Making it ‘to the top’ in the music business is hard enough. Sustaining a lifetime career in metal is even harder. After three decades of blood, sweat and beers, Paul Di’Anno has seen and done it all. Now, he’s decided it’s time to bring the curtain down once his current world tour ends.
“It’s just gotten to that time,” Di’Anno explains, “It’s a hard life on the road all these years. I need to spend more time with my old lady and kids. I’ll still be putting recorded stuff out, I may still do occasional shows, but constant touring is definitely over.”
It has been a journey that began with a bang. Di’Anno fronted Iron Maiden for their first two albums, but he says this era ended almost as quickly as it began.
“When we were signed and our album went to number four and top of the pops, all within a month, I still remember record company people hanging out office windows at EMI in London screaming congratulations at us. I thought it was Rod Smallwood, our manager, taking the piss. What a high. We felt like gods,” he reminisces, “but a year later something I loved so much [Maiden] was going in a direction I wasn’t happy with, so it was a pretty high-high and then a pretty low-low. I’m still proud of the first Maiden LP, not so much the second one – it’s like my bad kid,” he laughs.
Di’Anno’s time since those early days has been filled with numerous bands and solo projects and no doubt plenty of memories.
“I couldn’t even start to tell you [everything], it would fill up the London phone book. Dumping buckets of shit all over KISS at end of our first tour was fun. I don’t mean real shit, I mean buckets of confetti… I don’t think Gene [Simmons, vocal/bass] would of liked buckets of shit,” he laughs, “I also got married to Dave Murray [Iron Maiden, guitar] in France when we were drunk. Visiting Bon Scott’s grave a couple of years back with the Killrazer boys was a definite high too. He bought me my first beer, so I left him a beer and some smokes at his grave. What a man.”
Di’Anno has shared the stage and studio with many great musicians, yet there’s one man who stands out in his eyes.
“To me, Clive Burr [Iron Maiden, drums] will always be the king. Always. I have had so many solo bands over the years: Killrazer from Oz are one of my favourites, my Brazilian band which featured members of Sepultura, all the Killers guys – f**k I could go on. I could never go past Clive Burr though.”
The last of this nomad journey sees Di’Anno once again play shows across the globe. The 2012 tour has so far taken Di’Anno to Mexico, Russia, Europe, South America and Australia, and has seen him receive a great response from audiences.
“It’s funny, in places like South America we still play to very large crowds, same as Europe. Some places might be smaller, but they all have that same energy, people are having a good f**king time. If I hear another one of my songs on a stereo I think I’d punch the person next to me, but when I’m on stage it doesn’t matter. You forget and just get totally involved with these geezers down the front and the older blokes up the back. I just love it.”
Paul Di’Anno photo courtesy the Visceral Industry.