Tom Bedell of Q104 radio station in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada recently conducted an interview with Bruce Dickinson about the IRON MAIDEN frontman’s new autobiography, “What Does This Button Do?” You can listen to the entire chat via the SoundCloud widget below. A few excerpts can be read below.
On why he decided to write an autobiography now:
Bruce: “People have been asking me to do the book for about 15 years and I’ve always turned it down for two reasons. One, because I figured I wasn’t done yet. The second reason was that I just knew how much work was involved with writing a book because I didn’t want to use a ghostwriter, so I was going to do the whole thing myself. Anyway, almost three years ago now, I was diagnosed with throat cancer, which most people know about, but having got clear of it and having just sort of pushed the restart button on the rest of my life, I thought, ‘Actually that’s a really good place to stop a book.’ I thought that’s a good end point, that’s a good chunk from birth to there. I thought ‘Well, I have a pretty good end point and a sort of beginning, middle and end to a story, so let’s do it now.'”
On whether he left a lot of stuff out of “What Does This Button Do?”:
Bruce: “Well, you have to. Apart from anything else, when you do a book, it might be stating the blindly obvious, but it’s got to be entertaining. Otherwise, people aren’t going to buy it. Otherwise, it’s kind of an exercise in narcissism and feeling sorry for yourself or whatever. It’s got to, in short order, tell a story, tell people things that maybe they didn’t know, maybe educate them on some things that maybe they didn’t know they wanted to know and hopefully, make them laugh a little bit or make them cry as well. I took the view, I didn’t have one of these salacious let’s-make-things-as-depraved-and-debauched-as-possible [kind of book]. First of all, it’s kind of boring. If you’ve seen ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ and you’ve seen ‘The Hangover’, you’ve seen it all, right? Really, there’s nothing I could add to that. What I can add is stories about flying airliners, being an international fencer, about how to use your voice, about getting in and out of having throat cancer, going to war zones, and, of course, there’s a lot about IRON MAIDEN and how on earth do you get to be in IRON MAIDEN and how does that all work and how do you start singing? It’s a mixture of all kind of things. But, above all, it’s a celebration of life. If there’s a message in the book, it’s that life is great and whatever you think or however rough it is, it’s better than the alternative.”
On navigating through the early ’90s when he left IRON MAIDEN:
Bruce: “I wrote a song called ‘Tears Of The Dragon’, just before that. The line that gives it all away is ‘I throw myself into the sea, release the wave and let it wash over me and face the fear you once believed.’ And it was all about that. It was all about stepping out of what was a pretty comfortable regime. Hard work, good guys, relatively safe, well-managed. All the things people would say ‘Hey, that’s a reliable job.’ That was my life in IRON MAIDEN. I thought it’s not enough. I’m too young to be settling down to this. I read a quote from Henry Miller and to paraphrase it, it just said: ‘All growth is an unprotected leap into the dark with no idea of where you’re going to land.’ I thought: ‘Goodness me, I think he’s right.’ Because I think of all the things I’ve done that have been unpremeditated and some of them have been pretty stupid, but I don’t regret any of them because the outcome of them was in the end, in the end it was all okay. In the end, if I had gone the safe route, I don’t know where I would have ended up.”
“What Does This Button Do?” last month landed at No. 10 on the New York Times“Hardcover Nonfiction” best sellers list. It was released in the U.S. on October 31 via Dey Street Books (formerly It Books), an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Following the massively successful global tour of 2016-17 in support of its 16th studio album, “The Book Of Souls”, IRON MAIDEN will take to the road again in 2018 with a series of arena and festival shows in Europe on the “Legacy Of The Beast” world tour, opening in Tallinn, Estonia on May 26 and finishing at the O2 Arena, London on August 10.