Express & Star

Iron Maiden talk ahead of Birmingham gig

They’ve sold 90 million records. Get that. Ninety. Million.

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Iron Maiden talk ahead of Birmingham gig

And in their 42 years together, Iron Maiden have secured enough platinum, gold and silver discs to fill 17 restrooms and 58 studios. They’ve built and recycled more Eddie mascots than the ski jumper nicknamed ‘Eagle’ and they play so many gigs that they’ve bought their own jumbo jet.

After their present run of shows – which includes a headline at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena on Sunday – they’ll be heading back to the States for a US tour.

Bassist and songwriter Steve Harris says: “We are really looking forward to returning to North America for a full tour. We had always planned to go back there and to the UK as last year, due to the global nature of the tour and the period it took, we just didn’t have time to cover them properly and we do still like to get to fans in as many places as possible.”

“We will, of course, be bringing the full production with us including all the Eddies and the Maya-themed stage sets. There’s been a great reaction from everyone to this tour’s theme, people really seem to love it. We’re still deciding on the final set-list and we’ll work that out once we get into rehearsals.

“Most of our North American fans haven’t seen the show yet so as we want to give them the same Book Of Souls live experience that we took around the world, it’s unlikely we’ll change much. And, of course, we know our fans appreciate us playing a lot of the older songs too, so we will continue to do that!”

The Book of Souls came out in 2015 and marked the start of a newly-creative period for the band. It gave Iron Maiden their fifth number one, having been recorded at Guillaume Tell Studios, in Paris. The record was their first double album and they hit the road in February last year, playing 35 countries in North and South America, Asia, Australasia, Africa and Europe, including their first ever shows in China, El Salvador and Lithuania.

They travelled in their own jumbo jet, nicknamed Ed Force One, before starting the 2017 leg in the UK. The shows marked the band’s first since Bruce Dickinson’s brush with cancer.

Steve adds that the singer was fine from the start. “Right from the first show, and even in rehearsals, he was singing really well. He’s really happy where he’s at with his voice, and so are we. Obviously, there was no guarantee he was going to get back in top form, but he really has. He’s singing as good as or better than ever.

“Two years ago we didn’t know if we had a future, to be honest. It was very serious. The main thing was whether Bruce was going to be OK – that was first and foremost. Once you get on from there, you think, ‘Wow, have we still got a future or not?’ It affects everybody, not just us but people who work for us and everything else. It’s a big responsibility weighing on you. At the end of the day, we’re just really happy to be here. You never know how long you can carry on for.”

Steve is thrilled that fans have enjoyed the band’s new material. While they’re ever-happy to play hits such as The Number of the Beast and Run To The Hills, or Can I Play With Madness and Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter, they’re happy showcasing new tunes. “Whenever we play new material, eventually some of the songs become classics themselves. They can’t become that unless you play them. Any new song is not going to go down as well as some of the old stuff,”