Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson has released another excerpt from his memoir, What Does This Button Do?
Dickinson discusses the whirlwind around the band's 1982 monster hit album, Number of the Beast, and the onstage friction that soon developed between himself and bassist Steve Harris.
The singer, who is renown for his onstage energy and acrobatic vocal style, didn't appreciate his bass player's mobility, reports Ultimate Classic Rock.
"These were two-hour shows, and the vocals were not the world’s easiest," Dickinson writes. "The onstage set-up caused friction immediately. I was quite traditional about basic stagecraft, like, 'Hey, if I’m singing, I stand at the front. If you’re playing the solo, you stand at the front. That sort of thing.'"
But Harris wanted to be up front as well.
"I wasn’t going to sing to the back of the bass player’s head."
So when Maiden would soundcheck, Dickinson would move the wedge monitors to the front of the stage to suit his ego. Harris would complain so the roadies would move them back. Dickinson would move them back where he like them and so on, until the two began expressing their frustration onstage.
"When I was singing, half a bass guitar was being stuck up my nose, because clearly there was some demarcation zone I had infringed. I countered by putting ludicrously long legs on my mic stand. The base of it now resembled a TV aerial, and in my peripheral vision I could see Steve careering toward me, so I positioned it as a sort of anti-bass-player tank trap. I have quite a few chips in my teeth as he would still run into it full tilt."
It all came to a head the day of the music video shoot for "Number of the Beast."
The band was awoken at "ridiculous o'clock in the morning," so they could shoot the video at the venue before the evening's concert.
As a result the show started late, Dickinson said he and Harris were particularly ruthless with one another during the show and afterwards their manager Rod Smallwood had to separate them backstage.
Harris yelled "He's got to f***ing go!" Dickinson remembers.
"Well, I didn’t f---ing go," Dickinson writes. "Can’t say I didn’t warn you, guys – this will be a little different. Get used to it."
He says the two came to a compromise on the location of the microphones and monitors and "it set us on a path to a new level of theatricality and presentation."
Order What Does This Button Do? here.
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