IRON MAIDEN's STEVE HARRIS On BRUCE DICKINSON: 'I Think He's Singing Better Than Ever'
September 8, 2023
The Sweden Rock Festival YouTube channel has uploaded a video interview with IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris conducted at this year's festival in in Sölvesborg, Sweden. Asked where he finds the energy to tour with two bands at the same time — MAIDEN and his side project BRITISH LION — Harris replied (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, I mean, what else am I gonna do on a day off? You know what I mean? I love playing football and stuff [on days off], and playing with BRITISH LION, it's an hour, and it's actually a lot less stress than playing with MAIDEN, because it's different material. And it's a challenge. But with MAIDEN, it's a little bit more stressful, at the beginning of a tour, anyway. It's a lot more pressure, with a new tour like we're doing.'
When the interviewer pointed out that a lot of other musicians at Harris's level don't have another band, Steve said: "I started [BRITISH LION] 11 years ago; I've been playing with them [for] 11 years. But before that, I wouldn't have been able to do it, 'cause MAIDEN was too busy. In the last 10 years, MAIDEN's not been so busy; we've not been touring as long. So, basically, it enabled me to have a bit of time to do something else."
Asked if that means that he basically wants to play live more, Steve said: "Yeah, I still enjoy playing, so, yeah, I play as much as I can. I'll be happy to play four or five nights a week, but you can't do it — for singers, you can't do it. It was tough for Bruce [Dickinson] back in the day, let alone now. I think he's singing better than ever, but it's quality, not quantity with MAIDEN now."
BRITISH LION recently completed a 15-date tour throughout Europe. It included 13 headline tour dates, as well as festival appearances at Hellfest and the aforementioned Sweden Rock Festival.
BRITISH LION's second album, "The Burning", came out in January 2020 in digipack CD, double gatefold vinyl and digital download formats via Explorer1 Music (E1). The LP was recorded, engineered and mixed at Barnyard Studios by Tony Newton and produced by Steve Harris.
BRITISH LION's first U.S. tour took place in January and February 2020.
BRITISH LION comprises singer Richard Taylor, guitarists David Hawkins and Grahame Leslie, Harris on bass and keyboards, and drummer Simon Dawson.
Asked by the Tampa Bay Times what the itch is that BRITISH LION scratches that he doesn't get in his job with MAIDEN, Harris said: "I suppose playing small clubs and being close and personal with the audience. I love playing big places as well. I enjoy them all, and I'm very lucky that I can do them all. But also, it's clubs that I never played with MAIDEN, even in Europe. There's a famous club called the Milky Way in Amsterdam, which I managed to play with BRITISH LION, but I never did that with MAIDEN. There's places that [I played] on [the U.S.] tour that I've never played before. So it's all new ground. It's a challenge. It's nice. I like a challenge."
In a 2020 interview with Bass Player magazine, Harris said that he loves playing small clubs. "I'm very lucky that I can play all types of gigs; massive gigs and small ones as well," he said. "It's a change. I'm not trying to conquer the world with this band; there's not enough years left in me to do that anyway."
Asked if the different venues present a different set of challenges, Steve said: "I actually think it should be the same, whether you're playing for 200 or 200,000 people, you know. To me, there's no difference. You still give 110 percent wherever you're playing. We had one gig where the promoter just didn't do [anything]. I think we had, like, 95 people in there, but it was still a great gig, one of the best of the tour. It doesn't matter. We're still going for it, and I was proud that we went out there. It was fantastic."
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