IRON MAIDEN frontman Bruce Dickinson recently spoke to Jon Matsumoto of The Mercury News about the group's announcement that their current world tour will be their last extensive tour.
"We all have families, and we want to have lives apart from music," he said. "Nicko McBrain, our drummer, will be 50 on this tour. I'm the youngest guy in the band. I'm 45. But we're still performing like we were when we were 25. It's started to take its toll on everybody's body.
"[Bassist] Steve Harris has got a crushed vertebra from running around on stage all these years with a huge bass guitar. Some days he can hardly walk. If we go on and try to play five nights a week in arenas for months at a time, this band is going to be unable to function."
In the States, IRON MAIDEN are one of the few metal bands still capable of headlining shows at large arenas. In Europe, where there's still a thriving metal scene in many areas, including Germany and Scandinavia, IRON MAIDEN's popularity is even greater.
"Europe has always been our strongest area," said Dickinson, adding that on a recent tour they "played to 700,000 people in 28 days. We were outselling THE ROLLING STONES in Scandinavia. People want to see us because they've heard that we're the source material for metal stuff."
In the United States, classic metal groups such as JUDAS PRIEST have been overshadowed for a decade now by hard rock-metal bands incorporating elements of rap, grunge, punk or industrial music.
"People talk about freedom here in the United States,'' said Dickinson, "but you only have freedom if you have a choice. People over here really aren't made aware of the choices they have in terms of music because of the corporate control of the concert business and radio. Everybody is segmented. Depending on what age group you slot into, you're put into a little stall, and you have blinkers put on you." Read more.