Bruce Dickinson Page 3
by Tim Henderson

As for a firm tracklisting for the rare and unreleased Catacombs, Bruce states that "I haven't gone into it in any sort of detail yet. I have a rough idea of a half a dozen tracks I'd like to go on it, but I'd have to have a really hard listen to them before I make final decisions. For example, there's songs like 'Wickerman' from the Accident Of Birth sessions that nobody's ever heard. A couple of acoustic things off of Chemical Wedding that nobody's ever heard, the original version of 'Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter', which was released in such small quantities that very few people have it. It will have some very cool rarities. Also some of the stuff off of the Lost Album, the Keith Olsen album (eight tracks in total). For example, the original version of 'Tears Of A Dragon' in its entirety; nobody's ever heard that. There's two or three tracks off that album that I released as b-sides, but they were very limited in quantity. There's also 'Slow Garden' (from the Skunkworks era) that has a slow and dragging kind of BLACK SABBATH feel. There are still a number of Skunkworks b-sides, those more or less unplugged numbers that I wrote together with Roy. There's an awful lot of stuff, in fact there's enough for two full albums."

Shall we say boxset?

"That's going a little bit far right now. I'd like to make the album special, but at the same time, make it in the price range that most people can afford to go out and buy. Me putting out a box set, from a commercial point of view, I don't think it would be a huge seller."

Successful solo careers are few and far between, but Dickinson's nearly ten-post Maiden years are akin to say a Robert Plant or a Peter Gabriel. And he's issued a plethora of material to pick from.

"I know, I've got some crazy quantity of records. And next year, Air Raid is looking at releasing the four Samson albums that I did and the Metal For Muthas compilations I and II. Metal For Muthas have never been released on CD ever. We're also looking at signing some other artists for Europe. The U.S. and Canada is a bit more problematical for us. The investment required in the States is so enormous to get something going off the ground. I'm in a very fortunate position, because Air Raid is a joint venture between myself and Sanctuary. The day-to-day bullshit and the financial and legal ramifications of the whole deal are looked after by the same bunch of people at my management company. In effect, I've gone into a partnership with my managers." It's similar to the deal bassist Steve Harris has with Sanctuary (Dirty Deeds is an offspring of Beast Records).

Bruce: "In fact we share label managers. One of the great things about this is that I can go into the office and talk with my label manager, and he's also Beast's label manager. We have a great relationship. We can be quite aggressive when we want to be in terms of marketing and promotion. We are actively looking for bands at the moment. And I have to say, by the middle of next year, we will have sold over a half million records. We're not messing around as a label. We're doing very respectably, we're very profitable and we have a lot of things going for us. I'm confident that we may very well be able to deliver a few records that may surprise people. My role is creative. I just run around biting people in the bum, 'what do you think about this, what do you think about that?' Every now and again we have an A&R meeting where we have a bit of a brainstorming session. It's something I enjoy doing. I really enjoy working with the people who run my label, because they're wonderful people and they really work their ass off."

Bruce Dickinson Page 4