Exclusive: Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris talks about his British Lion solo project
Different beast: Harris with his solo band
Iron Maiden bandleader Steve Harris will release his debut solo album British Lion in September.
More than a decade in the making, the 10-track collection finds Harris collaborating with a new band – vocalist Richard Taylor, guitarists Graham Leslie and David Hawkins and drummer Simon Dawson – and is described by the bassist as “70s-influenced, British-sounding hard rock”.
Speaking exclusively to Classic Rock from Montreal during Maiden’s 34-date North American Maiden England tour, Harris promises that British Lion will contain some surprises for Maiden fans, noting: “I don’t know what people are expecting, but it’s probably not this.”
Interview: Paul Brannigan
People might be surprised to learn that there’s a Steve Harris solo album on the way…
Yeah, and I think that’s a good thing: it’s the one chance I’ve had to keep a bit of mystique. The album has been coming together over a ridiculously long time, but we’ve managed to keep it a secret and that’s been kinda fun.
So where did the impetus for British Lion come from?
How it started was that Graham Leslie came to me with a cassette of songs – which shows how long ago it was! – and I thought they were really good, so I said I’d try to help his band do something. I ended up managing them and producing them and writing with them, although I kept that fact under wraps, to the point where even some people in the band didn’t know. Anyway, when that band imploded I thought, ‘Well, I’ve got to do something with this’, because I thought the songs were so strong.
Back in 1992 you told Raw magazine that you were mentoring a young band called British Lion: was that the same band?
Yeah, that’s how it originated. Over the years I’ve kept in touch with Richie and Graham, and then Richie was working with another guitarist called David Hawkins, who’s a really talented guy, and so we started writing songs together. So on the album there are six songs written with Richie and David, there’s one with just me and Richie, and the others are me, Richie, Graham and a couple of other guys that were around at the time.