Maiden - The "best" type of rock /metal success?

soundwave

Educated Fool
I was having a conversation with friends at lunch - if you could magically snap your fingers and have the success of any rock/metal band, which band would it be?

Metallica came up (album sales/volume), as well as Rush (influence/reach), Led Zeppelin (respect/legacy/truck loads of money) , Aerosmith (commercial success in almost every decade), Gojira (street cred/uniqueness/grabbing the torch), and Motley Crue (debauchery/perpetual party). To no one's surprise, I said Maiden:
  • Sold tens of millions of records during the traditional record selling era - without selling their souls to MTV/Mainstream radio.
  • Jet sets around the world playing famous arenas...and tours areas outside of North America and Western Europe
  • Generally viewed as having artistic integrity/indepdence
  • Despite the financial success, they tend to be relatively anonymous in certain places(allowing for a somewhat normal existence off-tour -- e.g. they don't have celebrity gossip reporters following them around in the supermarket. They are probably the only band that can sell out Madison Square Garden and then go back to the hotel to get a beer in the bar and few people would know who they are)
  • Enjoys lots of exotic world tours, yet has plenty of downtime to pursue other interests
  • All of the members appear to be in good health for their age (despite Bruce's health scare) - not crippled by drug abuse
  • Other than Sharon Osbourne and Nikki Six, few feuds with other folks in the industry (respect of peers)
Would you pick another band over Maiden?
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Would you pick another band over Maiden?
Rush. Similar level of success as Maiden, but with more hardcore fans who enjoy every era of the band, rather than just one. They're able to get away with more variety in their setlists.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I don't think I could easily say I'd pick any other band over Maiden, but I hold Rush, Midnight Oil, Bad Religion and Jethro Tull also very high in regard when it comes to artistic integrity/independence. This, live performing(!), the song material, and own identity are for me the most enjoyable elements. If success can be made with this combination: excellent. Midnight Oil have been very outspoken against injustice (aboriginals) and ecological problems. A very passionate band, also on stage. Bad Religion had success by combining simple catchy (and raw!) songs with energy and intelligent/scientific lyrics and they have a fantastic singer, which makes the band unique. Their sense for melody and harmony is hard to match. For me, Jethro Tull is a big example for and predecessor of Iron Maiden. They have an intelligent frontman (also gifted musically), who's very energetic and expressive (also humurous) on stage. Their music is no chicken shit. So much nuance and (rhythm) shifts in their song material, with some bloody good melodies and atmosphere. Besides influencing Bruce (particularly the lyrics), Tull also influenced Rush: Geddy Lee said about Jethro Tull: "I was a massive Tull fan from very young ... and, I hope, that too reflects in Rush. I was mesmerised by Ian Anderson. His presentation was simply magical and he delivered it with such a sense of humour and great style ... We [of Rush] saw it as a huge challenge to try and create something that can seem so dynamic onstage." Rush stands for songwriting, musicianship and excitement/adventure. Rhythmically, this band is so interesting and impressive. And they have three (or at least two) of the nicest guys in the world.

Alright, all these bands have some more commercial sounding records, but they all tried different things, and still kept that drive.
That authentic, passionate drive. Really inspiring, I think.
 
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Brigantium

General of the Dark Army
Staff member
I'd add to Maiden's attributes the fact that people feel they can identify with them. They're still that bunch of lads from London (okay, Bruce and Janick are honorary members in that respect), they're incredibly down to earth. It adds to the aura of authenticity. I can't actually think offhand of any band with a very large following that quite fits that niche.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I'd add to Maiden's attributes the fact that people feel they can identify with them. They're still that bunch of lads from London (okay, Bruce and Janick are honorary members in that respect), they're incredibly down to earth. It adds to the aura of authenticity. I can't actually think offhand of any band with a very large following that quite fits that niche.
Some of the ones I mentioned, but it depends on a moment in time you want to focus, and on what is "very large" for you.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I'd add to Maiden's attributes the fact that people feel they can identify with them. They're still that bunch of lads from London (okay, Bruce and Janick are honorary members in that respect), they're incredibly down to earth. It adds to the aura of authenticity. I can't actually think offhand of any band with a very large following that quite fits that niche.

This is what really nails it for me. I am also inclined to pick Rush, but Geddy and Neil are larger-than-life, mythic people despite being very nice, intelligent, and kind. Maiden is like an entire band of Alex Lifeson's, they could just be some bloke down at the pub. They manage to have all of this insane success and yet retain their everyman status. Whereas with Rush, I could imagine Geddy and Neil standing atop a dais with glasses of red wine quieting pondering the state of their kingdom. Maiden would be down in the tavern sharing ale and quietly sneaking out the back door when stuff got too rowdy.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
Maiden's level of money/scrutiny ratio is definitely admirable. They're filthy rich, but they're not scrutinized at all. Rock/metal bands of their financial caliber are usually way more scrutinized.

One problem Maiden has with their fame is that they have a pretty concerning rate of fans who are actually batshit insane. People who'd create a human stampede and run the band over in admiration. A band like Rush would fare better in that regard, they could probably comfortably hang out with a group of fans if they wanted to.

I'd put a band like Radiohead into the conversation as well. A pioneer of their genre, critically acclaimed, financially very successful, broke their own style into the mainstream instead of emulating a mainstream style, band members are not subject to individual scrutiny and can live privately. AND they have a ton of hot girls who are big fans of them for some backstage fun time. :p
 
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Brigantium

General of the Dark Army
Staff member
Some of the ones I mentioned, but it depends on a moment in time you want to focus, and on what is "very large" for you.

Well, I'm just thinking of local circuit bands and more niche bands that get that kind of respect from their fanbase. Paradise Lost, for example, is a pretty successful band and from what I've seen seems to have a hardcore of dedicated fans who feel the band is very authentic. But winning acclaim for 'keeping it real' isn't something as impressive when you don't have the massive success and wealth of household name-type bands like Maiden or Metallica.

I think one of the reasons Maiden's wealth and lifestyle isn't scrutinised is that they're not courting attention and insisting on being seen to lead the high life. They're not interested in reality TV, or trying to get into fashionable events and parties. In fact, I can only think of them being photographed at sports events. Although Nicko and Janick are probably minor public figures in their own locality.
 

soundwave

Educated Fool
Maiden's level of money/scrutiny ratio is definitely admirable. They're filthy rich, but they're not scrutinized at all. Rock/metal bands of their financial caliber are usually way more scrutinized.

One problem Maiden has with their fame is that they have a pretty concerning rate of fans who are actually batshit insane. People who'd create a human stampede and run the band over in admiration. A band like Rush would fare better in that regard, they could probably comfortably hang out with a group of fans if they wanted to.

I'd put a band like Radiohead into the conversation as well. A pioneer of their genre, critically acclaimed, financially very successful, broke their own style into the mainstream instead of emulating a mainstream style, band members are not subject to individual scrutiny and can live privately. AND they have a ton of hot girls who are big fans of them for some backstage fun time. :p

Yeah, the wealth-to-scrutiny ratio seems really enviable for Maiden. I could be totally wrong, but I always inferred that the band (maybe except for Bruce) can lead relatively normal lives off the road. I can picture Adrian or Janick going to the movies without needing personal assistants or bodyguards. Contrast that with Gene Simmons, Ozzy, Slash, or Lars Ulrich - I'm sure their circumstances are far different due to their higher profiles.

Rush was my second choice. I think Rush fans tend to be more tolerant of the entire back catalogue (though the hold your fire period doesn't really get much love). In fairness, Rush didn't have several significant line up changes deep into their career, either. Rush and Radiohead are probably the only other bands that I can immediately think of that enjoy the 'wealthy anonymity' that Maiden have. Maybe Pearl Jam as well because they went incognito and avoided the spotlight (but still made money).
 
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soundwave

Educated Fool
I'd add to Maiden's attributes the fact that people feel they can identify with them. They're still that bunch of lads from London (okay, Bruce and Janick are honorary members in that respect), they're incredibly down to earth. It adds to the aura of authenticity. I can't actually think offhand of any band with a very large following that quite fits that niche.

Steve still seems like he's the same person no matter what era he's interviewed!

It's interesting that on one hand, they have this 'everyman' pub persona, yet most of their lyrics are fairly "nerdy" and cerebral. I found that to be a cool contrast that you didn't find with most 80s acts. I think that helps with the appeal.
 

Hermod

Nomad
Well it would have to be Maiden for me. Despite their phenomenal success over the years they still seem the sort of blokes you could easily have a pint and a natter with without any pretensions or DIVA like behaviour (even Bruce!)

IIRC I’ve read about Steve and Janick going to football as regular paying punters (not as part of the whole corporate bullshit that infests so much of modern day sport) and that Bruce still drinks in the same local in Chiswick he’s used since he first moved there thirty odd years ago.

Like most on here I love RUSH and they always come across as a pretty normal down to earth bunch of guys. However not sure how I would cope with their somewhat cerebral approach, I mean have you ever read any of Ayn Rand works? She is admittedly a brilliant and influential author but not sure that the Philosophy of Objectivism
etc would make for the most relaxing topic of conversation over a pint and a pie? :bigsmile:
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
While I esteem that both Bruce and Neil are not very much into fan chatting I think that there is a myriad of available subjects providing a good talk.

- American sports / baseball (Geddy)
- travelling / locations / cities / countries (Neil, Janick, Steve, Neil)
- motorcycles (Neil)
- fishing (H)
- music / specific artists / albums (everybody as long as you pick the right artist/album)
- drums / drumming / drummers (Neil, Nicko)
- guitar effects (Alex, H)
- golf (Nicko, Dave)
- wine (Geddy, Nicko although the latter has stopped drinking)
- painting (Alex)
- flying (Bruce, Nicko, Alex)
- aircraft (history) (Bruce)
- cars / classic cars / model cars (Neil)
- tennis (Geddy, Adrian, Steve)
- cycling (Geddy)
- fencing (Bruce)
- football (Steve)
 
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Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Like most on here I love RUSH and they always come across as a pretty normal down to earth bunch of guys. However not sure how I would cope with their somewhat cerebral approach, I mean have you ever read any of Ayn Rand works? She is admittedly a brilliant and influential author but not sure that the Philosophy of Objectivism etc would make for the most relaxing topic of conversation over a pint and a pie? :bigsmile:
Nit picky, but Neil Peart outgrew Rand some time ago.
 

matic22

Ancient Mariner
While I esteem that both Bruce and Neil are not very much into fan chatting I think that there is a myriad of available subjects providing a good talk.

- American sports / baseball (Geddy)
- travelling / locations / cities / countries (Neil, Janick, Steve, Neil)
- motorcycles (Neil)
- fishing (H)
- music / specific artists / albums (everybody as long as you pick the right artist/album)
- drums / drumming / drummers (Neil, Nicko)
- guitar effects (Alex, H)
- golf (Nicko, Dave)
- wine (Geddy, Nicko although the latter has stopped drinking)
- painting (Alex)
- flying (Bruce, Nicko, Alex)
- aircraft (history) (Bruce)
- cars / classic cars / model cars (Neil)
- tennis (Geddy, Adrian, Steve)
- cycling (Geddy)
- fencing (Bruce)
- football (Steve)

I think you can add Nicko to the cars category. He is a big classic car buff as he states in Jaguar's video. He also owns a custom XKR-S Jaguar with custom Eddie like Jaguar logo on the front (this logo is painted on the gong used his year).

Nicko-McBrian-2013-Jaguar-XKR-S-headrest.jpg
 

Hermod

Nomad
Nit picky, but Neil Peart outgrew Rand some time ago.

Outgrew her as an inspiration for he's music and lyrics most probably.

However for someone who was obviously heavily influenced by her philosophy and her writing to the extent he was, I find it hard to believe she has no relevance to him anymore?
 
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