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Metal

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson Is Brewing Beer and Fixing Up Airplanes

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Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 3:50 AM

click to enlarge Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson (third from left) - JOHN MCMURTRIE
  • John Mcmurtrie
  • Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson (third from left)
Legendary British metallers Iron Maiden return to Southern California tomorrow, headlining San Manuel Amphitheater with Megadeth, Anthrax, and Testament. Now 35 years into their career, they continue to transcend the heavy metal scene.

From a tour stop last week in St. Louis, Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson credits their longevity to their refusal to jump onto trends.

"We've never been interested in being fashionable," Dickinson says. "I think there's an audience that thinks things like reality TV shows are a great contribution to society, but there's also a ton of people that think its bullshit. We have never sacrificed anything to the altar of media success. Sometimes that has meant that people didn't understand what we were about in the short-term, but it's paid off in the long-term, because we're still here!"

Indeed, the band was virtually ignored by commercial rock radio in the '80s when they were releasing landmark genre albums such as Number of the Beast and Powerslave. But as the band's legend grew over the years, the mainstream began to slowly accept Iron Maiden as part of the rock landscape. Nowadays fan favorites such as "The Trooper" are part of classic rock radio playlists across the country.

"It's kind of cool, but also strange and bizarre," Dickinson says. "For years, we had people desperately working on our behalf to get us on the radio. We were always just of the attitude of 'If it happens, it happens.' We weren't going to change what we do to get a radio hit. We always wrote what we do primarily for us. If Iron Maiden fans like it, that's great. If they don't like it, they will tell us by going away."

Dickinson has also become well-known over the years for his multiple offstage endeavors when Iron Maiden is not recording or touring. Earlier this year, Dickinson got involved in the process of formulating an official Iron Maiden beer, called Trooper.

"Originally, someone had the idea that we should do an Iron Maiden red wine," Dickinson says. "I said, 'We're Iron Maiden! Beer is what we do!' If we were going to do some kind of alcohol, it should be a traditional English ale. I worked very closely with master brewer Martyn Weeks at Robinsons brewery here in the U.K. to develop the taste of it. I got really hands-on."

He admits, however, that there was some nervousness as the initial release approached.

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