Why Maiden slowed down set
Refined: Nicko McBrain
Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain admits the band aren’t playing their old songs the way they used to – because they’re not able to.
But he’s enjoying the fact that his band are big enough to put on whatever kind of tour they want, rather than simply supporting their most recent album.
The NWOBHM giants are currently in the US with their Maiden England tour, which concentrates on material around their Seventh Son of a Seventh Son record. It follows a previous retrospective trek, Somewhere Back in Time.
McBrain tells AZ Central: “The primary reason is there were these new generations of fans. We thought, ‘These kids weren’t even thought about when we went out with this tour and that tour.’
“It works out well for us. When you’re doing a new record you’ve got to see how the sales go on that – you’ve got to go on tour and promote it, which we’ve always done a great job of in the past.
“But it’s nice not to have to take that side of the industry with you every time you go on tour. We’re enjoying it better than ever. It’s like riding a bike; you never forget, but you get a little wobbly and the joints go rusty.”
Maiden’s current set includes songs they wrote 25 years ago, many of which they haven’t played in nearly as long, including the Seventh Son title track. That involved a bit of homework for the band – and a stark realisation for McBrain.
He says: “I’d listen and go, ‘Gosh, I can’t believe we played that song that fast.’ We still have a lot of energy, but as a player I’ve realised we couldn’t play at that speed today and make it work.
“We were younger and it was a lot more crazy. We’re a bit more refined with where we go with tempos now. There are still nights when I go a bit quick and the rest of the band moan.”
McBrain namechecks 2006 album A Matter of Life and Death and his 1983 Maiden debut Peace of Mind as his two stand-out records. He adds: “It was really nice listening back to the old stuff because I rarely revisit the older material when I’m listening in my car to music.”