IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson has told AndrewHaug.com in a new interview that beating cancer in 2015 motivated him to write his memoir, "What Does This Button Do?" "People have been me asking me to do it for years, and I consistently turned it down," he said (hear audio below). "'Cause I knew what was involved — I mean, I thought, 'Oh my God! I'm gonna be sitting there just writing and writing and writing and writing.' And then, of course, I had the issue with throat cancer. So, because of the throat cancer thing, and getting over it, obviously, I thought, 'You know what? Now would be a good time.' [Laughs] 'You never know what might happen. I suppose I should do something like this.' And that really was kind of nature's cattle prod."
Asked whether his cancer battle inspired him to get involved in more projects and accomplish as much as possible during his remaining time on the planet, Dickinson said: "Yeah, perhaps subconsciously; it's not a conscious thing. Even before I was diagnosed, I had several projects on the go. And then, when I diagnosed with cancer, I was, like, 'Oh, no. Really? You're kidding me.' And there was half of me that was, like, 'Well, I suppose you might die, but chances are that you won't. But what a pain in the ass this cancer is.' [Laughs] 'All these things need doing.' There was a lot of closure on a lot of things I wanted to accomplish, and I thought, 'Well, I can't do it,' because, yeah, I'm sick, but even so, you still can't do it in nine months — some of these things were long-term projects. So I just had to settle down and go, 'I'm not gonna give up on these things. I'm just gonna have to put myself in the deep freeze a little bit for a few months whilst I nail this thing.' I was assuming, kind of, that I probably would, but on the other hand, there's also the possibility that you might not. And also, the treatment is pretty aggressive. So hopefully you come out the other side of the treatment in reasonable shape; you don't know. I mean, I know some guys who've had exactly the same cancer as me who've had pretty much exactly the same treatment as me, and yeah, they got rid of the cancer, but their bodies responded very differently to mine, and there was some really quite unpleasant side effects, which I've been really lucky that I managed to sidestep the worst of them — in terms of long-term worst of them."
Dickinson, who was diagnosed during a routine check-up just before Christmas in 2014, underwent a seven-week course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and was given the all clear from cancer in May 2015. "Now, I just go back to my doc every six months and get a checkup," he told AndrewHaug.com. "I have to have my jaw looked at for various reasons to do with radiation, because when you do that amount of radiation, the lower jaw, the mandible, the bone basically doesn't like it and it doesn't like it kind of permanently, effectively. All the soft tissues, they regenerate, but the bone, sadly, once you radiate it, doesn't respond very well. So you have to keep an eye on that. So I go to a specialist dentist every six months as well just to make sure that everything's cool."
"What Does This Button Do?" landed at No. 10 on the New York Times "Hardcover Nonfiction" best sellers list. It was released in the U.S. in October 2017 via Dey Street Books (formerly It Books), an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
"What Does This Button Do?" is Dickinson's third book. He has previously published two satirical novels, "The Adventures Of Lord Iffy Boatrace" about the English upper classes and "The Missionary Position" about televangelism.
Dickinson joined IRON MAIDEN in 1981, replacing Paul Di'Anno, and made his recording debut with the band on the 1982 album "The Number Of The Beast". He quit the band in 1993, pursuing several solo projects, and rejoined in 1999.
Dickinson, who turned 60 in August, has several other interests beyond music. He is a licensed commercial pilot and owns an aviation company. He has also done some acting and brewed beer.