Tagged: Bruce Dickinson

Meeting IRON MAIDEN – The Ed Hunter tour 1999

Found this story from September 22, 1999 that was originally on my old website. Thought it would be cool to dust it off a little as it’s time for Maiden again next year. This was also during a time when I was collecting autographs – I don’t do that anymore. But it’s a nice memory. Here it is:

 

“This file created 99-09-22 00.36 by Claris Home Page version 2.0”

Janet and I went to Stockholm just for the fun of it really. She was on vacation and I thought it would be fun to meet Iron Maiden’s tourmanager (who I thought would be the same guy who handled the W.A.S.P-tour – he said he’d come back in the fall with Maiden. Looks like he had a change of plans).

We went to the hotel and saw a bunch of young guys with Iron Maiden t-shirts outside. We went to the hotel bar and ordered tea, so we could sit there and relax, while we studied the activity in the lobby.

Yes, tea, because you get a whole pot which is cheap and gives you all the time in the world to just sit there. (Comment: This was during a time when hotel staff used to throw out people who were not guests..)

The first one I saw was Dave Ellefson (Megadeth), one of my teenage-crushes. Now he has short hair and looks like any guy off the street, but he still looks good. 

Dave Mustaine walked out right behind him. If I had been ten years younger, I would have rushed out with the Megadeth CD-cover and asked him to sign it. But now it just didn’t seem like the right time or place for something like that. He looked like he was going someplace and I didn’t want to stall him.

Janet said that Marty Friedman was talking to the people in the reception, and Marty is one of the people I was looking forward to meeting, cause I remember him very well from an interview that I did with him and Nick Menza back in 1990.

We had a good time, and after the interview I went with him to his room and helped him call Anders Johansson (Yngwie’s former drummer) cause they lost touch and he didn’t have his number anymore. Anders was one of my friends so I just put them back in touch with eachother. Yeah, no weird business when this blonde goes to someone’s hotel room, lol! :) Felt nice to reunite two friends. (Comment: The time before Facebook….)

But anyway, I figured he wouldn’t remember me after ten years, so I didn’t even want to embarrass myself by asking.

But Janet and I needed a map anyway, so we could find Globen (where Megadeth and Maiden were playing, a huge arena) so I went to the reception and of course, ended up right behind Marty. I didn’t say anything, I just waited for my turn. Then suddenly, somebody from the “musician-party” (the way he looked and talked, I’d say he was the tour manager…) turned around and asked me, in a pretty loud voice:

– What does it say on your t-shirt?! (I had a black t-shirt that said in big, white capital letters: NEW YORK FUCKIN’ CITY)

I opened my blazer-jacket a little so he could see, and in that moment, Marty turned around. And the next thing I heard was:

– Hey! I know you!!

– Yes you do. I never thought you’d remember, I said, and still couldn’t believe that he remembered me. I looked different back then, and we’re talking about TEN long years!

– Yeah, I do..! You did an interview or something, right?

– Yes..! Wow, you REMEMBER that??

– Sure! And you know what? I remember more than that! It was a small hotel in Copenhagen or something, like the Tivoli or something and… (and then he started to describe the place).

I couldn’t believe my ears. After ten years he could even describe details – I don’t even remember people I met last week!

– So, what are you doing here? he asked.

I didn’t know what to say, because I wasn’t sure myself what I was doing there. It was just one of those things… a good band comes to town, and you can’t just sit at home and ignore it, that’s all.

So I just said that I was looking forward to seeing a good show. How the hell I was going to get in was a completely different story. It had been sold out for months, and I didn’t even have a ticket…

– Well, good to see you, I’ll see you at the show tonight then?!

– Sure, I said and wondered why I said that. I had no idea if we would get in. Globen, a huge arena, Iron Maiden, the biggest metal-attraction since Metallica, except that this was BIGGER, and I didn’t have a ticket or anyone I knew who could help me pull some strings. The way things looked, Janet and I would spend the rest of out evening in the hotel-bar waiting for something to happen.

Then the Maiden-guys started walking in and out of the elevators, and I was still wondering if I would be a pain in the butt if I just jumped out from out of nowhere and asked for an autograph, but I really WANTED their signatures! So I walked over to Steve Harris with my leather jacket and silver marker and asked him to sign it. He was waiting for his cab, so I knew it was not a good time to start a conversation.

He signed it, smiled and was very polite, I just said thanks and went back to the bar. Jannick Gers ran past us so quickly that he dropped his cap – I guess it was because the lobby was full of fans with their records and as he was in a hurry, he probably didn’t want to start signing anything and then not be able to finish – and maybe disappoint a few fans.

But now Janet and I realized that this was our last chance to try to ask somebody to help us out. When Dave Murray came out of the elevator, I asked him to sign my jacket which he did with a smile. I remember Dave as the smiling man from Donington too (except for with the incident with the Cameraman from Hell, which I’ll tell someday…). He’s easy to like, a down to earth man who seems to love his life!

Janet just walked up to him and said that the show was sold out, we didn’t have tickets and that we would have asked that other guy (W.A.S.P‘s tour manager who said he was going out with Maiden and then didn’t) but as he wasn’t there….

– I think it’s in the last minute, but I’ll try. Give me your name and I’ll see what I can do, Dave said.

She gave him our names and he left – the others in the band were already waiting for him.

And that was it… The show was about to begin, and we both thought that Dave had said “I’ll see what I can do” just to get rid of us. Most people would have done that. So we almost didn’t go. Why waste time and gas for nothing? Our plan B was to stick around till Megadeth came back to the hotel and see if we could persuade them to go out to a rock-club or something.

– But we can do both…! We can go to Globen, know for SURE that we AREN’T on the guestlist and then come back here and wait for Megadeth, I said. Janet agreed and we left.

When we came to the security-gate at Globen arena, Janet said that we were supposed to be on the guest list, and the security-guy just smiled, gave her an envelope.

– Yes! Here it is!

She looked as surprised as I did- we went to the side and opened it. There were two tickets!! DAVE, WE LOVE YOU!!! :-)

Ticket!!

I managed to see Megadeth’s two last songs, and I love them. Had been looking forward to seeing them, but two songs were better than nothing.

When Iron Maiden walked up on stage, it was like a huge triumph-comeback! They have the best fans in the world! I looked around, and saw thousands and thousands of happy, crazy, screaming, headbanging Maiden-fans! They were in total ecstasy, and it was almost more entertaing watching the crowd than what was going on on stage! Almost… The last time I saw Iron Maiden was Donington 1992, but they were back to rock harder than ever! They were so good that I dropped my jaw. Holy shit.

Three guitars, the typical Maiden bass-sound and an absolutely fantastic Bruce! He has one hell of a set of lungs!! I even wondered if this was live or pre-recorded, but I saw it wasn’t fake. He really is one of the best vocalists around. He’s in great shape too, runs around the stage, jumps over amps like a rubberball, and owns the stage! 

I got to hear some of my favorites: Phantom of the opera, Fear of the dark, Run to the hills and of course Number of the beast. It was a good mix actually, a little bit of everything from Maiden’s long musical history. 

After the show, we drove back to the hotel just to leave a THANK YOU-note for Dave in the reception and also a note for Marty. Then we went to Copy, a small pub/club that played clasic heavy metal all night. I had a great time listening to old hits like Electric eye and Panama, but had to leave when the air was unbreathable in there. I can’t stand smoke, and it made me feel really sick. Besides, I was dead tired – I had only slept a few hours and driven all day. I needed rest. (Comment: This was before smoking was forbidden in public places in Sweden).

To make a long story short, I didn’t get much sleep that night for various reasons (we stayed with a friend of Janet’s who has three cats and a parakeet. The cats walked all over me during the morning and the bird screamed for all he was worth, so it was impossible to sleep). I wouldn’t have slept long even IF things had been perfect, because I felt that I had to go back to the hotel and get those missing Maiden-autographs before they left! Janet went back to bed and I drove off to new “adventures” on my own.

I went to the hotel-bar/restaurant and ordered tea. I was so tired that I was dizzy, felt sick and saw red and yellow spots before my eyes. I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything either… But then I recognized the Maiden-crew (I had seen one of them running with a fax-machine under his arm the day before) talking to the reception-ladies, so I quickly found my silver-marker and Iron Maiden promo photo that I got from EMI. Jannick came down first, but he was busy straightening out something at the reception desk, so I waited. The hotel-staff smiled at me, they recognized me from the day before.

When Jannick seemed to have solved whatever it was he had to solve and had a spare second, I asked him if he’d sign my jacket and photo.

– Suure! I’ll sign anything you put in front of me, he said and signed.

Then Dave Murray came out of the elevator with a little suitcase on wheels. He was still smiling! When he had finished talking to “his” people, I approached him, and he went:

– Hello! How are you?

–  I just wanted to say thanks a lot for helping us!

– Yes, well..! It was a bit in the last minute, but it worked out okay! he said while he was signing the photo. 

A guy who was apparently working with the band, walked over to me and asked what it said on my t-shirt (here we go again..!). He wondered what I was doing there (in a polite way). We talked a little, and he asked:

– Are you going to Gothenburg?

– I’m thinking about it, I said.

– Do you want me to put you on the guestlist?
Would you..?? I asked.

– Suuure, sure! he said. Dave Murray overheard and said with a smile:

– I put her on the guest list last night..!

I wondered if that meant that I had used up my quota or something, but apparently not – the guy (let’s call him, say, Will) asked me to put down my name on a piece of paper, and I did. He asked if it was only me or if I had a friend who wanted to go. But Janet was staying in Stockholm for another day, and I didn’t know anyone in Gothenburg…

He told me that I could just relax and go get some rest or something, cause I would get all the autographs I wanted in Gothenburg. So they left with the words “see you in Gothenburg, then!” and I went to the garage to get my car. I had a long trip ahead of me to Gothenburg.

Iron Maiden VIP-pass

The drive to Gothenburg was a drag. I only made one stop just to be sure I’d make it to the show on time. I was tired and tried really hard to stay awake. When I finally arrived in Gothenburg, I spent the next ten minutes looking for a parking-spot. There were Iron Maiden-fans everywhere, I felt like I had just stepped out of a time-machine that had taken me back to my own “glory days” in 1983!

Now it was all happening once again, like a rerun of a popular tv-show! I envied the young, enthusiastic kids, cause I know how much THIS particular time in their lives will mean to them when they get older. Metal was everything to me when I was 14 years old! If there was a God, his name was Rob Halford, you know? I still love heavy metal, but that special “teenage feeling” is gone, naturally. Now it’s a different kind of dedication.

Well, anyway; I went to find out where the guestlist was, and found a security-guy right next to McDonald’s who was handing out little envelopes with interesting contents to curious and eager recipents! :-) Some of them were on the list, some of them weren’t. It’s always a gamble, cause you really never know for sure until you get there. Either he’ll say “nope, sorry, I don’t see your name here. NEXT!” or he’ll say “ah, yes…here you are!” and hand you your envelope.

I was nervous, what if I had driven all that way and I WASN’T on the list? But the minute I said my name the security-guy said “Yes, I recognize that name… I think I saw your envelope here earlier…hold on…Yup, here you go!“. Phew! I opened it up, and there was a ticket AND a VIP-pass! 

I hurried inside so I could get in the front row, but when I came in, the front row was already packed. I managed to find a pretty good place eventually, and stood there watching the arena filling up with enthusiastic fans. 

The guy next to me was complaining about having to “live through” Megadeth, cause he couldn’t WAIT to see Maiden, and I wished I had found a better spot, cause I really love Megadeth and it’s no fun watching a great band while surrounded by bored anti-Megadeth-people. Megadeth is a really good live-band, but this time it was obvious that they were the typical openers – bad sound, bad light… All the usual “opening-act-crap”. But who cares, the music was phenomenal -as always! 

During the Megadeth-gig, the guy who had put me on the guestlist, Will, came over and asked if I was having a good time, and gave me a laminate VIP-pass. The Maiden-fan next to me stared at me, stared at the pass, stared at me again and probably wondered why the hell I had that pass… Well, I had no idea, I was just happy! :)

Maiden pass

When Megadeth finished I asked one of the security-guys if I could get in backstage for a second to give Marty Friedman a message from a friend of his who lives in Stockholm now. I showed him my Maiden-passes and asked if they were OK for Megadeth too. He was really nice and said that there was a “meet and greet” party going on with Iron Maiden backstage, and that Megadeth had the dressing-room right next to the Iron Maiden party. I could always try and see if I could get hold of the Megadeth-guys. 

– OK, thanks! Where is the backstage-entry? I asked.

– I’ll show you! he said and escorted me all the way through the different gates and security-people. I only met nice people that day, and I’m so greateful for that, cause I was too tired to get pissed off.

There was a whole bunch of people standing inside and outside the tiny dressing room backstage. The security-guy pointed at the next door and said:

– The Megadeth-guys are in there. Good luck!

Then he asked one of his colleagues something and came back:
– Apparently they’re already in there… If you’re lucky you’ll catch them before you all have to leave, cause the backstage area needs to be cleared before Iron Maiden goes onstage.

It was a madhouse back there, people everywhere, and I didn’t really have the strength (too darn tired!) to push my way in. I never managed to get to Marty.
Then Will (the guy who had helped me out all day with tickets and passes) grabbed me and went:

– Come on in! They won’t bite you! Hahaha!

First person I saw when I walked in was Adrian who was busy signing stuff, and Will just shouted:

– ADRIAN! Hey! Listen, can you stop that for a second, this girl has been waiting for two days!

I turned around to say that I hadn’t exactly been waiting for two days, but Will just smiled and put his finger over his lips as to say “ssshhhh!”.

Adrian stopped what he was doing and turned around. Will took my camera and took a photo of us, and more of less shoved everybody else out of the way so I could have my photo signed. Some things just never cease to amaze me…
Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) and I

Nicko made a typical Nicko-entrance, with a BIG smile and a loud voice:

– HIYA PEOPLE! HOWYADOIN´?!

…and went right to work signing autographs. Once again, I didn’t feel like being pushed and shoved, I just figured I’d wait until he was done, and THEN ask him to sign the photo. But once again, Will came to my rescue. He shouted:

– NICKO! This girl wants a photo, come on, get over here!

I felt a little bit embarrassed, cause I was being treated like a real VIP-person, while the others had to do what I always to – struggle! They were probably wondering why I got all that attention. Well, it still beats ME..! 
Nicko McBrain and me

Suddenly people started leaving. I asked one of the guys where everybody was going, and he just said that it’s SHOWTIME!

I rushed out, back to the arena and to my original spot in the front row. The Maiden-fan looked at me, but didn’t say anything. I wonder what he was thinking…! I thought to myself that if he was such a Maiden-fan, I could have gotten him autographs (I know that I would have appreciated that if I hadn’t had a pass myself) but he never said a word to me, and I thought it’d be stupid to just suggest that out of the blue, so I didn’t bother and decided to concentrate on the show.

But I was about to go backstage once again.

Iron Maiden live Globe arena

I had to leave the concert for a few minutes, cause I was so hungry and thirsty that I couldn’t stand it anymore – not to mention how dead TIRED I was, and it wasn’t going to get any better…

While I was up there, getting a hot dog, somebody shouted my name:

– Daniela!! How are you?

It was one of the regulars at my rock-club Hard Break. I told him that the next band playing at Hard Break was actually an Iron Maiden cover-band called The Eddies, and he knew who they were. When he left I ate the hot dog as quickly as I could not to miss too much of the show, and headed back to the concert. On my way back, people commented on my pass – some things just never change… A girl with a pass can only mean one thing, right? :-( What a drag.

The show was amazing, really. It was heavy metal true Maiden style, performed with all the energy and enthusiasm a crazy metalhead-audience could dream of! I just wished I had more strength to jump around like the others, but I was so tired, I thought I wouldn’t make it through the show, but I had to. 

When the show ended, I waited a little before I started walking towards the backstage area. I didn’t want to look like one of those who walks around like in “Wayne’s World”, you know...”look! I’ve got a pass!”.

When I first began doing this backstage-going thing, I always placed my pass somewhere visible. Nowadays I hide it if I can. It’s embarrassing, I mean, it looks like I’m showing off and people can be pretty cruel sometimes. So I waited until the arena was almost empty, then I joined the others on the stairs where we waited to be let back in to the band.

I watched the activity in the arena – the fans were almost gone, the stage was already gone and the crew was working quickly and efficiently to erase the tracks of the concert that had just taken place. It didn’t take them very long to restore the arena to its original state.

There was a guy standing next to me who also seemed to be there on his own. Most of the others seemed to be friends or knew eachother in one way or another. I actually fell asleep STANDING when suddenly I noticed that people were leaving. It was time to go inside and meet the band.

We were shown into this hospitality room, and Will, who really did everything to make sure that I was having a good time, asked me what I would like to drink. I said “a Coke”, cause I needed the caffeine badly. I was driving so I couldn’t drink anything with any alcohol in it, not even a beer (which I hate by the way..!). He said he’d bring it to me in just a minute.

There we all were, in a dressing room, waiting for the band to show up. Some were helping themselves with the refreshments, some were just nervous, some were talking, and then there was me – who was sleeping

I realized how awful it was that I was SLEEPING and I was backstage with Iron Maiden with a laminate-pass around my neck, and there were thousands of fans out there who would have done anything to trade places with me!

But at that point, it wouldn’t have mattered if DAVID COVERDALE himself had walked in (well…maybe! :-D ), cause all I wanted to do was get the autographs I lacked so I could get in my car and drive back home where my bed was waiting for me!
Steve Harris signing autographs

Will came back with my Coke and asked me how I was doing. I said, quite truthfully that I was dead tired. In that moment, Steve Harris walked in. Once again, Will pretty much dragged him over to me so I wouldn’t have to bother going over there myself, and took a picture of us.
Steve Harris and I

I was dead at that point, and Will said: “Look, here’s my key to the hotel. It’s going to take another two hours at least before we’re done here. If you want, you can freshen up, take a shower, get a nap, whatever”. 

Without really thinking I said thanks and went to their hotel before Bruce had even showed up. THEN it hit me, on the way in, that maybe I was being a little bit too naive. Maybe I was expected to “pay” for the hospitality. Happened to me once before with one of David Lee Roth’s employees – dispite being honest about NOT being a groupie, he didn’t believe me and it got to a very uncomfortable situation. I didn’t want that to happen again.

Maybe Will was a genuine, nice guy, but I wasn’t going to take any chances.
So I left the key in the reception, told them to give him the key when he got back. I met Bruce in the revolving door on the way out and got the last signature I was waiting for – and left.
Iron Maiden autographs

I never got to thank Will for his generosity and help – so if you’re reading this: Thank you!

(Note: The names of the people in this story have been altered….)

You don’t have to be stupid to rock!

Rockers have often been brushed off as stupid airheads with nothing in their heads but chicks and parties. You know – bad vocabulary, bad choices, not much to contribute with. Kind of like these guys:

beavis_and_butthead

But after almost 25 years in the business, interviewing more bands and artists than I can even remember, it hit me that I’ve rarely thought of anyone as “stupid”. Some have formal educations, some are street smart, and some are just naturally intelligent. You don’t always have to be a rocket scientist to be smart. Very few have been total airheads actually. 

Then I started digging into it. You’d be surprised how many rockers you’ll find that have fancy titles and impressive degrees to brag with.

Brian May (Queen) for instance… PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College in London. He began working on it 30 years prior to completing it in 2007, but got sidetracked when Queen hit the big-time. Apparently its never too late to finish what you started…!

Offspring’s Dexter Holland: He has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Molecular Biology, both from the University of Southern California.

Phillip Taylor Kramer (Iron Butterfly) earned a college degree in aerospace engineering.

Rage Against the Machine‘s Zach DeLaRocha has a PhD in Anthropology from UC Irvine and RATM Guitarist Tom Morello is a Harvard Graduate. 

Frank Zappa is widely considered to be one of the most intelligent musicians ever, with a reported 172 IQ.

Then of course, there’s Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden). Where do you even BEGIN with that guy?!

He has been a top fencer, written two novels. Left school with A-levels in English, History and Economics, competed internationally in fencing, placing 7th in Great Britain, and has founded a fencing equipment company under the brand name “Duellist”

According to Wikipedia: Due to the wide variety of Dickinson’s pursuits, the Winter 2009 edition of Intelligent Life named him as a living example of a polymath.(=a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas)
He regularly flew Boeing 757s in his role as captain for the now-defunct UK charter airline Astraeus, which, as of 16 September 2010, employed him as Marketing Director.
 

Then you’ve got a guy like Gene Simmons (Kiss). As much as people might want to label him an idiot with stupid makeup, spandex, platform boots and fake blood, he’s definitely not an airhead. Well, us rockers know that, but the general public might not know it. Or maybe they do now, after seeing him on TV….

In 1970 he graduated from Richmond College with a degree in education and four languages- English, German, Hungarian and Hebrew. Not to mention his clever head for business.

Marilyn Manson has a degree in journalism and a background as Associate Editor at Fort Lauderdale’s 25th Parallel Magazine.

Dokken-guitarist Jon Levin is an attorney, who actually handled Dokken’s business until he filled the position as a guitarist instead in 2004.

[Jon Levin]

Greg Graffin of Bad Religion has a double major in geology and anthropology, he went on to get a Master’s degree at UCLA and then a PhD at Cornell University. He can reasonably be called Dr. Graffin, PhD of zoology and lead singer of Bad Religion. 

One of the guys who most people would probably brush off as an idiot is the “drag-queen” Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. But most of us who have seen and heard his speech in the US Senate (1985) know that Dee is anything but stupid. He proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that you should never ever underestimate anyone or judge a book by its cover.

There are plenty of examples, Alice Cooper had gained admission into the University of Arizona, University of Colorado and University of California-Davis – he declined all these offers.

Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P has always been interesting to interview, because he is incredibly intelligent. Listen to any interview you can find online and you’ll see what I mean. He might be slightly… unpredictable at times but once you get into a conversation with him, you know he can be thrown in to discuss anything with any academic. Same goes for Dave Mustaine (Megadeth).

You see these rock stars on stage in crazy clothes, makeup, decapitating themselves, drinking blood, using profanity and what not – and you’ll mistake them for brainless idiots. It’s just so far from the truth. Maybe Vince Neil doesn’t exactly strike me as a brainac, but thank god there are others out there who will show the world that metal isn’t for idiots – it’s for thinking people.

Well…. maybe not always… Angus Young is still wearing his school-uniform and guys like this probably should! :-)

 

When BRUCE DICKINSON spills his coffe…..

Donington – the classic metal festival that was THE festival back in the 80’s… It was an absolutely crazy festival for me personally, where it would have been easier to just have a camera crew to follow me around to get all the details.¬†In some way I guess I did…. But that is a different story. :-)

This is only one of many stories from the Donington festival 1992. There will be more – and there will definitely be more clips from the interview with Bruce Dickinson. Right now I won’t have time to upload more because Doro is playing tonight, but I’ll be back with the rest of the Iron Maiden-story.

THIS interview with Bruce Dickinson has a pretty unusual story behind it. I didn’t get it “the usual” way. Far from it.

The day before the actual festival, I was at Donington and the backstage area. There was lots of stuff going on, interviews, press conferences, preparations of all kinds… I went to the big catering tent to see if there was anything good to eat, cause I was starving.

A bunch of people in there as usual, and somehow in that crowd, cause we were all looking at the table,¬†someone accidentally bumped into me and spilled his coffe (or maybe very black tea) all over me. What the…?! My first reaction was exactly that. “What the f…. you stoooopid……” – something along those lines.

I looked up, and at first, all I could see was somebody with a cap whose face I couldn’t see cause he was looking down trying to make sure I wouldn’t get more of that coffee on my shoes or something.

He apologized very politely and when he looked up again, I saw who it was. It was Bruce Dickinson.
Talk about LUCK, just the person I had been looking for! :)

I had been trying to get an interview with Iron Maiden for my radio station, but Maiden’s schedule was so tight that we DID get one for the TV-show we were also doing at the time, RockShow, but not for the radio.

So I figured, what the hell, it couldn’t hurt to at least ASK. Bruce was most cooperative and said he wasn’t doing anything in particular in THAT moment or the coming few, so if we could find somewhere to do the interview, he would be happy to do it. Maybe he felt he “owed” me that for having marinated my t-shirt in black coffee.

We found one, a small room in the back, right next to the production office or something, and I had to do this VERY improvised interview. I’m just glad that I had my recorder with me that day!

Bruce was very nice, then again, he usually is. This short clip is from the radio (Radio MCB which we changed the name of during the summer months, and called “Sommarpuls” as in “Summer Pulse”). And like I said, there will be more from that interview.

Next time I’ll also tell you the story of the Cameraman from Hell who went to Donington with me to do the Iron Maiden interview the day after this. So check back for that. :)

[Bruce Dickinson, from a small barrack backstage Donington 1992 after he had spilled coffee over me. One of those more rare, spontaneous interviews :-)]


 

Rock stars – to the core

Went to the annual book-sale and bought “I am Ozzy“. I know it’s long overdue but I rarely have the time or energy for reading nowadays.

I love biographies, especially rock-bios. They can shed a new light on the artist’s music and make it even more interesting.
Suddenly, you get those subtle little things, you understand bits and pieces in a song that you only interpreted your own way before. When you get somebody’s background, and a clearer idea of their personality, it just kinda changes the interpretation of their music a bit. Well, that’s the way it works for me anyway.

One of the first rock’n’roll biographies I ever read was “And I Don’t Want to Live This Life“, about Nancy Spungen, Sid Vicious’ girlfriend. I read that book over and over again, it looked like shit after a while, it was all worn out. Not that she had anything to do with the actual music but she is a part of music history in a way, the more tragic part of it.

The second one I think was “No One Here Gets Out Alive“, about Jim Morrison. He was just… crazy. I’m not even sure I liked the person he was described as in that book, but I think I might have been too young when I read it. Some things are easier to understand when you get older and have a bit more experience… I might read that again someday.

The last book I read was Lemmy’s bio “White Line Fever“. It was funny, definitely different from most biographies and just very… Lemmy. He has a kind of arrogant sarcasm that you associate with the person he is known as, that cool rocker who personifies rock’n’roll. It was a lot more interesting to go back to old Motorhead albums after reading that book. Once you think you understand the person better, you also understand his music better.

A biography that really moved me was Nikki Sixx’ Heroin Diaries“. It was so naked, so stripped down, so dirty and raw. It is extremely touching because you can clearly see the tormented soul behind all that rockstar-drug-addict-crap.

He was hiding nothing in Heroin Diaries. It must have taken a lot of guts to do it, and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have published that book if he hadn’t grown as a person, become more confident and more secure with who he is.

I was bawling my eyes out when I read it, cause a lot of it also reminded me a lot of someone I knew. That book actually helped that friend of mine and I’m eternally grateful to Nikki for writing it.

And now Ozzy. I’ve only just started reading it, but I already get an idea of who he is and the chaos he’s been dealing with his whole life.
He admits to insanity running in the family, but at the same time I can’t help wondering if his insanity is actually more sane in some strange way, than what we call “normal“…

He might be crazy, but there is a lot of logic in his perception of the world and his reality. Most of all, dispite all that madness that he has made his trademark over the years, he comes across as a very warm and caring person, in his own Ozzy-way.

[@ 2:45 approx…]

I immediately thought of a segment in one of the OzTV-episodes when he was praising Gus G for his playing, trying to encourage him to take his rightful place in history as a great guitarplayer in his own right. He is not just Zakk Wylde’s-successor – he is Gus fuckin’ G!

That part moved me to tears. Like a father-figure, Ozzy was trying to teach this young guy how to fly, how to spread his wings and go wherever he wants to go. It was a wonderful moment.

 I can’t wait to finish the book.

I started reading Bruce Dickinson’s bio too but never finished it. Same with Rick Springfield’s Late, late at night“. I will. I find it inspiring to read those books.

What I’m looking for is never the scandal stories, although you usually get those anyway, it kind of comes with the territory, but I’m looking for a portrait of the person behind the music. The person, when he’s stripped down to just being a PERSON instead of being a “rockstar“. That’s when it gets interesting. That’s when I can connect and relate, and understand. I admire those who have the balls to put themselves out there and open up to the whole world without fear.

I respect and admire those who can express their thoughts and emotions, without restrictions, without limits and most of all those who are brave enough to leave the image and the rockstar pesona that they created – or just somehow became victims of.

I would really like to write Gus G’s bio, because he is an interesting person. He is mysterious in the sense that he never talks about himself on a personal, deeper level, or maybe people are just too afraid to ask.

It feels like such a waste when the only thing people ever want to know when they’re interviewing Gus, is what strings, amps or pedals he uses. Of course they do, he’s a guitar hero. But he is exactly the kind of artist that I would want to know more about as a person.

I was sitting there one day with tons of questions buzzing through my head. I wrote them down and next thing I knew, I had 3 pages with questions. The path from Thessaloniki, Greece to the world arenas with Ozzy... You tell me there’s not a damn interesting story there already!

 Gus felt it was too soon for a bio, he was “just beginning” to build his career. “Maybe in ten years”.

I will be following his career with great interest, not only because he’s an amazing guitarplayer, but because he sticks out as the down-to-earth guy. I hope someday to be able to find out who the man behind the guitar really is.

 Even if I don’t get the honor to write the story of his life, but someone else does, I hope it will reveal who this guitar-wiz truly is. That’s something that I’ll be looking forward to.

That might be a future project, to write biographies. It takes a lot of time and and patience to do all that background research and then put it together to something that people will enjoy reading – just the way I love to lose myself in these biographies.

But for now, I’ll leave the PC to go enjoy my copy of “I am Ozzy“….