“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