I can understand just a little bit reading. I've read some of the Bruce's interview and I understood some phrases and even some paragraphs.De rien. And how much french do you speak or read ?
I've read some time ago that he was really close with the band after he left and he heard their stuff because he was a member for 9 years at the end and it was a very important part of his life…But, I'll be honest I really only know these songs and I haven't listened to the albums until today.
I also remember an interview (from the early 90's) in which Adrian said that he thinks NPFTD is a great album (he had listened to TXF album too).I've read some time ago that he was really close with the band after he left and he heard their stuff because he was a member for 9 years at the end and it was a very important part of his life…
Anyway, thanks for the interview!
I bought the German "Hardline" magazine.
It contains an interesting interview with Adrian.
He compares Martin Birch and Kevin Shirley and tells us what he thinks about reports from the studio work for the fans.
Did you realize that Adrian doesn't know all Iron Maiden songs?
This is my translation and I also scanned the original in.
Hardline (October-December 2021):
It's no secret that many bands have used the time of the pandemic to record a new
album. It's also no secret that big bands in particular like to keep a secret about whether they also belong to this illustrious circle. Thanks to the Internet and attentive fans, very few bands manage to keep their secret.
IRON MAIDEN are a different matter, because the band has for years taken a mischievous pleasure in fooling the fans when it comes to releasing a new album.
The release therefore came as a total surprise. A good reason to grab guitarist ADRIAN SMITH and ask him about it.
Hardline: Hi Adrian, nice that you have taken time for us.
You've led us around by the nose quite a bit, I have to say.
Adrian Smith: You're very welcome, interviews are always a pleasant change. In what way led around by the nose? What do you mean?
HL: Well, you kept quiet about the production of "Senjutsu" and you were not at a loss for excuses when you were asked about a new album.
I remember that my colleague Alexander Stock had you for an interview just a short time ago because of Smith/ Kotzen. He asked you about Iron Maiden and you said that nothing was planned at the moment and that one should not expect a new album for the time being.
AS: I see. Yeah, that's a little quirk of ours. We have been doing this for years. We just want to surprise the fans. I think it's boring when you make a big announcement that you're going into the studio to record a new album. Sure, it increases the fans' anticipation. But it's much more exciting when I don't know what's going to happen. Is a new album coming? Or a new tour? Something like that is exciting and unfortunately not so often done. Of course I can understand it with today's bands. They then try to spark excitement. Make studio reports, give regular insight into how things are going. And the fans follow and are happy about every snippet they get to hear. We don't have to spark excitement because we have loyal fans. And to be honest I can't understand why fans wait for a studio report, because actually these works are bone dry. You play a short riff, then you stop. Listen to the recording and say you're going to record it again or another track. There's nothing spectacular about it at all.
HL: What's spectacular, and now legendary, is the way you always manage to keep the Top Secret seal in the age of the Internet. Not even AC/DC managed that. They were photographed at the studio, so everyone knew that a new album was coming. And Iron Maiden is not an unknown band either.People know you. So it should be, especially in this day and age, be possible to not notice that you are in the studio.
AS: In any case, it is not getting easier to keep it a secret, I agree with you. We are all in one place. But we spread out. So, we book each of us in different hotels. Then we never arrive at the recording location together. But this secrecy also has another reason. Sure, it's fun to play a little bit with the fans in this way. But in the end we only have the chance to work in peace. Just imagine, everyone knew that tomorrow we would start recording for a new album were in Berlin. Countless fans would come there and besiege us. Working in a relaxed way would be out of the question.
HL: I agree with you there. Although it actually should have been noticeable, when a worldwide known band during a pandemic, where there are travel restrictions, suddenly appears in Paris, where where you recorded the album.
AS: That's probably true. But we had the album at the end of 2019 already as good as finished, so the recordings were not affected by the pandemic.
Only the mix and for that, our producer Kevin Shirley and Steve coordinated online. Everyone got so-called daily samples and edited them and then they sent it back and forth.
The original plan was to finish our Legacy of the Beast tour in 2020, and then to release the album shortly after that. Then Corona came along and complicated the situation. We then pushed everything back.
HL: In June there were first hints from you that something new was coming. You had done it like that with the album "Book of Souls" as well. Also then nobody knew that you were in the studio. Only when you sent a Christmas greeting where Eddie, dressed as Santa Claus, stands in front of a hat and pees in the snow and obviously represents a studio. This time it was Bruce, who liked to wear provocativ T-shirt on which it said "Belshazzar's Feast". No one knew exactly what it was all about, but everyone suspected that it could have something to do with a new album.
AS: Isn't that funny? It could have been anything, but if Bruce wears it, then it's a sign,
hahaha. I guess people would also speculate if he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. But,
you are right and, yes, it was on purpose. Especially Bruce and Steve take pleasure in laying out breadcrumbs.
HL: You also invited in mid-July to the Belshazzars Feast, which turned out to be the video for the first single 'The Writing on the Wall'. A song that you wrote together with Bruce.
You usually work in teams of two. How can how can one imagine the songwriting process? Are the teams put together beforehand and each team goes into separate rooms and writes the songs there?
AS: Actually you could imagine it like that. Everybody brings some kind of ideas to the process and then we listen to the stuff together and then Bruce comes to me and says, 'Come on, we'll work on this together' or it's Steve or Davey. Then we'll leave while the others listen to the rest of the ideas. And then we actually sit in a quiet room with a mobile recording device and continue to work on the idea. Most of the time it's just a riff for me or the idea for a chorus. For "Writing on the Wall", I had the basic melody, and then Bruce said he had great lyrics for it.
HL: Let's talk about that. Iron Maiden have always been known as storytellers. You guys have set many different themes to music, whether it was Greek legends, books or series.
What is "The Writing on the Wall about?
AS: The idea came from Bruce, as I said. He reads an incredible amount. When he heard the melody, he told me about the feast of Belshazzar (Belshazzar's Feast).
This is a story from the Bible, which was also realized by Rembrandt as a painting. The story
is about a Babylonian regent who celebrated an intoxicating feast, using vessels
which his father had stolen from a temple in Jerusalem. During this feast, as if by magic
a writing appeared on the wall, foretelling the end of his reign.
I thought that was exciting and so we used that. But I'm not really involved in the lyrics either.
HL: What is of course immediately noticeable is that after "Book of Souls" you are already releasing the second double album. Which is of course due to the running time of the individual songs. Particularly you once said, that you prefer crisp songs that don't go on too long. But also you are involved in songs, that go between six and eight minutes. Do you set a time limit in advance and determine exactly how long a song has to go? Especially if you have three lead guitarists, I can imagine that this is difficult to coordinate in short songs,
if you want to give space to everyone.
AS: It's not easy, you're right. But we don't do an ego thing in Maiden. We don't necessarily have to have five different solos in every song, just so that everyone can show how good they are. It has to fit the song. And if a song needs more space, it becomes longer. "The Writing on the Wall' wasn't conceived to be that long either, but the story behind it gave enough. l can of course only talk about the songs we worked on together. With songs that Steve writes on his own, I can't know if that's what he wanted from the beginning or if the song has developed into epic dimensions. although actually by now everyone is aware that Steve is very much into these epically expansive songs.
HL: You have a considerable back catalog, with a lot of classics. I think every band envies you for that. Nevertheless, there is also always criticism, especially of the albums that have come out since your and Bruce's return.
The bone of contention is usually producer Kevin Shirley. What makes Kevin so different from producer Martin Birch at the time?
AS: Kevin doesn't do much different. He is first and foremost a technician. Just like Martin was. He listens to the band and lets us do. Of course, we also hear about the criticism, but mostly these are people who would rather have old stuff back. Sure the albums of
Martin are great through and through and most of them are classics - rightly so. But also the listening habits have changed. Kevin does an amazing job and he knows us. He gives us feedback here and there and suggests what could be done differently. But he sits with us at the front and supervises the recordings as a technician. That's what we need. We don't need a producer to take us by the hand.Those days are gone. We could theoretically take any producer. If tomorrow we say that we are looking for a producer for the next album, then all producers worldwide would probably get in touch. But is that a guarantee that the
that the album would sound different? A new producer would also have to adjust to us and we to him. That only delays the work. And Kevin is the seventh member of the band.
HL: Next year the Legacy of the Beast tour will be continued. There were also some dates in
Germany that have been cancelled. Are you still sticking to the plan to continue the tour or has the thought come up in between to end the tour now and go straight into the "Senjutsu" cycle?
AS: The thought was actually there. Last year we discussed for a long time whether we should do that. But we decided against it. There are not many dates left for the Legacy of the of the Beast tour. For the new tour we have to create a new setting, new stage effects.
New backdrops. That is very time consuming. But we will probably put one or two songs from the new album into the remaining concerts, before we start the official Senjutsu tour.
HL: You just said that creating these shows is time consuming.But you have had a year to work on it.
AS: We are working on it. But the stage won't go into production until next year.Originally we wante to start the Senjutsu tour this year. That means we would have commissioned everything at the beginning of the year.
But then the 2020 dates fell through and we had to move everything to 2021. So we also moved the production for the new stage back and it was the same with the second move.
HL: So you can't tell us yet what we're going to see on the "Senjutsu" tour?
AS: Sure I can. Two hours of Maiden. Full force, hahaha.
HL: Isn't it getting harder and harder to put together the perfect setlist? So many classics, then you have the new songs. I imagine that's tough.
AS: That's hard too. Sure, there are certain songs that you can't really take out, like "Number of the Beast" for example. But with many others I am really sorry when they're missing. On the other hand we want to include as many new songs as possible. That's why we're doing a tour of a new album and then a classic tour.
That way you can serve both.
HL: As I mentioned at the beginning, you recorded an album with Richie Kotzen. Is that a little bit like an escape from the strict corset of Iron Maiden?
AS: That sounds very harsh. Of course I love working with Maiden. Otherwise I wouldn't be there anymore. But you're right in a way. I have more freedom with these projects, I can try more things. That doesn't work with Maiden. You have to respond to the others and you already have a sound-technical corset. But it's still fun.
HL: Together with Dave Murray, you are the guitarist who has been with Maiden the longest - despite your hiatus of nine years. How was it for you when you left and found your way back in the end. And after you left Maiden, were you still interested in the albums that came after that?
AS: I didn't feel like it after "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son". It was all too much for me at that time. I joined Maiden as a child, so to speak. They already had an album out and were considered hot shit. I ended up in big halls overnight. And at some point
it was too much for me. And my return was not at all planned. Actually, it was only supposed to be a guest appearnance. And in the end we found ourselves in a hotel room
writing songs for a new album and the old fire was back and it hasn't gone out since. When I left I didn't listen to the new albums until I came back, because we included them in the set.
But, I'll be honest I really only know these songs and I haven't listened to the albums until today.
HL: That's good to hear. And we are definitely happy to see that even a worldwide pandemic
can't bring down an institution like Iron Maiden. See you on tour.
AS: We are looking forward to seeing you.
Pat St. James
Thank you !!Classic Rock Latest Issue makes a TOP 50 albums of 2021.
Maiden is No. 1 with Senjutsu
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View attachment 18285View attachment 18286
Classic Rock critics’ choice of the best 50.
(Bill DeMain, Malcolm Dome, Paul Elliott, Dave Everley, Polly Glass, Rob Hughes, Rich Hobson, Ian Fortnam, Emma Johnston, Neil Jeffries, Siân Llewellyn, Henry Yates)
I think there are names that deserves a lot more and others to be out of the list (and others in)
#1 IRON MAIDEN - Senjutsu
#2 MAMMOTH WVH - Mammoth WVH Ex1
#3 THE WILDHEARTS - 21st Century Love Songs
#4 JOE BONAMASSA - Time Clocks
#5 BILLY GIBBONS - Hardware
#6 STEVEN WILSON - The Future Bites
#7 ROYAL BLOOD - Typhoons
#8 MANIC STREET PREACHERS - The Ultra Vivid Lament
#9 LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM - Lindsey Buckingham
#10 FOO FIGHTERS - Medicine At Midnight
#11 BIG BIG TRAIN - Common Ground
#12 THUNDER - All The Right Noises
#13 CHEAP TRICK - In Another World
#14 THE BYSON FAMILY - Kick The Traces
#15 ALICE COOPER - Detroit Stories
#16 WOLF ALICE - Blue Weekend
#17 THE DARKNESS - Motorheart
#18 MDOU MOCTAR - Afrique Victime
#19 MYLES KENNEDY - The Ides of March
#20 THE DUST CODA - Mojo Skyline
#21 GRETA VAN FLEET - The Battle At Garden's Gate
#22 AYRON JONES - Child of the State
#23 DEEP PURPLE - Turning To Crime
#24 MASTODON - Hushed & Grim
#25 THE DEAD DEADS - Tell Your Girls It's Alright
#26 MASON HILL - Against The Wall
#27 BIFFY CLYRO - The Myth of Happily Ever After
#28 STYX - Crash Of The Crown
#29 ROBERT PLANT & ALISON KRAUSS - Raise The Roof
#30 INGLORIOUS - We Will Ride
#31 BUCKCHERRY - Hellbound
#32 DANKO JONES - Power Trio
#33 PRINCE - Welcome 2 America
#34 AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS - Comfort To Me
#35 GOJIRA - Fortitude
#36 BLACKBERRY SMOKE - You Hear Georgia
#37 SAMANTHA FISH - Faster
#38 DENNIS De YOUNG - 26 East Vol2
#39 GARBAGE - No Gods No Masters
#40 THE RECORD COMPANY - Play Loud
#41 THE STRANGLERS - Dark Matters
#42 JERRY CANTRELL - Brighten
#43 WEEZER - Van Weezer
#44 THE DEAD DAISIES - Holy Ground
#45 THE WAR ON DRUGS - I don't Live Here Anymore
#46 DAVID CROSBY - For Free
#47 VEGA - Anarchy And Unity
#48 HAWKWIND - Somnia
#49 PAUL WELLER - Fat Pop
#50 MONSTER MAGNET - A Better Dystopia
Why? (Why…why Delilah?)I didn't know where to post that, so I do it here.