Heart of Steel: Interviews


Interview with Paul Di'Anno
in Stockholm, Sweden

Interview and photos by
Marko Syrjälä

Transcription by JP

Let's start with some old stuff here. We were just talking about Iron Maiden. What kind of impact did they have on your career? I mean without Iron Maiden you would not be here today…

Iron Maiden? Well, obviously it's quite a big part because at 16 years old it made me very rich! (laughs) Lots of pussy! (laughs) No, obviously it really helped because I hadn't been in Iron Maiden and I had put a record out, it might not sell as many as it does. So obviously Iron Maiden has had a little bit to do with that I'm sure. I'd like to believe that I can do it on my own. I think I could have. In South America it would have been no problem but obviously yeah it was what got me totally into the music thing in the first place, even though it's not my kind of music because I came from punk music but there ya go. It was an important part but not a big part because I was in Iron Maiden for about five years and I have been doing all the other stuff a hell of a lot longer. So it's a very small part and not even the most important part but it is quite an important part if ya know what I mean.



Speaking some more old stuff, did you knew Paul Samson?

Yeah, yeah

He died last year…

Yeah, I know. I saw Clive Burr the other week and he was telling me he went to the funeral. I couldn't do it because I was on tour.

How was the thing when there was the benefit for Clive Burr?

I don't know. I was away on tour for that, so it didn't matter to me, but I saw Clive two weeks ago at an Iron Maiden convention in East Ham in the Ruskin Arms and I went up with an Italian band, Children of The Damned, they are like a covers band, so we went up and did Phantom Of The Opera together, it was quite funny. We had an Iron Maiden sound engineer and Clive went up… Clive's pretty sick at this minute…he screwed up with his Multiple Scleurosis and stuff.

Can he still play?

No, no…not at the moment, no…and I was asking Clive and they still haven't given him the money yet, so that's fuckin' bad man. That really pissed me off because that money was to give him extra money to get a new car and get it fixed up…you know when you are slightly disabled and stuff….but he doing really well, he really happy but I just wish Iron Maiden would pay him the fucking money. It took me two years for me to get my money from Iron Maiden as well.



Have you ever been asked to join for the benefit show?

No, I wasn't here anyway. No, they were looking for me when they played the Rio, in Brazil…they called up…why didn't they call my house? You see it was really stupid , or why didn't they call my office in Brazil? Instead they called one of my best friends and asked, "Hey is Paul around? He is back in Sao Paulo?" and he said, "No he's actually on tour in Germany at the moment." They wanted me to go on stage with them and do a song, but I'm like, "Naaah fuck it, I don't need Iron Maiden."



You got called up to go on tour in the States with Maiden?

I don't want to, thanks. No thank you!


Nope, I wouldn't do it. They are talking about this 25th anniversary thing and there is only one way I'd go on the stage with Iron Maiden…I'd do that for the fans if they wanted that, but as a reunion thing…yeah…I'll do it. I want seven million dollars! I'd give my two kids two million each and the rest goes to charity. (everyone laughs) That's good enough. Otherwise… Fuck 'em. I don't care. I don't need Iron Maiden. I really don't. I've sold 25-30 million records every year on my own as well.

(Someone enters room.)

Di'Anno: 'ello Boss! Here's my manager! He's come down just to meet me.

There isn't too many Killers songs on the set list at the moment ….
Are you still going to do another studio album with Killers …?

We are doing fuckin' loads at the moment…we are too lazy. No we have been on the road so much, we haven't had time to put more Killers stuff in. We are going to do an album next year. We might do an acoustic mini album next year and there will be another solo album next year and then we have touring in between so we are going to be dead! (Coughs)…I'm losing me voice! (Excuses himself for a moment).

When we did the Killers, Beast-Live thing which was about twenty fucking years of live recordings and choosing which stuff to play, of Iron Maiden's because I tried to do it twice without playing any Iron Maiden songs and the fucking fans went crazy. They wouldn't let me do it. So we choose these songs, I've sold all these songs back to Maiden…so I don't get any money out of it anyway. It's getting us around. We are getting around to let people know we are back and doing things so we will do all this shit. So that's it, but next year will be different. There will be about four Iron Maiden songs in the set and the rest will be ours so it will be cool.



So there are going to be some Maiden songs?

We have to! We can't, not. It's not fair, It's really not fair. I'd rather I didn't but what can you do? My friends won't let me get away with it. Fuckers! (laughs)



What is the main point of the Brazilian thing, your move to Brazil?

(laughing at the question) I'm half Brazilian that's why!


Yeah! My dad is Brazilian. I left America about seven years ago. I mean I was born in England, here in London but I haven't lived here since 1980 anyway. I came out of jail in the States and I said, "Fuck it" and I left. I went back to England, for a month, two months, I didn't like it at all, the same shit…this ain't for me so what I did was, I wanted to do something else so I went to visit my grandfather in Sao Paulo and I went "Wow! This is home!" so that was it. I stayed. It's cool. I have six children and two of the kids were born in Brazil and I have dual nationality Brazilian and English so it's good shit.



Have you been following Brazilian music? Do you know some of the guys, Sepultura for example?

You obviously haven't checked out my website then! Last year at my bar in Sao Paulo we went up and did six Iron Maiden songs for fun, on the seventh anniversary of the bar and it was me doing the Maiden songs and my backing band was Sepultura. I'm supposed to be singing a track on the new Sepultura album but there is a huge thing going around in South America that I'm joining Sepultura (laughs) I'm not saying anything at the moment, I'm just keeping it quiet. Let's put it this way, We are good friends, I like the band, I'm actually sponsored by Cavalera Clothes. A lot of the stuff I wear is Cavalera. Let's put it this way…if Sepultura asks me to join, I will. That's for sure because it's more of the kind of music I like. It's good and I'm also very honoured to be doing a track with them at least.



How do you like current music?

I like it.



If you compare Max (Soulfly) and the current scene how do you like it?

It's different all together…you can't really compare them…

Be honest now…

I am being honest! You can't compare them because…what the difference is that Sepultura are a fantastic band and they have an American in there. Derek is a good singer but I don't think the fans are taking to it as much as they should and it's the same with Soulfly. It's the same thing, BUT, this is where the rumours start, I think it would be good if I did join because it would be mostly Brazilian again (laughs) so that would be cool, you know what I'm saying? But when we was in Mexico the other month there were all these kids that banners that said, "Good luck in Sepultura", and I was thinking, "What the hell?!" We didn't know what was going on. I'm not saying anything at the moment, we haven't spoken about it or anything but If I get offered I'm going to take the job for sure. I'd still keep Killers going but just play now and again. To go on the road with Sepultura.



What about the clothes. Tell us about the sponsorship with Cavalera's clothing. Is it from Max and Igor?

No, it's Igor's clothing company. I'm wearing them right now! (laughs) It's a skate company, combat sort of stuff I wear skate stuff since about…fuck me…1990 , 1991, I've always worn stuff like this so fuck you Fred Durst, I got there first motherfucker! (everyone laughs) No, I've got most of my stuff I wear is Cavalera and all the other stuff is DXL a skateboard company in Quebec, in Canada. They give you shoes for free, it's fucking great. Globe shoes for free and everything. I can't even skate at the moment because of my back and my leg so I feel like a bit of cheat but never mind. But who cares? It's not important it has nothing to do with music...it's just…I get free clothes…cool! (laughs) I get free women too but I'm not sponsored by any unfortunately (laughs).



How about your current band. How did you pick those current musicians compared to the previous ones?

Well, me and Cliff are the only two original Killers members left. Our original drummer had to retire as he has tinnitus in his ears. Our other guitarist Graham, he fucked his hands completely. He's played so much over the years that he has given himself arthritis, he getting better but… so obviously that was it we needed to get new musicians, Peter my drummer and Mark my guitarist, who is not with us, they played with me on some on my solo stuff years ago as a little touring thing in German and Austria. So I remembered them and got them back. Before Clive got sick it was going to be Clive who drumming for me. I phoned him up two days before we left and he couldn't get to rehearsals in time so I got Pete instead. Clive would have been playing but it would have been fucked because Clive got sick.

But he played on some album with you?

No, no unfortunately.


What was that one band you had in the past …Gogmagog or … ??

Oh yeah! That was nothing. That was some fucking idiot who got us doing that shit. We only did it for the money! (laughs)

But you had a great line up with Janick Gers on guitars….

Yeah, me and Clive, Pete Willis. Yeah, it kinda worked but we had replaced everyone in the original band. The original band was David Coverdale, John Entwhistle, Cozy Powell, uuummm and I can't remember who else…

Neil Murray?

No, Neil Murray came in later, ummm but yeah…it was fucking weird we all just sat around…I replaced David Coverdale…cool! Yeah we just did it for a bit of fun. It was shit, but they wouldn't let us write any songs so we were like, "Fuck you". We could write better than them anyway.



What was the final line-up for Gogmagog?

Well, this guy put together this band with John Entwhistle and all them and it wasn't working out. He asked around he asked us and put the line up together. Obviously me and Clive were looking forward to playing together and I've known Janick for years and Janick was going to play in my solo band for a while and so was Phil Colleen from Def Leppard (laughs). Me and my wife went out to dinner with Phil and we were going to get a second guitarist and we were going to get Jannick but in the end we decided to stick with my brother-in-law from the first Di'Anno album, which was the funny one that we wanted to make different…so what the hell we just changed it all around. It's not important.



So what was your reaction when Janick joined Iron Maiden?

I was very happy for him, it's cool. I think it's a bit stupid with three guitarists…

Well it's not the first time in music history …

It had been done way, way before. Leatherface did it in the early 80's. I don't think we would ever have three guitars, we don't need it we have enough. It's pretty heavy with just one guitar at the moment but when we add the other guitar it will be pretty cool.



Well, it was good anyway for Janick to have three guitarists.

It is good for Janick because I thought with Adrian back in the band they might have fired Janick, but obviously they haven't which is cool because Janick is a great player. You don't want to see any of your friends get fucked around, ya know?



Speaking of singers, what's your honest opinion of Blaze Bailey?

Not the right singer for Iron Maiden at all. Not in the slightest. But his solo stuff is great! Blaze is actually playing in Birmingham tonight, which is just down the street from where he comes from. I came back from Brazil last year and where I have my house in Saulsbury in Wiltershire. He played at the local bar there. I had had just got back that afternoon and I went down to see Blaze play…and…yeah… we are good buddies, we speak and that, and we are both married to Brazilian girls as well so that's pretty cool. He's better on his own.

I agree!

Yeah absolutely. I think Iron Maiden was a very good experience for him to experience the machine. There is a lot of bullshit that goes on in Iron Maiden.

Some pressure maybe?

Nah…It's like having Mussolini and Adolph Hitler run your band. Because it is Ron Smallwood and Steve Harris and that's it. There can't be anyone else and my character is too strong for that so me an' Steve was always fighting….and I write better songs that Steve (laughs) so we just let it go. He (Blaze) was probably having the same, and if he didn't write any songs I bet he was in big trouble. I bet he must have hated it.


When you were recording Killers (Iron Maiden) back in '80, '81 and Samson was doing a record with Bruce in the same studio … what happened? It seems the problems started with you and Iron Maiden back then ?

It probably started after the first album man! At first it was great. When I wrote the track Killers I was thinking, "This is getting pretty good" but it started to change. It was getting too melodic and losing the punk-edge so I started getting pissed off and I wanted to leave. That's it. There is no big secret. If I'm not happy, I don't want to do anything. I don't have to, it's a simple as that. But if I did it for the money I'd bee even more unhappy and I'd be cheating myself.



It is actually true that you had met Bruce in that session for the first time?

We used to watch Bruce on stage with Samson and laugh because he was so stupid…(laughs) nah, nah, we all knew each other so nothing like that happened, nothing at all.



So what was your reaction when Bruce was replaced?

I didn't give a fuck. I didn't care. It had nothing to do with me. I think Bruce is the best thing for Iron Maiden to be honest with you. His voice is…you know…for what they do…you know that's the other thing I was getting pissed off about Iron Maiden. It all started to sound the same. All the songs sound the same. You know especially Piece of Mind that one little solo bit (makes a noise like a galloping bass line)…you know it was like Iron Maiden had become the heavy metal version of the status quo.

(Manger breaks in) Five minutes.

Di'Anno: Uh, oh I'm in trouble!


Well, all those euros, I've got all this English money and I've got to change it back into Kroners. Now I've got the same problem!

Manager: I asked you if you wanted to change some into Swedish and you said no.

Di'Anno: Yeah, I know. Can we do it here? I've got to go get all that shit for the kids.

Marko: One last question! You have doing stuff with Dennis (Stratton) many, many times…

Di'Anno: (interrupting) Many times? When ? (laughs) No, no, no. The guy who came in here, my manger Lee… we do it for a bit of fun now and again. Shall we do a session? So , OK, I'll go on in and I don't even see Dennis. It's done in different studios and we aren't singing together and me and Dennis don't like either other very much man! (laughs) He's a nice guy but we don't really see much of each other and he seems to be very kinda bitter and pissed off about…I don't know…maybe because he never became as famous…and maybe because of the money we all earned… and they could never write any songs anyway and he seems to be a bit jealous and it comes in now and again, so I see him, he's nice, we say hello sometimes, but I hardly see anybody because I live in a different part of the world so it doesn't make a bit of difference. I just don't give a fuck, I'm not interested, it just goes straight over my head.



Who played with you on the album Hard As Iron?

I don't know. Ask my manager. I just do sessions.


Yeah, I don't care, I just do sessions. I don't care, there is all sorts of different musicians on there.

But this was your first solo album?

It can't be my first solo album. My first solo album came out in 1984.



There are many bands behind your name:, Di'Anno, Paul Di'Anno, Killers, Battlezone…everything

It's all different bands! (laughs)

But it is all your stuff.

Well, yeah...but look… The REAL stuff I do is…the very first Di'Anno album in 1984, it was the first thing I recorded after I left Iron Maiden. Anything with Battlezone is mine, anything with Killers is mine, and anything with the name of Nomad at the moment, which was the name of my first solo title…that's it. That's all you have to worry about. The rest is all people putting things together, covers and shit…

So Hard As Iron is actually…?

…a compilation by somebody…they just put it together. I don't get any fucking money out of this shit.

So it's just a marketing thing?

Yeah…well…no. It's just some fucker making money off of me. (everyone laughs).



Talking about Battlezone you had one album in '98…

Feel My Pain.

What was that…

(interrupting) That was just a one off it wasn't even the real band it was just me and John Wiggins. Yeah we just did it, recorded it with a couple of friends. We did it in two weeks (laughs) Yeah, so that was it. We just did it as songs, we played a couple of shows in England, ummmm…but …you know…


There was no idea to continue with Battlezone?

No, no It was just something to do. I just wasn't ready to go back to Killers yet. I'm still not ready to go back to Killers yet, but here I am and I'm doing it!



You have released many, many live albums…

Yeah, we record every night and if they are good we will put them out. It is also good for the simple fact that it is something by us before we make an album, and we have been along time between making an album!



I have to say that it is hard in Finland to get your CD's but I was walking along on holiday in Stockholm and there was only one place selling your CD's. It was really hard to get them.

Really? (surprised) I don't think we have that problem anywhere else in the world. Here ya go! I think I'm going to have to go now, are we almost done?

This CD is from…

Yeah! This is ANOTHER one. My manager did this! I was just fucking around and…

This one has Christmas songs for God's sake!!

We did that one years ago, 1994. Here's my manager. He is the one responsible. WE just came out and jammed. I've go to get me shit together mate. I've got three minutes, I've been told!

(Quickly signs some autographs.)


I hate this. I have no time to myself. I've got to take a…(stops) oh, sorry…(laughs) I've got to get some fucking stuff done with this photograph shit…I've got to go to sleep at some stage…

This is funny (looking at disc) is this actually live this record?


There are some rumors that it was made in the studio.

There are lots of rumors going around. That's live… that's live…that one is definitely live you can hear all sorts of coughing and shit

Takes pictures signs more autographs.

Marko & Paul

Hey! That's my favorite album !! (Nomad)

It's good. It's heavy!

It's Brazilian! (laughs)

With two guys from Angra!

They are in Angra now, but they are still my boys! (laughs)


Is there any chance we'll see you in Finland in the future?

We're coming over your way (Finland) next year!

Really? We have been waiting for a visit to Finland. It's been many, many years …It's been since 1980!

Yeah, I know, I know…sorry! (Laughs)

Do you have any memories from that?

Yeah, I remember that. It was us, Bad Manners and some fuckin' Ska band. I remember meeting some of the guys from Hanoi Rocks and some other fucker who said, "eat that" and it was a reindeer! I was really sick and I nearly killed the man, because I can't stand things like that! (laughs) Yeah it was good fun but it was a long time ago you know what I'm saying?


Yeah…twenty two years. So you met Hanoi Rocks then?

Yeah, but I knew the guys anyway. I had seen them around. I saw them out in L.A. quite a bit



Do you know some of them better than others…like Andy?

I knew Razzle at the time, I used to see him out in L.A. quite a bit. It's not my kind of music no more but they are nice guys.



Have you heard their new stuff? They just reunited by the way.

No I haven't. The Finnish guys we had touring with us for a couple of shows in Italy, were The 69 Eyes…uuuuuummmm…but I've seen the Sisters of Mercy (laughs) Sorry, no they are nice guys though. That is the new thing in Finland.. then? You are always a bit behind you guys! (laughs) Wait until Slipknot hits ya! (laughs again)


They are a big thing in Finland, 69 Eyes…I wonder why?

Yeah, I know they have had some chart success and doing some things in Italy too, so I'm pretty happy for them. It's better than being old (laughs)



Who was the headliner when two of you were touring?

No, no they supported us touring, where the hell were we? …they just came on the bill. Yeah it was good fun, they were nice guys. We are trying to get shows in Finland next year, definitely.

Any idea which place?

No idea. I'd love to go back there too because it is a fucking beautiful country. As long as we come in the summer time. Too many mosquito's!

And lot's of drunken fans ..

That's nothing! You want to go to fucking Iceland! Jesus Christ, I have never seen nothing like it! I was in Reykjavik a couple of years back. There was this guy who used to be in (??) and we went to fucking bar out in Reykjavik and oh my god…it worked out to something like $25.00 for a beer and these fuckers were absolutely drunk from about ten o'clock in the morning to about midnight…and I'm like, "You must spend a thousand dollars a day!" They were fucking wasted! Great fun that was! I was sitting there laughing at them. I don't drink (laughs) well… I do but not beer. Just rum.

"Still signing autographs"…. Fucking hell, you're going to make me late!! (laughs) OK, we gotta really hurry because I'm going to be late and I'm going to cancel the show and go home.

And it will be our fault!

Next year we are going to mix it up… do some of this, some of the Nomad stuff… we'll play up to two hours.

What about tonight?

Nah, it is a short set, only hour and half. We are going to play a couple of Killers songs…wait and see….there are quite a few Iron Maiden songs there as well. It's sort of a "Hello! We are back!" , sort of thing.

What about Battlezone songs?

No, unfortunately not. The guys haven't had time. We've had no time to learn anything because we are too fucking busy. I've really got to go!

Thanks for your time!


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