Iron Maiden Guitarists Discuss 'The Final Frontier'
GW On your most recent tour, the majority of the set list was culled from the last four albums. You didn’t play most of the classic Maiden tunes. That’s a pretty ballsy move.
GERS It’s a very American thing to just go out there and please your fans, isn’t it? But that’s not what we’re here for. We’re a valid band, we’re an organic band, and we’re changing all the time. We’re not an Eighties band—we’re right now. Or we shouldn’t be doing it. The best way I can explain it is, I read a thing about when Led Zeppelin first started playing “Stairway to Heaven,” and John Paul Jones said they went down terrible. Now, people think everybody went “Aah! That’s incredible!” They didn’t. They went “Fucking ’ell! Why are they playing this shit? Where’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ at?”
SMITH I think it’s just an extension of the Maiden philosophy of doing things the way we want and not answering to anybody. So yeah, we could go out and play “Run to the Hills” and “The Trooper” until we drop dead. But it’s a bit sort of cabaret, isn’t it? And I think the real fans don’t want that from us. To keep the band going you have to keep writing new material and changing a bit.
GW To that point, as a band that has been recording for 30 years, how do you remain vital?
SMITH I guess we just keep doing things the way we’ve always done them, and it seems to work so we don’t mess with it too much. And then also doing things like going out the last few years and playing new albums in their entirety. It keeps everyone on their toes, including us!
GERS I can’t speak for other bands, but all I know is every time we go in the studio we try to do something different. We take a few different avenues, try a few things we haven’t done before. And we try to make them interesting. And also I think we write good tunes. So we’re never gonna cheat ya. We’ve always stuck to our guns. We’ve never changed. We’ve never sold out. We’re an honest band. And that’s why we’re still here.
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