Paul Di'Anno - Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Matt Phelps   
Thursday, 04 February 2010 19:39

Paul_nowPaul Di'Anno is a man with good cause to celebrate. In an era when many bands struggle to last three years Di'Anno has notched up a staggering three decades fighting it out in the music business battlezone. Thirty years on from the release of the iconic Iron Maiden debut album, Paul took a quick break from rehearsals ahead of his solo US tour to chat to Über Röck about the past, present and future of the man they call "The Beast".

 

Happy New Year for 2010 and congratulations too of course, thirty metal years since the release of the first Iron Maiden album. How does that make you feel?

 

Makes me feel I did something that made a lot of people happy. It also makes me
feel old. Ha, ha!

 

You're kicking off your tour in America at the end of January, Is everything sorted out with the U.S Immigration now then? How did you manage to endear yourself to them since they'd once said they never wanted to hear your name again?

 

I am doing this interview from Pittsburgh USA right now, so I guess you can say the immigration issues all turned out well for me at last. My manager was like a dog with a bone, and just would not rest until he got me back here, and as you know this has taken a few years to sort out...so there's the story!  First show is Tuesday 26th January in New Jersey.

 

maiden-promo1What can the fans expect to hear in the set for this tour, Will you be mixing in some Battlezone and Killers or focusing more on the Maiden stuff to tie in with the anniversary?

 

It's a mix of Iron Maiden, Battlezone, Killers and solo stuff.  Just doing what I think people will want to hear

 

You're using Icarus Witch as you backing band for the U.S dates. What's the preparation leading up to the shows? I take it you send the bands you use the set list to learn in advance but do you get much chance to rehearse with them in person before the first show or is it just dive straight in?

 

Yeah you got it. They got it all a long time in advance to prepare, and I have recently arrived in the States for some final rehearsals with the guys.

 

What about U.K shows, you're looking pretty booked up around the world already for most of the year, any special plans for any appearances here?

 

My manager just told me I have a special one off show planned for the UK later this year. So that's going to be the first for many years.

 

You've also been working with Paulo Turin on some new material I believe.  It's been four years since 'The Living Dead' and your public want a new metal fix, when do you think we may be getting a new album from you?

 

Going to get onto that at the end of this very busy year. Please keep checking my site: www.myspace.com/diannothebeast because all news about what I'm up to is updated there every few days.

 

Paul_live_now

 

Paulo first appeared with you on Battlezone's 'Feel The Pain' album back in 98
didn't he? How did you two first meet up and start working together?

 

Oh it was somewhere in the UK a million years back, and he is one of the greatest people I have had the pleasure of knowing.  Paulo really is the coolest guy.

 

There's some cracking footage on youtube of you performing an acoustic version of 'Wrathchild', that sounds fucking awesome and you look like you had a lot of fun doing it. Any possibility we could see a Paul Di'Anno acoustic album at some time in the future? Maybe, just a couple bonus tracks on a future album even.

 

Yeah, why not. If someone gets it together I'll be there for it

 

bookAnother thing happening for you early this year is the re print of your autobiography 'The Beast', finally coming out on paperback. It's been eight years since it was first published, so will there be any updates or new chapters in it, or are you saving the new stories of debauchery up for a second book one day?

 

Apparently the hard-back all sold out so the publisher's now decided to get it out worldwide as a paperback.  So let's hope I earn some fucking money this time around.  Ha, ha!

 

You mention your love for your children a few times throughout the book. May I ask how many you have now, and if any of them have ever tried following in your footsteps with a musical career be it metal or whatever?

 

Yeah Matt, I've four kids and my eldest son Conan (in the UK) is a hardcore singer and is now offering some competition to me I guess...Ha, ha!

 

Another thing you touched on in the book is your charity work, which is quite close to your heart. You do quite a bit of fund raising for South American charities don't you? Could you tell us a bit about what kind of things you're involved with and how it all started?

 

I don't really want to go into that here, but yeah you're right it touches my heart.

 

Dianno_early_yearsYou've rubbed shoulders with quite a few people over they years not normally associated with metal, Fidel Castro springs to mind. Who's surprised you the most by turning out to being a fan of yours? I mean did Maggie Thatcher ever phone up and say "You know what Paul I find that 'Sanctuary' cover art a bit distasteful but the song fucking rocks!!" ?

 

I have had to pleasure (and in some cases displeasure) of meeting many icons that are not associated with Rock and Metal music and it sure has been a ride.  Nuff said really.

 

If we can go back to your youth for a minute, Before you joined Iron Maiden, who were your main influences both musically and vocally that made you want to get up and start fronting bands yourself?

 

Bon Scott and Stevie Marriott, those two guys made we want to get into this club.

 

1980 was a classic year for Metal, aside from the obvious Maiden stuff what are your resounding memories from that year from the point of view of a fan of music yourself

 

Well half of my brain said metal and the other half said punk, so Punk Metal was the music, and a daily life of total and utter madness during that period was the norm. And that's the memory for ya.

 

Dianno_early_years_2It was only one year later though that you quit Iron Maiden. That last show together in Copenhagen, where you said in your book you'd already made your decision to leave, and after the show finished you felt free again.  But what were your feelings during the actual show itself? There must have been a touch of sadness that it was coming to an end... no?

 

Sad, mad, happy and glad.  There really was a lot of shit going on in my head that night.

 

Even though your time with the band was relatively short it's still those first two albums that are commonly regarded as the Maidens best. Why do you think they've stood the test of time so well and still retain their "magic" even today, 30 years on?

 

Basically there was nothing like it before, and there was nothing like it after.  It was kind of like your best sex, it only happens one time

 

Dianno_early_years_4From those early days 'Remember Tomorrow' is a song which has special significance for you. You even re recorded it for Killers 'Murder One' album because you felt you hadn't done it justice the first time round. How do you feel when other people cover it? Does it make you proud that people choose that one or is it like WHAT THE HELL HAVE THEY DONE TO IT??

 

You know, I am flattered that people are interested in my music full stop.

 

You've also done many covers yourself over the years, which ones are you most proud of, are there any you regret doing? 

 

Well as I did em all for fun and to show that I could do something different. I have to say I loved em all.

 

Dianno_masters-sOne of my own personal favourite albums is 'The Masters' that you did with Lea Hart and featuring my favourite of all your cover versions 'Living In America'. This was far more mainstream hard rock though than the stuff you usually are associated with like Killers, how did you get involved with that project?

 

Lea twisted my arm and said "Do this or else".  So how could I turn him down?  Crazy Fucker! 

 

Looking back at the three main bands you've been involved with, which one are
you most proud of? Iron Maiden, Battlezone or Killers?

 

All three.  And that is because there were all very important in different ways.

 

KillersAnd which one was the most fun?

 

Killers definitely.  Yeah in the very early days.

 

What would you pick out as the some of the biggest highlights of your career so far?

 

Making a name for myself in South America, and especially what I've done in Brazil.

 

As you seem to be constantly touring time off much be very precious so when you're not laying waste to hotel rooms and stages around the world how do you unwind?  Does Paul Di'Anno have a secret hobby for his quiet time that
the world knows nothing about?

 

As you get older the Rock 'n' Roll parties are just a memory that your body wants to forget, so I take it easy with my manager and try being a normal person.

 

And finally, what single piece of advice would you give to a young band starting out today that still wanted to be around in thirty years?

 

I would say. See that Mountain over there? Well if you want to try and get
to the top of it, you may die trying, as it's certainly a long climb to the top and most definitely a very short fall back down.

 

Paul_live_now_2

 

Thanks again Paul, hope everything goes well for you this year, Cheers

 

Cheers to you and yours Matt and make sure you get to hit up my website www.myspace.com/diannothebeast

 

And with that Paul was off and running (free) on his current US Tour.  I have to just add that it is extremely humbling to chat with one of your earliest musical heroes and find they are one of the most down to earth guys you will ever have the chance to chat with.  We at Uber Rock would like to thank Paul from the bottom of our (foolish) hearts for taking the time to do this interview especially at such a busy period in his long career and we certainly look forward to the one off UK show mentioned earlier. 

 

Here's to another thirty years of Paul Di'Anno.

 

Photo kudos for recent live pics to http://www.regioactive.de/

and http://www.myspace.com/toddgay