IRON MAIDEN Drummer Defends Band's Decision To Play Entire New Album Live

A video clip of IRON MAIDEN frontman Bruce Dickinson ripping up the "Play Classics" sign that was thrown on stage by a member of the audience at the group's headlining show at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York on Thursday (Oct. 12) has been posted online at YouTube.com.

In a live interview with the "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM conducted on Friday (Oct. 13), IRON MAIDEN drummer Nicko McBrain defended the band's decision to play their new album, "A Matter of Life and Death", in its entirety on MAIDEN's current tour.

Said Nicko: "You're never gonna be able to please everybody all the time.

"When we finished recording this record — that was way back in March/April of this year — when Kevin [Shirley, producer] had finished putting everything together and we listened to the record from top to bottom, it's one of those moments where — we're not sure who said it — but it was one of those magical moments when everyone was like, 'We've gotta do this live.' More than likely it was Steve [Harris] that said something. Nobody knows who it was that came up with this idea of doing it, but it doesn't really matter, because we all were in agreement. And we went, 'This is too good. What do you leave off this record?' In the past, we've always done five or six songs off a 10- or 11-track album. And so you kind of normally had two-thirds of the record performed live — I mean, 'Dance of Death', we did six tracks off the album — but this is historically the first time we've EVER ventured into doing something like this.

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"For me, my personal feeling, and it's very well documented, I'm sure, is that I think that this is the best album I've ever made with this band. So I was delighted — it was a challenge, it is a challenge every night to play these songs, because they're very intricate, there's a lot more progression… there's lots of reasons what makes, for me, this album to play live a challenge. But we decided to take the bull by the horns and say, 'Look, we're not really worried…' Because we knew — and believe me, we sat and we said, 'You know we're gonna get flak for this from a lot of our older fans and even some of the newer fans who wanna hear the older classic songs.' But this is the wonderful thing when you've got 14 records that are all magic that all have great songs on them. So, let's just say, there's an average of 10 songs [per album], there's 140 tunes to choose from over a wonderful career of 25-plus years. The older fans and newer fans all go, 'I wanna hear my favorite, I wanna hear this…' but to do this, it is bold, and we just decided, 'Look, this is what WE wanna do as a band.' And we took the decision, and we knew we were gonna get various amounts of flak for it. And to be honest with you, I wrote a little [tour] diary [entry] the other day and I stuck it on the site and I said, 'Look, for you guys out there, stop freakin' whining. Just come and enjoy it. This is what we're doing because this is what WE want to do.' And it's not about not doing what our fans want. Because our fans made this record No. 9 — it was a Top 10 album — we've never had a Top 10 album in America. So there's a lot of people who are very happy to hear this album in its entirety. There are gonna be the people that are whining and moaning and groaning about it… Well, too freakin' bad. You're gonna get what get.

"Listen, if you look at it this way, and this is the way I look at it: You do an IRON MAIDEN set. We've got it split into thirds. We're doing two-thirds of the set new stuff; one-third is the old stuff. So you're getting two-to-one new. OK? That ain't bad. The great thing about it is that you know full well you're always get 'Iron Maiden' — it's the show closer, it's the signature song for the band. That will always be played last, and that's usually when you'll get the feature of whatever the theatrics we have on the stage — the entertainment side. We'll always have the album theme with a special effect come out — you're always gonna get that. One thing you always will have is 'Hallowed be thy Name', because I… myself and Steve, it's both our favorite IRON MAIDEN song to play live. And I made a deal with Steve years ago, and I said, 'If there's ever a time when you decide you don't want to do this song, you're gonna have to go get a new drummer.' Those two songs you will always have — always. There may be a time when we drop 'Hallowed' — possibly. But songs like 'The Trooper', 'Number of the Beast'… We've got 'Fear of the Dark', '2 Minutes to Midnight', and people go, 'Oh, I don't wanna hear '2 Minutes…' I'm fed up with it.' You're never gonna please everybody. But, of course, you don't wanna make somebody upset. They come all the way to see you, and they spend a lot of money to come down and have a good night out, and then they go, 'Oh, I'm disappointed.' I've read some e-mails that people have sent it, saying, 'I hope they change the setlist by the time they hit Europe.' Well, I've got news for you. Sell you freakin' tickets. Go scalp 'em. 'Cause we ain't changing the setlist."

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