BRUCE DICKINSON 1/00 Interview Page 5
By Bob Nalbandian

BN: Being a label owner yourself, what do you think of all the new means of promoting and downloading music via the Internet, and is that something you plan on being a part of?

BRUCE: Yes. Sanctuary has a huge Internet operation and we're in the process of setting up digital distribution.

BN: Are you, or do you have A&R people scouting new talent for your label Air Raid?

BRUCE: I do A&R in a way. If I hear something really good I'll go after it. Plus, I know what Sanctuary is good at. We took Rob (Halford), who had a lousy record deal, and he mentioned that he was looking for a new manager, so we hooked him up with Rod (Smallwood.) So, Rob is now managed by Sanctuary as well. We got him out of his lousy record deal, so now his new album is available for the world. But, since we are an independent label, we don't go around waving our checkbook like the majors. With our European operation, we're mainly looking for any artists with a history of good catalog, and we're very good at promoting that - especially if it's quality catalog.

BN: Like Samson!

BRUCE: Samson, Metal for Muthas...for example, let's say a band comes to us with a new record, and they have a lot of old albums locked in a vault with some label in Europe. We can work a deal to re-issue those old albums, since nobody is doing anything with it. So, the band will make money, we will have this huge incentive to promote their new record, and it's gonna shift the back catalog, and the old record company is gonna get royalties which otherwise they would never get because they have no idea on how to promote catalog releases.

BN: That philosophy has certainly worked for Rhino Records! Have you thought about the possibility of doing something with the Neat Records (classic British metal label from the early '80s)? They are back in action with Jes Cox (old Tygers of PanTang vocalist) heading up the label, and they're reissuing many of their old albums on CD.

BRUCE: Yeah, they have a huge catalog. What happens to some of those labels is they end up getting a good comfortable income stream and they don't wanna risk expanding any further. If they do, their costs go way out of control, and they can end up losing all the security they have existing.

BN: What do you think of all the tribute CDs out there nowadays? I mean, there must be at least three or four tribute CDs on Maiden alone?

BRUCE: I don't really mind them. I'm just always a bit disappointed that they don't f**k with our songs a bit more. They stick so slavishly to everything, and it's like, 'why bother'. I can see if they do it live in concert, but on album they really should screw with it a little more.

BN: What band would you like to see cover Iron Maiden in a non-heavy metal fashion?

BRUCE: The Prodigy...that would be fun to hear. Them doing "Phantom of the Opera."