Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain has told how he thought the band was finished after hearing Bruce Dickinson had cancer – but the thought only lasted a moment.
The drummer also revealed why he was happy to leave his mistakes in the final version of lead track, “Speed Of Light”.
Maiden’s 16th album, The Book Of Souls was recorded by the band last year. During that time frontman Dickinson suspected that he was ill, but decided to carry on recording and not to seek medical attention until the album was finished.
McBrain tells Overdrive Magazine, “Do you know that none of us knew he was poorly until after the record was done? He performed that whole album, knowing that something wasn’t quite right with himself – but didn’t get diagnosed till after we’d finished the tracks.
“So The Book of Souls is very special to me and all the rest of the guys. We weren’t aware, and neither was he, that he had the tumour.”
He adds: “I’d be a liar if I didn’t think for a minute, ‘That’s Iron Maiden finished.’ I thought more about the possibility of losing my friend than anything else, to be honest.
“I did question his mortality at one point, and thankfully that didn’t last long. I got down on my knees and said a prayer, picked my thoughts up and got positive, thinking to myself, ‘If anyone can beat this, it’s Bruce!’
“Basically, I prayed for him and my prayers were answered, as well as everybody else that knows and cares for him.”
“Speed Of Light” was released as a single ahead of the album’s launch, and it was recorded moments after guitarist Adrian Smith played the main riff to the band in their French recording studio.
McBrain says: “We went off and recorded it right then and there. There are a couple of little drum mishaps in it, and I deliberately kept them in.
“There were people moaning about it, saying, ‘Oh, there’s mistakes in there!’ My response was: ‘Bollocks to that – it’s live and it’s a great vibe.’”
The album is already a huge success, and Maiden will be announcing The Book Of Souls world tour very soon. By the looks of it, it’s going to be full houses as usual. Check out the chart positions the album has achieved to date.
- #1 – Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK
- #2 – Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland
- #3 – Turkey
- #4 – South Africa, USA