Bruce Dickinson Looks Back On Joining Iron Maiden

09-29-2017
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Bruce Dickinson

Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson has released an excerpt from his forthcoming memoire "What Does This Button Do?," where he looks back on his joining the legendary metal band.

The book will be published on October 18 via HarperCollins and Classic Rock run the following passage about Bruce being approached by Iron Maiden manager at the Reading Festival in 1980 to take over lead vocals for Paul DiAnno.

"We started to rehearse for some shows; I was hoarse after half an hour. We played the Marquee Club; I couldn't speak for two days afterwards. I was in despair. I had sung on an album that was getting great reactions, but I felt like a fraud. My voice couldn't do it. I moped around for a couple of days, crying into my beer, before my subconscious drew my attention to some sage guidance I'd received from my dentist ex-girlfriend. As an ex-pupil of the very prestigious Cheltenham Ladies' College, she'd had quite extensive singing lessons, and she kept a notebook.

"'I think you've got a jolly nice voice, but it needs a bit more control,' she said, lecturing me in her plummy tones.

"This made me grumpy - but interested. 'For example?'

"'Well, can you do this with your tongue?'

"I peered down her throat. Anybody watching might have thought I was trying to retrieve a goldfish, but I was in fact examining her ability to flatten her tongue like a squashed toad.

"'Hmm.' I borrowed her exercise book, and took to the library in search of the voice and how it works.

"Remember the little singing notebook, and the hours researching breathing and resonance in the library? my subconscious said. Remember stupid exercises with candles, holding chairs in front of you, squashing your lower back against walls and a multitude of other bizarre things to do to strengthen your diaphragm and develop resonance in your chest voice and head voice? it said. I started to pay attention to it.

"Technique is just empty unless you apply it. You have technique to apply to your new voice. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and be smart. Learn how to be you. Teach yourself.I started to enjoy my new-found pipes. I began to see that a whole new landscape had been opened up. If I was a painter, it would have been like being given a massive canvas and a whole palette of new colours.

"Theatre of the mind was becoming very exciting, but I wasn't sure if it would be with Samson. A&M Records were now interested in us. Rather more specifically, they were interested in me, which was made abundantly clear at a photo session in which I was certainly in the foreground, the band consigned to the middle distance." Read more here.

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