Bruce Dickinson says that his claim that IRON MAIDEN was "better than METALLICA" was just about "throwing down the gauntlet" and wasn't directly aimed at the San Francisco-based metal giants.
Back in 2011, the IRON MAIDEN frontman elaborated on a past comment in which he boasted that his band was superior to METALLICA. Refusing to back down from the stance, he explained to Metal Hammer: "I got into trouble for saying that we're better than METALLICA… and it's true. They might be bigger than us and they might sell more tickets than us and they might get more gold-plated middle-class bourgeoisie turning up to their shows, but they're not MAIDEN. I did say it's a bit of a windup. I thought, 'If I'm going to turn into an asshole, I might as well, you know, go for it.'"
Now, in a brand new interview with Rolling Stone, Dickinson was asked for his current take on his past comments about the James Hetfield-fronted outfit. He said: "Look, I'm acutely conscious that when you say things in print, people are going to pick up on things. The stuff about METALLICA, quite frankly, was a really good windup. We have a great relationship with METALLICA. It wasn't aimed at METALLICA. It was aimed at the rest of the world to say, 'We're back and we mean it. We mean it so much that we're going to say something pretty outrageous, so why don't you come to the show and find out. We dare you.' It's throwing down the gauntlet, and I'm the lead singer. It's my job. It's what I do.
"So is it arrogant? Uh, yeah," he admitted. "You're the lead singer of IRON MAIDEN, and you're going to be arrogant every now and again, because it kind of goes with the territory, yeah. Mick Jagger, is he arrogant? Yeah, probably — it's Mick Jagger, for fuck's sake. Do I make a distinction between me walking down the street and me onstage with IRON MAIDEN? Yeah."
When questioned about Dickinson's initial comments, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich took the high road, telling The Guardian: "I will never argue with that. I will always support Bruce Dickinson in whatever nonsense he says. That's part of the fun. So go IRON MAIDEN! It's fine."
Dickinson is promoting his autobiography, "What Does This Button Do?", which was released in the U.S. on October 31 via Dey Street Books (formerly It Books), an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.