Harris: Maiden gone in 10 years
Stage fright: Steve Harris
Iron Maiden mainman Steve Harris thinks his band may have give more years left in them – but they’ll be gone within ten.
His comments come just days after Rush admitted they were aware they’re likely to retire in the foreseeable future.
And Harris reveals he has doubts about whether to take his solo album British Lion on the club tour he’d previously said he was thinking about.
Maiden released their fifteenth studio album, The Final Frontier, in 2010. That led to speculation the band was winding down, based on comments Harris had made years earlier saying they’d make fifteen records then split. He later admitted the album title was a play on those rumours, and said the band would continue as long as they felt able.
Asked by The Quietus if there’s any reason they can’t keep going for another decade, the bassist says: “I don’t know about ten years. I think we’ve certainly got another five years in us – but it’s hard to say.
“As you get older it gets doubly hard to keep yourself fit and in shape. We do work really hard on doing that. We’d be selling ourselves and everyone else short if we didn’t, so we do look after ourselves.
“It does get tougher – I don’t play football much any more, partly because I’ve had so many problems with my back that I can only play the odd match here or there. Unfortunately it’s five years since I’ve played a full season of football and that’s something that I miss a lot; but I had to make a decision. I play a lot of tennis.”
Harris reflects that while Maiden could once have been regarded as a band towards the heaviest end of metal, “the emergence of hardcore and extreme bands have made us sound more like the Moody Blues!”
British Lion has received both positive and negative reviews – and Harris wants to wait until a more settled response has been received before deciding whether to brave the stage fright of club shows.
“I’d love to play the album live,” he says. “We have to wait and see what the reaction is like first though. I never take anything for granted.
“I can imagine that once you step outside the Maiden comfort zone, you don’t know what to expect. I still do get a little bit nervous at the beginning of Maiden tours, mainly because of the new material. We’ll have rehearsed, but you can rehearse until the cows come home and the first few shows will always be a little bit rusty. Once you’re confident it doesn’t matter so much.
“I used to get more worried years ago with Maiden about whether people were going to turn up or not. It’s different now. I may not expect every single show to sell out and I never take everything for granted, but you still know you’re going to get a certain amount of people.”
The thought pushes his mind back to Maiden’s earliest days. “We did have gigs years ago where no one turned up – I’m thinking specifically of places like the Double Six in Basildon or Lafayette in Walthamstow.
“At that one there were women punching each other out at the bar and we could see them clearly because there was hardly anyone else there. Just two women having a fight!”
He adds: “I guess there’s an element of that fear with British Lion – but that’s also what’s exciting about it.”