Hello there! Sorry for the long delay in posting since last time, that thing people like to call real life got in the way, although the graphics are brilliant the game play is crap and I’m not that impressed by it… Don’t think I’m going to play it again!
Anyhow, there are three reasons for this post…
One being that Bruce Dickinson is one of my all time favorite singers, Iron Maiden were the first metal band I was into and this week I have been blasting them out in the car once again.
Two because Bruce isn’t just a front man for one of the biggest metal bands in the world, he is an accomplished commercial pilot, business man, brewer and an Olympic fencer, a man of many talents!
Three because this week I heard the sad news that he was diagnosed with tongue cancer.
Now I know cancer isn’t the nicest of things to have or even be told you may have (god knows I’ve been there twice) but Bruce’s management team has made the announcement after he has been through treatment and, you’ll be pleased to know, the prognosis is good! He has been seen at his favorite watering hole with a bottle of “The Trooper” In fact, band mate Nicko McBrain (Maiden drummer) said Dickinson has already returned to a favorite watering hole — “although he can’t taste his beer,” McBrain quipped. “He says, ‘At least I know it’s a Trooper, because I’ve got the bottle in me hand.’ I said, ‘Does it still work?’ ‘Oh, yeah!’ So, just to let everybody know, he’s really in great hands — and he’s doing extremely well. We expect him to have a full recovery in the next couple of months.”
I’m sure you will all join me in wishing Bruce well and a speedy recovery to what must be a terribly scary thing to be going through for him and his friends and family. Get well soon and keep those vocal chords well oiled!
Right, for those of you who don’t know who he is…
Paul Bruce Dickinson (born 7 August 1958), known professionally as Bruce Dickinson, is an English musician, airline pilot, and broadcaster. He is best known as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden as well as a whole host of other things!
Born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, Dickinson began his career in music fronting small pub bands in the 1970s while attending school in Sheffield and university in London. In 1979, he joined the New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Samson, with whom he gained some popularity under the stage name “Bruce Bruce” and performed on two studio records. He left Samson in 1981 to join Iron Maiden, replacing Paul Di’Anno, and debuted on their 1982 album The Number of the Beast. During his first tenure in the band, they issued a series of US and UK platinum and gold albums in the 1980s, resulting in Dickinson gaining worldwide fame, and becoming one of the most acclaimed heavy metal vocalists of all time.
Dickinson quit Iron Maiden in 1993 (being replaced by Blaze Bayley) in order to pursue his solo career, which saw him experiment with a wide variety of heavy metal and rock styles. He rejoined the band in 1999, along with guitarist Adrian Smith, with whom he released four subsequent studio albums. Since his return to Iron Maiden, he issued one further solo record in 2005, Tyranny of Souls.
Outside his career in music, Dickinson is well known for his wide variety of other pursuits. Most notably, he undertook a career as a commercial pilot for Astraeus Airlines, which led to a number of media-reported ventures such as captaining Iron Maiden’s converted Boeing 757 during their world tours. Following Astraeus’ closure, he created his own aircraft maintenance and pilot training company in 2012, Cardiff Aviation. Dickinson presented his own radio show on BBC Radio 6 Music from 2002–2010, and has also hosted television documentaries, authored novels and film scripts, created a successful beer with Robinsons Brewery and competed at fencing internationally.
Bruce Dickinson’s discography –
- Survivors (1979) Appeared on the album’s re-issue only, as the original version was completed before he joined the band.
- Head On (1980)
- Shock Tactics (1981)
- Live at Reading 1981 (1990)
- Iron Maiden
- The Number of the Beast (1982)
- Piece of Mind (1983)
- Powerslave (1984)
- Somewhere in Time (1986)
- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)
- No Prayer for the Dying (1990)
- Fear of the Dark (1992)
- Brave New World (2000)
- Dance of Death (2003)
- A Matter of Life and Death (2006)
- The Final Frontier (2010)
- Bruce Dickinson
- Tattooed Millionaire (1990)
- Balls to Picasso (1994)
- Skunkworks (1996)
- Accident of Birth (1997)
- The Chemical Wedding (1998)
- Tyranny of Souls (2005)
A fair accomplishment for any rock artist yet alone one that has found time to learn to fly (hmm, Foo Fighters… maybe them next…) fence and make beer as well as all the other stuff I think you’ll agree!
Bruce’s solo career –
In early 1989, Zomba asked Dickinson to produce a track for the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, providing a budget, a studio, and a producer, Chris Tsangarides. Dickinson took up the opportunity and called an old friend of his, former Gillan guitarist, Janick Gers (who later joined Iron Maiden), and, shortly after meeting up, they had “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter” ready for the studio, then recorded with the assistance of bassist Andy Carr, and drummer Fabio del Rio. “I wrote it in about three minutes”, states Dickinson, “I don’t know where the title ‘Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter’ came from, but it just popped into my head. I thought, ‘Bloody hell, straight out of AC/DC!’ And I thought, ‘Nightmare on Elm Street. Yeah, that’ll do. Impressed with the results, Zomba asked Dickinson if he was willing to record a whole album as well. With the same line-up and producer, Dickinson’s solo debut, Tattooed Millionaire, was written and recorded within two weeks, and released in May 1990, followed by a supporting tour.
Later that year, Dickinson participated on a re-recording of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”, as part of the humanitarian effort Rock Aid Armenia.
Backed by the band Skin, he produced a cover version of Alice Cooper’s “Elected”, along with Rowan Atkinson (in character as Mr. Bean), which was used in 1992 for Comic Relief, and five years later, on Bean Soundtrack.
For his second solo effort, Dickinson received the collaboration of American producer, Keith Olsen, and, while working on the record in LA, decided to leave Iron Maiden. Unhappy with the direction he was taking with Olsen, Dickinson began working with Tribe of Gypsies guitarist Roy Z and started the album again from scratch. Balls to Picasso was recorded with Tribe of Gypsies as the backing band, and was released in 1994. That same year, Dickinson recorded a cover version of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” with the band Godspeed for Black Sabbath’s tribute album Nativity in Black. Tribe of Gypsies departed to work on their own material and Dickinson tracked down another band, including his new writing partner and guitarist, Alex Dickson.
After the Balls to Picasso supporting tour finished, he started working on a new studio record, Skunkworks. Dickinson decided that Skunkworks would be the title of the band as well, but the record company refused to release the album without his name on the cover. Dickinson hired producer Jack Endino, most noted for producing the first Nirvana album. The “Skunkworks” entity ceased to be when the tour ended. “I was devastated by the Skunkworks thing”, stated Dickinson, “Skunkworks was a record which I tore myself apart to make and nobody seemed to give a shit.” (I did Bruce, so did many others, it was a great album!)
My favorite track from the Skunkworks album.
After a short period of inactivity, Dickinson once again teamed up with Roy Z and Tribe of Gypsies to record his next album, Accident of Birth; “It was actually Roy that dragged me back into some assemblance, because he called up and he said, ‘Listen, I’ve got some stuff and it’s like a metal record.’ And I wasn’t thrilled, I wasn’t really sure that I had anything to offer… Then he played me some backing-tracks he’d done for what was to become Accident of Birth down the phone and I thought ‘There is something there.'” Former Iron Maiden guitarist, Adrian Smith, was asked to guest on the record, but remained as a full-time member of Dickinson’s solo outfit. The album marked a return to heavy metal for Dickinson, with Sputnikmusic remarking, “The album’s heavy feel is very satisfying, and definitely fills that void left by Maiden during the 90’s.” The follow-up, The Chemical Wedding, was a semi-concept album on alchemy, which drew inspiration from William Blake’s writings; with some songs, such as “Book of Thel”, having the same title as some of his poems, and the cover artwork featuring one of his paintings. The record was even more successful than its predecessor, with Sputnikmusic commenting, “Bruce had shattered all expectations to create an album that might even be better than the previous one.” During The Chemical Wedding’s supporting tour, the live album, Scream for Me Brazil was recorded in São Paulo, after which Dickinson and Smith returned to Iron Maiden in February 1999.
Title track “Accident of birth” (I’ve met a few of them in my time!)
In 2000, Dickinson performed vocals on the song, “Into the Black Hole”, for Ayreon’s Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator. Later that year, he collaborated with Judas Priest’s front-man, Rob Halford, recording, “The One You Love to Hate”, for Halford’s debut, Resurrection. A compilation, entitled The Best of Bruce Dickinson, was released in late 2001, including two new songs and a bonus disc of rarities. His latest solo album, Tyranny of Souls was released in May 2005. This time the song-writing was all split between Roy Z and Dickinson and many songs were composed by Z sending recordings of riffs to Dickinson while he was on tour with Iron Maiden. On 21 June 2005, Dickinson’s complete solo discography was re-released, featuring bonus discs with rare and remastered tracks. That same year, Dickinson contributed to the song, “Beast in the Light”, from Tribuzy’s album, Execution, and their subsequent live album. A three-DVD box set, entitled Anthology, was released on 19 June 2006, containing concerts and promo videos from throughout his solo career, as well as an old Samson video, entitled “Biceps of Steel”.
“Born in 58” One of my favorite all time tracks from Bruce, the words have some real meaning.
Dickinson’s interests and non-musical activities include writing, broadcasting, fencing (at which he has competed internationally, placing 7th in Great Britain, and has founded a fencing equipment company under the brand name “Duellist”), beer brewing and aviation. Due to the wide variety of Dickinson’s pursuits, Intelligent Life named him as a living example of a polymath in 2009.
I know what your thinking, whats a polymath? Well, in English… A clever bugger that can do pretty much anything they turn their hand too, if you want the full description Google it, I’m into music here not English lit/language! lol
Dickinson learned to fly recreationally in Florida in the 1990’s and now holds an airline transport pilot’s licence. He regularly flew Boeing 757s in his role as captain for the now-defunct UK charter airline Astraeus, which, from 16 September 2010, employed him as Marketing Director. One of his key roles in that position was to promote Astraeus’ services by increasing their number of videos, leading to the UK Civil Aviation Authority releasing a video featuring Dickinson on aircraft loading safety in June 2011.
Following Astraeus’ closure on 21 November 2011, Dickinson branched into entrepreneurship when he launched Cardiff Aviation Ltd on 1 May 2012, an aircraft maintenance business based at the Twin Peaks Hangar in St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. According to The Wall Street Journal, in January 2013 Cardiff Aviation had created 40 jobs and hoped to have over a hundred personnel by the summer of 2013. In June 2013, The Daily Telegraph reported that the business had expanded to between 60 and 70 employees and are in discussions to set up their own airline.
His role as a pilot has led to some high-profile flights, which include returning a group of British RAF pilots from Afghanistan in 2008, 200 UK citizens from Lebanon during the Israel/Hezbollah conflict in 2006, and 180 stranded holiday makers from Egypt following the collapse of XL Airways UK in September 2008. In addition, he flew Rangers F.C. and Liverpool F.C. to away matches in Israel and Italy in 2007 and 2010 respectively. For the 2008–2009 “Somewhere Back in Time World Tour,” he piloted Iron Maiden’s chartered Boeing 757, dubbed “Ed Force One”, specially converted to carry the band’s equipment between continents, which subsequently led to a documentary film, Iron Maiden: Flight 666. Dickinson flew “Ed Force One” again for “The Final Frontier World Tour” in 2011.
In 2014, Dickinson purchased a Fokker Dr.I triplane replica G-CDXR and joined the Great War Display Team, which re-enacts First World War air battles at airshows across the UK.
In 2013, Iron Maiden collaborated with Robinsons Brewery in Stockport, England to create Trooper, a 4.7% cask and bottled ale whose recipe Dickinson formulated with head brewer Martyn Weeks. As of May 2014, the beer has been shipped to 40 countries and sold half of the 5 million pints brewed, making it Robinsons’ most successful export. Following Trooper’s success, Dickinson, a fan of traditional English cask beer,stated that he intends to develop more beers in the future, although new products will be “under the umbrella of Trooper and not Iron Maiden [as] Trooper has taken on a life if its own. People drink it because they like the beer, not because they are Maiden fans”
Like the song? Try the beer, I have and it’s a lovely drop!
Singing and performance style
Although Dickinson never received formal training, he still possessed a wide vocal range which was trademarked by his quasi-operatic tenor. Along with Ronnie James Dio and Rob Halford, Dickinson is one of the pioneers of the operatic vocal style later to be adopted by power metal vocalists and regularly appears near the top in lists of the greatest rock vocalists/front-men of all time. Dickinson says that his style was influenced primarily by Arthur Brown, Peter Hammill (Van der Graaf Generator), Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) and Ian Gillan (Deep Purple).
Dickinson’s singing varied notably in the 1990s in the recording of albums such as No Prayer for the Dying, Fear of the Dark and his first solo work Tattooed Millionaire, making use of a much more raspy and unpolished sound, befitting their stripped down style. Since returning to Iron Maiden in 1999, his singing style has returned to much like it was in the 1980s, though his voice has lowered with age. According to a report published in the Daily Mirror, Dickinson has an estimated vocal range of 4.25 octaves. His voice led to the nickname “The Air Raid Siren”, which Billboard states is “due to the ferocious power of his singing”, although Dickinson claims it actually originated from a fan complaint.
In addition to his vocal ability, Dickinson is known for his energetic stage performances, which he delivers consistently despite his age. He considers including the audience “the essence of the Maiden experience” and that his role is to “shrink the venue … to turn that football stadium into the world’s smallest club.” To achieve this, Dickinson insists on gaining eye contact with audience members and urges them to join in with the phrase “scream for me” (followed by the concert’s location). He is critical of performers who do not connect with their fans, particularly those who “[hide] behind the amps” and use an autocue, remarking that “people pay good money and [they] can’t even remember the sodding words.” Yep, That sounds like Bruce!