In a recent interview with Neil Shukla of Cosmo Music, IRON MAIDEN drummer Nicko McBrain discussed the chemistry between him and the band's bass player Steve Harris. After McBrain joined MAIDEN in 1982, he and Harris developed the group's identifiable rhythmic backbone, often comprised of their trademark "gallops" that not only complemented the twin guitar attack of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray but were often song highlights onto themselves. Furthermore, McBrain has done all of this without the benefit of a double-kick drum, which has largely become a mainstay in metal music.
"I first met the guys in 1979," he said (see two-part video below). "They were on their very first European gig and I was playing in a band called MCKITTY. It was a three-piece. I had a couple of years with Pat Travers, so my playing style suited a three-piece band because I wasn't just a straight time keeper. My background is soul, funk and blues, and blues being the primary [style] of what I love to play later in my teens and whatnot. That lent itself to my style of playing with MAIDEN. When I first met the guys, they were all genuine down-to-earth guys. It was their first European show in Belgium. I was on that same bill with this other band. Three years later, I get offered the gig. In 1982, they offered me the job. 1983 was my official first gig with the band. The vibe was just so much fun. Mistakes I was making, we were doing songs like 'Killers', 'Number Of The Beast', 'Wrathchild', 'The Prisoner'. I did five songs. It was all over the shop, but we had so much fun. And that's the same today. There's mistakes made. I make mistakes all the time. I might get 'em right one day, but there is never any anger. It's always, 'Oy!' Steve will come up: 'Oy! That kind of push beat. Every time you fucking do that it ain't in the right place.' 'All right, I'm sorry Steve. I'm just trying something out.' It's still fun. Today, that's when I get on that stage with the band, it's like 38 years ago, 36 years ago.
"Now, the gallop with Steve," he continued. "People say, 'You got a really fast right foot.' To a degree, yes, because I have to complement the rhythm section which is bass and the drummer. The drummer is right, first of all. No question. The drummer is always right. But when you lock in with your bass player, you've got to find what works for the rhythm part against the bottom end of what he's playing. Steve is an absolutely incredible bass player. Still is today. I'm blessed to play with this guy. I don't know what he sees in me. I think he'd beat me up when he wants. [Laughs]. Like on 'Where Eagles Dare', the classic triplet fill [mimes the fill] or 'The Trooper' vibe, that's Steve's way of writing. He likes that real on the edge, fast, tickling the old string bit. I had to find and learn, really, to play with him."
McBrain joined MAIDEN in 1982 as the replacement for Clive Burr and has previously stated that he "was in the right place at the right time" in terms of landing the gig.
MAIDEN recently announced nearly three dozen shows for next spring and summer as part of its acclaimed "Legacy Of The Beast" tour.