Derk Riggs about the 'Maiden Japan' paintings!


Back From The Edge
Recently I was emailing Derek Riggs to ask him a question as for the famous alternative painting he did for the 'Maiden Japan' EP(the one with Eddie holding Paul DiAnno's severed head in the air).

With his approval you can now read his side of the story behind this amazing painting!

[!--QuoteBegin--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]I do not know if you are familiar with the story behind it. I will tell you
anyway. you may have heard some version of it, this is what really happened.

This is a long-lost painting
as you rightly said, it was for "Maiden Japan"

Maiden's manager asked me to do the cover for this. With the title and the
location it seemed obvious to me to do a picture of Eddie holding up the
lead singer's severed head.

All quite straightforward you may think. but at that time Paul Dianno's
voice was having a hard time coping with the rigours of Maiden's touring
scedule. Maiden were actually auditioning new singers but they were trying
to keep it secret from Paul, who would have freaked out entirely if he had
found out. and Maiden were right in the middle of a tour at the time. Paul
however, was getting the idea that something was afoot, as they say. So the
situation was getting very touchy.
I did not know about any of this.

then I did that picture, I took it to the record company who printed up
250,000 of them.
then they sent a copy to the manager for approval. the manager of course
freaked and had the entire 250,000 copies burnt. He said that heads would
roll if any copies ever came to light.
obviously some of them did survive, I knew that some would. I actually said
the one of the guys in the office to grab a few for himself because they
would be worth money in a few years. so I guess that he must have done that.

I have no idea what became of the original.

The painting was done over one weekend, from thursday to monday. most of the
maiden covers were done this quickly. that's why the quality gets a bit
dodgy sometimes.
the second version was done overnight, it had to be done this quickly
because of deadline restrictions.

I think that's about everything for now.
thanks again for the scan, I thought that picture was long lost in the mists
of time.

have fun
all the best


Back From The Edge
For the ones still not knowing what this is about...

[img src=\'\' border=\'0\' alt=\'user posted image\' /]


Staff member
Great post, Cosmiceddie! It's always cool to hear these stories from Riggs.

Edit: does anyone know what the Japanese characters in the lower right corner of that painting mean?


Back From The Edge
Thank you.That's a good question, maybe it's Maiden Japan in Japanese, yet we should ask any Japanese forum members if there are any at all...However, I bet Maverick knows the answer. [!--emo&B)--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/cool.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'cool.gif\' /][!--endemo--]

Black Ace

I think I read in the Maiden Trivia box on that in Japan the record wasn't called Maiden Japan because there was no way they could write it (literally, there were no symbols in the alphabet) so they called it Heavy Metal Army...


I am pretty sure the Japanese writing reads "Iron Maiden Japan". The character on the lower left means "Japan" (also "sun" or "day"), the one next to it pops up in any phrase using the word "iron". The first character resembles one meaning "virgo" or "virgin" (i.e. "Maiden") and could simply be a bit stylized.
A counter examination reveals that none of the symbols means "army", while the one for "Heavy Metal" is rather similar to the one meaning "iron", which is obvious, I think. This information comes from [a href=\'\' target=\'_blank\']this[/a] website.

I could not verify this, however, as the [a href=\'\' target=\'_blank\']table of the 2500 most frequently used Kanji symbols[/a] has got different ones for the terms mentioned. Only "Japan" is the same.
I copied the source code in a txt file and searched for the terms "iron", "maiden", "virgin", "heavy", "metal" and "army". Then I copied the link that was pointed to in the source code in the URL bar of my browser and checked which symbol pops up. If anyone wants to browse through the table visually (i.e. compare each symbol to the ones on the cover), that would be really great for all of us, but I honestly have better things to do.

I am very certain that this is Kanji, however, both because the symbol for "Japan" is indeed Kanji, and because I could not find any of these symbols in neither Hiragana nor Katagana (which, by the way, are both letter scripts, while Kanji is a symbol script).

If anyone can provide better information or verify my information, I would be grateful.

EDIT: I thought it would be cool to explain what this "Hiragana", "Katagana" and "Kanji" stuff is about.
There are three scripts in modern Japanese, all of which derive from Chinese scripts. One is called "Hiragana", one is called "Katagana" or "Katakana" and one is called "Kanji".
Katagana and Hiragana are syllable scripts, meaning that there are no "letters" but "sounds" (i.e. a, i, u, e, o, but ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, etc.). Both have 46 symbols (48 each before 1946). Katagana is nowadays used to write non-Chinese loan words, of which there are apparently quite a few in Japanese. In European languages, particularly German, this could compare to the custom of writing the words of the language in local script (fracture in German), while writing English, French or, most importantly, Latin words in Latin script (this all until fracture script was abolished by the nazis in the 1940s). Following World War II, myriads of foreign, mostly English words were used in Japanese (as in German), so the Katagana script is a common sight these days.
Hiragana, as Katagana, was originally a simplified version of Chinese. It is very related to Katagana, but is written a bit differently (the symbols are written more roundly, for example). Today, Hiragana is used to write grammatical endings of words.
This leaves us with the question what script is used to write normal Japanese/Chinese words in Japan. The script used is Kanji, a script of Chinese symbols. There are very, very many Kanji symbols, and most symbols have more than one meaning.

This information is based on Harald Haarmann, Universalgeschichte der Schrift, Frankfurt am Main, 1990/2000.


one doubt i have:

what´s the relation between the disapproval of this cover and its release in venezuela? :S


Back From The Edge
[!--QuoteBegin-elhefe+Dec 24 2005, 02:15 PM--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(elhefe @ Dec 24 2005, 02:15 PM)[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]one doubt i have:

what´s the relation between the disapproval of this cover and its release in venezuela? :S

Maybe the question is, how did it find its way to Venezuela at all?


[!--QuoteBegin-Perun+Dec 11 2005, 12:08 PM--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Perun @ Dec 11 2005, 12:08 PM)[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]A counter examination reveals that none of the symbols means "army",

Heavy Metal Army is actually written in english on the cover, with Maiden Japan also written underneath it. I think what they mean when there was no words for Maiden japan, is that the pun in "Maiden" as opposed to "Made In" gets lost in translation.

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