Interview with PAUL DiANNO

November 2004

Safe to say, what Paul DiAnno’s been doing in the last two decades is less known than the name of IRON MAIDEN’s first singer. His voice remains etched in the grooves of the British band’s first two albums, “Iron Maiden” and “Killers”, and his songs remain in the ensemble’s live repertoire. And even though scaling the heights solo was hard, Paul’s revered by many – for not many vocalists are as sincerely furious as DiAnno. His anger feels quite righteous – with his former group’s yoke still not shaken off Paul’s neck. That’s why we started on the sore thumb.

– What is IRON MAIDEN to you now – a blessing or a curse?

Sometimes it is both, but generally it is a blessing.

– On-stage, you surely can’t do without MAIDEN songs – the fans wouldn’t let you – but if you had your way, how many of those cuts remained in your live set, and which ones?

If I had my way I’d only play three MAIDEN songs: “Remember Tomorrow”, “Running Free” and “Killers”. However, the fans who come to my shows pay good money to see me play as many MAIDEN songs as possible, and I owe it to them to give them what they want. Here is the current set list: “Ides Of March”, “Wrathchild”, “Prowler”, “Marshal Lokjaw”, “Dream Keeper”, “Murders In The Rue Morgue”, “The Beast Arises”, “Children Of Madness”, “Remember Tomorrow”, “Impaler”, “Faith Healer”, “Killers”, “Strange World”, “Phantom Of The Opera”, “The Living Dead”, “Running Free”, “Transylvania”, “Sanctuary”.

– You came to hard rock from punk, but could you imagine yourself in a punk band after MAIDEN?

Directly after I was out of MAIDEN, yes I can, but not now.

– For whatever reasons GOGMAGOG came about, the line-up was terrific. Do you agree with this? Did you record with Cozy Powell and John Entwistle?

GOGMAGOG came about through a then famous UK producer, and the whole concept was his idea. Well, actually GOGMAGOG had various line-ups, and I was not actually in the line-up with John and Cozy, as I was in the line-up with Clive Burr and Janick Gers. But yeah, the line-ups were great.

– You’ve been working with Brazilian musicians well-known for the ferocity of their playing, yet were there any rhythmic advantages that work gave you?

The advantages were in the rhythmic side of things more than anything else, although the aggression in the playing of Brazilian musicians is truly fantastic.

– England, USA, Brazil… Where do you feel at home, and how did each of the countries you lived in contribute to your view of the world?

Well, now I live in the UK in a quiet place called Salisbury, near to Stonehenge, and it is wonderful. I was in Brazil for a while, and that is the place I would consider my second home, as I love the general atmosphere and people’s attitude in Brazil. Many places I have lived throughout my career made me realize just how messed up the whole world is.

– IRON MAIDEN, GOGMAGOG, KILLERS, BATTLEZONE – all the names concern violence in one way or another. Are you an angry person then?

I have been angry all of my life, but I’m not really sure why.

– What impact you had – and, perhaps, still are having – on metal music?

I seem to have had a reasonably good impact in the early years and hopefully still do have some of that impact left in me.

– You took part in several tribute albums – to THIN LIZZY, NAZARETH and a couple more. Was it you who picked the songs?

I personally picked the songs of each album that were presented to me, and it was great fun to be able to perform so many classic songs in the way that I fancied doing them.

– You wrote a book, and your lyrics always read like some story. Are you an avid reader?

Reading is a huge part of my life and always has been.

– What music do you find interesting at that stage of your life?

Many various and different types of music interest me and my taste is always changing. Right now I am listening to RAMONES, Cat Stevens, JUDAS PRIEST, LINKIN PARK, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, and many more.

– Then, what course your music is taking nowadays?

A much more aggressive course, but full of passion and pain.

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