and the band and I appreciate all your positive support.”

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February 19th, 2015
Bruce Dickinson

Bruce Dickinson

As posted to:

“Just before Christmas, Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson visited his doctor for a routine check-up. This led to tests and biopsies which revealed a small cancerous tumour at the back of his tongue. A seven week course of chemotherapy and radiology treatment was completed yesterday. As the tumour was caught in the early stages, the prognosis thankfully is extremely good. Bruce’s medical team fully expect him to make a complete recovery with the all clear envisaged by late May. It will then take a further few months for Bruce to get back to full fitness. In the meantime we would ask for your patience, understanding and respect for Bruce and his family’s privacy until we update everyone by the end of May. Bruce is doing very well considering the circumstances and the whole team are very positive.”

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Celebrating JON LORD Out September 30

August 5th, 2014


On September 30, 2014, earMusic and Eagle Rock Entertainment will proudly release Jon Lord, Deep Purple & Friends – Celebrating Jon Lord on CD, 2CD, and via digital formats in North America.

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Percussionist Who Played On BRUCE DICKINSON’s Balls To Picasso Passes

July 4th, 2010

Los Angeles based Latin hard rockers TRIBE OF GYPSIES, featuring guitarist/producer Roy Z (HALFORD, BRUCE DICKINSON, JUDAS PRIEST), have issued the following update:

“To all the Tribe fans out, especially those of you who were with us in the early days – it is with a heavy heart that we must inform you that our original congalero, Doug Van Booven, passed away last night. Dougie played on the first Tribe Of Gypsies album and the Nothing Lasts Forever EP (as well as percussion on Bruce Dickinson’s 1994 solo album Balls To Picasso) and his passion and spirit was a big part of those records. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Dougie’s family and friends and all those who knew him. Rest in peace, brother.”

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IRON MAIDEN – Somewhere Back In Time: The Powerslave Interviews

April 10th, 2008

IRON MAIDEN - Somewhere Back In Time: The Powerslave Interviews

Somewhere Back In Time: The Powerslave Interviews

By Gueneviere

The following are a series of interviews done with all the members of Iron Maiden just prior to the U.S. release of the watershed 5th album, Powerslave, circa Autumn of 1984. At the time, the band was also in the midst of touring Europe in support of the same album. (The tour had already taken them “Behind the Iron Curtain” into Poland, a first for a western heavy rock band at the time, and an event which also resulted in a public relations coup and a documentary later shown on MTV, etc.)

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Blaze Bayley of Iron Maiden

August 23rd, 2005

Blaze Bayley of Iron Maiden
Interviewed Jan. 1999 by David Lee

With over twenty years on the metal scene you would think that a band that has given so much to the genre would get a little respect now and then. Unfortunately for the mighty MAIDEN respect has been in particularly short supply over the last half decade. Personal and stylistic changes would seem to be at the root of all the fuss and with the decline of the metal market place you might think that these guys would chuck it all in. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

“VIRTUAL 11” has a revitalized MAIDEN returning to the formula that made them the metal legends that they are. Also back is the completely over the top stage production for MAIDEN’s first tour in nearly three years. Just short of the scale that was used in the “golden era” of metal, this thing is impressive, to say the least. The beast is far from dead. Blaze Bayley, the groups current vocalist, gave us a ring recently and spoke to us of all things MAIDEN. A genuine sense of pride and accomplishment seemed to pervade the conversation and understandably so.  The man is fronting one of the all time great metal bands and has just released a collection of tunes that will most assuredly become MAIDEN classics. We could go on singing his and the groups accolades but lets hear it from Blaze himself.


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IRON MAIDEN’s Bruce Dickinson

January 1st, 2000

IRON MAIDEN Interview With Bruce Dickinson
Interview by David Lee, January 2000

Bruce Dickinson is one of the more entertaining personalities to speak with in this business and never more so than when he is “feeling his way.”  The celebrating in the IRON MAIDEN camp must have been  furious this week.  The happiness with this new Millennial MAIDEN is intoxicating in and of itself but when Bruce has obviously been with the grape; well that makes for an altogether different interview.  Not one to hold out from peer pressure (or for lack of a better excuse!) I popped myself a can of suds or six and got to the point, as much as was possible by the end of this drunken verbal marathon we were on.  Fact is, there is quite a bit of business in both the Bruce Dickinson and IRON MAIDEN camps, time to get serious.

Dickinson has recently released yet another solo album, this time a live disc, and as faithful metalheads would expect from Bruce, it is top shelf material all the way.  Representing the largest portion of setlists from concerts in several Brazilian cities, “SCREAM FOR ME BRAZIL” showcases the Bruce Dickinson Band at their rocking best.  No MAIDEN numbers here, the focus is on solo material, as Dickinson will explain, there was no need to because he is once again back with MAIDEN.  So, what we have here are songs representing the best of Dickinson’s solo catalogue performed in front of a teaming arena of crazed Brazilian metalheads.  The tour book sized CD insert documents it all and is itself so incredibly well done that special mention should be made of it and, I guess, just has been!  Kudos to the art director for the mass of photos and other documentation included.

In addition to the live solo record, issued under Dickinson’s own AIR RAID RECORDS imprint, there are to be several other releases.  At least three SAMSON releases that feature Dickinson, the reappearance of the “METAL FOR MUTHAS” series and a compilation of rare and unreleased solo tracks and by years end another solo studio album, whew!  Combine all that with a full-blown MAIDEN album/tour cycle and it looks to be yet another busy year for Mr. Dickinson to say the least.

Bruce phoned in from France where he was finishing up the new MAIDEN epic.  We covered a lot of ground as the hour we had planned to speak slipped into two and then quite nearly three.  Here are a few feet of that territory, as for me, next stop is the aspirin bottle.

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