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Cirque Du Soleil
“Someone”
Delirium
(Cirque Du Soleil)
[listen] [buy] [download]

Patricia Barber
“Whiteworld/Oedipus”
Mythologies
(Blue Note)
[listen] [buy]

Cirque Du Soleil
“Someone”
Delirium
(Cirque Du Soleil)
[listen] [buy] [download]

Jim Pearce
“Why I Haven't Got You”
Prairie Dog Ballet
(Oak Avenue Publishing)
[listen] [buy]

Andy Timmons Band
“Gone (9/11/01)”
Resolution
(Favored Nations)
[listen] [buy]

Ralph Towner
“If”
Time Line
(ECM Records)
[listen] [buy]

Anoushka Shankar
"Beloved"
Rise
(Angel)
[listen]

Amos Lee
"Arms Of A Woman"
Amos Lee
(Blue Note)
[listen]

Julius Curcio
"American Pie"
Alligator Shoes
(Electric Roots)
[listen] [buy]

Lemon
"Come Alive"
Changing Into Me
[listen] [buy]

Feature [Issue #5]
Iron Maiden: Shall We Dance?
By Pat Mavromatis
Dance Of Death (CD Columbia)


With Bruce Dickinson and Andrian Smith back in the band since 2000-2001 and after long and hurtful internal strife that led to their departure a few years earlier, the Iron Maiden resurgence that started back with 2000's Brave New World still goes strong today and Maiden is cooler than ever. With their scintillating trademark galloping rhythms and twin - oops, I meant tri - guitar harmonies Iron Maiden gain new fans day by day and keep "Running Free" towards their next decade of musical creation.

Dance Of Death is bolder, darker, and heavier but at the same time more refined and adventurous than their previous efforts. It is parts early era, Powerslave, and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. "Rainmaker" is a classic Maiden tune with catchy harmonic lines, interludes, and a great chorus. "No More Lies" is another Maiden epic anthem shy of eight minutes in length with a punchy chord chorus and fluid verses, sort of like an inversed "The Prisoner." "Montségur" is perhaps the heaviest Maiden song. "Let me tell you a story to chill the bones, about a thing that I saw one night wandering in the everglades" sings Dickinson and "Dance Of Death," the albums homonym song, begins. Another Maiden epic song, this one shy of nine minutes, features some very interesting and novel arrangements like the staccato acoustic guitar vs. electric guitar comping and strumming (!) of the verse and lush orchestral arrangement of the interludes and alternate verses. "Paschendale" is Maiden's most progressive tune to date (another one shy of nine minutes). The band seems to be freer and more creative using lots of acoustic guitars and full string orchestrations in a way they haven't really done before. This is also evident in the song credits which are the most inclusive of any Maiden record - please correct me if I am wrong - with all band members, even drummer Nicko McBrain contributing to the album. Harris's name is first in the credits of only one song, unlike past albums, which coincidentally is the only one in the album that was written by one person. Collaborative genious. There is even a predominantly acoustic track - "Journeyman," the album's closer - dare I say Maiden epic folk? The band is tighter than ever with all musicians performing at their peak. The songwriting is superb, and Bruce Dickinson's voice seems better, stronger and more explorative than ever.

We caught up with Bruce Dickinson in Los Angeles. We talked about the past and the future, the man, the music, the band.

OW: Everybody was really excited a couple of years ago to see you came back in the band after a rocky period. Why did you decide to rejoin?
BD: It was because of the music. I had done some great solo stuff with Roy Z. Stuff that I was really proud of and I proved a lot of things to myself about my ability to do things independently and I also learned a lot during my time outside of Iron Maiden. I thought I had become a better singer and I thought I could reintroduce that into Iron Maiden. And at the time the musical world was going through a period when it almost seemed that it needed Iron Maiden to be back. So I reckoned that I could rejoin the band and we could do some great new music and not just a nostalgia thing - just great new stuff.

OW: I remember in a show from the Brave New World Tour that you talked about that. Was that a statement?
BD. Yes it definitely was back then but I think people understand now that that's what the band is all about [new music]. I don't think there is any doubt now. In the intervening two years the band has changed, especially in Europe, from being an album-tour, album-tour band - we had just finished our largest tour in the band's history in Europe: seven hundred thousand people at 28 shows - to touring with no album. So the band exists in two separate worlds right now. Live, just as an Iron Maiden festival, and Iron Maiden event, and through the albums. And these two things are now becoming separate. Our recent announcement that we will be cutting down on the amount of touring we do after this series of tours we are doing now was designed to reflect that. We'll still carry on doing records and of course doing gigs but we are no longer going to join the two together and disappear for nine months of our lives at a time. We don't have to. We can do festivals in the summer that have huge audiences, and have great fun, celebrate everything. But it doesn't mean that there will be a new record to go with it. But Iron Maiden is never going to sell 5 million records. We are never going to be Nickelback. We can't, even if we wanted to, which we don't. And it was the same back in the 80s. Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, and all these bands that had their one hit, sold three million albums and then just disappeared. We sell one million albums but we sell every time. We're sort of like the Rolling Stones. The Stones never sold very many albums for one particular record. I don't know anyone that bought the Steel Wheels album but everybody wanted to go see the tour. Maiden is a bit like that now, in the summer. Shit, we outsold the Rolling Stones this summer in Scandinavia.

OW: Some have said, actually accused the Rolling Stones that whenever they run out of money they go on tour. And they might have lost some of their credibility as a band. Is Iron Maiden heading in that direction?
BD: Well, the Stones have also been touring forever. They are in their sixties now. I hope I don't have to do it when I am sixty. I mean, who would even want to see me when I am sixty [laughs].

OW: Let's talk about the new album and in particular the new video, "Wildest Dreams.' The avatar in the beginning is you, correct? And there are no other members of the band in it, right?

BD: Yes it is me. Actually we let the director do whatever he wanted. We just said we don't want to be in it.

OW: The video is interesting. With the racing aspect and all that. Is Maiden consciously trying to reach an edgier, extreme-sport-type, younger audience?
BD: [Laughs] I really don't know! If someone on the marketing side is trying to do that then great! I think that any attempt to reach a bunch of kids is great. And there are quite a few kids into Maiden, not over here so much but in Europe, completely.

OW: What about your old-time fans that have been following your career since the beginning?
BD: Well, in the States they do come out to the shows but not in Europe. In Europe most of our audience is around 23. In the states is the reverse [laughs]! Most of our audience here is around 32.

OW: Does that have to do with the fact that you tour more extensively in Europe?

BD: No. It has to do with the fact that the media over here is controlled completely by the major corporations and they simply dictate what track is going to get played on the radio, what videos are going to get played on the video channels, and those are the main sources of information. And kids don't read magazines. Well, some of them do, but most do not. Plus, most magazines are out of date. In Europe it is a bit different. Plus in Europe, kids learn about bands in depth, whereas over here they learn about bands in 30-second sound bites and they are segmented very, very narrowly. And I don't think that younger listeners even know that Iron Maiden has a new record out. They are not supposed to know, because corporations think that Iron Maiden is not relevant. They think that they can't sell anything to them. Whereas in Europe younger listeners will discover it for themselves.

OW: Is there anything that you wish fans knew?
BD: Yeah, I wish more fans new about Chemical Wedding. I am very proud of that record.

OW. Do you plan on releasing any more solo albums?
BD: I don't know. When I finish the tour now I'll see what I want to do. I'd like to do another solo album but after Chemical Wedding, which was such a great album, I want to step back and make sure that I sit down and see whether a new one would be able to reach or even top that.

OW: Is Iffy coming back? [Dickinson's main character in his novels]
BD: No, not in the near future [laughs]. Too much work there and I've done it enough. Plus I did everything myself, no assistant editors, etc. which makes it so much more demanding.

OW: Are you keeping up with fencing? I have to ask you this. It's out there and fans would like to know. Did you really turn down an offer to compete for the English National Fencing team in order to join Iron Maiden.
BD: No. That is someone getting very imaginative out there.

OW: Well, let's get back to talking about the new album. Three guitars again, and more prominent than last time, same producer, some experimenting with forms and sounds.
BD: Our fans just loved the three guitars. And it has never really created a problem in our songs. On the contrary, I think it has contributed to our sound. And the guitarists sort out the parts themselves.

OW: What is your favorite song in the new album and what was the most challenging song to record?

BD: My favorite song of the album is "Journeyman" and I would have to say that the toughest one to record was Paschendale.

OW: Any one song in particular that you will enjoy performing live?

BD: Definitely "Paschendale."

OW: Well it seem we have ran out of time. Thanks you Bruce. It was really a pleasure and good luck with the new album and tour.
BD: The pleasure was all mine.

Track list for Dance of Death :

Wildest Dreams
Rainmaker
No More Lies
Montségur
Dance of Death
Gates of Tomorrow
New Frontier
Pashendale
Face in the Sand
Age of Innocence
Journeyman


Dance Of Death
Columbia

Shall We Dance? Iron Maiden Dance Of Death


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