By Rod Whitfield
It’s hard not to get a little nostalgic when discussing a band like Iron Maiden. No less than four decades into their career, and they can arguably lay claim to the title of ‘Greatest Heavy Metal Band of all Time’. Bassist, key songwriter and founding member Steve Harris remains steadfastly down to earth however, and tends not to think about such things. He has just a little difficulty believing that it really has been that long.
“When you actually say it like that, it sounds really scary!” Harris laughs, “it’s a long bloody time, and the fact that we’re still around doing it is amazing, really. But yeah, it’s scary.”
He still has great recollections of those heady early days in the mid to late 70s when he was first putting the band together in London, utterly unaware of what was to come.
“Yeah I got loads of memories, “he states, “when I get time I might even like writing a book about it all. It was just really exciting, not that it’s not exciting now, of course it is, but when everything happens for the first time it’s just a new experience. Just some fantastic memories and amazing things happening. It’s just a very fondly remembered period in our career.”
And how far they’ve come since those days. Today, they fly around the world on their very own private jet, the appropriately named ‘Ed Force One’. And not only that, the plane is piloted by none other than the band’s frontman Bruce Dickinson. Harris admits he still finds it hard to believe.
“It’s amazing really, sometimes you have to pinch yourself,” he says, “it’s amazing, especially with Bruce piloting it. It’s definitely different.”
“It’s like being in Led Zeppelin, and I do feel like that sometimes.”
Despite their illustrious history, Harris still prefers to look to the future rather than focus on the past. “We tend not to look over our shoulders, we try to look forward rather than back,” he says, “maybe there’ll come a day when we do look back, when we hang the guitars up that may be the case, but not at the moment.”
He feels that there still a little life left in the old beast yet. “It’s a difficult question,” he admits, “we’ve been asked that for the last 15 years, I don’t know. Hopefully another three or four years at least anyway, we’ll see.”
It’s been difficult for Harris and the other members of Maiden to see several of their contemporaries fall by the wayside recently while they carry on. It has given them a sense of their own mortality, both as a band and as people.
“It’s not nice when you hear all these things, obviously,” he says, “it just kinda brings it home that the end is nigh, or at least closer, for us as well. But you try not to think too much about it, we just keep on doing what we do. We’re always planning ahead, so we just keep on going. Hopefully we’ll be able to carry on as long as we can.
“The key is we’ll stop when we want to stop, not when it’s forced upon us.”
Aussie fans will have at least one more chance to experience the bombastic monster that is Iron Maiden in concert, as the band is touring Australia and New Zealand on the ‘Book of Souls’ tour in early May.
“We always look forward to coming to Australia,” he enthuses, “it’s a good place to play and it’s a great country too. We love being tourists there too, as well as being paid to go there and play there, we’re very lucky.”
And the Aussie punters have something very special to look forward to on this tour. “It’s a completely new show, new stage set, new songs,” he reveals, “the whole shebang really.
“When we’ve got a new album out, we always play five or six new songs. That goes without saying. Then it’s just a question of cramming in whatever else we can cram in.”
Iron Maiden: Aus & NZ Tour Dates 2016
29 April – Horncastle Arena, Christchurch NZ
01 May – Vector Arena, Auckland NZ
04 May – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
06 May – Allphones Arena, Sydney
09 May – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
12 May – Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide
14 May – Perth Arena, Perth
Tickets available HERE