Steve Harris and Dave Murray of Iron Maiden Open Up in 1988 Guitar World Interview
Here's our Iron Maiden interview from the October 1988 issue of Guitar World magazine. The original story started on page 34 and ran with the headline, "Iron Maiden Plays the Numbers."
After eight years of knuckle-hard rockin’, Iron Maiden has released a concept album about ESP and clairvoyance, the very qualities they use to achieve their incredible guitar chemistry.
It’s called Seventh Son of a Seventh Son; it’s Iron Maiden’s seventh studio album, their seventh with producer Martin Birch; it’s the basis of a seven-month tour; there’s really seven guys in the group (you have to count producer Birch and manager Rod Smallwood as part of the action); and it was seven years ago, with the release of the band’s second album, Killers, that you probably first heard of Iron Maiden. So, we’ve covered the numbers thing, ignored 666 because it’s old and stupid and now on to the story…
In a nutshell, it was in April when Iron Maiden released its new lp, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, a concept album dealing with the fight for the soul of the Seventh Son, some mystical chap (probably Hendrix) with the powers of ESP, clairvoyance and whatnot. Its eight (!) killer tracks were digitally recorded at Musicland Studios in West Germany, and mastered by Direct Metal Mastering for its audible sonic improvements.
The tour kicked off with an unscheduled (“and unrehearsed”) gig at New York’s L’Amour under the name Charlotte and the Harlots (Charlotte was a Dave Murray character from the band’s eponymously titled debut lp from 1980), and after stomping through Canada, the United States, Europe and possibly South America, the boys should be home spending Xmas with family and friends. The stage show is enormous, all blue, fire and ice.
Steve Harris is a boyish, good-looking chap from Leytonstone in London's East End. His quiet offstage demeanor belies the ferocity he exhibits when gripping his Fender Precision under the spotlights before a few thousand fans. He began playing when he was seventeen, late by most standards. Originally he just "messed about" with the guitar because he really wanted to be a drummer, but lacking the space to put a drum kit at home, he decided to take up bass.
A friend told him that he had to play the acoustic guitar first, and he bought one and figured out a few chords. It didn't take him long, however, to realize that this route wasn't what he wanted, and soon he shelled out forty hard-earned pounds to buy a copy of a Fender Tele bass. With the aid of a schoolyard chum and some other friends, Harris formed his first band, Influence, which prior to playing its only five or six gigs changed its name to Gypsy's Kiss. "I had only been playing about a year," laughs Harris, "and it sounded like it."
Their set consisted of a slash-through of covers like "Paranoid," "All Right Now," "Smoke On The Water," "Blowing Free," a rendition of Neil Young's "Southern Man" and such originals as "Heat Crazed Vole'" and "Endless Pit." Gypsy's Kiss soon disbanded, and Harris went on to join Smiler, covering rock-boogie stuff like Savoy Brown and early Fleetwood Mac. When Harris joined, he claims he made them toss in a few Montrose numbers and his first-penned track "Innocent Exile," but when he brought them his first "real" song, "Burning Ambition," they balked. And so did Harris -- right out of the band.