IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson — who is also known as a commercial pilot, brewmaster, entrepreneur and creative business thinker — was interviewed on the August 22 edition of CNN International's flagship program "Quest Means Business". You can now watch the segment below.
Asked why he thinks his love for aviation and music are particularly complementary, Dickinson said: "Well, I know a lot of musicians who are pilots, and vice versa, a lot of professional pilots I happen to know who are musicians also. There's something about the three-dimensionality of both mediums. And there's also something about the creative aspects of both things. I mean, I've got to say, for my sins, for the last three or four years, I've been doing some business and corporate speaking, something I call corporate stand-up. But one of the big questions is creativity. And people want to know, 'How do you be creative in business?' I said, 'Well, I've been being creative, songwriting, all my life.' So I just think naturally about creative things. And, to me, creating a business idea [is] very much like creating a song: it starts off from one little idea and then you just daydream what happens next, and eventually you have to put it into a process, and eventually you have to make it fit and make it real."
He continued: "We started, for example, a maintenance company, and it's still working away happily, fixing Boeing and Airbus airliners and we've done all kinds of work for major customers like EasyJet and people like that in Wales. And people said, 'But you're a pilot. Why are you starting a maintenance company?' I said, 'It's really simple. If you want to sell lawnmowers, what should you do?' And they went, 'I don't know. Open a lawnmower shop?' I said, 'No. You buy a patch of grass and wait.' 'Cause somebody will come along and say, 'You need to cut the grass.' And you say, 'I can sell you a lawnmower.' And so, it's the same sort of thing; it's same weird lateral thinking. And I applied the same logic to our airline business, which is, why have you got a maintenance company? Because eventually people will bring you airplanes that they don't know what to do with. At which point you can say, we can make money for your airplane. At which point you get a cheap airplane. You do everybody a favor. It's a good deal for everybody, but at the same time you don't have to commit a massive expense to that airplane.
"Why do airlines go bust? Answer: because they own airplanes."
Dickinson was a pilot and marketing director for Astraeus Airlines, a company which leased aircraft to other carriers.
Bruce left IRON MAIDEN in 1993 in order to pursue a solo career, his passion for fencing and an interest in becoming a pilot. Bruce rejoined the band in 1999 and has gone on to release four albums; despite this, he hasn't stopped flying Boeing 757s.
Asked by Lufthansa Magazin what is more exhausting, a long-distance flight or an IRON MAIDEN concert, Dickinson said: "They are both tiring, but in different ways. The physical element at the IRON MAIDEN show is the most tiring part. Your brain is so wired you can’t sleep for about six hours. With flying, it is a very different kind of tired. You sit in a seat without any activity for nine or ten hours but your mind is exhausted because you've actually done a lot of high-concentration work at the beginning and end of the flight."
Regarding what the biggest contrast is between flying a plane and singing in a heavy metal band, Dickinson said: "Everything I do on stage is about exhibition, about putting on a show. Flying is completely the opposite, it is about the inside. You don't operate an airliner like the old aviators with a stick and rudder, you manage modern flights. What pilots really are, although it doesn't sound very sexy, are risk managers. Our job is to make the experience of flying undetectable to the passengers. When I was a pilot, I enjoyed that role because it was so different from my job in IRON MAIDEN."
IRON MAIDEN's "The Book Of Souls" world tour concluded on August 4 when the band performed at the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany, marking the end of the trek that began in late February and touched down on six continents.