Blaze Bayley

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Then in 1999, Iron Maiden started recording Brave New World without a record deal at all for the U.S Market - in the process hiring a few A&R guys to give input on song writing, even working with a good photographer to get a "new image", and a overall product that was "signeable" for a major label in the U.S at the time?
Eventually, Columbia gave them a chance - after the album was finished, and it worked out well. But to even get a few airings of the "The Wicker Man" on U.S mainstream rock radio was a real accomplishment initally. That's just how things were back then.

Brave New World, originally released on major label Columbia - in comparison had sold around 280 000 at that time. But that required a real effort to get back in the industry and a secure a deal. And not just getting Bruce back - but as well working on the right production, the right song writing and the right album - by hiring Kevin Shirley along with some A&R input.
@TheTalisman
Do you imply that Maiden brought in people to give input in their (style of) songwriting, before or around the BNW sessions? That sounds not very believable (or at least not pretty in my eyes).
I mean, this is the most stick to your guns band there is, not? The "we do what we want" type of band.
I always thought that if there was one thing the band did themselves, it was the music.

And do you think Maiden really was aiming for pre-thought songwriting? Isn't this just a natural process, at least for this band?
One writes what one likes themselves, and not thinking that commercial?
 
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GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
Apart from lifting the middle section of The Nomad off Beckett, I find it hard to believe there was any non-Maiden contribution to the songwriting (I include Blaze’s alleged input under “Maiden contribution”).
 

TheTalisman

Ancient Mariner
@TheTalisman
Do you imply that Maiden brought in people to give input in their (style of) songwriting, before or around the BNW sessions? That sounds not very believable (or at least not pretty in my eyes).
I mean, this is the most stick to your guns band there is, not? The "we do what we want" type of band.
I always thought that if there was one thing the band did themselves, it was the music.

And do you think Maiden really was aiming for pre-thought songwriting? Isn't this just a natural process, at least for this band?
One writes what one likes themselves, and not thinking that commercial?
Yes, because, Brave New World is the only album featuring A&R credits (James Dener, John Kalodner). https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artists_and_repertoire Just to make it clear: A&R just give advice - artistic direction. They do not compose themselves. Another example of A&R input could be advice and guidance for getting a good album cover and a well executed band photography-session.
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Yes, because, Brave New World is the only album featuring A&R credits (James Dener, John Kalodner). https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artists_and_repertoire Just to make it clear: A&R just give advice - artistic direction. They do not compose themselves. Another example of A&R input could be advice and guidance for getting a good album cover and a well executed band photography-session.
One of the A&R tasks is:

Assisting with marketing and promotion​

Once the record is completed, the A&R department consults with marketing, promotion, the artist and their management to choose one or more singles to help promote the record.
= = =

This should probably it, at most, and not the slightest input on the music.
 

TheTalisman

Ancient Mariner
I'm not saying that they were involved directly in song writing. A&R never is. I'm just saying that they propably gave some guiding advice for song writing and production. Like having a good initial single that could blend in rather well with the metal scene at the time (The Wicker Man) and like adding orchestrations on Blood Brothers and The Nomad (Jeff Bova recorded these externally). And the compressed, triggered drum sound, blends in rather well as well with the contemporary metal scene at the time. These few details, that later albums do not possess (Jeff Bova has been hired to record on Paschendale and Empire of the Clouds though).

1617361295834.png

This was sent out to record stores in may of 2000 - quite a good product? Not just the music - Artwork, band photography as well.
This is the work of A&R.

Iron Maiden were made cool again.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
And I am also not saying they co-wrote.
I am saying I think they did not have any influence on the music (no guiding advice on writing). Other tasks, sure.

You're suggesting a lot while it is probably just marketing tasks. Ok they may have helped with selecting a single, but how difficult a job is that? Easy candidate. The band may have done that themselves. Sound and production (suggestions) are tasks for a producer.

Edit: I'm not implying marketing is not important.

Edit 2: okay I can imagine they may have had done orchestral suggestions, trying to get an interesting b-side. But this is input after the song was created, and did not influence or was not guidance to the songwriting.
 
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Perun

Περούν Παντοκράτωρ
Staff member
Marketing isn't just promotion. Marketing includes every aspect of a product's life cycle from its conception to its distribution from an economic point of view. Marketing influence can go from "you guys should get Bruce Dickinson back, he will help you sell a fuckton of records" over "you should write a single with a catchy woah-oh chorus" to figuring out which factory to use to produce the CDs or where to print posters. As the phrase "marketing & promotion" indicates, they're different things.

I'm not saying or suggesting any of this happened, I'm just saying that all this and more is what economists understand as "marketing".
 

TheTalisman

Ancient Mariner
over "you should write a single with a catchy woah-oh chorus"
This is more what I meant with suggesting A&R input.

In the studio though, propably only Shirley and the band were present, with some roadies unloading equipment (and some audio technicians assisting the producer?).

But before writing Dance of Death, Steve propably said f'ck you to the A&R guys. - "I'm going to release an album that sounds good in my Jaguar and with a single of how i like to hit the open road ".:D
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I am doing more than looking at what marketing is. I am also looking at this band.

There is a difference between doing ALL of that and doing most, or some of those marketing things. I would not be making a big deal out of this if this was not about Iron Maiden. As long as we do not know, I maintain the idea that a non complete marketing portion (without input on song creation) is more logical for a band such as Maiden. And saying this, is less insinuating than suggesting the possibility of doing it all. It's like predicting one song of the setlist vs predicting the whole setlist of a next tour. The former is more realistic than the latter.
 
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Perun

Περούν Παντοκράτωρ
Staff member
There is a difference between doing ALL of that and doing most, or some of those marketing things.

Yes, and I believe I explicitly stated that.

Personally, I don't think it went as far as @TheTalisman suggests. If I were asked to speculate, I think what happened is that someone/Rod were aware the band had an important album at their hands with BNW and wanted to play it safe marketing-wise. They/Rod knew that even with Bruce back in the band, they had a long way to climb back up after the commercial disaster that VXI quite objectively was (at least when compared to every previous Maiden album). So they/Rod hired A&R either for a specific thing or for general economic advice.

There are hundreds of things an agency such as A&R could have done for Maiden at the time. It could have been pure promotional advice (as stated above, they do both promotion and marketing). It could have been asking them how they think an 80's rock monster could regain their ground in the new millennium. It could have been letting A&R listen through the album and picking which songs to release as singles. I remember reading somewhere (I don't have a link, don't ask) that The Mercenary was originally supposed to be the second single before they chose OOTSP. This sort of decision could also have been made by A&R. Maybe the alternative radio version of The Wicker Man comes into play here somewhere.

They could have done really anything, and anything is enough for a credit in the liner notes.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Thinking of more whoa-oh now. :)

A woah-oh chorus was in The Duellists.
Some other earlier woah-oh moments are in Maiden's biggest (UK) single Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter, Heaven Can Wait, Virus, Look for the Truth, Lord of the Flies.... the concept was not new.
 

rideon77

Trooper
I think the production of FOTD album is great (especially the drum sound). The production of VXI album is also good. NPFTD and TXF albums production is not that good imo, but I think it suits the atmosphere of both albums quite well (same is with VXI and maybe FOTD) - the dry sound in NPFTD (= the stripped down sound of the album), the gloomy tone and riffs in TXF (= the dark vibe of the album), the futuristic sound in VXI (= the theme and atmosphere of the whole album), the big drum sound and strong guitar riffs in FOTD (= the sound of the 90's).

I think I've read an interview with Steve (around the era of FOTD) in which he said that the production of FOTD album is the best they had so far (he also talked about the different drum sound) or something like that...

Btw, I like the production (more or less) of every Maiden album.

For me - Painkiller 1990) and Legacy Of Kings (1998)... + Fear Of The Dark (1992).
I would add Objection Overruled by Accept, Time Of the Oath, Master Of The Rings and Better Than Raw by Helloween. I love The X Factor production, It fits the dark mood of the album.
 

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
Agree. I always liked the VXI album cover - the colours are great and I don't have a problem with the football pitch (the original artwork is without it and it is also quite good). The poster with the football players is not surprising and I think it's added for fun (it's not like it is part of the album cover)... Steve just combined his two favorite things (music and football), plus as Steve said, the World Cup in 1998 also inspired this (since the original artwork was without it).

An Englishman is inspired by the 1998 World Cup and ends up coming up with something as uninspired as the performance of his national team that year (or most years :lol: ). Virtual XI in a nutshell.
 

Zare

Uniformly distributed hostility
The A&R guys suggested Maiden rips off Beckett, so Beckett immediately sues Maiden after release, extra album exposure guaranteed.
 

Black Abyss Babe

Quantum weather butterfly
But... isn’t Maiden their hobby and passion they should not care about money that is a sellout approach I want all my music for free, why are there so few new big bands why are tickets expensive I am the biggest Maiden fan on the planet they should play Alexander the Great all new stuff sucks why haven’t they released an album yet. // Every Facebook or blabbermouth comment field.
I forgot. They are millionaires why is the merch so expensive I want new merch but why does Maiden pedal so much merch what a novelty act can they please release a new batch of the trooper balze suckz.
:applause:
 

CA Bryers

Educated Fool
I like the album cover (Eddie is interesting), the colours, I like the production of the album, the songs and the performances - probably the most melodic album of Maiden. Virtual XI is one of my favorite albums.
Me too. The production moved from the bone-dry sound of TXF to a more vibrant '80s sound, and even the shorter, more-to-the-point songs and the brevity of the album as a whole indicate they were going for more of an '80s album vibe. As for Blaze, they made it well known that TXF took forever to record with dozens and dozens of takes. To my ear, you can hear it in Blaze's rather passionless delivery on that album. VXI, he sounds more confident and a bit more explosive. Hell, even when I'm in my car and ignoring the repetition of The Angel and the Gambler, I can just go with the song and enjoy the ride...and it's a fun song.

Of course, in a live setting and only under that specific set of circumstances is that song quite enjoyable at that length, so recording it in that 9+ minute fashion was still a misstep.
 

Black Abyss Babe

Quantum weather butterfly
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