May 21, 2024

Qobuz has shared a new 12-minute video in which IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson discusses some of his favorite classic rock and heavy metal albums. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

AC/DC - "Powerage" (1978)

Bruce: "It's AC/DC — what can I say? — with [singer] Bon Scott. And for me, I've gotta say I like what AC/DC are doing now with [current singer] Brian Johnson, with the latest albums. I like that more than 'Hells Bells' and definitely more than 'For Those About To Rock'. They've kind of taken back control of their sound and changed it slightly to suit Brian's voice. But the first years with Bon, up till the end of 'Highway To Hell' — wow. And that live album, 'If You Want Blood, You've Got It', God, that's just incredible. So, yeah, that lineup. And Bon was just a tragedy when that happened. It shouldn't have happened… Some of [the songs] are hard to sing, because Bon had a kind of interesting voice, but it was very, very flexible, his voice. And it was a strange mixture of styles in his voice, but there was some blues in there. He could do really good blues. One of my favorite AC/DC songs, it's called 'Ride On' and it's got this heartbreaking guitar solo. It sounds like he's like channeling Paul Kossoff from FREE in the guitar. I mean, it's great. I love that song."

BLACK SABBATH - "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" (1973):

Bruce: "I was a kid and got this album and I was still a virgin, which made me open it up and go, 'Oh, my God. Look at those women.' But what a great record. What a great album. What a great comeback album. But, yeah, the first two records are amazing. Well, no, I mean, 'Vol. 4' was incredible as well. What a consistent band. And it's Geezer [Butler, SABBATH bassist] and Tony [Iommi, SABBATH guitarist]. I mean, if you look at all the people, all the different vocalists, not just Ozzy [Osbourne], they've all been [great]. 'Born Again' [with Ian Gillan on vocals], great album. Everybody goes, 'Oh, forget that one.' No, it's a great album."

RAINBOW - "Rising" (1976)

Bruce: "For me, that was the record where I discovered Ronnie Dio on vocals. I was, like, "Who is that voice?' You know? And I was, like, 16 years old, and go, 'What the hell? That's [former DEEP PURPLE guitarist] Ritchie Blackmore.' And I didn't know that RAINBOW kind of existed. And it was on a little transistor radio in a garage. And I went, 'That sounds like Ritchie Blackmore.' And I waited till it finished. And the guy said, 'That was RAINBOW and 'Stargazer'. I went, 'Oh, my God.' It's one of the shortest albums ever made. It's like 35 minutes long, the whole album. But it's a classic. I'll take that over a 90-minute-long boring yawn fest. Six really incredible songs that changed the face of music. It really did. That was a game changer. And it gets not enough respect from people outside of the metal world. I loved [later RAINBOW singer] Graham Bonnet on 'Down To Earth'. I mean, 'Eyes Of The World' is one of my favorite RAINBOW songs, bar none. 'Lost In Hollywood', 'Eyes Of The World'. I mean, 'Since You Been Gone', yeah, okay. But 'Eyes Of The World', to me, is just… Oh, it's fantastic."

JUDAS PRIEST - "British Steel" (1980)

Bruce: "What can you say? That's one of their best covers. They had a very mixed… I found their covers confusing. I'm, like, "What is this?' Like 'Point Of Entry'. I was, like, 'What is this?' That one, you know what that is. That's obviously a metal record. It's already got an edge to it. It's got something to it. I actually really started getting into PRIEST when I toured with them. So I was quite a late… I mean, I knew who they were — 'Sad Wings Of Destiny', all that stuff — but I really started to understand what they were about when I toured with them with MAIDEN, and it was on the 'Screaming For Vengeance' tour. God, what a record that was. And then all the stuff before. I mean, Adrian [Smith, MAIDEN guitarist] was very into PRIEST, more so than me, but then when I saw them live, I was, like, 'Yeah, these guys are really cool.'"

In the video below, Bruce also discusses DEEP PURPLE's "In Rock" (1970),JETHRO TULL's "Aqualung" (1971) and QUEENSRŸCHE's "Operation: Mindcrime" (1988),among others.

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 April 15 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, California.

Joining the IRON MAIDEN singer on the trek is 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.

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.

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 previous 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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