Reviewed: December, 2021
Rating: 4 /5
There has been a considerable amount of ink spilled talking about the early days of Iron Maiden. Obsessive Maiden fans have documented to the best of their abilities the early days and yet somehow it still seems to be a bit of a mystery. Let’s recap. Of the two original and/or oldest standing members Harris and Murray, neither of them have written a book. Dickinson has written a book (or three) but he joined over half a decade after the band had started. Smith has written a book as well but that was about fishing. Di’Anno’s book is the closest we have got to covering the early days and it was pretty self-serving. Many journalists including Daniels, Dome, Juras, Popoff, Prato and Wall have written about the early days of the band but they were not there. Steve ‘Loopy’ Newhouse was there, from the beginning and that is why his book LOOPYWORLD is such an important piece of ancient Maiden history.
LOOPYWORLD is an independent publication. It is a decent sized, soft cover coffee-table book and it features an original piece of cover art by Derek Riggs. The back cover has a clever sight-gag, a fly on the wall! The layout and design is a bit crude but it is appealing enough. There are so many photos that it almost seems like an illustrated history at times. More on this later.
Steve ‘Loopy’ Newhouse was, by his own account an average lad growing up in London’s East-End in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He grew up in an area where most of the earliest members of Iron Maiden resided. He enjoyed a stable home-life with supportive parents and did what most kids did, tried to alleviate the boredom of school by playing football and avoiding work. Over time he was in a small band which came and went. Not destined to be a musician he ended up hanging out with some of his musician chums and eventually fell into the role of a roadie of sorts. Iron Maiden was all in it’s infancy at the time but he was loyal, hard-working and got entrenched very early on.
Loopy kept a diary and took many photos along the way and they became the invaluable backbone of the story. People came and went from the band with frequency and he documented it all. Years later he was chatting with some internet people and published his stories in crude form on-line. The demand to hear the tales of old was incredible and he revised and rewrote the tale and published it himself.
Loopy acted as a roadie and drum tech for the band from 1978-1981 and again from 1983 to 1984. He saw it all. He was at the bands very first pub gig. He saw the arrival of Rod Smallwood, the arrival of Di’Anno, the arrival of Dickinson, the arrival of Smith and departure of Burr, and countless more. He went with the band to Japan, Europe (multiple times) toured with Kiss and Judas Priest and was in the Bahamas for the infamous and oft-told tale of the recording of POWERSLAVE. He has the pictures to prove it!
The book is a visual treat and fortunately Loopy kept a lot of material tucked away over the years. He has tons of photos and tour riders and schedules, and payroll stubs and ticket stubs, and backstage passes and flyers, it is a veritable treasure trove of Maiden memorabilia.
In his story Loopy is a bit cagey about his nickname, derived perhaps from his eccentric behaviour or his inner-ear problems and balance (or lack thereof?) We will never know. I also get the impression that the band kept him on the payroll as a bit of a service or loyalty but ultimately he was fired. Twice. He doesn’t elaborate on why but you could tell Maiden was becoming a machine and it needed working parts.
Over his impressive career with the band Loopy evolved from roadie to drum-tech and later demoted to a sort of undefined runner/hanger-on. I do suspect that maybe one of his primary roles was to acquire the bands requests for various some of entertainment and ‘recreational pharmaceuticals’. For a big organization it is always useful to have the, dare I say ‘disposable’ pawn, who gets thrown under the bus when the police come knocking on the tour-bus door! Despite Maiden’s current image as elder statesmen; stable, married, globetrotting businessmen with expensive hobbies, we would be naïve to think that a famous Heavy Metal band touring in the 80’s would be above dabbling in the pleasures of the day. Loopy hints at this but is very discreet. There is no mention of sexual escapades and dalliances; perhaps he is an English gentleman who can hold his tongue or Smallwood threatened to sue him into oblivion if he started writing a damaging tell-all. Probably a bit of both. To summarize the book is pretty clean and reputations are left intact.
I thoroughly enjoyed LOOPYWORLD. It is seldom we get a look inside the early years of a band that is not from a band member or third-party. This first-hand account is sure to enthral and delight even the most die-hard maiden historian.