Mark Morton of Examiner.com recently conducted an interview with IRON MAIDEN cover artist Melvyn Grant about Grant's work on MAIDEN's forthcoming album, "The Final Frontier". An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Examiner.com: As there have been many different incarnations of Eddie that you have painted, how much of his metamorphosis has been your imagination, and how much was input by the band?
Grant: Well, Derek Riggs and his style of artwork never appealed to me, so naturally I wanted to change it and do my version of Eddie. But that was stopped by MAIDEN, who didn't want me to stray too far from the original style, which obviously all of the band's fans like. You get so used to something that it becomes your "thing," and you fall in love with that version of Eddie. I did try to change him a bit, in a way that suited me and made me happier with it. The latest version on "The Final Frontier" is not Eddie, as such. I'm not going to say anything more on that, because I don't know what IRON MAIDEN have got planned, so I'm not going to tread on any toes or mess up any surprises. Okay, I'll tell you, he is actually an alien. The old Eddie might still come around. I enjoy working with the MAIDEN crew, but it does exasperate you when you have to keep changing things. Rod [Smallwood, IRON MAIDEN's manager] and I get on pretty well; I haven't met him for years. But after I did the first one, the teaser "Eddie head," he called me and said how much he really liked it. His words, I think, were "fucking amazing!" Which was very nice of him to do, because they were very busy setting up this tour. Everything's happening all at once, and yet I find that they are very nice people to deal with. On the copyright agreement side, we worked out mutually good things. And if they plan on using things that they like, they pay for it. They don't mess around.
Examiner.com: From where do you draw inspiration for your visions of Eddie? It seems that when you aren't doing a single or a live album, you tend to stray away from the "human" aspect of the Eddie character.
Grant: The original Eddie seemed to be very happy causing all sorts of chaos and hacking people to bits with axes and things like that. I did want to put more psychological tension in it. For instance, on "Fear Of The Dark", the first one I did, I don't think many people realize that Eddie is not actually sitting in the tree. He's actually coming down the tree. So you can really look at it either way. The body is coming down from the tree, and it looks like Eddie has a tail close to the moon. I try to put a little more depth into it aside from utter brutality. On "The Final Frontier", I did various sketches based on the title alone. Then they came up with the idea of doing something on the space craft. Originally, when I did it, it wasn't Eddie reaching in like he is; he was more meaty-like and stealthier in a more evil way. Originally, they didn't want the space craft all ripped to shreds. They wanted it to look like a hatch had come off and there would be a skeletal crew inside. So I wanted to make Eddie almost slither in. But gradually, it molded into the more brutal one, which is what you see now.
Read the entire interview at Examiner.com.