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‘Rockestra Is A Crazy Idea’: Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson Knows More About Malta Than He Needs To

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Is there more of a man of this world than Bruce Dickinson?

Iron Maiden’s theatrical lead singer has made a name for himself not just for his incredible soaring vocals and lyrical talent, but for being a true polymath. Having flown his own band around the world while on tour, written and published books, produced shows, set up companies, fenced at a professional level, and even casually drove around in a proper tank, Bruce is currently headed around the world on his What Does This Button Do? tour… and he’ll be in Malta for one night only on the 8th of June, at Sir Temi Zammit Hall at the University of Malta.

Ahead of his unique show, Lovin Malta caught up with the legendary vocalist to chat about his passion for Malta’s aviation history, how he got started with his new comedic routine, and the one place in Malta he has never visited.

“I’ve probably been to Malta more than a dozen times by now”

Bruce Dickinson’s passion for flying is well-known – but his stint flying planes to and from Malta is a much less-known piece of trivia.

“I’ve come to the island before for everything from the history to the food, but I was actually involved in aviation in Malta as well,” Bruce Dickinson told Lovin Malta.

“We had a small company and we were running out of Malta with a couple of 737s for a couple of years, and I’ve turned up for a couple of conferences and as well as some speaking in Malta. When I was an airline pilot back in 2001 I was flying to Malta regularly, delivering passengers basically,” he smiled.

In between ferrying Brits between Malta and the UK, he has had a chance to visit some of the local sites, with Ħaġar Qim standing out to him as the most impressive. However, there is one important place he has yet to visit

“You know, one of the places I’ve yet to go to in Malta is Gozo. All the times I have ever been to Malta, I never ended up going to Gozo,” he laments

Bruce Dickinson Perfoming
Bruce Dickinson performing

That isn’t going to stop him from putting on an incredible evening on the 8th of June

The two and a half hour show is set to show you the Iron Maiden singer like you’ve never seen him before.

“It’s kinda almost observational comedy about my life,” he laughed. “I describe it as a parody of Billy Connolly, and that’s the first hour and a half, then there is an interval. Then I come back out and the audience writes out questions on cue cards. Obviously, I can’t do all 600 or 700 of them, but what I do in the interval is I collect them all and go through them. It’s almost like an impulse script that I organise by using the cue cards – and it keeps my brain alive, you know.”

And Bruce has already been on the receiving end of some quite ‘out-there’ questions

“A few people wanted to know whether I remember meeting their mother. And then occasionally one person wanted to know why Nicko has a face like a dropped pie,” he laughed. “There are plenty of stories about Nicko, lots of drummer stories, but won’t go into those – and I do have to warn you that the night can get quite rude.”

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Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain

An Evening With Bruce Dickinson has already been making waves abroad

As with many of the best things in life, the idea came about by chance, after Bruce had been asked to sit down and speak about his book at an event.

“I went ‘well, that sounds kinda boring. Why don’t I, you know, talk about some of the things around the book?'” he said.

Soon enough, he was being invited to festivals to give his critically acclaimed, “fantastically funny” performance. Bruce has since been everywhere from Israel to Australia and New Zealand to Scandinavia, entrancing audiences with his insider stories about touring the world with one of the biggest metal bands of all time.

“This is literally a one-man show, and it’s not really necessarily about the book,” he said. “But we were just doing it and I was signing God knows how many copies of the book – but now it’s like we don’t have to have the book. We can just have the show and all will be right, you know.”

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Bruce Dickinson in one of his speaking roles

Through his contacts in Malta, Malta’s annual extravaganza Rockestra has appeared on Bruce’s radar

“I was very intrigued when I heard about that show you put on every year with the orchestra, Rockestra,” he says, before asking when the show is held.

Saying he had sung in a similar show in Canada, Bruce didn’t rule out putting on a guest performance at Malta’s Rockestra, and was really happy to hear that previous editions had covered some of Maiden’s biggest hits, such as Run To The Hills and Number Of The Beast.

“I guess I wouldn’t be doing it this year because I’m on tour, but it sounds like such a crazy idea and I was just curious…” he smiles.

Of course, we can’t talk about Iron Maiden without talking about Eddie

The Iron Maiden mascot has become a symbol for heavy metal around the world – but he was never in the band’s plans per se.

“I remember the very first time I saw the big Eddie on stage,” Bruce reminisced. “They built the big Eddie for the Number Of The Beast tour in 1980/81. Up until then, it had been one of the road crew wearing the Eddie mask on stage, but then our lighting designer had been to an opera festival and seen these giants that they had built with guys inside of them operating them.”

“He went along and said ‘could you build something like this?’ and sent them a picture of Eddie. So we decided that we will try and design one. Anyway, they unveiled it… and I remember when they opened the doors and this monster came out and walked out. We were like ‘Oh My God!’ Never seen anything like it. It was really scary… I mean, now we have really moved on, technology has really moved on. But you know what Eddie is like, and the new one you know is just fabulous – I even have a full sword fight with him on stage!” he said.

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Eddie during the Fear of the Dark era

Incredibly, Malta may be a major part of the reason that Bruce is so obsessed with flying

“My great uncle, who got me into aviation, was stationed in Malta during World War Two,” he says solemnly.” Flight sergeant John Brooker. He was a wireless operator and an engineer, and I have his apprentice models and his medals, and I have his service bible that he had with him when he was stationed in Malta, with the town that he lived in and his service number.”

Indeed, his love for aviation coloured his trips to Malta.

“One of the first things I bought when I was in Malta for the first time was a little picture of Faith, Hope and Charity, the three Gloucester gladiators,” he said, respectful of the famous three airplanes. “There were only a few Gladiators flying in the world, and I’m trying to find one, and it seems crazy to me that Malta doesn’t have one that can fly – Malta needs a working model!”

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Aces High: Bruce Dickinson is a licensed air pilot

When it comes to new music, Bruce has been listening to Rammstein’s new self-titled album this last week

“There’s a couple of decent songs on it, and I think Deutschland had the most unbelievable video for it, but thats the best song on it by a long way,” he said. “Some of it sounds a bit like Soft Cell, not much of the dark heavier stuff.”

Bruce only has one thing to tell his Maltese fans before of the big night

The renowned singer, recognisable to millions of people around the world, is ready for a down-to-earth, person-to-person night in Malta, where you’ll be able to speak to him as if you were sat around a table with him at the pub.

“I just hope that everyone leaves with a big smile of their face!” he ends happily.

Event Bruce Dickinson 1

You can get your tickets for the show by following this link

NnG Promotions are offering three lucky winners the opportunity to win two tickets to this amazing show.

To enter the competition, just tag one friend in the comment section on Facebook to be in with a chance!

Tag someone who loves Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden!

READ NEXT: Dream Theater, Global Prog-Metal Pioneers, To Perform In Malta This Summer In Milestone Valletta Concert


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