Well, here we are with 20 days to go before the first show in Montreal and we really can't wait to get out there and play.
The rehearsals are going fantastically well and we are bashing our way through the set. The running order that we are working on at the moment works very well and feels right. I don't think it will be necessary to change anything around. So far we have concentrated on the first half hour of the set, and I can safely say that it will be a 'riproaring' introduction to the new line-up playing live. One song in particular - 'The Clansman' - sounds so strong. I am really looking forward to performing it live.
A lot of people have asked me about how the 3 guitars sound and how it's working out, well, all I can say is that it sounds so natural that I don't really notice it very much, but it obviously sounds great. We are all very happy with the way things are going. We have been working from midday until around 4 or 5 o'clock and then either doing our own thing or maybe the six of us will go out to dinner.
Personally I am getting very excited about playing the big venues again with the full-blown production. I am looking forward to playing everywhere in Canada and America, but particularly New York and the outdoor shows. The time is right for a resurgence of Heavy Metal in the States and it feels great to be the front runners again.
Another thing that excites me about this tour is that I will be flying my own 8 seater plane to the shows. I'll be taking Nicko, Rod and our new tour manager, Alan, with me so it should be fun. Steve will also be flying 'Bruce Air' for some of the trips.
So, all in all, everything is going according to plan, and, like I said before, we can't wait to perform live again.
See ya somewhere on tour!
More News: 27/05/99... Maiden Double Triumph
Steve Harris's regular football team - Maidonians F.C., who represented Iron Maiden in all the matches played on the 'Virtual XI' promo tour last year, completed the league and cup double on Wednesday 12th May, when they won the Fenton Cup.
Maidonians had already won the Ilford & District 1st Division title by 5 clear points a couple of weeks earlier. Steve ended up top goal scorer with 18 goals despite missing a few games due to Iron Maiden duties. He regularly flies home from working in Europe to play on Saturdays - there's dedication for you! 2nd top goal scorer was Tony Newton with 14 goals. (Some of you may remember Tony as the bass player with 'Dirty Deeds' who supported Maiden extensively last year and are signed to Steve's Beast Records).
Maidonians are now promoted to the Premier Division of the league only 2 years after being promoted from the 2nd Division.
Back to the Cup Final - and it started with Maidonians pressuring the opposition - Chingford Athletic - right from the start. With about 15 minutes gone, Steve was put through from midfield with the ball bouncing nicely and begging to be lobbed over the advancing goalkeeper. However, the keeper came out too quickly and collided with Steve just outside the penalty area. Steve took a blow to the ribs and the referee blew for a foul. The linesman called the referee over and decided that the goalkeeper had handled the ball outside the area and promptly sent him off! This was a very harsh decision since a Maidonian supporter told me that the keeper definitely did not handle the ball. Anyway, the resulting free kick didn't amount to a goal and only seemed to fire up the opposition.
It always seems harder to play against 10 men and tonight was certainly no exception! The score remained level until 15 minutes from time when Tony Newton, who came on as substitute 25 minutes into the 2nd half, collected the ball 40 yards from goal. Having shrugged off one challenge, he carried on to the edge of the area and unleashed a low left foot drive towards the far corner of the goal. Chingford's 'stand-in' keeper misjudged the flight of the ball and let in the only goal of the game. Everyone felt sorry for the goalkeeper due to the earlier incident, but someone has to win.
Steve commented after the game that "although it wasn't our best performance of the season, we did well to keep our heads against a very tough opposition". Maidonians can now look forward to another season in a higher league and are quietly confident of more success. The nucleus of the team can be seen on the 'Futureal' football video that was filmed on the 'Virtual XI' promotional tour.
The Maidonian Squad: Vinny Nicoll, John Shakeshaft, Noel McCabe (capt), Ray Freeman, Tim Larkin, Rob Wilson, Jeff Lovell, Steve Hunter, Chris Rowlatt (manager), Jim Conway, Paul Copeland, Adam Hamill, Steve Harris, Tony Newton, Richie Martin.
More News: 02/04/99 - ITíS OFFICIAL MAIDEN NO.1 BRITISH HEAVY METAL BAND ...
Yes. The fact has finally been confirmed by Chrysalis TVís Heavy Metal Top Ten broadcast on primetime TV during March (UK Channel 4): - Iron Maiden are officially the most successful British Metal band of all time.
The programme was put together in recent months and featured interviews with the Top Ten British Heavy Metal acts. The chart was based on points awarded for British chart positions of singles and albums up to the present day.
Maiden were No 1 with almost twice as many points as the No 2 spot - Ozzy and Sabbath combined! For the statisticians among you the final Top 10 run down is at the end of this piece. Of the fourteen Maiden Top 20 albums, three were No. 1 and a further seven were Top 3!!!
The ninety minute show, appropriately hosted by Motorhead's Lemmy, covered all the acts and finished with an extended piece on Maiden featuring interviews with the lads & Rod. Documenting their career the programme showed footage from the early days in the Ruskin Arms right up to the 1998 Virtual XI World Tour.
Metal Hammer/Classic Rock writer Malcolm Dome stated, "Iron Maiden are a worthy No 1 in anyoneís chart. Not just for the music or the musicians but for the fans. They changed a lot of attitudes within the Industry."
The road to the top was far from easy as Steve explained, "The band never took any money out to begin with. We had to just put everything back in to afford to tour."
Even with the huge success of Number of The Beast, the band kept up the level, and the expense, of touring. As Rod revealed, "I wouldnít let any of us spend anything or we couldnít afford to tour. When Number Of The Beast was No.1 in Britain for its second week we were down in the Marquee and Steve came up to me and said 'Can I have a word as this is getting a bit embarrassing. We canít afford to buy a round!' The band were on £60 a week ..."
The 'never say die attitude' continued when Maiden were achieving massive success in the USA. Rod explained, "we headlined arenas all round America without any airplay, without tie-ins with the radio stations and everyone was saying 'What the f**k's going on? How can this band be doing this (without radio)?'Ö. but Iron Maiden never compromised with nobodyÖ.no time, no place, no how!"
Having sold some 50 million albums worldwide the fan-base is immense. As Steve points out "Wherever we go the fans are so hardcore, theyíre so into it. We love what we do and that's gotta be the thing. We really do enjoy it and I think the fans know that - you canít look them in the eye unless itís that way.í
On the recent news of what is considered by many to be the ultimate line up, legendary British rock presenter Tommy Vance commented "It's what the fans have wanted for such a long time. It's going to be a resurgence. That band is going to be unbeatable!"
Rod said after the showing, "It must be a sign of changing times that TV in Britain devotes an hour of Prime Time to Metal and definitely a change for the better! Itís an honour for the band to be No.1 but particularly so considering some of the very great British bands that make up the list. The band all grew up listening especially to Purple and Sabbath and consider them to be very special, which makes the honour even greater."
The Top Ten were:
No Band Top 20 Singles Top 20 Albums Points
1 Iron Maiden 20 14 441
2 Ozzy & Black Sabbath 3 18 237
3 Deep Purple 3 13 215
4 Def Leppard 12 7 204
5 Rainbow 4 9 164
6 Whitesnake 6 8 159
7 Motorhead 4 6 119
8 Saxon 4 6 84
9 Judas Priest 3 5 72
10 UFO 4 0 38