Updated: September 11, 2015
In talking on the new album, The Book of Souls, Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain had this to say:
“We talked about doing an album three years ago when we were all at the bar drinking. We were all looking at each other and we were saying to each other, ‘Will we do another record?’ [2010’s] The Final Frontier was a cracker. We knew we were going to do another album. It has taken five years since the last one, or has it? The years seem to get shorter as you get older. It’s in our DNA. Our fans still support Iron Maiden. I suppose, you know, we could go fart in a paper bag and most people would go, ‘Cor, that’s a bit alright. It’s not bad, is it?’ [Laughs] But we don’t. We go and make these great albums and this is the best one yet.”
So Nicko, is this the best album yet?
“I think this is the new millennium Number Of The Beast. That was one of our best albums, and the follow up to that [Piece Of Mind] was probably the best of the lot of them.
Brave New World was phenomenal, I loved A Matter Of Life And Death, but, having said that, this album is the culmination. It has something for everybody. Take Speed Of Light, for instance. It is the old Maiden. That intro is a testimony to Deep Purple and the title track, The Book Of Souls, is fucking immense — if you’ll excuse my French — but I think this is the best album we’ve ever made. It’s a fantastic piece of work. There’s not one bad song on it.”
Echoing McBrain’s passion and enthusiasm was frontman Bruce Dickinson who added:
“I really hope that this is not the last album. I’ve had way too much fun making this one. I’m gonna have way too much fun and enjoy the next tour for a variety of reasons. I’m happily chatting to you and running around and leaping around or flying airplanes. And the next stop is gonna be a tour and some singing.”
So, how is the album doing since its release on September 4, 2015? As Billboard just reported The Book Of Souls has earned the band its fifth U.K. No. 1 album of its career. That’s called Maiden-it-happening. . . .big time. Way to go boys.
Updated: August 26, 2015
Whether you are a metal fan or not, and more specifically a fan of Iron Maiden, you are gonna love this story. Iron Maiden has always been one our favorite bands and such an impressive act ever since their debut and self-titled album from 1980. So, back in June when we told you about Iron Maiden’s upcoming album entitled The Book Of Souls, (our original blog appears below), we knew there would be more to this story.
Well, now we have learned that Maiden will be touring extensively in 2016 covering 35 countries. So, how do you think they are going to do that? Flying on “Ed Force One” of course.
But there’s more, guess who is piloting it? None other than frontman Bruce Dickinson himself. Yep, B.D. will be piloting a Boeing 747-400 for this tour. Dickinson is currently in training for his license to fly the four-engine aircraft, which is much bigger and more powerful than previous versions of Ed Force One.
Ed Force One will take the band and its crew as well as tons of equipment around the planet to concerts in Australasia, Asia, North and South America, Africa and, Europe. The tour will begin in the United States in February of 2016 and then it will head on down to South America. Along the way Maiden will also hit El Salvador and China, both for the very first time.
A proud Dickinson had this to say:
“When the opportunity arose from my friends at Air Atlanta Icelandic to lease a 747 for The Book of Souls World Tour, of course we jumped at the chance, who wouldn’t? The greatest benefit of travelling in a 747 is that because of its colossal size and freight capacity we can carry our stage production and all our stage equipment and desks in the cargo hold without having to make any of the immense structural modifications needed to do this on the previous 757, the extent of which fans will have noted on the Flight 666 DVD.
“Although in reality we cannot carry much more gear the savings in complexity, time and cost make using the 747 even more practical. All we will need to do is “paint” it and move a few seats around, with the added advantage that there is much more room for band and crew – our crew can almost get a row of seats each to catch up on sleep on the flights! Furthermore, it is marginally faster 0.85 MACH and the range of around 7000NM (13,000 km) is much greater which means we will not have to make the refuelling stops we needed to with the 757.
“However, even though we have worked out the logistics of taking a plane of that immense size out on tour, I still have to learn to fly it before we can go anywhere!
So, I’m currently doing my training to qualify as a pilot and Captain on a Boeing 747. I’m doing this at Cardiff Aviation, my aircraft maintenance facility in Wales, where we recently took possession of a rather splendid 747 simulator which I can’t wait to get practicing on!”
The Book of Souls is set for release on September 4. Rock on Bruce.
Editor’s Note: The following is a very cool graphic which shows the evolution of Ed Force One (courtesy of www.ironmaiden.com). This is so unusual we had to reprint this here:
Original blog from June 22, 2015:
Ok, I admit it. I am a metal connoisseur. I relish the days of Judas Priest touring with Iron Maiden, the Scorpions, and the like. So for me, Eddie lovers and Maiden fans worldwide. . . .get ready. The band has announced the release of their new album, The Book of Souls, for later this fall. The Book Of Souls will be the band’s 16th studio album since they formed in 1975 and released their first album in 1980. (The band’s last studio album was The Final Frontier, released in 2010). For Maiden, these are uncharted waters; the band has never done a double studio LP. Second, the album will feature the band’s longest-ever recorded song. Following doctors clearing frontman Bruce Dickinson for action after a bout with tongue cancer, September 4 will be a big day for fans with the release of this album. (Of his cancer battle Dickinson would comment, “I’m a firm believer in trying to maintain a positive attitude, and the encouragement from the global Maiden family meant a great deal to me. Right now, I’m feeling extremely motivated and can’t wait to get back to business as usual, as soon as I can!”).
Recorded in Paris and produced by Kevin “Caveman” Shirley, The Book of Souls promises to be a reinvigorated work by some very talented musicians. Unable to contain excitement, bassist Steve Harris remarked, “We approached this album in a different way to how we’ve recorded previously. A lot of the songs were actually written while we were there in the studio and we rehearsed and recorded them straight away while they were still fresh, and I think that immediacy really shows in the songs. They have almost a live feel to them.” Dickinson echoed the group’s satisfaction adding, “We’re really excited about The Book Of Souls and had a fantastic time creating it. We started working on the album in late summer 2014 and recorded it at Guillame Tell Studios in Paris, where we had done the Brave New World album back in 2000, so the studio holds special memories for all of us. We were delighted to discover the same magical vibe is still alive and very much kicking there…. By the time we had finished we all agreed that each track was such an integral part of the whole body of work that if it needed to be a double album, then double it is going to be!”
Of particular interest to me in the age of the three-minute-pop-formula-compositions is the Dickinson penned track entitled The Empire Of The Clouds. The tune is over 18 minutes in length; clearly, the band’s longest-ever recorded song. (Ah yes, the good old days of one song per LP side. . . . 2112 anyone?).
Whether you are a fan or not, you have to root for a legendary act like Maiden which decides to come back and make a statement in the process. Dickinson and crew are not just happy to rest on their laurels; they want hit the ground running and do it against the grain. I applaud that. Additionally, good for Dickinson to fight the good fight and come back. Bravo. In fact, I would venture to say that this time people will be running from the hills (not to them) to get their hands on this record.
KEN “K BO” BIEDZYNSKI