Released: 2014, Soundcheck Books
Full disclosure. Neil Daniels is a writer/colleague/friend of mine and I was honoured to contribute a little tiny bit to his new book KILLERS. So if you are worried that I will give it an artificially inflated rating just because I’m in it, I’m stating it upfront and not fooling myself that anyone would actually notice or care about my minor contribution, so I feel secure to review it impartially.
There are many, many Iron Maiden books out there and initially when I heard Daniels was writing an Iron Maiden book I wondered what the angle would be to add a fresh spin on an old story already told many times before. Well, the subtitle is THE ORIGINS OF IRON MAIDEN 1975-1983, which tells you everything you need to know.
KILLERS is a standard paperback with any number of standard features, such as a foreword by Ron Thal, an afterword by Tim Owens a discography, bibliography, and a very comprehensive list of tour dates. One of the extra sections are various metal journalists and industry people (Tim Henderson of BW&BK, Brian Slagel of Metal Blade, etc) add short essays on the importance of the early Iron Maiden. There are a good chunk of extras, and the book itself is quite short. Even though the book is 236 pages long, only 166 pages are the actually script and history of the early ages of the iconic band. There are about 20 pictures, most of them printed in colour on glossy plates in the center of the book. In a nice touch the book is dedicated to the memory of Clive Burr.
The book follows a simple chronological narrative with background on each member, many of them forgotten to the mists of time, some even declining to participate. Did you know that there were over 20 members of Iron Maiden from 1975-1983? I didn’t. The story rolls along in a pleasant manner following a similar pattern of writing, recording, album details and then tour details. There is quite a bit of information about each member, where they worked, where they lived, some on info on family members etc. It is all very thorough and no stone is left unturned. There are several interviews that anchor the book with former members still willing to chat, although some memories of 30+ years ago are a bit hazy.
I must admit there where times when some of the detail was a bit obsessive about which line-up played at a single gig at a single bar with formal band historians actually searching paper records and archives to search the lineage of the band. It was a bit dry at times as people would debate the validity of trace evidence about obscure facts, but that's what die-hard fans and historians do.
The public's insatiable demand for all things Maiden will be slightly appeased by this definitive documentation of the early days of the iconic band.