Bruce Dickinson: Iron Maiden Was ‘Better’ Than Metallica

Two of the best bands to ever come out of the heavy metal genre are London, England’s Iron Maiden, and Los Angeles, California’s Metallica. Each band has created a variety of intriguing and exciting songs throughout their careers, enjoying enormous success on a global scale.

Which is superior, though? Naturally, it is a trick question, as they are both great. At one point, though, Bruce Dickinson acknowledged that his band was superior to the other one.

In a recent interview with Classic Rock, Dickinson discusses his choice to rejoin Iron Maiden in 1999. At the time, the group had recently broken up with Blaze Bayley, and Steve Harris wasn’t instantly in favor of Dickinson rejoining the group.

The idea of getting Dickinson back was put out by Rod Smallwood, the band’s manager, and ultimately, Dickinson, Smallwood, and the other members of Iron Maiden met. The vocalist for Iron Maiden muses about this exchange and says, “Rod was being his bombastic, bullying best, ’cause he knew I wasn’t into it at all.”

He added, “Steve was very suspicious. He said: ‘Why do you wanna come back?’ I actually said [laughing], I want to come back, Steve, because, in the words of my mates, ‘the world needs Iron Maiden’, and secondly I think we can make amazing music.”

The leader responds to the interviewer’s suggestion that the band might have needed Dickinson by saying, “Probably. But there was no point in saying that, because it would have sounded like sour grapes.”

Dickinson then makes a daring claim, claiming that Iron Maiden is “better” than Metallica: “What I said was: We will sweep away the past by doing an amazing future. Though the first words out of my gobby mouth were: Of course we are better than Metallica! People said: ‘You can’t say that.’ I said: I just did. Then they started going: ‘Maybe he’s right.’”

“You’ve got to have that attitude, though. It’s like Mick Jagger didn’t get to be Mick Jagger by sitting there going [apologetically]: ‘Oh, we’re quite good, you know, we’re almost as good as The Beatles.’ I also told them that we are not to just do ‘greatest hits’ albums, we are going to do a new album and it will be fucking great. And it was. Brave New World [in 2000] really delivered. So suddenly we’re off to the races again.”

To this day Iron Maiden ranks as one of the most beloved acts in heavy metal. The group has issued six studio albums since Dickinson rejoined in 1999; Senjutsu, their most recent record, was released in 2021.





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