Everyone thinks that we all hate each other, which is not true. I think Iron Maiden is a fantastic band.”
Paul Di’Anno (PD): Hello.
W (NM): Hello, Mr. Paul Di’Anno.
PD: Oh, hello, how are you doing?
W (NM): Hi, this is Nando Machado and Daniel Dystyler from Wikimetal. How are you doing?
PD: I’m good, man. How are you?
W (NM): Yeah, we are very happy, we are very honored and privileged to be speaking with you. It’s a real honor, I mean, we listen to your music for the past, let’s say, 30 years. So, first of all, welcome to Wikimetal.
W (DD): Yeah, Wikimetal is the number one heavy metal podcast in Brazil. So we are really thrilled, it’s awesome to have you in our show.
PD: Oh, great ‘cause my wife was asking me about what the program was called ‘cause she was trying to listen to it in America.
W (NM): Yeah, you can listen to our show. You can stream it or either download it for free on our website. So, we have interviewed some other international artists. The interviews are kept in English, so you are welcome to listen to us at any time you want.
PD: I won’t be shouting, I have a son for six months and so I’ll hold my voice.
W (NM): So, let’s start the interview. Is it true that during the Kiss tour in 1980 when Maiden was invited to open their act, all the guys from Kiss were really nice, specially Gene, who was like helping you to deal with money and stuff?
PD: Yeah, he was fantastic, he was really good. The guys really gave us a lot of help. It was our first ever European tour, as well. Yeah, it was really nice, the guys were fantastic and I think even on Steve’s birthday as well they came on stage and they did this custard pie thing in the face and everybody got messy and Kiss had to delay the show for about an hour or something, while they changed all their make-up and everything ‘cause we made a lot of mess with them, as well. And good, good fun, it was a really fantastic tour.
W (DD): Paul, this is Daniel. You wrote four memorable songs with Steve Harris on those first Maiden records: “Remember Tomorrow”, “Sanctuary”, “Killers”, and “Running Free”. Can you tell the listeners a little bit about the story behind those songs, specially “Remember Tomorrow”?
PD: Oh, “Remember Tomorrow” is the most famous. My grandfather always used to say it. And first of all, my grandfather was diabetic and he kept having problems and I was watching him die and it was awful. And you know, I don’t know why, I kept remembering those words. Which makes our lyrics kind of hard to sort of explain. And, you know, it was like through grieve you get, you know, like a brighter future, it was like one chain of collors and stuff like that. It’s weird, it’s spaced out when I’m reading now. I don’t know what kinds of drugs I was taking then, but… It’s very strange, but it just seemed to fit so well, you know? But the main thing is the “remember tomorrow”, even though is not really used in the lyrics, it was just, you know, it just did it for me, it just happened. So that was that one. Sanctuary, I think it was a punk song, which we had a long time before. I had this song even before we joined Iron Maiden. We just creamed out for a little bit more and got that one together. “Running free”, that’s easy, just like a teenage rebellion, basically. What was the other one, I forgot?
W (DD): “Killers”. The one and only “Killers”.
PD: Oh, Killers. That was me trying to be clever. I tried to wide it about this psychopathic killer. What he does and peoples reactions to it. I kind of messed it up a little bit, but it has all worked. When we first ever did this song live, we did it in Hammersmith Odeon, on the live a little bit. There was no lyrics and I was still working on it, but Steve wanted to play the song in instrumental. So we did it live and I just made up the words. He kept the record of the live video and the words were completely different then it went on the album. I just made them up as we went along. God, that must’ve been stupid.
I don’t want to be a Rock n’ Roll star, I’m quite happy playing and doing my stuff. Just getting home and just being daddy again. That’s important to me.”
W (NM): When you were singing with Maiden, did you ever think that those two albums would have such an impact in rock music forever?
PD: No, not at all. At the time we were just so happy that we had the chance to record, basically playing live. I was fortunate to do so, basically I prefer live music to record at any time, ‘cause it’s fantastic. No, we never thought that at all. We were just happy to be playing the music and stuff and it’s so amazing when you get people from other famous bands and come up and talk to you. You know, like the guys in Metallica or Pantera. “Oh, man, these are some of the greatest albums ever”, and I’m like: “Wow”. I’m very, very happy that they like that sort of thing, but to me, I never did this to be famous, I wanted to do it just to sing, you know? I don’t want to be a rock n’ roll star, to be honest with you, I’m quite happy playing and doing my stuff. Just getting home and just being daddy again. Stuff like that, you know, that’s important to me. But it’s still fun.
W (DD): That’s great and those are really the important things in life. And since you are talking about those old days… Is it true that back in the days when all Maiden members had to sleep inside the van, when you were travelling around, and it could get extremely cold in the van, and since you had, let’s say, a certain way with the ladies, you would usually manage to persuade the girl to allow the whole band to crash in her place? Any remembrance from that time?
PD: I’m gonna get myself in trouble now, aren’t I?
W (DD): Sorry, sorry!
PD: Thanks, man!
W (NM): That was thirty years ago, man.
PD: We had this horrible thing called the Green Goddess and it was an old army fire truck. We had it converted, so you could get three beds up on the top and then two on the bottom, and then another two at the side for a couple of crew members, and the equipment. We went all over England in that thing, it was amazing. It was bloody cold sometimes and we had a lot of fun there, in the early days. Now, all that happened is that many, many years ago we were making an Iron Maiden demo. If the word gets out, I’m gonna get killed here for this. We recorded the thing in Spaceward, Cambridge and went on to this pub after for a little break and we were just gonna mix it in the next day. And we had nowhere to stay, we didn’t have money for a hotel or anything. So we met these nurses from a hospital and they lived in the hospital grounds, and stuff like that and I got lucky. So the girl thought “ok, great, so I’m going back with him” but she didn’t know I was bringing the rest of the band and the crew with me.
W (DD): That’s great.
W (NM): We have a classic question on our show, one that we ask everybody we interview. Just imagine you’re listening to a rock radio station or maybe your iPod on shuffle mode and then a song comes up, one that you just lose your mind, which song would that be, ‘cause we can play it on our show right now?
PD: That I’d lose my mind to? Oh, there’s many. The first song that really hit me like a hammer when I first heard, it was so different, so original, was a Ramones’, “Blitzkrieg Bop”.
W (NM): Ok, first time we’re listening to Ramones on our show. “Blitzkrieg Bop”.
W (DD): Paul, I think I read somewhere that during the last summer “Back in time” tour of Iron Maiden, a couple of years ago, when they were here in Brazil, they were trying to contact you maybe to join them on stage. Is that true? And if so, can we have hope that someday we might be able to witness that?
PD: Oh, of course, it would be fun. That was Bruce, actually, it was really kind of him. He was asking me of people who know me, my best friend lives in São Paulo, Alex. I’ve got so many friends out there, I spend a lot of time over, as you know, in Brazil. Yeah, they played out there and they were asking for me, but unfortunately I was in tour in Germany, so I couldn’t really do anything at the time. But yeah, maybe one day we’ll do something, you know? Everyone thinks that we all hate each other, which is not true. I think Iron Maiden is a fantastic band. I just get fed up sometimes. I didn’t play all over the world at that time with Maiden. And then when I left, some of the fans wanted to hear me singing Iron Maiden songs, which I did. And we’re having to put so many into the set now, sometimes I get a little fed up with it. It’s understandable, really. But then again I haven’t made a record for a long time, either. I’m having too much fun at the road, I can’t be bothered to make a record at the moment. But we’ll get around to it soon.
I’m not the most fantastic singer in the world. I give it 100% that’s what matters.”
W (NM): So, you found a very creative way to do world tours. How many bands do you have around the world at the moment?
PD: How many bands?
W (NM): Yeah, you have local bands in many countries, right?
PD: Yeah, that’s the best way to do it, because I’m not making a record. Let’s be honest, the promoters they spin the climate so much. Unless you’re Metallica, Iron Maiden and stuff like that. I mean, they go out and do a tour and you don’t see them anymore for about three of four years. And I like to play, so what we do is, we’ve got different bands. We got the idea from Chuck Berry, he had so different band members and I thought: “Wow, this could work!”. And we started, me and my manager got this together and it seems to work, we’ve got a band in Mexico, we’ve got a band in Spain, Australia, Italy is my longest band. They are an Iron Maiden cover band and they are really good. They play my stuff as well. I’ve got a Norwegian band. There’s no band in Sweden anymore and I’ve only got the one band in Brazil now, Scelerata, they are quite friends of mine, we got buddies. It’s a shame what happened we got to hang out in Grêmio country, but whatever.
W (DD): And since you mentioned Scelerata, we played a song of Scelerata in our last episode. How did you guys meet?
PD: I think they contacted my manager, because I think I was over in Brazil touring with the Rockfellas scene. And then they seemed to get hold of my manager and we met out with a guy, and we got talking and it turned out fine. They’re really really fantastic guys. So we had some good fun on the road. And you know what, there’s never any arguments, that’s very rare.
W (DD): Yeah, it is. I saw you guys playing on your tour last year and it was amazing.
PD: Yeah, they’re a great band, they are really a great band. And they’re making a new record at the moment, which will be really good. I suppose I’ll do a track with them. Excuse me, I have a little bit of a cold here. It’s weird, I couldn’t record this time, me and my friends have a studio here in Salisbury. My engineer has gone away on holiday for a couple of weeks, so I couldn’t do it, so maybe will have a chance to record it when I’m back over in Brazil. They’re really a fantastic band.
W (NM): I think it’s also a way of helping these local artists, like you raise awareness on all these bands, I suppose everywhere you play with these bands.
PD: Oh, I don’t think of it that way, but that’s a good point. I’ve got to have a band who I trust, who I want to play with. They’ve got to be good musicians, which they are. When you put all the bands together, the worst part of the whole package is probably me. I’m not the most fantastic singer in the world. I give it 100% that’s what matters. I don’t hold back, if I can’t get a high note then frankly I don’t do it. No, I do try it, but it’s the musicians, they’re brilliant, so they help me. Not me help them, so it’s pretty good.
W (NM): So, since you’re talking about Brazil, you lived in São Paulo for a while, right? Is it true that your ex-Brazilian band mates gave you a Brazilian nickname?
PD: Which one? There was a few. Which one was that, not Afro- Pancho was it? There was a few, I don’t know what names they give me. I hope they’re nice ones.
W (NM): And you lived in São Paulo, is it true?
PD: Yeah, I used to hang out there quite a bit. And I can’t wait to get back, because as soon as I arrive, I’m going to fly to Porto Alegre for a rehearsal and then we have a show. But when we get to São Paulo, we’ve got four days off, so I’ll be kind of set in São Paulo because my best friend and his wife just had a baby and I’ve got to go sign the papers to be a godparent and all that stuff. And, you know, see Corinthians, which will be fantastic.
W (NM): They lost yesterday, did you know that?
PD: I know, but we won the other day.
I don’t go out very much, unless I’m on tour, I’m kind of a recluse.”
W (NM): What do you know about Brazilian Heavy Metal?
PD: You know what? Apart from my friends in tour, obviously, we know these buddies for a long time. Krisiun, Ratos do Porão, and stuff like that. I listen to more Punk music, you know? Everyone kind of knows that. I see some bands, but I try not to… I don’t go out very much, unless I’m on tour, I’m kind of a recluse, because I’m still writing songs, even though I haven’t recorded anything yet. So I try not to go and see other bands, just in case I accidently steal an idea. I want to make it original, ‘cause I can’t help myself but do that. And I listen to a band and I’ll go home and I’ll start to write and I say “Wow, that sounds kind of familiar” ? I don’t know, I must have stolen it? “God, I ripped them off, man”, I can’t be doing that. I’ve been keeping really low profile. I’m 6 months off, pretty much and I haven’t done anything apart from fishing and walking the dog. … I’ve been doing a little session work for a film company, but I don’t get out to see bands, even in England or in America or anywhere, if I’m on tour, so I’m kind of not really up on any Heavy Metal bands recently. Because, as I said, I’m a recluse, I don’t go anywhere. I’m so tired when I finish a tour, to get me out and see a band.. Oh, God.. I just can’t bring myself to do it. That’s a shame, really.
W (DD): Paul, since you mentioned that you’re still writing stuff, it’s time for us to listen to another song. Could you choose a song that you feel really proud of having written, so we can listen in the show now?
PD: One of my songs?
W (DD): Yes.
PD: I’m thinking about one from the “Di’Anno” album. There’s a couple of songs on there I really, really love, but I still love it, and we still put it in the set, “Mad Man in the Attic”.
W (DD): “Mad Man in the Attic”. Can you announce the song?
PD: I’ll try it. Not in Portuguese, though.
W (DD): That’s fine.
PD: All right, are you ready?
W (NM): Yes.
PD: Hi, this is Paul Di’Anno and you’re listening to ‘Mad Man in the Attic’.
W (NM): So, you did so many things after Maiden, like Battlezone, Killers. What was the highlight of your solo career so far?
PD: Well, Battlezone and Killers are pretty much the same band, it’s just we had contractual problems with the record company. So we kind of left and then became Killers. Just with the addition of Cliff Evans and stuff. In both bands we had so much good exposure and we just won a lot of records in America and we were pretty much based in the States for a long, long time. We’d do East to West and West to East, crisscross and pretty much on the road for about two years straight. I was living in L.A, so it didn’t bother me that much. But, yeah, those were the two best ones. I don’t know, when we did the “Nomad” album, that was fantastic, ‘cause the band was brilliant. And, as you know, some of the guys went on to Angra. Yeah, that was really cool, they’re good guys and I don’t see much of that boys anymore. I think the first Battlezone album and the Killers “Murders” one album was pretty cool. And we talk about doing another Killers album, maybe next year. We haven’t played together for nearly ten years, we thought we’d just do one off, we’re in negotiation at the moment. So, we’ll see what happens, but I would like to do another solo album myself. I just can’t get the time, the time is just so difficult for me, ‘cause I’m six months off now, just trying to rest. Everyone knows I’ve got a pretty bad knee at the moment and I’m waiting for this operation, which they keep saying “no” because of the touring. And it’s getting so bad I won’t be able to walk. I’ve got to do some stuff, just so I can carry on touring. I don’t know, we’ll get an album out someway, either with Killers or another solo album in the next year or so, I hope, if I’m not dead.
W (NM): We also hope.
I don’t want to be anybody’s role model, because I made so many stupid mistakes.”
W (DD): We look forward for that. Also talking about the bands that you created in the past, after leaving Maiden, you took part of this band Gogmagog, with Pete Willis, Def Leppard, Neil Murray, Clive Burr and Jannick Gers, how was that?
PD: Oh, that was awful. Absolutely terrible.
W (DD): Why?
PD: Some guy, he’s an entrepreneur over here in England, and it’s kind of weird, ‘cause he went to prison for being a pedophile. He was a quite well known 60’s pop star, like a TV show host. And he had the idea of doing a super group. And the super group originally was David Coverdale on vocals, Cozy Powell on drums, John Entwistle from The Who on bass and a few other people, I can’t remember. In the end they lost interest, so he asked me, Clive and Pete. And then we had Jannick Gers, who played guitar as well, which was kind of weird. And Neil Murray from Whitesnake on bass. And we recorded these songs they’ve written, they were ever awful songs. And the guy kept saying “If you wanna sign this super group, it’s gonna cost you like 14 million pounds, or something” and I was “What the hell are you talking about?”. And they wouldn’t let us write any of the songs and we could have wrote so much better. But they wanted to have full control over it and I was like “Oh my God, kill me now, I do not want to do this anymore”. And I left, Clive left and Jannick went on to join Iron Maiden, it was pretty cool for him. So, that was kind of dead in the water, but he wanted to do this massive, big production album. Did you hear that? That was probably my old lady. We had all that stuff going on and we couldn’t do it in the end, it was awful. I mean, if he was a 7 year old child as was writing that music would be ok. It was pretty awful.
W (DD): That’s the way to learn sometimes, doing some mistakes, right?
PD: Hm, I don’t know, I do many mistakes. I’m the king of mistakes.
W (NM): Do you still touch base with Clive Burr and do you know anything about his health at the moment?
PD: Not at the moment, my manager had gone to try and reach him at the moment. I’ve been pretty much of a recluse myself for six months, for my own health’s sake, to rest a little bit. I’ve been pretty much on the road for about eight years straight, so I’ve burnt out. I should take a break, spend a little bit time in Miami with my family and stuff. You know what, I’ll probably come to England. I can’t get hold of Clive unless his girlfriend’s here, because he can’t answer the phone himself. So we’ll know in a couple of days or in a couple of week’s time and if I find you in São Paulo, I’ll let you know.
W (NM): Excellent, man. We really look forward to meeting you, if possible. I met you once before, my brother played on one of your local bands and I met you at his house. I don’t know if you remember Felipe Machado?
PD: Of course.
W (NM): We had a few beers together, so I hope we can have a couple of beers together.
PD: If you’d, we can meet at Felipe’s house !
W (NM): Yeah, ok.
PD: You see, that’s the thing, I could meet you, but I won’t be drinking, ‘cause I quit.
W (NM): I don’t know if you remember, you broke his table.
PD: Aaaaaaaah. I’ve seen him last year quickly. He went over to Beijing, I remember.
W (NM): Yes, it’s true.
PD: He went out to do some report over there, that’s cool. So I’ll be out with you in a couple of weeks or something.
W (NM): That’s cool, man.
W (NM): Since you say you are very humble about saying that you don’t consider yourself a great singer, we don’t…
W (DD): We disagree.
W (NM): We disagree. How does it feel to be, in my opinion, one of the most important influences to all the Thrash Metalists from the 80’s and from America?
PD: Thank you. Oh, that’s cool! As I said, I’m just so grateful, so happy, that I can go around the world and play my music. That’s the most important thing. I don’t want to be anybody’s role model, because I made so many stupid mistakes and stuff. I did, haven’t done so much anymore, which is good. So, I wouldn’t like to be a role model for anybody. It’s nice when people say “Oh, man, he’s very influential to us and stuff”. It’s hard, I’m so… kind of normal. I have a band and I go play music. When I’m drinking a few beers with my friends, I watch football. Apart from doing the tour, I’m meeting over my friends back in Brazil again. The most important thing I want to do, I want to go over to Corinthians, that is the most important thing. I’m gonna go see a couple of games before I leave.
W (DD): We have a third co-host on our show and he’s a real Corinthians fan, so he’s gonna be glad of hearing you.
W (NM): I’m sure that he’ll give you some Corinthians memorabilia. So be ready for that.
PD: I’ve got lots, I’m also a member of Gaviões da Fiel anyway. I’ve got to hang out with the guys and visit when I come over. And take a couple of bottles of Jack Daniels and some flowers for the secretaries. So, I’ll be doing that as soon as I get back into São Paulo, I’m gonna take a ride down and go see the guys. That will be awesome. I haven’t seen the new team yet, so I’m really looking forward to it.
The most important thing I want to do, I want to go over to Corinthians, that is the most important thing.”
W (DD): And what is your football team in England?
PD: West Ham.
W (DD): Oh, very good.
PD: West Ham United, unfortunately, relegation, but all that compared to Corinthians, it doesn’t matter.
W (DD): Paul, what can you tell us about that project you had in the past, The Original Iron Men?
PD: That’s something that went out of control, I didn’t have anything to do with any of these stuff. This is…hang on a second, hang on a minute, I’m just gonna get rid of something. I’ve got you on speaker at the moment, hold on. This is something my manager pulled out a long time ago. I wasn’t that happy about it, you know, and obviously I didn’t get any money, as always. And after all that stuff happened, this Iron Men thing, there was some tracks with me and Dennis Stratton. I was like, not happy, because that’s the one guy from Iron Maiden I don’t particularly get on too well with. He has not really done well with Steve, I think that’s because Steve fired him, but I know why I did. But, there you go. He wasn’t too happy about that. And people think we were in the same studio, we weren’t, I wouldn’t do that. It was put together by my manager, he put the tracks together. I have to say that I was not really that happy about it, to be honest with you.
W (NM): Ok, so we’re just about to finish our interview. First of all, let me thank you a million times for your time and it’s been a real honor. You are such a nice guy and it’s been great talking to you, really great, we really appreciate it.
PD: Anytime, anytime, no problem.
W (NM): Just leave a message to all your Brazilian fans and invite everybody to the shows in Brazil, please.
PD: I will. Thank you so much for making me so welcome in your wonderful country. I love you all so much, you all know that, because I keep coming back. Hopefully, see you at the shows. If you can’t get there and I can meet you in any other place, I certainly will. Love you all and see you all soon. Thank you very much.
W (DD): Thanks so much, Mr. Paul Di’Anno, it was really an honor. I’m really kind of emotional here, because…
PD: Don’t start crying, ‘cause you’ll start me crying.
W (DD): I remember listening so many times over and over and over those two records, so it was really a pleasure and an honor to speak with you.
PD: Good to speak to you too, man. Listen, I’ll meet up with you when I’m over there, yeah?
W (NM): Yeah, for sure, man, 100%.
PD: When you see your brother, give him a hug from me as well.
W (NM): I will, man. I’ll make sure that he comes to the show and to meet you backstage as well, ok?
PD: Excellent, fantastic. All right, guys, I’ll see you soon. Take care of yourselves.
W (DD): Thanks so much
W (NM): Bye, bye.
PD: Thank you, tchau, bye!