BRUCE DICKINSON Says His New Song Was Originally Written For THE THREE TREMORS Project With ROB HALFORD And GEOFF TATE

January 18, 2024

In a new interview with Gareth Williams of Australia's Wall Of Sound, IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson revealed that the song "Shadow Of The Gods" from his upcoming solo album "The Mandrake Project" was originally composed specifically for the proposed THE THREE TREMORS project, also featuring JUDAS PRIEST's Rob Halford and QUEENSRŸCHE's Geoff Tate. Dickinson said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "'Shadow Of The Gods' was written at the time of [the title track of my 2005 solo album] 'Tyranny of Souls' or shortly afterwards. Because Roy [Bruce's longtime collaborator Roy 'Z' Ramirez] and I were… There was an idea to do a project called THE THREE TREMORS, which was gonna be me, Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio doing an album together and then going out on tour. Well, that never happened 'cause Ronnie, unfortunately, passed away. The idea was maybe to get Geoff Tate involved and that kind of didn't work out. But in the meantime, we were busy trying to write songs that would feature three singers. When the project didn't happen, we'd done two of them. One of them was 'Tyranny Of Souls', which, if you notice, the opening lines to 'Tyranny Of Souls' is the 'three witches' speech from 'Macbeth'. And, of course, if there were three singers, you'd have them all on stage going, [singing] 'When shall we three meet again?' And, in fact, the first three lines would have been sung by me and then Rob and then Geoff Tate. So, on the demo version of it, you know, I was, like, 'When shall we three meet again?' And then I'll do the Rob voice, [singing more aggressively] 'In thunder, lightning, or in rain?' Then you get, [singing in clean, high-pitched voice] 'When the hurlyburly's done?' And then the chorus is all three of us, 'A tyranny of souls.' Anyway, that never happened. So I said, 'Well, screw it. I'll just do all the bits myself and make it more like my style of singing.'"

He continued: "'Shadow Of The Gods' was written for the same project. And, basically, the same thing happened with 'Shadow Of The Gods', So, when the heavy riff happens two thirds of the way through the tune, people go, 'Wow, that sounds like vintage PRIEST.' I went, 'Yeah, well, guess who was supposed to be singing [that bit].'"

Dickinson previously talked about the aborted THE THREE TREMORS project during the question-and-answer portion of his March 2022 spoken-word show at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, California. At the time, he said: "We were gonna do this thing with three metal singers — myself, Ronnie James Dio and Rob Halford. However, for reasons that [didn't make much sense] — managerial bullshit or whatever — there was some opposition, not from me, to having Ronnie there, which I thought was crazy. So the suggestion was that we would have Geoff Tate instead. So Roy and I wrote a tune. We thought we'd have a go at writing an album that would be sung by three singers. We only got as far as one song, and that song was 'Tyranny Of Souls'. And the idea was that had we done the project, the chorus would have been all three singers [singing together], but the beginning of it would have been kind of one line me, one line Geoff, one line Rob, and so on, through the song. And each line would have been written so it would suit the delivery, it would suit the vocal characteristic of whoever was singing it. So it was quite a tall order. It [would have been] quite difficult to do. I thought, 'Shit, it's gonna be pretty difficult to do a whole album of this stuff.' And of course, we never did. But 'Tyranny Of Souls', the demo of it was designed to illustrate how that would have worked."

Seven years ago, Dickinson told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that he was reluctant to pursue THE THREE TREMORS project if Dio wasn't involved. "I was, like, 'I am not gonna do this without Ronnie,'" he recalled. "And Rod [Smallwood, IRON MAIDEN's longtime manager] was, like, 'I don't wanna use Ronnie. He's too old.' I said, 'What do you mean too old? Are you kidding me?' I said, 'He's a legend.' He said, 'No. We should use Geoff Tate.' And then we had a meeting with Geoff Tate, and then I said, 'No. It's not gonna work.' And so that was that."

According to Dickinson, concert promoters showed great interest in booking THE THREE TREMORS before a single note had even been recorded. "I could see the money in their eyes, thinking, 'Oh, this would be great. We could sell this every which way all over the place as a package,'" Dickinson said. "And I went, 'Yeah, you could, but what are we actually gonna do? There's gonna be three of us on stage. What are we gonna do that's actually different that's really cool?'"

Before Dickinson's proposed collaboration with Halford and Tate was officially scrapped, the name THE THREE TREMORS was changed to TRINITY because "we figured they would sue our ass if we called it THE THREE TREMORS," Bruce explained in an interview several years ago.

Dickinson previously said that he and Roy wrote "about three songs" for THE THREE TREMORS during a session in Los Angeles before he "realized it was going to take us a lot longer than three weeks to write a project with three singers that would work."

He explained: "We wanted to make each song designed to be sung by three different characters as an integral part of the song, not something like, 'You sing the first verse, I'll sing the second verse, and he'll sing the chorus.' That would be a crap way to do it."

Dickinson added: "It's a bloody difficult thing to do, to try to make a song with three different voices to get the full benefit out of it. And it takes longer than three weeks, and we didn't have longer than that to do it, so I canned it in the end.

"It's a great idea; everybody loves the idea… We had marketing people salivating about the idea of a TRINITY project," he said. "But the bottom line is, the thing that is gonna sink it is if the music sucks. So I thought we should can the idea for now since we don't have time to do it. Rob was in the studio doing his album ['Crucible'] and Geoff was writing a new QUEENSRŸCHE album, so that was it. It is an interesting idea, and I'm sure the live show would be really interesting."

In 2000, Tate and Dickinson joined Halford onstage at the latter's concert in London for a rendition of "One You Love To Hate", a song written by Halford, Dickinson and Ramirez that was featured on Halford's "Resurrection" album.

"The Mandrake Project" will be released on March 1 via BMG. Bruce and Roy recorded the LP largely at Los Angeles's Doom Room, with Roy Z doubling up as both guitarist and bassist. The recording lineup for "The Mandrake Project" was rounded out by keyboard maestro Mistheria and drummer Dave Moreno, both of whom also featured on Bruce's last solo studio album, "Tyranny Of Souls", in 2005.

Bruce Dickinson and his phenomenal band will bring the music of "The Mandrake Project" to life with a major headline tour next spring and summer.

Bruce's touring band features guitarist Roy Z, drummer Dave Moreno, bass player Tanya O'Callaghan and keyboard maestro Mistheria.

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.

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