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Interview with Steve Harris and Dave Murray of Iron Maiden

My friend Dale, Steve Harris, Dave Murray and Me

I have to say that doing this interview was somewhat like having a dream, a dream where at any moment someone is going wake you up. Here I was, backstage at opening night of the first reunion show with Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith back in the Maiden fold. However it was not a dream, as I had the once in a lifetime chance, to sit down and interview two of my boyhood heroes, Steve Harris and Dave Murray of Iron Maiden. As the camera was rolling, I remained amazing calm despite the nervousness I felt.

GB - What is it like having Bruce and Adrian back in the band?

SH - It's great! Working really well. It feels really natural. We're all a bit nervous about the first gig but apart from that its feels great.

DM - As soon as Bruce came down and started singing with the band and Adrian as well started playing it was obvious musically it was going to work. Actually we made the decision before we played together. We just got together and said Bruce is going to join, Adrian is going to join, lets go down to the pub (laughs) and that was it.

SH - A feeling of deja vu.

GB- What's it like having the three guitar line up?

SH- It means some of the solos you would double them up and put one just in front of the other. It's a good effect! There is some of our earlier material where we did have three guitars on the album. We can actually do that now. It sounds really full, really good.

DM - We can incorporate the three guitar part harmonies which is really good because sometimes we have left the three part off an album just because we couldn't equate it live. This time we are actually doubling up on some of the solos which is very good so, its made it more interesting. It's made it dam heavier (laughs).

GB - Are the songs on your latest best of CD, "Ed Hunter", which were chosen by fans pretty much what you were expecting?

SH- There was a few there that we weren't quite sure about. "Iron Maiden" was the one that had the most votes, which surprised me. I suppose you take it for granted, as its been in the set since whenever. We didn't expect that one to be voted so highly, There was a few we couldn't put in like a couple off the last album and the album before that which was too long. That was quite high but there is a pretty fair representation of what they voted for, but its good and the rest we're doing in the set. There is like twenty songs on the entire CD Rom and I think we're doing eighteen out of the twenty songs or something like that.

GB - When can we expect a new album from the band?

SH - It won't be out till next year so we won't start recording till November, as we got shows in Europe in September right till the beginning of October. As soon as we finish that we'll start doing some more writing and stuff from the new album. We start recording the beginning of November and hopefully we will have it out for May or June of next year and then go on a world tour for eight or nine months.

DM - At the moment this is the Ed Hunter world tour based on the game and everything that's out. This set recreates that. The stage set is huge we're using and next year we'll have the new album and everything will reflect that, with possibly an even bigger set than we got at them moment.

GB - With the avant of new technology how do you feel about people downloading you music and even videos now off the Internet?

SH - I think it's great, obviously the fact that it's coming very close the fact that you can already download different songs and stuff like that. I think that we are going to do various stuff like record live shows or put odd songs on the net so that people can download and say "Oh I was there two nights ago, I was there" I think technology's great if you can utilize it in the right way. It's good to be able to use all that stuff. I know I for one love all that stuff anyway. I love getting on the net and messing around. I think it's the way to go, its what people are into, its what we're into.

DM - We totally embrace that whole thing on the Internet. The Iron Maiden web site is just jammed packed full of stuff you can spend hours on there. There is different areas to go to so we're totally trying to keep at the forefront of it, like using special effects on the web site because we have to keep up with it and you can download stuff off of the web site. Obviously there is some sites there with a bootleg sort of vibe but you know it's a bigger picture now. You got a whole planet to go for.

GB- What do you think of all the web sites done by fans?

SH - I think it's great, the fact that people spend the time and money to do that. Obviously they are really hard core fans. I have no problem with it at all. Some of the info is not quite right one hundred percent of the time (laughs) but I think it's a complement really. Some of the sites are really quite good so its interesting and its interesting for us to go and see what other people are saying about us.

DM - We get a lot of gossip on there. A lot of rumors, some may or may not be true, buts it's great when you can have someone in North America talking to someone in Europe. We have a little chat room on the Iron Maiden web site where once a week now we are going to be going in there and talking to the fans, so there's communication between the fans and each other and the band. It's great, you get a feel for what they want and what their into.

GB - Is there any plans in the works to release a box set of unreleased material?

STEVE- I don't know, there is still some live stuff we got lying around, like stuff from the Redding Festival and 80 and 82 stuff. We might do something with that. Their is various tapes lying around as well with different live stuff. We're kind of looking at that at the moment, yes possibly.

GB - It seems that lately younger people are mostly listing to bands like Marilyn Manson, Korn, Offspring and so on. How do you feel you can attract younger fans to your music?

SH - In the rest of the world it really hasn't been a problem. We've been still selling the albums and doing the ticket sales. I suppose in Canada and North America and to a certain degree in the UK we lost a lot of ground and its a challenge to try to win those people back. We've been very lucky that our career hasn't been revolved around North America, so we're lucky we got hard core fans. It's not dropped so we can't do shows. We still got our hardcore fan base. It would be nice to get back to where it was.

GB - You have sold fifty million albums/CD's world wide with little or no air play. What do you attribute your success to?

SH - If I knew the answer to that I'd bottle and sell it.

DM- I think we've probably toured more than most bands. The cycle would be over eighteen months we would do an album and spend ten months on the road. We've done a lot of touring over the last twenty years, maybe the fan base has been great also. We've had a lot of hard core supporters as well that are still there today, but there is a certain secret you tap into.

SH - I think the thing is as well that in the rest of the world we've been picking up new young fans all the time, and most other countries it's like really young fans that varies into older people who have been into it for years there. I think over here we've tended to not really win the new younger fans. I think the trends over here have been very different the last few years and we've actually not been very trendy anyway, but I think its effected us here more than anywhere else. If you go to parts of Europe there are fans as young as twelve or thirteen years old ranging up to people in their forty's or whatever, but over here I think the audience is that much older. We haven't seemed to have got through to the younger fans and that is what we need to do. Maybe the CD game will help do that. I don't know. Obviously a PC game is something all ages will play but hopefully we might get across to some new people. It's very difficult for us to get across to new people because we don't get played on the radio hardly at all. Obviously it's the touring that does it but you can only go so far with it sometimes. To have a PC game we may actually get to break through to some new different people which would be nice.

GB - What do you listen today for music?

DM - Pretty much everything really. I still listen to the stuff I grew up on. Just went and bought the Cd's. I like everything from classical music, folk, rock, blues anything really.

GB - Have you had much time to look around here in Saint John?

SH- I've had a couple of days here but haven't had a chance to get out too much, its been raining most of the time. It's a lot like being home (laughs) It seems to be nice. Part of the port reminds me of Auckland in New Zealand. I got family that live there and I really like it, really nice, the people are so friendly.

DM - I've been here five or six days and we've been touring around the town and in various bars and stuff and we've met people who are very friendly and warm so its a great welcome. It's a great way to spend the first part of the tour.

Inteview conducted July 11, 1999. Saint John, NB, Canada.

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