Bruce Dickinson Overview
Paul Bruce Dickinson (born 7 August 1958) is an English singer, airline pilot Aviator , radio show host, fencer, author, swordsman, and songwriter best known as the vocalist of the heavy metal heavy metal music band Iron Maiden.
Dickinson performed for some local bands including Styx (not the American band of the same name Styx (band) ) in 1976, Speed, (1977–1978), and Shots in early 1979. He then joined hard rock band Samson Samson (band) later in 1979, where he gained some po***rity. In this band he went by the name of "Bruce Bruce." He left Samson in 1981, citing musical differences. Shortly afterwards, in 1981, Dickinson was hired as Iron Maiden's new vocalist, debuting for that band with the 1982 album The Number of the Beast The Number of the Beast (album) . During his time in that band, they issued a series of high impact releases, resulting in Dickinson gaining worldwide fame, and becoming one of the most acclaimed heavy metal vocalists of all time.
Dickinson quit Iron Maiden in 1993 in order to pursue his solo career, being replaced by Blaze Bayley. Dickinson's solo work ranged a wide variety of heavy metal and rock rock music styles. Dickinson rejoined Maiden in 1999 along with guitarist Adrian Smith. Since then, Dickinson has only released one more solo album, Tyranny of Souls. He is the older cousin of Rob Dickinson, lead singer of British alternative rock band Catherine Wheel. In his personal life, he is known for his strict abstinence from drug use Recreational drug use .
Paul Bruce Dickinson was born in the small mining town of Worksop, Nottinghamshire. His mother Sonia worked part-time in a shoe shop and his father Bruce was a mechanic in the army. Dickinson's birth hurried the young couple into marriage. Initially, he was brought up by his grandparents; his grandfather was a coal-face worker at the local colliery and his grandmother was a housewife. This is referred to in his song "Born In '58" from the album Tattooed Millionaire.
Dickinson started school at Manton Primary. Soon afterwards, when he was six, his parents moved from Worksop to Sheffield and he consequently had to go to a new school, Manor Top, which Dickinson disliked. After six months, his parents decided to move him out to a small private school called Sharrow Vale Junior. Of this period, he recalled "I grew up in an environment where it struck me that the world was never gonna do me any favours. And I had very few close friends, because we were always moving. I think that's partly why I grew up feeling like such an outsider. I didn't have an unhappy childhood, but it was unconventional, to say the least". He also has a younger sister named Helen who was born in 1963. He tried to isolate himself from her as much as he could when he was young, supposedly out of spite because she, unlike him, was a planned pregnancy and birth.
Dickinson's first musical experience was dancing in his grandparents' front room to Chubby Checker's "The Twist The Twist (song) ". The first record Dickinson recalls owning was The Beatles single "She Loves You" which he managed to persuade his granddad to buy him. "I was only four or five but I really loved that scene, The Beatles and Gerry & The Pacemakers. ... I noticed they had B-sides, and that sometimes I liked them even more than the A-sides. That was when I first began noticing the difference between 'good' music and 'bad'." He believes that this marked the beginning of him thinking like a musician. He tried to play an acoustic guitar belonging to his parents, but it blistered his fingers.
By this time, Dickinson's parents were earning a good living from selling estate. A lot of Dickinson's childhood was spent living on a building site, until his parents bought a boarding house where his father sold second-hand cars off a forecourt. The income from their business success gave them the opportunity to give Dickinson—then 13 years old—a boarding school education and they chose Oundle Oundle School , a public school public school (UK) in Northamptonshire. Dickinson enjoyed being away from home. "I didn't particularly enjoy being with my parents, so I saw it as an escape. I think it was because I hadn't built any real attachment to them when I was very, very young."
At Oundle, however, Dickinson was picked on and routinely bullied by the older boys of Sidney House, the boarding house that he belonged to. His interests at Oundle were often military. He co-founded the school wargames society with Mike Jordan, and he rose to a position of some power in the Combined Cadet Force.
Oundle was also where Dickinson became attracted to heavy rock. He has said :"I was 13 when I first heard Deep Purple's In Rock Deep Purple in Rock album, and it just blew me away! I heard this thing coming out of someone's room one day, and I went in and said 'Whoa! What's that?' And they just looked at me disdainfully and went 'It's "Child in Time" by Deep Purple. Don't you know anything?' But I was too amazed to care. The first album I ever bought was Deep Purple in Rock, all scratched to ***, but I thought it was great."
Dickinson obtained bongo drums from the music room and practiced. Dickinson remembers trying to learn "Let It Be Let It Be (song) ." Other than this tinkering though, he never learned an instrument at school, and as far as his contemporaries can recall, he could not read music. Any technical musical skills that Dickinson now possesses were acquired after his stay at Oundle.
In an episode of BBC2's Seven Ages of Rock, Dickinson said in interview that, like Sinatra's "My Way", Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills" was based on "rising sixths". Whether or not his illustration was correct, it has to be said that Dickinson knew nothing about rising sixth Interval (music) s when he left Oundle.
Dickinson was later expelled from Oundle for urinating in the headmaster Barry Trapnell 's dinner. Neil Ashford, his co-urinator, was rusticated Rustication (academia) ; that is, sent home for the rest of the term rather than being permanently excluded from the school, on the grounds that the contribution to the headmaster's beans had been Dickinson's idea. Returning home to Sheffield in 1976, Dickinson enrolled at a local Catholic comprehensive school, although not a practising Catholic himself.
In the summer of 1976, he joined his first band. He had overheard two other pupils talking about their band and that they needed a singer. Dickinson volunteered to do the vocals. They rehearsed in the drummer's father's garage and the band were impressed by Dickinson's singing. It was at this point Dickinson decided to buy a microphone. The first gig Dickinson's new band did was at the Broadfield Tavern pub in Sheffield. Originally called "Paradox," the band changed name upon Dickinson's suggestion, to "Styx", unaware of the American act with the same name Styx (band) . They made local newspaper headlines when a steel worker was awoken by their performance. Of the incident, it was said: "He bottled the guitarist and chucked the drums off-stage." Soon after, the band split up.After leaving his school Dickinson didn't really know what he wanted to do. He joined the Territorial Army Territorial Army (United Kingdom) for six months, which he did not enjoy. As army life was not what he wanted, he applied for a place at University. He had met the minimum grades for getting in and read history at Queen Mary College Queen Mary, University of London , in London's East End. His parents wanted him in the army, but he told them that he wanted to get a degree first. "That was what they wanted to hear so that was my cover story. When I got down there I started immediately finding and playing in bands."
In college, Dickinson got involved in the Entertainments Committee. "One day you'd be a roadie for The Jam, the next you'd be putting up the Stonehenge backdrop for Hawkwind or whatever." In 1977, Dickinson met a guy called Paul "Noddy" White. He was a multi-instrumentalist and he had a PA and other equipment. Dickinson suggested that, along with drummer Steve Jones, they form a band together. This would eventually evolve into the band "Speed", described by Dickinson as sounding like a 'crossover between Judas Priest and The Stranglers with a Hammond organ on top of it.' Dickinson recalled: "It had nothing to do with taking speed, we were a completely drug-free band, we just used to play everything ridiculously fast. Like speed metal, but ten years too early." Dickinson was the vocalist and occasionally played guitar. "I got Noddy to give me guitar lessons and I ... started writing stuff straight away. He showed me three chords and I'd write stuff just from those three chords."
Speed didn't last long, but it encouraged Dickinson to continue to work to be a musician. Dickinson spotted an ad in Melody Maker with the caption "Singer wanted for recording project". Since he had never been near a recording studio he replied immediately. He "wailed, wolfed, hollered and made noises" onto a tape and with it went a note that read; "By the way, if you think the singing's crap, there's some John Cleese stuff recorded on the other side you might find amusing." They liked what they heard and Dickinson came down to the studio. The band was called "Shots" and were formed by two brothers, Phil and Doug Siviter. They were amazed by Dickinson's vocal abilities and they started talking about what music they liked. "I started saying Ian Gillan, Ian Anderson Ian Anderson (musician) , Arthur Brown Arthur Brown (musician) , and Doug goes, 'That's it! *** Arthur Brown, man! Sometimes your voice is a dead ringer for Arthur! We've got to form a band.' This guy's got a studio and he wants to form a band with me! I was like 'Yes'." A song "Dracula" from this session can be heard as the closing track on The Best of Bruce Dickinson, disc two. According to Dickinson, this song is first thing he ever recorded.
Dickinson played pubs with Shots on a regular basis. One particular night, Dickinson suddenly stopped in the middle of a song and started interviewing a man in the audience, heckling for not paying enough attention. He got such a good response he started doing it every night until it became a regular routine. "Suddenly everybody was paying attention, cause they might be next. The first time I did it, afterwards the landlord of the pub was like 'Great show, lads, see you next week'. So we started sort of building this bit into the show. And that was when I first started to get the hang of, just not being a singer, but being a frontman, too."
The next step in Dickinson's career was taken in a pub called the Prince of Wales in Gravesend, Kent, where Shots were playing regularly. One night, Barry Graham Thunderstick ("Thunderstick") and Paul Samson paid a visit. The legend says that Thunderstick, who was there in his every day guise, became the victim of Dickinson's gimmick. "He looked a bit weird so I did a spiel on it". Obviously impressed with his stage-act, Thunderstick and Samson talked with Shots after the performance. A couple of weeks later, Samson called and asked him if he was willing to join their band, Samson Samson (band) . Dickinson was interested since this meant he could play larger gigs in London. Dickinson wanted to "do things with a bit of a weird edge to it." By then, Shots had almost become a heavy metal comedy act; the show had completely taken over the music.In my naivety I thought people who were in rock 'n' roll bands were great artists, and it was a huge shock to the system to realise that they weren't, that they didn't even aspire to be, really. Some of them did, maybe, but some of them, like Samson, were very frightened of the idea. | —Bruce Dickinson.
In a gig Gig (musical performance) by hard rock band Samson at Bishop's Stortford, Dickinson came onstage and performed one of their songs, "Rock Me Baby". He was offered the job as the band's vocalist immediately. They released their debut album, Survivors Survivors (album) , in 1979 on an independent label independent music . Dickinson did not appear on the original version, as it had been completed two months before he joined them. During his time in Samson, he went by the name "Bruce Bruce", derived from Monty Python's Bruces sketch. The other band members knew they had improved things by hiring Dickinson, but it took some time for the fans to "catch up". Dickinson was shocked after finding out that all rock rock music performers were not as great artists as he had thought them to be. Most of them, like Samson, didn't think of po***rity, but just "to have a good drink, a good shag, and take some drugs". It was very difficult for him to relate to that kind of living. He had smoked before, but in Samson it was more like a habit. Dickinson had to smoke joint joint (cannabis) s in order to communicate with other band members. He called it, "the price that had to be paid", as it was a step towards his goal —being a rock n' roll rock and roll singer.
The band released two more albums with Dickinson - Head On Head On (Samson album) and Shock Tactics. However, after Samson encountered numerous difficulties, Dickinson departed in 1981.Maiden worked to a time table. A table that wasn't absolute but it had to be stuck to. "Now you'll write for six weeks, now you'll make a record for three months, now you're rehearsing for two weeks, now you'll tour for eight months." It was organized like that and that seemed to suit the style of writing of the band. | — Bruce Dickinson at Gino, Stockholm Stockholm . Dickinson auditioned for Iron Maiden in September 1981, singing a version of "Remember Tomorrow", from their self-titled debut album Iron Maiden (album) , to which the band members answered "Hey... you got the job". Maiden had a strict and organized routine that suited the band's writing style, and to whom Dickinson described as a "time table". The band embarked on a supporting tour The Beast on the Road around the globe.
On the following albums, 1983's Piece of Mind and 1984's Powerslave Powerslave (album) , Steve Harris Steve Harris (musician) 's song-writing monopoly was pushed aside in favour of other members' ideas. During the World Slavery Tour, as part of the new theatrical elements, Dickinson wore a feathered mask during "Powerslave Powerslave (song) ".
The band took a six-month break, which Dickinson spent practicing fencing. style, and had no writing credits. Iffy was an English landlord, whose problems were always related to the lack of money and quested a wealthy life. The album featured Dickinson's "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter", originally composed for a film soundtrack A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child , which despite receiving a Golden Raspberry Award for worst "original" song in 1989 10th Golden Raspberry Awards , it became the band's first single to top the UK singles chart UK Singles Chart . Dickinson said this was the first time they attempted to recapture something from the past. In an interview for Rhythm, a UK drum based magazine, Nicko McBrain stated that this incident inspired Dickinson to write the song These Colours Don't Run for Maiden's next album, stating: "When Bruce brought that to the table, he said 'I've got this song called 'These Colours Don't Run' and we all just laughed at him, saying, 'Yeah right, and where did that come from then?'."
In 2006, Maiden released their newest effort, A Matter of Life and Death A Matter of Life and Death (album) and embarked on the tour A Matter of Life and Death Tour . In 2008, they held the Somewhere Back in Time World Tour. Months later, Dickinson talked about the band's plans to compose a new album to come out in 2010, now known to be titled "The Final Frontier".In early 1989, Zomba Zomba Label Group asked Dickinson to do a track for the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, with a budget, a studio, and a producer, Chris Tsangarides. Dickinson took up the opportunity and called an old friend of his, former Gillan guitarist, Janick Gers. Shortly after meeting up, they had "Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter " ready for the studio. The song was composed with the assistance of bassist Andy Carr, and drummer Fabio del Rio. Later that year, Dickinson participed on a re-recording of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water", as part of the humanitarian effort Rock Aid Armenia. His intention now was to release a solo album. His solo debut, Tattooed Millionaire, was written and recorded within weeks, and released in May 1990. Backed by the band Skin Skin (UK band) , Bruce Dickinson, with Mr. Bean Mr. Bean#Mr. Bean , made a cover version of Alice Cooper's "Elected Elected (song) ", which was used in 1992 for Comic Relief, and five years later, on Bean Soundtrack Bean (film)#Soundtrack .
For his second solo effort, Balls to Picasso, Dickinson received the collaboration of American producer, Keith Olsen. Unhappy with the results, Dickinson started working with Tribe of Gypsies guitarist Roy Z, to improve Olsen's work. Tribe of Gypsies departed to continue with their work and Dickinson tracked down another band. Now his new writing partner was Alex Dickson.
Due to musical differences, the "Skunkworks" entity ceased to be when the tour ended. After a short period of inactivity, Dickinson once again teamed up with Roy Z and Tribe of Gypsies to record his next album, Accident of Birth. Adrian Smith was asked to guest and remained later as a full-time member. The album marked a return to heavy metal for Dickinson; being a much heavier album than Iron Maiden's, with a less progressive influence. It drew inspiration from William Blake's writings, with songs such as, "Book of Thel", having the same title The Book of Thel of some of his poems, and the artwork featuring one of his paintings The Ghost of a Flea . almost ten years after her duet album Barcelona (album) with Freddie Mercury. Scream for Me Brazil was a live album that documented a show recorded in São Paulo in 1999, during the supporting tour.
In February 1999, Dickinson, along with Smith returned to Iron Maiden. Dickinson performed vocals on the song, "Into the Black Hole", for Ayreon's Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator. Later that year, he collaborated with Judas Priest's front-man, Rob Halford, recording, "The One You Love to Hate", for Halford Halford (band) 's debut, Resurrection Resurrection (Halford album) . In late 2001, was released a compilation album, titled The Best of Bruce Dickinson. This work also included a limited edition disc of rarities and two new songs. His latest album, Tyranny of Souls was released in May 2005. This time the songwriting was all split between Roy Z and Dickinson. Many songs were composed by Roy sending recordings of riffs to Dickinson, while he was on tour with Maiden. In 2006, was released a three-DVD package, Anthology Anthology (DVD) , containing concerts from his career, promo videos and footage from his work on Samson.Dickinson's interests include literature, writing author , fencing fencing (sport) (at which he has competed internationally, and he also founded a fencing equipment company under the brand name "Duellist"), railway train technology and flying aviator Boeing 757 charter jets for the UK charter airline Astraeus Astraeus (airline) where he is employed as a Captain. He was taught to fly by British Airways commercial pilot Captain Phil Dales. Due to the wide variety of Dickinson's pursuits, the Winter 2009 edition of Intelligent Life Intelligent Life (magazine) named him as a living example of a polymath.
In mid-2006, Dickinson flew about 200 UK citizens home from Lebanon during the Israel/Hezbollah conflict 2006 Lebanon War . On 12 February 2007, Dickinson was given permission to fly Rangers F.C. to Israel for their UEFA Cup game against Hapoel Tel Aviv Hapoel Tel Aviv F.C. . Dickinson asked if he could pilot this flight as soon as he found Astraeus had the contract for it. After the collapse of XL Airways UK in September 2008 he piloted an Iceland Express aeroplane and flew home 180 stranded holiday makers from Egypt, as well as a Boeing 757 with a group of British RAF Royal Air Force pilots from Afghanistan. "A lot of them recognised him because they are Maiden fans, but he was there in his professional capacity as a pilot," says an RAF spokesman.
Dickinson has three children with his wife Paddy Bowden: Austin Dickinson (born 1990), Griffin Dickinson (born 1992), and Kia Michelle Dickinson (born 1994).
Dickinson currently presents the Friday evening "rock Rock music show" on BBC radio station 6 Music BBC 6 Music . Dickinson had Jean-Jacques Burnel, bassist with The Stranglers, take over for him while touring the US. He has recently taken the helm of BBC Radio 2 serial 'Masters of Rock'. He also presented the 5-part historical TV series about aviation; Flying Heavy Metal was shown on the Discovery Channel, which is now shown on the replacement for Discovery Wings Discovery Wings (UK) , Discovery Turbo Discovery Turbo (UK TV channel) in the UK. He was also a guest on a Discovery Channel show where he shared his enthusiasm for trains. He was also a guest on an episode of the Military Channel's "The Greatest Ever", where he drove a Russian T-34 tank. The most recent television programme he has presented was a show on spontaneous human combustion for Sky One called Inside Spontaneous Human Combustion with Bruce Dickinson, in which he investigates the phenomenon of this occurrence by enlisting the help of several experts and performing various experiments to determine its possible cause.
He also participated in a few other documentaries on the Discovery Channel including "Flying Heavy Metal."
Dickinson has also turned his hand to scriptwriting, having written a film script entitled Chemical Wedding Chemical Wedding (film) which has been made into a film starring Simon Callow. Dickinson played a few small cameo roles and has composed the soundtrack. Dickinson also appeared twice in The Paradise Club, a BBC series.
In March 2010, the BBC announced that Dickinson's 'Friday Rock Show' is to be axed. He will reportedly broadcast his last show at the end of April.;Iron Maiden
*1982: The Number of the Beast The Number of the Beast (album)
*1983: Piece of Mind
*1984: Powerslave Powerslave (album)
*1986: Somewhere in Time Somewhere in Time (album)
*1988: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
*1990: No Prayer for the Dying
*1992: Fear of the Dark Fear of the Dark (album)
*2000: Brave New World Brave New World (Iron Maiden album)
*2003: Dance of Death Dance of Death (album)
*2006: A Matter of Life and Death A Matter of Life and Death (album)
*2010: The Final Frontier
*1990: Tattooed Millionaire
*1994: Balls to Picasso
*1996: Skunkworks Skunkworks (album)
*1997: Accident of Birth
*1998: The Chemical Wedding
*2005: Tyranny of Souls
*1979: Survivors Survivors (Samson album) (re-issue only)>
*1980: Head On Head On (Samson album)
*1981: Shock Tactics Shock Tactics (album)
*1990: Live at Reading 1981
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