By the time this interview is transcribed and translated to Greek the tickets for Paul Di’Anno’s show in Athens on the 14th of December are almost sold out and a new date is added, a proof of the fans’ love of the singer and the on stage collaboration with Greek shredder, Gus G on Iron Maiden’s two first albums. Paul is in great mood, despite the interview marathon he is up against all day, as well as the back to back football matches in Qatar! By the way, he is sharing his prediction about the English national team! It’s also clear that after meeting up with the Chief he is no longer making bad comments about Maiden, even when I ask him to comment on Bruce Dickinson’s famous reaction about flairs being lighted at the band’s gig in Athens last summer. He is determined to work hard in improving his health, while already working on new material with Warhorse. In a few days we will have the chance to see him once again on stage with Gus… Interview: Yiannis Dolas
Rockpages.gr: How you doing? How’s your health?
Paul Di Anno: Not too bad. Apart from a great mental health is a bit nuts. Because if I’m not careful with a whole bunch of demented people.
Rockpages.gr: So, can you please tell us what we’re going to see in Athens and Thessaloniki, on those three shows?
Paul Di Anno: Well, we got to go back and play some old stuff. Obviously, with Gus is pretty good. I’ve never played Gus before. I’m looking forward to that. We know each other, but never done anything together before… We will do what we can to have a bit of fun.
Rockpages.gr: Can you give us a bit of the background when you were doing those two albums? How were things in England back then?
Paul Di Anno: Back in the day in England, we had that awful sort of government. And there was lots of unrest everywhere. It was awful. We had the punk movement going, which is, you know, against the government and everybody else was as well. The times were very hard, you know, sometimes you’d have no electricity for about two or three hours. Jobs were down. It was just awful. And, you know, communicating through music was with Iron Maiden and it was great. Very hard to put into words because it was a long time ago and I tried to put it out my mind at the moment, not the music, but because of what happens, you know, England is almost like going for another revolution over there. And it’s like not just music but the social and everything.
Rockpages.gr: Any plans for making something? You for working something?
Paul Di Anno: Yes. We’re working with Warhorse war at the moment. We’ve we’ve got about five or six tracks. As soon as I come back from Greece, I’m going to Split to go meet up my guitar players there and come to see what the songs sound like with me singing over them and that. And we’ve got a surprise cover song we’ve done with I don’t think anyone would guess that we would do something like that. It’s really good. We sort of rocked it up a little bit and I’m not going to tell you what it is. And after that, as I said, I’ve got to concentrate on getting up and walking and trying to use sticks because I mean, aahhh I’ll be in Brazil in the next couple of months after Christmas and I need to go home to England for up to 20 days at least before the tour kicks off again in four months.
Rockpages.gr: Do you think that England’s going to win it this time?
Paul Di Anno: You’re talking about the World Cup? Fuck no! Hahaha!
Rockpages.gr: Why would you say that “Killers” and “Iron Maiden” stood the test of time and are two such iconic albums?
Paul Di Anno: Those albums were groundbreaking. There was nothing like it, nothing else like it at all. And look at all the influences that came out of these two albums. I prefer the first album from the second. But you know, these albums usually are mentioned from all these great bands like Metallica, Pantera, Sepultura… Not many other musicians can say that.
Rockpages.gr: Although the band have progressed since you left, there’s still a bunch of people, a lot of fans that are still fans of the two albums and the Paul Di Anno era. And lesser Dickinson fans, for example. Does that make you feel vindicated?
Paul Di Anno: What is there to be vindicated about? No! We did good. Bruce is a different singer to me, but it’s all part of the Iron Maiden family. As long as the people that buy the records from both sides, mine and Bruce’s and Blaze’s and everybody, is great. It’s a great thing and I love it you know, I didn’t meet up with the boys in the in Zagreb when they played recently, but I did meet up with Steve and Rod and we had a chat and you know, we called each other every now and again and you know, mostly about West Ham. But then we, yeah, we just chatted and it was pretty awesome, you know, it was really good.
Rockpages.gr: I’d like to tell you something and you make a comment, last summer, Maiden played in Greece and there was an incident with a flare gun. I’m sure you heard about it. Flares. One of them was very close to the stage. Bruce flipped out. He stopped singing. He stopped the show and called names like “Greek cunts”, complaining about all that and this kind of fucked up the show. Would you say that this is like a very exaggerated reaction?
Paul Di Anno: Well, they’re dangerous, man. I mean, you know, fires and things like that, letting flares off in arenas is not a good idea at all, I have to be honest with you. I’m not defending Bruce for being bad, saying bad things about everybody. That’s not fucking right. You know that’s wrong. You should have found the person who did it and then give him shit. And then give him a good beating and throw him the fuck out. But, you know, that’s the way to do it. Don’t spoil it, bring it down for everybody else. But he’s fucking annoying. You know, I’ve had this done to us before. And when, they first started getting bad, we had the same kind of shit. I can’t remember what country was it, I guess somewhere in South America. And we had like security everywhere, at the front of the stage, just to stop them from jumping up and hurting my leg. And they fucking did. They hit my leg and knocked me down. I was like 15 minutes away because my leg was just smashed to pieces and it’s been worse ever since, you know. So you got to be careful. You can’t lose your temper little bit. Well, I’ll try not to… Hahaha! Wich is almost impossible. Hahaha!
But the thing is, the thought of a band getting hit by flares is terrible. It’s a no-no. It’s even worse if fans are getting hurt by flares, by somebody very stupid. Just fucking stop it! It’s just not worth it. Just enjoy the music, take some pictures, have some head banging, get drunk, do fucking ever, have a but don’t bring flares, it’s stupid.
Rockpages.gr: All right. Although I think people is overdoing it with pictures as well, and mobile phones everywhere recording videos getting photos again and again. What do you think about that?
Paul Di Anno: Yeah, well, you ain’t gonna stop it, man. You just got to get on with it. Just accept it. I mean, if the guy’s right fucking face with the camera, you’ll probably see me lose my temper then. You know, I get really angry at fucking film crews that come up on stage and you’re almost tripping over their fucking wires and things, especially with my fragile legs innit? It’s not a good thing that. But yeah, sometimes, you know, so when the camera’s going off, get one go, especially out like amazing show it. It’s almost like strobe lighting. They might be doing some sort of, like, you know, a seizure.
Rockpages.gr: What do you want to say to the people who are coming to see you on those nights in Greece?
Paul Di Anno: It’s been a hell of a long time, and I’m sorry. I’m still a little bit sick, and I’m not on my feet yet, but I could still sing in a wheelchair. Fuck it. Let’s just do it. Have some fun and see you all there. Thank you for coming.
Absolutely. Well, I’ll go back to watch football. Γεια μας!