1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why did Steve Harris fire Clive Burr ?

Discussion in 'Maiden Chat' started by johnglen, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. johnglen

    johnglen Trooper

    This is the one Maiden story that puzzles me , being a fan around 30 years . I understand why every member replacement occured except this particular one . Clive Burr seemed like a really nice guy , he was a monster behind the kit and a member of Maiden in both Dianno and Dickinson's era . Does anyone have any links or whatever else , that doesn't sugarcoat this ?
  2. Abas

    Abas Trooper

    "Despite his obvious talent and his charming demeanor, the much-admired drummer was another casualty of the rock’n’roll lifestyle that came with Maiden’s growing popularity in the early 1980s. Previously reliable on stage, Burr started having performance trouble on the 1982 Beast On The Road tour. Often hitting the stage while nursing a hangover, just the same as certain other people in the band, Burr started to let his playing suffer. Cardinal sin. Harris wouldn’t tolerate it for long.

    Guitarist Adrian Smith recalls the trouble of “keeping it together for the rest of us when he was having an off night, which he was having more and more as time went by.” And Harris, by then used to band members succumbing to the lifestyle, and worried about getting through the tour, remembers a night when Burr “spent most of the gig throwing up into a bucket at the side of his kit.”

    “It got to everybody, in the end,” says Smith. And so, at the conclusion of the tour in December 1982, Clive Burr was asked to leave the band that had made him famous."

    From http://maidenrevelations.com/2012/11/09/feature-friday-maiden-exits/
    maidenpriest likes this.
  3. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    This tells another story:


    ... However, in 1982, when Burr's father died while Maiden were touring the US, the drummer flew back to the UK to help his family cope with the bereavement. His bandmates continued with Nicko McBrain, who had previously drummed with Streetwalkers and the French band Trust, in his stead.

    "I knew Nicko," Burr told Classic Rock two years ago. "He loved the band, he loved being part of it all. And the rest of the band liked him." When Burr returned to the US a fortnight later, he "could tell something wasn't right," and he was ousted. "I was too upset to feel angry about it. I guess they had their reasons," he said, refuting the claim that he was more of a party animal than the others. "There was a grieving period – I grieved for my dad and I grieved for my band – and then I brushed myself down and got on with it." ...

    ... While on tour in 1982 his father Ronald died of a heart attack, aged just 57, and Burr returned to Britain for the funeral. By the time he returned to America the atmosphere, he said, had changed and he was asked to leave. Exactly why has always remained unclear, although Burr denied the rumours that it was because he was drinking too much. He said he drank no more and no less than anyone else in the band.

    Burr said he tried not to get angry about the decision. "I was too upset to feel angry about it," he said. "There was a grieving period. I grieved for my dad and I grieved for my band – and then I brushed myself down and got on with it." ...

    ... But trouble loomed midway through the ensuing Beast on the Road tour, when Burr was called home to attend to his father's funeral, leaving Maiden to soldier on with former Trust drummer Nicko McBrain as a temporary replacement. As soon as he rejoined the band, Burr noticed a change of demeanor in some of his bandmates, and his worst fears were realized when he was unceremoniously dismissed from Iron Maiden at tour's end, to be permanently replaced by McBrain. At the time, the media latched onto rumors of Burr's excessive alcohol and drug abuse as the reasons behind his sacking, but the drummer would later insist that these were unfounded, defending his quiet acceptance of his fate as part and parcel of grieving his father's sudden passing. ...

    This is the longest piece about Clive's leaving:

    ... Before we get to how he started with Iron Maiden, and just how good they were with Clive powering them along, it’s perhaps more pertinent to address how it finished. This is something that has gnawed away at Clive for the best part of 30 years. Much has been written about his split from Maiden, during an exhaustive US tour in the summer of 1982. And most of it, he says dismissively, is hogwash.
    “I’ve heard the stories – that it was because of drugs or too much drink,” he says. “It wasn’t anything like that.” The truth, as it often is in cases of heavy metal musical chairs, is a bit murkier, a bit more acrimonious. It started with a phone call. He doesn’t recall where he was when he got the call, he just remembers that he had to get home to London. His dad, Ronald, had died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He was just 57 years old.

    A US road map dotted with gigs lay in front of Maiden, but at that moment it didn’t matter, he says. “I had to get home.” Everyone seemed fine with that, he remembers. Go home, they said. Be with your family. Clive flew back to London on Concorde.
    Maiden brought in former Trust drummer Nicko McBrain as a replacement so the tour could continue, the show could go on. Clive and Nicko were mates. No worries. Everything was cool.
    “I knew Nicko,” Clive says. Nice bloke. Good drummer. At a number of earlier shows, Nicko had dressed up as Eddie to terrorise the crowd. “He loved the band, he loved being part of it all. And the rest of the band liked him.” Clive was about to find out just how much.
    So Clive flew home, went to his father’s funeral, spent some time with his family, and two weeks later flew back to the States to join up with Maiden, who were criss-crossing America supporting Rainbow, Scorpions, .38 Special and Judas Priest.

    “I got back and I could tell something wasn’t right,” Clive recalls.
    There was a meeting. The atmosphere was tense. There was change in the air, and Clive, still numb from the loss of his dad, could smell it.
    “We think it’s time for a break,” they told Clive. And that was that. After the best part of four years, three albums – not just any old albums, either, but the three albums that many Iron Maiden fan will tell you remain the band’s best work – and suddenly the dream was over, just as it was all coming true.
    Everybody knows what happened next for Maiden.
    What happened next for Clive Burr was a case of dusting himself down and starting all over again. He was grieving for his dad. Now he was also grieving for his band and the job he’d dreamt of since he first saw Ian Paice playing Highway Star with Deep Purple.
    Back home in the UK the rumours were rife: it was the drugs that were to blame for his dismissal; it was the drink; that Clive liked the beer, sex and rock’n’roll just a little bit more than the others; that sometimes he had to play shows with a bucket by the side of his drum stool for when those hangovers became just a little bit too much... The rock’n’roll high jinks were getting in the way of the band, everyone agreed. Everyone except Clive.

    Thirty years on, he says it still smarts to hear it. He was never a big drinker. Sure, he’d have a brandy and Coke – a Courvoisier and Coke, “my roadie used to get it for me before we went on,” he laughs – but nothing too debauched. No more or less than anyone else in the band.
    “We were like schoolkids in America,” he says. “We’d never been there before and it opened our eyes. There was a lot of parties, and girls were throwing themselves at us. We’d never experienced anything like it.” Clive – the lad who had been voted teen
    magazine Oh Boy ’s Hunk Of The Month in July 1980 – lapped it up. “Of course I did. We all did.” And then it was gone.

    Clive flew back to London again, then on to Germany with his mum, and laid low.
    “I was too upset to feel angry about it,” he says. “There was a grieving period – I grieved for my dad and I grieved for my band – and then I brushed myself down and got on with it.” Just like that?
    “Pretty much, yeah. There was no real bitterness. Life’s too short.
    “It’s good to set the record straight, to tell my side of the story,” he says, “because it’s not widely known. I think if you’re going to sack someone, sacking them after they’ve just lost their father is not the best time to do it... I guess they had their reasons. So that was that.” fter Maiden, Clive played with a number of bands in fairly quick succession: Graham Bonnet’s Alcatrazz (that lasted a week), Trust (Nicko’s old band), Stratus, so-called NWOBHM supergroup Gogmagog, Elxir, Dee Snider’s Desperados. None of them would come close to matching what he achieved with Maiden. And yet for Clive it didn’t matter.

    “I just wanted to play. When I came home from Germany after Maiden, I used to put my hair in a hat, put some dark glasses on and play with anyone who’d have me, in the pubs around London,” he laughs. “I just wanted to drum.” ...
  4. RTC

    RTC Libera et impera!

    Interesting to learn this. I always thought Burr left because of the start of his multiple sclerosis.
  5. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Drummer A leaves tour. Drummer B plays for two weeks. B is liked more by the rest of the band. A can sod off, and in the official biography we do not tell what really happened. We make it look worse for A by leaving out (the role of) B, so everything is directed at A.
    maidenpriest likes this.
  6. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    If the quotes from Adrian & Harris are genuine then I think Burr is underestimating how much of an impact his extracurricular activities were having on his playing. Burr seems to refute the bucket story as nonsense, but that has been presented as something Steve actually said. They can't both be correct. Are you saying Harris has been misquoted Foro? i.e. those quotes are fictional.
  7. Just wondering. Are there any audio bootlegs out there from the Beast on the Road tour with Nicko drumming instead of Clive? . If someone can direct me to one I would really appreciate that. I would love to give that a listen. Cheers!!!
  8. Noo. That came much much later around 1994-1995 I think
  9. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    They left out the important context behind his (temporary) bad performance, and at least as important: they left out the context behind replacing him. I find that dishonest. I can't say Steve or whoever was flatout lying, but Clive's account sounds more integer and logical in my ears.
    That's exactly what I also want to know. See: http://forum.maidenfans.com/threads/maiden-us-tour-1982.29905/#post-495482 and read on.
    maidenpriest likes this.
  10. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    I'm not really suggesting they were lying. I'm saying do you think Adrian & Steve even uttered these words?
  11. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    All of those accounts are posthumous, written by people wanting to cast him in a good light after he passed. I find them just as unlikely as the official account.
  12. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Cried, could be. Hard to say. The author of the biography could have discussed this version with Rod and/or the band he and they had given their consent afterward.
    Not true. That biggest account is from February 2011.
  13. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Even Burr states (or rather the interview implies that the rumours were put to him & he rejects them) that the drink & drugs rumours were there from the start i.e. back in '82. Nobody's re-writing history here. There must have been a source for those rumours at the time.
  14. Cheers for the link. I read all of it Pretty informative to say the least. Oh it's such a shame that a tour is so well documented as Beast on the Road yet there is no bootleg with Nicko in it. I would love to listen to his renditions , the sound of his bass drum and compare the energy and feel
  15. Ranko

    Ranko I'll shoot the gunner first!

    Also, the official band biography is not exactly the most objective source of facts. But if this stuff portraying Clive as not the culprit came out posthumously, who knows if there's any basis in that as well.
  16. Cornfed Hick

    Cornfed Hick Electric Eye

    There's probably a bit of truth in both accounts, which are obviously told from the biased perspectives of each side involved (all the stories posted by Foro quote Burr's own account, not anyone else's). The stories are not mutually exclusive, either. The death of Burr's father could have affected his alcohol use or his performance. I very much doubt Burr would have been sacked if the band was thrilled with his stage performances. And if Nicko's playing was much better than Burr's, then he probably got Wally Pipp'ed after Burr left the tour to attend his father's funeral.*

    * - Wally Pipp was a baseball player who sat out a game with a headache, so Lou Gehrig stepped in to replace him -- and Gehrig stayed in the lineup for another 2,128 consecutive games.
  17. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    Are you saying Nicko is Iron Maiden's Lou Gehrig? Because they're about equally pretty, but I can't see Nicko nailing Marilyn Monroe.
  18. Deus_Adrian

    Deus_Adrian Prince of the Final Frontier

    He would have been rocking the cradle pretty hard cuz she was only 14 when he died. You are thinking of Joe Dimaggio.
  19. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    I'm pretty sure that all baseball players are the same person.
    Bombusbombus likes this.
  20. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    This is what I'm thinking. Not sure why both statements can't be true. A Maiden biography isn't going to put Maiden in a bad light, but an account from the side of the member that got fired isn't going to be without bias either.

    It probably happened like this: Burr was underperfoming on the tour, which bothered the band to a degree but they didn't think much about taking action. Burr has to step away from the tour and Maiden experiences life with a different drummer. This makes them reconsider having Burr in the band. Seems natural to me.

    Nobody looks good here, but it's a change that had to happen.
    maidenpriest likes this.

Share This Page