Part­ing Shot

Bruce Dickinson

Newsweek International - - NEWS -

“There’s not too many bands that tell you, ‘We’re gonna re-cre­ate an­cient Egypt on­stage.’”

’ , - , , and a cra brewer. Most peo­ple know Dickinson, though, as lead singer of 90-mil­lion-record-sell­ing Iron Maiden—the heavy metal band be­hind such hits as “e Num­ber of the Beast” and “Die With Your Boots On.” And now, Dickinson is a mem­oirist. Among many other things, What Does

This But­ton Do? re­counts Dickinson’s ex­pe­ri­ence pi­lot­ing Maiden’s Ed Force One, the 757 named af­ter the band’s sinewy mas­cot, Ed­die the Head, dur­ing the 2008-09 and 2011 tours, and the de­vel­op­ment of the pop­u­lar line of fine craft beers by Iron Maiden and Robin­sons Brew­ery called Trooper (af­ter a Maiden tune). Newsweek caught up with the head­bang­ing re­nais­sance man as he was leav­ing for Bo­gotá, Colom­bia. “I’m do­ing a con­fer­ence with Bob Geldof and Kofi An­nan about green tech­nol­ogy,” said Dickinson, who was in­vited to dis­cuss a cou­ple of projects, in­clud­ing a hy­brid air­ship he has in­vested in and some­thing called a Pouncer. “It’s a 9-foot-wing­span ed­i­ble drone. You can eat it.”

Your shows are fa­mous for their Spinal Tap–es­que sets. The 1984 Pow­er­slave tour may have been the pin­na­cle in that re­gard.

It’s a fine line be­tween in­cred­i­bly kitsch and mag­nif­i­cent, and

Pow­er­slave [the al­bum’s tour] just clicked ev­ery box. There’s not too many bands that tell you, “We’re gonna re-cre­ate an­cient Egypt on­stage.” We had a gi­ant 10-foot Ed­die walk­ing around and a huge one with rock­ets shoot­ing out of his eyes. It was epic, kind of like Ce­cil B. Demille. And be­cause it was back in the day, it was all the­atri­cal-sized props. It wasn’t screens. It wasn’t holo­gram. It was real.

You write about per­form­ing in Wro­claw, Poland, for that tour and vis­it­ing Auschwitz.

It’s a very spooky place. The Pol­ish guy who showed us around, he goes there all the time, and I was like, How can any­body do that? I couldn’t be there for more than a cou­ple of hours. It re­ally did my head in. You can smell the evil of the place.

We think we’re all mod­ern 21stcen­tury hu­man be­ings, but we’re only a heart­beat away from Auschwitz, and not just with Jewish peo­ple. There’s an equiv­a­lent go­ing on some­where in the world, ev­ery sin­gle day. You think, At what point do we start to evolve? And then some­thing crazy hap­pens, like Las Ve­gas, and it makes you won­der: What is it with hu­man be­ings? Are we all ca­pa­ble of do­ing that? —Jeff Per­lah

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