SHOCKWAVES: You've been working on the video game for a while...I remember when I interviewed Blaze and Steve last year, they were saying that "Ed Hunter" was going to be released last September.
BD: Originally it was going to be called "Melt." I actually have a "Best of the Beast" album and the slip case is stickered "Soon, the 3D Adventure Game, 'Melt'! Featuring Eddie!" and they scrapped that whole game because it, um, sucked, basically. And it wasn't anything like the level of graphics and detail that they had been led to believe was going to be the case. So they fired the company that developed it and went back to square one. But this other company came in, Synthetic Dimensions, based in England, and they're really cool guys. They did a great job on it. It came out May 17 in Europe and it's going to be for PC's, then going to Playstation probably three or four months later. We're trying to keep it really in the mid-price for PC games, so it's going to go out for about forty bucks. But that will include an extra double CD inside-the "best of" as voted for by Iron Maiden fans, the top twenty tracks. And that will be the set which we'll be playing this summer. The stage show will be based largely around the video game, which is a great excuse, because the video game is based on the album covers.

SHOCKWAVES: We're talkin' the whole catalog, right?
BD: Absolutely. We're going to be playing "Futureal" and "The Clansman," we're gonna be doing "Phantom of the Opera" and "Wrathchild" and "Number of the Beast," "Hallowed," "Stranger in a Strange Land," "Wasted Years"...

SHOCKWAVES: Anything from "Chemical Wedding," or will you keep your solo work separate?
BD: No, no, no. We field those questions quite a lot. Even if it was the sort of thing that people wanted, I actually wouldn't want it. I want to keep the things separate. I'm gonna keep the solo thing. Obviously, I love working with Adrian, and I love working with the guys, so I'm going to try and keep the same guys. When I organized this, I was very aware that I didn't want the solo thing to develop in the way that some situations have. For example, when I had the "Skunkworks" band, everybody was on the wage, and I thought, "Oh, we'll make it nice. Everybody will all be earning the same money and we'll all be democratic and blah, blah, blah." Well that's great, but unfortunately one person's version of commitment is different from another person's version of commitment, and what I discovered...

If you organize it on the basis that you treat each tour and each album and everything else as its own little entity, and you say, "Hey, guys, we're doing a European tour, do you wanna do it?" and everybody says, "Yeah, we'll do it. Cool." So you tell everybody what they're gonna get paid and you figure it all out from the start, then everybody goes in knowing exactly the start date, the finish date, what they're gonna get paid, what the deal is. Same thing with the albums, and that way nobody goes, "You promised me a living for life!" And when it falls apart, like it did because CMC didn't come up with any tour support or radio backup for the American tour this year... We had an eight week tour booked, and we went down the wire with CMC and it was just like, "What is the point of going on this masochistic tour? There's no f**king support." And this is even as we were planning the Maiden reunion tour.

So in those situations, when the guys have, like, blocked out two months, you know, taken two months off work, reorganized their lives and everything, you can't sort of go, "Oh, sorry, guys... You know that money you were going to get? You're not going to get it now. You don't mind, do you?" If you're fair to people down the line and you honor your commitments, then people treat you okay back. And that's how it works with us.

SHOCKWAVES: So, in September the European tour starts?
BD: September 9, 1999. Then talk shows, and that's it. Starts in Paris, finishes in Greece, if they don't invade it. Couple in Germany, couple in Scandinavia, Italy, Couple in Spain, one in France, one in Holland, and that's it. This is not going to be the most extensive Iron Maiden tour-we didn't intend it to be. This is not another one of those big reunion things, we want to make it totally different from the way those are conducted. This is not sort of a nostalgia trip. Even though we'll be playing old songs, we do actually have something completely new to promote, which is the video game.

We're going to have a fantastic stage show, a five truck tour. Nobody will have seen anything this spectacular from Maiden in a long, long time. And just when everybody wants to go see it, you know what? You can't! (Laughs) Because, you know what? Next year is going to be the time to do the huge tour because we're going to have a new album-not a new live album-a new studio album with a top-line producer and a top-line studio, sparing no expense in getting it right, and that's how to put Maiden back to number one in terms of metal.

Adrian Smith: I think this short tour is a good way to get us reacquainted again, as well. Getting on stage, playing the older stuff, and transfer that energy into a new record. I think it's going to be a great tour and a lot of fun. That's where the serious business starts. Like he said, we're lining up top producers to do it-we really want to do a good album, a great album.

SHOCKWAVES: Talk to Martin Birch?
AS: We did discuss Martin.
BD: His name's come up. We haven't excluded anybody. We have a short list of about four producers.