“The artistic half of me worries that maybe we don’t challenge ourselves artistically” – Bruce Dickinson speaks about Iron Maiden’s creativity

Author Benedetta Baldin - 30.5.2024

Bruce Dickinson gave an explanation for his occasionally doubting whether Iron Maiden pushes themselves to the limit. The vocalist talked about his ongoing worry that the band reins in its originality in order to appease fans, as well as his proposed remedy. 

Iron Maiden fans are on another level. And it’s a whole life term. I don’t support a football team, but I look with astonishment at how supporters react. I don’t think there’s a word for the level of commitment and devotion people have to a football club. And people have that same level of devotion to Iron Maiden. Part of me says, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’ The artistic half of me worries that maybe we don’t challenge ourselves artistically, because we have this devoted following and they’re happy with the way we are. One reason for doing solo records is to push the envelope of what you can do emotionally and get out of the tram line. The tram lines [with Maiden] are quite broad, but they do exist. In spite of all the potential for turning into an absolute wanker, I’ve only partially turned into an absolute wanker. And somehow, I think, I’ve managed to be quite helpful for people in their lives, whether through music or other stuff. And that does mean a lot.

Which single day of his life would Bruce Dickinson relive? He chose the experience of his solo band playing in Sarajevo while the city was under siege during the Bosnian War in 1994.

The difference that show made to people’s lives was beyond anything I could ever hope to achieve. They were down to three days’ supply of food, water and diesel … people were living in houses that barely existed and had burnt the last of their furniture for firewood. We didn’t mention the war once. You don’t need some rock star turning up saying, ‘War is a bad thing.’ They’re in it, dude. Just play your music. It might just make people happy – and that’s the most useful thing you can do.