Former IRON MAIDEN frontman Paul Di'Anno, who has been receiving physiotherapy and lymphatic drainage treatments in Croatia, finally underwent his long-awaited knee surgery earlier today (Monday, September 12).
Stjepan Juras, a MAIDEN fan and author of many MAIDEN-related books, who is taking care of Paul during his stay in Croatia, issued the following update regarding Paul's condition: "In short... the operation is over, the doctor is satisfied, he solved the problem. Paul's skin is now being stitched up and he will be woken up soon. If the wound heals well, the operation can be considered a success."
This past May, Di'Anno came face to face with MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris for the first time in three decades before the band's concert in Croatia.
Harris, whose group kicked off the 2022 leg of its "Legacy Of The Beast" world tour at the 22,000-capacity Arena Zagreb, came out before the show to greet a wheelchair-bound Di'Anno and chat with him for a few minutes.
After his friendly meeting with Harris, Di'Anno stuck around long enough to watch some of MAIDEN's performance before leaving near the end of the set to avoid a huge traffic jam after the show.
Di'Anno spoke about his experience meeting Harris in person after all these years in a live video chat with Canada's The Metal Voice. He said: "[That] weekend was absolutely amazing. 'Cause me and Steve [have exchanged messages] about football [in the past]. But we actually hadn't met [face to face] for a long time. And it was brilliant, because I met up with Steve's sister Linda first, whom I hadn't seen her in about 30 years. And then [seeing] Steve was amazing, and then [meeting up with MAIDEN's longtime manager] Rod [Smallwood] as well, it's made my whole year, actually. It was fantastic. It was pretty awesome."
Paul went on to say that the last time he saw Rod was in 2013 when both he and MAIDEN performed — separately — at Brazil's Rock In Rio festival.
"I missed the MAIDEN show because I got swamped by bloody press and stuff, so I couldn't actually do anything to watch the band," he explained.
Asked if it was "awkward" meeting up with Steve for the first time in 30 years, Paul said: "No. It was great. I wish I wasn't in this sort of position [being in a wheelchair]. Yeah, it was quite emotional. If it had been the first time we spoke together in 30 years, it would have been maybe a little bit more weird. But, as I said, we talk about football and stuff like that, and Steve phoned me up a couple of times from [his home in] the Bahamas."
Calling himself and Harris two "happy-go-lucky geezers" from London's East End, Paul went on to say that he owes Steve dinner "big time, because he looked after my missus and son over in the States on the last MAIDEN tour in Connecticut, in Hartford. He really looked after them — gave them backstage VIP stuff and all of that. It was great. So when I get my legs back, I'll take him out to dinner."
According to Paul, Steve called him the day after the MAIDEN show in Croatia but he missed his call. "But I did text him back," Di'Anno said.
Paul also set the record straight about where he stands with respect to his former band, saying: "What annoys me is that everyone's spreading rumors around that we don't like each other and stuff like that. I ain't got nothing [against] IRON MAIDEN at all. I tell you, the show was brilliant on Sunday — absolutely amazing."
Di'Anno recorded two classic albums with IRON MAIDEN — a self-titled effort in 1980 and "Killers" in 1981 — before being fired and replaced by Bruce Dickinson. He went on to front a number of other bands, including KILLERS and BATTLEZONE, and released several solo records.
More than a decade and a half ago, Di'Anno told The Jerusalem Post that leaving the MAIDEN juggernaut behind was the best thing that ever happened to him, and that he had no bitter feelings toward his former bandmates. "I absolutely have no regrets about leaving MAIDEN — I wasn't right in the head at that time to be in the middle of all that," he said. "I was fed up and disillusioned; it would have been cheating the fans and myself if I had stayed. It was easy to walk away from, and I'm very happy the band got bigger and bigger."
Several years ago, Di'Anno told Metal Thunder Radio that he wasn't as involved with MAIDEN's songwriting as he would have liked. "Steve had most of the words and the lyrics [to the band's first album] all written. That was some of the bones of contention that we had in the band — that I didn't get to write as much as I wanted to. 'Cause I am actually quite a prolific writer, but a lot of my songs were not accepted. 'Cause it's Steve's band, obviously."
He continued: "That first album was a revelation, I've gotta tell you. It was amazing. And the second album, for me, not so much. That's when I started to lose interest a little bit. But [we] still [had] great times — really great times."
In May, Paul played his first full solo concert in seven years at the Bikers Beer Factory in Zagreb. The show was filmed and parts of it will be included in a documentary about Di'Anno, to be directed by Wes Orshoski, co-director and producer of the acclaimed 2010 film "Lemmy" about the MOTÖRHEAD icon.
The Zagreb concert was free to attend and was held as a way of thanking Paul's fans for their help during the most difficult time of his recovery. The show took place just a day before the IRON MAIDEN's gig at the Zagreb Arena.
Di'Anno recently teamed up with several Croatian musicians to form a new project called WARHORSE. WARHORSE entered the studio to record three songs, two of which — "Stop The War" and "The Doubt Within" — have been released as a special limited-edition DVD single.
In February, Di'Anno outlined some of the recent health issues he has battled during an appearance on the "Još Jedan" podcast. He said at the time: "I caught sepsis [when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body] in 2015, and it almost killed me. And I spent eight months in a hospital in England. You've got a crucial 45 minutes to get as many antibiotics in you before you die, and they managed to do that, which was great. Then I spent eight months in a hospital, and then another three months in a care home. And while I was in there getting things done, on hospital visits, I caught MRSA [Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an infection caused by a type of staph bacteria that's become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections] there twice, in the hospital. So that was it. So it kept delaying things and delaying things… And then they took this knee out put this cement thing in. And it was only supposed to be in there for a year. And the first time they put that in, it broke, so they cut me open again and put another in. And that one is still in here. And while it's been in there this long, it's going toxic."
Di'Anno reportedly underwent an operation in 2016 to remove a "rugby ball-sized abscess" on his lungs and required a knee-replacement operation on both knees after getting involved in several motorcycle accidents over the years.