Bruce Dickinson webchat – your questions answered on supergroups, sex scenes and comic books

Last modified: 12: 37 PM GMT+0

The Iron Maiden singer revealed all about what he gets up to between shows, Lord Iffy Boatrace and playing classical music on his jawbone

That's all from Bruce

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Have to whizz - in 35 minutes I will be on Radio 5 Live! Just so you know that it really is me and not some plonker who walked in off the street. Thanks for all your questions - bye for now and I hope you all love the book!

toffeedoug asks:

Do you have days when you are happy to be doing absolutely nothing?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Yes I do. More often than people think. And what I do is nothing! I watch telly, drink coffee, get sat upon by the cat and generally mooch around while avoiding washing.

Reka73 asks:

Do you consider creating alcohol free beverages for health conscious people? Trooper hot chocolate sounds fine.

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Actually an alcohol-free Trooper for Saudi Arabia sounds like a good idea. I was there flying Hajj pilgrims around for three years on the trot so I am extremely familiar with alcohol free beverages. Some of them don't taste too bad.

Alphagamma asks:

What was the last book you really enjoyed reading?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I've just finished reading HG Wells The Shape Of Things To Come which is very interestin. It has a lot of predictions - some of which are still valid and some of which he got terribly wrong. Before that, 20 years too late, I'm just starting the third book of the Philip Pullman His Dark Materials trilogy. You race through those books - they're really readable - but they have deep concepts. Some people compare him to Tolkien but he's much easier to get your head around. Tolkien was rooted in academia - I read Lord Of The Rings when I was 11 and my English teacher at the time was absolutely scathing about it. He said "it's just a long feast followed by a long boring walk followed by another battle". I said - you have a point. Having said that the movie is brilliant. The way Peter Jackson rendered Tolkien's turns of phrase was magical. They were exactly as I had seen them in my mind's eye as a child. How was that possible?

Mark Ormesher asks:

Do you think moving West Ham out of the Boleyn was the correct decision?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Well ... first of all I'm not basically a huge slavish football fan. In other words - I don't support any particular team. Although I take an interest in Chelsea only because they are in West London. And have a colourful history of managers. But West Ham have got an interesting manager at the moment and I was lucky enough to have dinner with him in Croatia before he was West Ham's manager and I found him extremely intelligent, which was unexpected. I found him a very fascinating conversationalist - we talked about management styles and man management. He'd studied at Manchester United and Arsenal studying both styles of management. I rather revised my opinion of football managers based on that experience. But as you can see I'm not an expert on football, I like watching a good game but live I would rather go to a rugby match.

Scott McLennan asks:

Now that you’ve completed What Does This Button Do?, are there any plans to write sequels to The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace and The Missionary Position: The Further Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I haven't given a great deal of thought to it. I'm in the middle of the promotional madness right now. Let's see how well this book does first and see what happens. I really enjoyed writing it so clearly I've not forgotten how to put one word in front of another. It was nice to be able to tell stories and give an insight into how the world looks from your perspective, in a way that is not going to be edited by strangers. So you could get a real feel for what it was like to be viewing the world through my eyes as it were. It's only a short step from that to fiction I suppose. But this book is obviously not fiction. I tried to write it so it would read like a really good page-turning story. And fortunately Jack Fogg my editor thought the same way and he edited the book, in his words, "like a novel" which I found interesting.

My memory was good - I remembered things quite graphically in vivid detail. We could have had a 600 page book but it would have been very unwieldy. And in fact had I completed all the various other bits and bobs in my little notebook we'd have had an 800 page book and I'd still be writing it at Christmas. You have to have discipline about things. Fortunately we've kept the book really tight.


suzanneboyce asks:

What is your favourite impression to do?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I'm very fond of doing the William Tell Overture on my jawbone. I've tried Flight Of The Bumblebee but unfortunately it hurts too much.

wyngatecarpente asks:

I’m intrigued by the phrase “all round polymath” - are there polymaths who aren’t “all round”?

That question is for the Guardian, not Bruce, although I suppose he can answer it if he wants.

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Yes, there wouldn't really be a polymath who wasn't all round. You could have a skinny polymath I guess. A decaf one. Do I consider myself a polymath? No idea, I don't care really. But I'm quite happy to take the compliment if indeed it is a compliment.

'I could tell you about my heroin addiction – but it doesn't exist'

trenthetfield asks:

Really looking forward to the book. A review by Classic Rock suggests that you’ve not touched on some important/interesting career moments in much or any detail. Did you make that decision out of self preservation, and did you speak to Steve/Rod about what could and couldn’t be included, Maiden-wise?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Actually that's not true. I've touched on quite a few bits ... some people might be disappointed that the book is not more salacious or nasty about people but that's not the point. It's not something I want to go around doing - although it might sell a few copies, the book is far better and stands a better chance of long term sales to a wider audience because it's positive and uplifting rather than a mass of negativity. I could of course tell you about my heroin addiction - but unfortunately it doesn't exist.

'In the film's love scene, was a skinhead trying to talk Latin - don't ask why!'

LindaMorrison asks:

As a member of a large group of women who think you are the sexiest man alive, I have to ask you about that scene from the never-released Dope Opera film.

Did it take a lot of convincing to get you to go for it? Do you talk about it in your book? And did you find it awkward or did not not mind being naked on set at all?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

This was a film which never got made. Julian Doyle who directed Chemical Wedding had the script and we did some scenes and one of them was an amusing piss take love scene that involved me actually semi-naked and another semi-naked woman. It was very funny because we were trying to do this love scene in Latin. I was a skinhead trying to talk Latin - don't ask why! And in the middle of the scene the set collapsed and we all got covered in red hot candle wax. I know some people might be into that but we weren't at the time. We ended up falling about laughing. It might be somewhere on YouTube, I don't know.

Tatiana1973 asks:

Bruce, how do you deal with your fears and anxieties?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Mariosak13 asks:

If Eternity Should Fail has the best title ever and it’s based on a Dr Strange comic. Did you actually read comic books as a child and if so what were your favourites?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Yes I did. I read a lot of Commando comics which were very uncharitable to the Germans. I quite liked the Silver Surfer and Dr Strange. I liked the artwork - the Silver Surfer looked really cool, although I never really got the stories. He was always just pissed off. Being a permanent adolescent is a bit of a dead end in terms of a story. Dr Strange was always more interesting - just the fact that back in the 70s the whole idea of an occult superhero was kinda cool.

RonMaiden asks:

Out of Steve, Adrian and Dave who’s bottom looked the best in spandex?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I always stand at the front so I never get to see!

'An X Factor for rock and metal would make me want to eat my own leg'

BrettdeBank asks:

What are your views on putting together an X Factor for rock and metal? Good idea?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I don't actually like the X Factor and the idea of putting together that kind of show for rock and metal would make me want to eat my own leg.


Can you talk about Nicko McBrain’s conversion to Christianity. How has that affected you personally and the band?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I can't talk about it because I'm not Nicko and it hasn't affected us personally in the band to be honest with you.

Screamforme asks:

Do you have plans to release your solo album soon?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I haven't got any plans to release it soon. I've got to finish it soon and that may take some time. I've got some of it written. Maiden nicked one song for the opening song of The Book Of Souls. One of these days I will get around to it.

LaurenDickinson666 asks:

Captain Dickinson, will you kindly publish all of your aviation anecdotes in a sequel book?

Are you ever going to level with us about the exact nature of your relationship with [Maiden member] Janick Gers? And no harm meant to you, as this is an age where the LGBTQ community worldwide needs to be represented by it’s true constituents, in all walks of life and in all countries.

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

re: the book - I would be delighted to but I don't know who would want to read it.

re: Janick Gers – I agree with your statement, but unfortunately you're barking up the wrong tree with that.


If you’re gonna die, die with your boots on / If you’re gonna try well stick around / Gonna cry, just move along / Gonna die, you’re gonna die.

Do you still stand by that statement?

ArnoldStadnik asks:

Hi Bruce, if you had to invite musicians to form a metal supergroup, who would you like to play with?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Don't do supergroups. Not interested. Why not? I just think anybody that starts off saying they're going to be a supergroup is doomed to failure. Do things because they feel natural and that's not necessarily doing things with famous people.

'I cut my hair because I was too old to look like Jesus any more'

Beppeeppeb asks:

How did you feel when you decided to cut your hair years ago?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I immediately discovered that the temperature around my neck was about three degrees cooler. Why did I do it? I was too old to look like Jesus anymore.

RamesesPNiblick asks:

How old should my daughter be if I wish to take her to the slaughter?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Well it depends on what jurisdiction you're in really. I would say she needs to be at least 21.

stuckinazoo asks:

Hi Bruce. Got a favourite airport approach?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Yes - the old Hong Kong airpot at Kai Tak which no longer exists. Basically, you were flying a jumbo into the side of a mountain, then hanging a severe right hand turn below the height of people's washing lines which always provoked gasps from passengers and occasional screams of terror. And sometimes shock from naked people looking out of their bathroom windows. Having said that, I've only ever done it in a simulator. I'm sure it's still available in Microsoft Flight Sim.

VamosBananito asks:

Bruce, what’s your favourite Miles Davis album?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I haven't got one - neither an album nor a favourite.

viniciusfelix asks:

Fear of Dark has never left Iron Maiden’s repertoire since it was released. What’s your relationship with this song?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I don't really have a relationship with Fear Of The Dark. It's just quite fun to sing, and it's a very comfortable way to signal that we are approaching the encores.


Will there ever be a boy born who can swim faster than a shark?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Firstly, this is a brilliant question. But sadly the answer is no. Especially if you happen to be the boy.

SackTheJuggler asks:

You’ve got a Fokker DR1. Any other old warbirds you fancy trying your hand at?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I do have a Fokker DR1. Any other old warbirds? Yes, I'd love to have a go at any old aeroplanes. It's like an old car - the handling characteristics are really rather different to modern planes which makes it interesting and gives you an insight into the problems people might have faced and the reasons why they did things back in the day.


RALFF197 asks:

Are there any Iron Maiden tour plans for 2018, or for a new album?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

If I told you I would have to kill you.

Eoghan Lyng asks:

What was your initial reaction to the nickname “The Air Raid Siren”?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I thought it was really quite inventive of our manager to take a rather coruscating letter and repurpose it

bubsy styles asks:

What’s your favourite plane?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Truth is, any aeroplane I'm flying at that moment is my friend because it's keeping me alive. Not that I get nervous flying - except when things go wrong. But even then, if you're flying airliners there are lots of different systems you can use. There's very few things you need to panic about. Things like engine failures will get your immediate attention, but other than that the best thing to do is sit on your hands and don't do anything sudden.

Steve ForTheDeaf asks:

Which of the live albums Maiden have put out is the definitive set?

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

I'm actually a big fan of the Hammersmith recording that never got properly released because it was done for a video which the lighting designer screwed up by turning all the lights out. But the recording itself is absolutely brilliant. It's from the early 1980s

Here we go!

User avatar for BruceDickinsonChat Guardian contributor

Hello! Live long and prosper!

Bruce Dickinson in The Guardian offices for a webchat
Bruce Dickinson in The Guardian offices for a webchat Photograph: Tim Jonze/The Guardian

Bruce Dickinson webchat – post your questions now

Where to start with Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson? Two lengthy stints as frontman in the legendary metal band would be enough for most CVs, but Dickinson is also an airline captain, radio presenter, scriptwriter, fencer and beer brewer among other things.

It means his new autobiography What Does This Button Do? (not the most confidence-instilling title for an airline captain to trade under, admittedly) is sure to be packed with fascinating tales, covering everything from a childhood spent on the move to his recent battle with cancer.

He will be taking on his latest challenge on Tuesday 17 October at 12.30pm – visiting the Guardian office to answer your questions. Post them in the comment section below and we’ll fire them at the rock legend for your pleasure.


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