BRUCE DICKINSON On His Upcoming Solo Tour: 'This Is Not About Monsters And Scenery And Pyrotechnics'

March 10, 2024

In a new interview with France 3, IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson spoke about the stripped-down nature of the upcoming tour in support of his latest solo album, "The Mandrake Project". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "'The Mandrake Project', the album, it's unbelievable how it's doing. But this is not about sort of like monsters and scenery and pyrotechnics. It's music. So you'll notice when we have the stage, we're not gonna be out here [spread out on a big stage], we're gonna be [packed tightly on stage] because all of us are gonna have to be looking at each other. Everything is gonna be the music interacting with everything."

He continued: "It's not 2002. It's not 1992. It's not even 1982. It's 1972. All right? That's where we're at. It's more like when I was a kid and I was growing up seeing bands, nobody had scenery. If you had an amplifier, it was, like, 'Oh, that's really cool.' And that's much more the kind of stuff we're gonna go for."

Last month, Dickinson revealed the addition of two new guitarists to his solo touring band, which will hit the road in April in support of "The Mandrake Project". Swedish-born guitarist, songwriter and multi-platinum-credited producer Philip Näslund and Swiss session and touring guitarist Chris Declercq (who incidentally played on Dickinson's current single, "Rain On The Graves") will accompany previously announced members Dave Moreno (drums),Mistheria (keyboards) and Tanya O'Callaghan (bass). Bruce's longtime guitarist and collaborator Roy "Z" Ramirez will not be part of the touring lineup.

Earlier this month, Bruce told Paul Anthony of Planet Rock about Roy's absence from the touring band: "[It] is disappointing, but there you are. He had a lot of stuff going on at home. And, basically, there's stuff he could be doing in the studio. We are in the middle of doing Dolby Atmos mixes for all of my back catalog, and that requires quite a lot of stuff, 'cause we're not just remixing; we are also — what's the expression? — reimagining some of the albums. So some of the albums that should have been, frankly, a bit heavier, like 'Balls To Picasso', we can stick some new stuff on, and there's some stuff that didn't get mixed on to the album that was recorded that we can take a view on as well. So there's quite a lot of exciting stuff going on there, so there's gonna be lots for him to get on with whilst we're touring."

He continued: "But we've got two fantastic guitar players, Philip Näslund from Sweden and Chris Declercq, who actually is already on the record, because he played the solo on 'Rain On The Graves'. So he's based in L.A. He's a Swiss guy, but he lives in L.A., [is] based in L. A. And Philipwas based in L.A. but now lives back in Sweden. So it's gonna be an incredible band. I jammed with both guitar players. And I was, like, 'You know, I'm just gonna take both of them.' Obviously, there's a lot of twin guitar parts on the record. And there's also quite a bit of keyboards on the record and lots of stuff. So there'll be no idle hands on stage. But it'll sound magnificent. I've already jammed with Tanya and Chris and Philip and Dave Moreno when I was out in L.A., just to give it a quick once around the houses with some of the tunes, and it was so exciting. It really was."

Asked how many of the songs from "The Mandrake Project" will be performed live on the upcoming tour, Bruce said: "Well, I wanna make sure that people come to the show and just go away going, 'Well, that was great, cracking. You can't expect people… I mean, it's not like the Sermon On The Mount, where you turn up and it's, like, 'And you're gonna have this, whether you like it or not. So I'm gonna play certainly four tracks off the new record, and we'll just see how it goes. It's not a situation like a MAIDEN situation where, because we have a big show, because we have everything coordinated with the lights and monsters and pyro and everything, once we get out there, the show is pretty much set in stone, what we're gonna play. Well, this one, we can swap it around a little bit. I mean, if we start doing rehearsals and we go, 'Wow, this feels great. Why don't we chop in another song?' I wasn't gonna play anything off 'Skunkworks'. Now I'm not so sure, 'cause it turns out that both guitarists and the drummer are mad, keen fans of that album. So I'd just done an Atmos mix of 'Skunkworks' with the blessing of [the LP's original producer] Jack Endino, and it sounds brilliant. And I was in there with, with Chris and he's, like, 'Oh, can you play that track?' I went, 'How'd you know that track?' He goes, 'I love this album.' 'Wow.' So, there'll be a lot of stuff. There'll be stuff off 'The Chemical Wedding', obviously, gotta play 'Tears Of The Dragon' and so on and so forth, there'll be stuff off 'Accident Of Birth'. So it's gonna be a smorgasbord of the best-of, 'cause it's been 19, 20 years since I've toured live [as a solo artist]. So lots of people have either never seen me live or the ones that have seen me live have forgotten how bad it was, and have bought tickets. [Laughs]"

The first chance to see the six-piece live will now be at The Observatory in Orange County, California on April 15.

Roy played guitar on Dickinson's 1994 album "Balls To Picasso" and went on to produce, co-write and perform multiple instruments on Bruce's subsequent three solo albums, "Accident At Birth" (1997),"The Chemical Wedding" (1998) and "Tyranny Of Souls" (2005).

O'Callaghan is an Irish musician who joined WHITESNAKE in 2021 and toured with the David Coverdale-fronted outfit the following year. She also hit the road with Dickinson last year as part of a performance of Jon Lord's "Concerto For Group And Orchestra" on nearly a dozen dates in Europe and South America.

Californian drummer Moreno previously played on "Tyranny Of Souls" and has worked with BODY COUNT, Jizzy Pearl, Dizzy Reed and Steve Stevens, among others.

Italian keyboard wizard Mistheria has collaborated with an array of artists live and in the studio, including Rob Rock, Mike Portnoy, Jeff Scott Soto and Joel Hoekstra.

"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. Since then, Dickinson has only released one more solo album (the aforementioned "Tyranny Of Souls") but has previously said that his solo career is not over.

In a recent interview with "Loudwire Nights", Dickinson talked about his hectic recording and touring schedule after coming out of a two-year pandemic. He said: "We all got locked up for three years, so in that time, it gives you a lot of things — perspective, a chance to let ideas breathe, and a chance to discriminate against what's truly important and what's really not important. Now, of course, the world is back and we are just crazy busy.

"This year is gonna be nuts for me, which I don't have a problem with," he continued. "As long as my legs stay attached to the rest of my body, I'm gonna be okay. Don't go swimming with sharks. I've got basically 90 shows this year, just under, between the solo tour, which goes up to 21 of July, and then the MAIDEN tour that starts at the beginning of September and goes right the way through to just two weeks before Christmas. So that's full-on. There's like a three-week break in the middle, but that's it, during which time we'll be doing absolutely nothing — lying down somewhere going, 'Okay.' Recharge the batteries and off we go for round two. But it's really exciting, the intensity of it all."

The 65-year-old singer, who is also releasing "The Mandrake Project" 12-issue comic book series, added: And, yeah, it's not over. I mean, the comic's gonna go on for three years, just under. And in terms of music, obviously 'The Mandrake Project', the album is done, out March the 1st, and then we'll see how people take to it. But I'm going to be writing music in two or three weeks, I hope, with Roy again, because we've got more stuff we wanna do. So, yeah, there'll be another album, because we already have 10 or 12 different ideas for it."

Photo credit: John McMurtrie

Hellfest 2024. Bruce Dickinson, in The Mandrake Project promotional tour in Clisson and Nantes

The legendary singer of Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson is on a promotional tour. A small detour through the Hellfest site before a signing session to promote his new solo album The Mandrake Project.
Interview and video by Franceinfo.

Posted by Eddie The Head Fan Club on Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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