Paul Anthony of Planet Rock spoke to IRON MAIDEN drummer Nicko McBrain ahead of the band's much-anticipated closing set on Sunday, June 12 at the U.K.'s Download festival. Nicko talked about the phenomenal success of MAIDEN's latest album, "The Book of Souls", saying: "It's been so well received; it's great. It's beyond our wildest expectations, really. It's our sixteenth studio album, and, obviously, sixteenth world tour in terms of supporting albums and stuff. But, yes, it's been phenomenal, and the gigs are going so well. And the audiences are just phenomenal; they love it."
Nicko also praised Bruce Dickinson for the way the MAIDEN frontman has handled the band's intense touring schedule more than a year after undergoing cancer treatment for a tumor on his tongue. Dickinson, a commercial airline pilot and established aviation entrepreneur, is flying MAIDEN's chartered Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet, Ed Force One, which is carrying the band, its crew, and 55 tons of equipment around the world.
"I've gotta be honest… Bruce is my hero," Nicko said. "We all know — it's well documented what he went through with his illness and whatnot — and then he comes out and learns how to fly a 747. And it's so strange, because Bruce isn't a particularly big guy. He's a strong lad, but when you go up to the flight deck and you see this massive big cockpit and there's Bruce sitting there. It's such a great thing to see Bruce… Having him on a 757 is a lot smaller but he's gone along, he's done all the exams (for the 747 pilot license). He had 100% on his written exam, which is hats off. And then he gets up on stage — believe me… I mean, just listen to the performance of 'Death Or Glory' [the recently released MAIDEN video from 'The Book Of Souls' tour]. You know, that's just a little bit of what he gives in these live shows. And we're all having such a great time."
Elsewhere, Nicko talked about being blown away by the MAIDEN computer game "Legacy Of The Beast" and his enduring love for the band's fans.
You can listen to the full Nicko McBrain interview below.