Stars of the NWOBHM: An Interview With Eddie of Iron Maiden
Welcome to Rock profiles, an occasional foray into the weird and wonderful world of the superstars.
Here we ask the questions you all want to hear and probe the careers and lifestyles of the top names in heavy metal.
We investigate the pain, the angst, the anguish, the trials and tribulations of pampered multi-millionaires who travel the world, are adored by millions and who still manage to screw up their lives
"This is me 'Whispering' Bob Harris and tonight I am with the famous Iron Maiden icon 'Eddie' . An exception to the misrule of the royalty of the rock kingdom. A man who through it all has managed to stay on his feet and keep his head while all others around him have been out of theirs."
"Probably the most photographed star in the music business who has never lost his looks, although that's not saying much. He is the face that launched a thousand glitter patches and a million childhood nightmares."
Bob: Good evening Eddie.
Ed: Sorry! Didn't catch that, could you speak up please
Bob: I said good evening Eddie!
Ed: Thanks, but I do so prefer 'Edward' these days, since the O.B.E. you know.
Bob: OK, Edward it is. Are you following in the footsteps of Phillip Lynott and Edward Van Halen so to speak?
Ed: I like to consider myself more in the mould of Sir Mick Jagger.
Bob: No one seems to call him Sir Michael Jagger though?
Ed: No, that is a strange one but I suppose it's better than being called 'Keef' and falling out of a coconut tree.
Bob: Indeed so.
Ed: I met him when was an extra on Pirates of the Caribbean you know. Part of the ghastly ghost crew.
Bob: I didn't know that.
Ed: Oh yes! I blended in wonderfully although it was irritating the way the Americans pronounced Caribbean as......
Bob: Well, sorry to interrupt but I'd like to come back to your movie projects a little later. Right now looking back over your career in the early days, it didn't begin with the Irons did it?
Ed: Oh Good Heavens No! I was modelling before that, when working my way through an Egyptology Degree at Cambridge, which incidentally came in useful for the 'Powerslave' concept. But yes, I was advertising anti-wrinkle creams and toothpaste commercials, that sort of thing.
Bob: So the horror-porn allegations were unfounded?
Ed: Completely my good man. Scurrilous rumours whipped up by 'Crunch' magazine when I refused them an interview.
Bob: But certainly Iron Maiden was the breakthrough
Ed: Indeed. Hard to refuse, I mean, those girls with the band, they were bang on!
Bob: A startling debut .
Ed: Oh yes! Her name was Chloe, she was a sweet girl but she liked a bit of rough.
Bob: No! I meant the first album.
Ed: Oh that! Yes! Certainly, quite a trend-setter although quite punk influenced. Like Johnny Rotten with hair-extensions.That back-combed mullet became very popular in the 80's but I feel I never got the credit I deserved.
Bob: Things got even better with 'Number of the Beast' however.
Ed: That was the breakthrough, new singer with Bruce Dickinson.
Bob: It was definitely a change in style from Paul Di'Anno
Ed: Of course and he had better hair too.
Bob: The album cover was not without its controversy though was it?
Ed: Ah yes! Took a lot of flak from the local Church Committee but the vicar is a friend of the family. I still felt compelled to take a back seat at the weekly coffee mornings just to smooth things over.
Bob: And an image change too.
Ed: Absolutely, the centre-parting, more metal style I believe. Inspired Tina Turner by the way. It didn't do her any harm I suppose. Had my teeth done too, cost a fortune. It was worth it though, I won 'Smile of the Year 1982' from readers of Women's Weekly. Obviously the satanic side of things didn't concern them unduly.
Bob: Probably the first time a member of Iron Maiden has been 'Housewives Choice' so to speak.
Ed: Never a truer word spoken my friend. You wouldn't believe what goes on behind those twitching curtains. And they call us depraved?
Bob: You all took a lot of fierce criticism from the fundamentalist wing in the USA
Ed: Not half, they kept pouncing on me to grab my hair and see if I really had 666 on my skull.
Bob: Frightening moments
Ed: Absolutely chummy! And hard on the roots.
Bob: And they conducted album burnings too didn't they.
Ed: Yes, but it was good for sales. We should've been entered in the Christian Rock charts with the number of church-goers buying our albums.
Bob: Did the congregation in your local church buy your albums.
Ed: Heaven's no! They wanted freebies for their kids all the time.
Ed: Oh yes! And we struggled to clear fifty-quid at the Easter raffle most years. Tight-fisted gits.
Bob: I see. But moving on to later albums. The hair was gone.
Ed: Yes! A strange decision that one. Everywhere else's hair was on the up and up, it was an aerosol frenzy. The ozone layer must have took a real bashing from those New Romantics and Glam-Metal bands.
Bob: Did you shave it?
Ed: God forbid!! No, wore a skullcap.
Bob: Really? I didn't know that.
Ed: God yes, sweated like buggery under that I tell you.
Bob: You suffer for your art in this business
Ed: Abso-bloody-lutely. I had to keep the hair, had a very lucrative long-term contract with Harmony Hairspray.
Bob: Is he or isn't he.....?
Ed: .....wearing Harmony Hairspray. Exactly! It marked a change from the pretty girl walking through the park kind of thing. The sight of me headbanging on tour with Maiden then leaping into the crowd was a sensation.
Bob: I remember those adverts well.
Ed: Yes! Then I'd leap back on stage after a mauling from the crowd with not a hair out of place. I must have help shift tons of the stuff. Although I must say their tag-line "The Can I Spray With Madness" was rather grim and dreadfully cheesy.
Bob: And what next then?
Ed: Well we're currently negotiating for the next season of 'I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!'
Bob: Interesting! and do you know the other contestants?
Ed: Oh! I'm not a contestant. They just want me to jump out of the bush and scare the crap out of them. Sounds like jolly good fun.
Bob: And any truth in the rumours about Hollywood?
Ed: Indeed yes. Naturally I'm no pin-up although I'm a lot taller than Tom Cruise and my skin complexion isn't much worse than Brad Pitt. But I suppose my roles would be restricted to those slasher bloodfests or mad-alien type movies.
Bob: I couldn't imagine you in a Woody Allen film I suppose.
Ed: No! I suppose not, but no great loss. I can't stand Jazz.
Bob: However, I hear there could be a major part in the offing.
Ed: Mmm, 'Eddie vs Predator', yes that could happen. Biff Byford has already agreed to play my arch enemy, so they could call it 'Maiden vs Saxon : Battle of the Bands.' ha ha ha!.
Bob: Well, good Luck with that. Thanks for coming tonight.
Ed: Delighted my dear fellow, and 'Rock Hard, Rock Animal' and all that tosh as they say in the business. Love your show on Radio 2 by the way. No chance of bringing back the Old Grey Whistle Test then?
Bob: I'm afraid not
Ed: Didn't think so, except that I was on that show with the Jools Holland chappie. But he hasn't asked me back since I ate half his piano.