Bruce Dickinson: Flashing Metal With Iron Maiden And Flying Solo

Bruce Dickinson: Flashing Metal With Iron Maiden And Flying Solo

Writer: Joe Shooman, 2007
Publisher: Independent Music Press (Original) / Pocketförlaget (Sweden)
Price: £13.99 (€17.2 / $23.5)

Buy it HERE

Nowadays we see the shelves being flooded with both official and unofficial biographies about any odd band that has made some impact on the music scene. Of course, more is to be said about Bruce Dickinson than many of the bands that are rewarded with a book. This book addresses his career before and after IRON MAIDEN as well as the way back to IRON MAIDEN again and onward to recent days.

Joe Shooman has actually managed to capture Bruce’s whole life in a very detailed way. The story tells a lot about Bruce’s childhood, through the first steps in showbiz at Oundle School and the start of his musical history, through more and less famous bands. It’s clear that Joe is a real author because the storyline is good and kept in chronological order. It’s enough fluff around to help the reader get a good picture what the places, venues and people around Bruce looked like. Still, the facts are prominent and that’s never lost. There’s also enough anecdotes from people around Bruce over the years who gets their say about what happened throughout the years.

As I said, many people has come with input to this story, band members from SAMSON, for example drummer Thunderstick as well as producer Tony Platt have the space to tell their view. Another one with a lot to say, who also has come with input is Neal Kay the manager of Heavy Metal venues Soundhouse and Bandwagon. It’s the same thing in the early 90’s, from the day Bruce released his first solo album “Tattooed Millionaire” and forward, when he quit IRON MAIDEN and all the project he was involved to afterwards. The stories about Bruce’s creativity and drive to try out (at least as it seems today) rather crazy projects he dug into, for example, exploring what could be done in a digital way is very fascinating. Perhaps not for the story itself but to read about his constant energy and drive to create something. The electronic project never really saw the light of day. But of course, everyone’s well aware of many other things Bruce has managed successfully instead.

The story around the IRON MAIDEN days is a bit different though as it seems like none of the band members has been involved at all. There are quotes from long time manager Rod Smallwood but if it is for the book only or quotes from other interviews is hard to tell. Else there are a few journalists and other branch people that have been around IRON MAIDEN who have commented and contributed to the section. This is of course a bit of a downside. Still, the story about the tours and recording of albums which followed each other is very well written, even in class with Mick Wall’s “Run To The Hills” biography. Of course it would have been very strange to leave this part out. But on the other hand it has been documented thoroughly in already mentioned book. Another guy getting quite a lot of space is bassist Chris Dale who played with Bruce around the SKUNKWORKS era. This part is particularly fascinating to read. Especially since Bruce did everything he could, at least to start with, to create a new band where everyone was equal.

I managed to buy this book in Swedish and I’m not sure of something has been lost or messed up in translation. But there are occasions I feel that the story doesn’t add up really. For example, the book refers to “The X Factor” as IRON MAIDEN’s second try with Blaze Bayley, Bruce’s predecessor, and this somewhere around 1997-1998. It should of course have been “Virtual XI” in this case to be right, but just this one made me wonder if there are more errors like this in the book, for parts that I don’t see immediately, where I don’t know the histories as well as I do for IRON MAIDEN. This thing puts it down a bit.

Still the good things are many more than the bad things, absolutely. The language is very good, the writing is great and the story really interesting. Still should have read it in English though.

+Pros Well written, great story line and a very interesting topic, in general very good and amusing reading.

-Cons Another biography with no participation from the main character.