BRUCE DICKINSON: How I Retain Some Semblance Of Sanity In What Can Be A Very Toxic Environment For People

April 20, 2024

During an appearance on the Appetite For Distortion podcast, IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson was asked if there are different sides of his personality that he applies to the various projects that he is involved or if it all "part of the same same guy". He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "No, it all comes out of the same pot. Yeah, just like like any guy… I suppose, really, I'm like a — if I was gonna make an analogy, it would be like you take me out of the fridge and I'm stone cold and you put me on the cooker and you heat me up to a certain temperature and you go, 'Oh, yeah, that looks like MAIDEN temperature there,' and you put a dollop in the bowl and it's MAIDEN world. And then, at the end of that, you put MAIDEN back in the pot and it goes back to its normal kind of tepid, boring, ordinary state, which is me when I'm not running around doing stuff."

He continued: "I like pictures, analogies and things like that. I explain things a lot in those terms, which is the same way I write songs and music and things. So I like to say that the way I approach a [show at a] club and then a theater and then an arena and then some mega stadium where you can't even see the last person in the audience because they're so far away — how do you project your personality, if you like, over those different distances? And I said, well, it's kind of like having like a party balloon that is you, so you're the deflated little party balloon, but you get into a club and you go — you don't have to inflate the balloon very much to touch the back of the club, 'cause everybody can see you. And you inflate it a bit more for the theater, and then the arena is, like, 'Oh, a bit more effort going on there.' And then the big one is the big festival, and you don't realize how hard you've been inflating this giant balloon until you walk off at the end and you're just absolutely exhausted. And you think, 'Why is that?' Because you've been pushing out all this energy to try and fill this vast space. But the problem with all that is that you're now walking around with a balloon the size of Texas around your head. So you need to somehow go [and get the air out of the balloon], and the balloon just deflates. And you've gotta do that after the show, because if you don't do that, you won't be able to get through any doorway in the Western world. Because your balloon is too big.

"Everybody's got a little balloon, and everybody's capable of inflating it," Dickinson explained. "It's just that my job is doing it to a ridiculous extent. And so I treat that balloon as kind of almost in the third person. I'm, like, 'Okay. The big balloon is out there, but that's not really a state to exist in, in the real world.' So I try and deflate it at the end of the show and be quiet and just run away somewhere into a dark corner and hide. But that's how I deal with that, and that's how I hope I've retained some semblance of sanity in what can be a very toxic environment for people."

After playing two warm-up shows at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California, Dickinson officially kicked off his first solo tour in more than 20 years on Monday, April 15 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, California.

As was the case with the two Whisky A Go Go shows, the IRON MAIDEN singer was joined at The Observatory by his current backing band, featuring Dave Moreno (drums),Mistheria (keyboards) and Tanya O'Callaghan (bass),alongside the group's latest additions, Swedish guitarist, songwriter and multi-platinum-credited producer Philip Näslund and Swiss session and touring guitarist Chris Declercq (who played on Dickinson's "Rain On The Graves" single). Bruce's longtime guitarist and collaborator Roy "Z" Ramirez is not part of the touring lineup.

Prior to the April 12 Whisky A Go Go show, Bruce last performed with his solo band on in August 2002 at the legendary Wacken Open Air festival in Germany.

Dickinson's latest solo album, "The Mandrake Project", arrived on March 1 via BMG.

Bruce and Roy recorded "The Mandrake Project" largely at Los Angeles's Doom Room, with Roy doubling up as both guitarist and bassist. The recording lineup for "The Mandrake Project" was rounded out by Mistheria and Moreno, both of whom also featured on Bruce's last solo studio album, "Tyranny Of Souls", in 2005.

Dickinson made his recording debut with IRON MAIDEN on the "Number Of The Beast" album in 1982. He quit the band in 1993 in order to pursue his solo career and was replaced by Blaze Bayley, who had previously been the lead singer of the metal band WOLFSBANE. After releasing two traditional metal albums with former MAIDEN guitarist Adrian Smith, Dickinson rejoined the band in 1999 along with Smith.

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