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Iron Maiden “Dance” Back

Three-year lull ends with world tour, new album

Nearly two weeks still remain on Iron Maiden’s Give Me Ed . . .
‘Til I’m Dead tour, scheduled through August 30th in Sacramento,
after which the band will take a short breather before beginning
support of its thirteenth studio album, Dance of Death,
due next month.

Dance will spark another round of touring for the U.K.
metalmen, who will launch the Dance of Death World tour in Prague
on October 22nd. A U.K. outing is set for December, with trips
through North America, South America, Japan and the Far East lined
up for early 2004.

For Maiden, even after more than twenty-five years of touring
and recording, the process is something new. In the good old days
of excess, the band used to find itself caught between a feverish
need to tour constantly and the synergistic requirement to hit the
road behind new material. The group’s new M.O. is to tour when they
feel the urge and to record during the lulls between.

“The biggest tours we’ve done over the last three years have
been with no album, which felt a little odd,” frontman Bruce
Dickinson says. “It’s great fun, but it’s not the sort of thing you
can do everyday, because suddenly it starts turning into Vegas, and
you do turn into a pastiche of yourself. So our take on
touring now is that we’re going to be doing less of it, but have
more fun when we do it. What’s the point of going out and trying to
be road warriors ten months on the road? We’ve done that for
umpteen years. If we do it much longer, we’ll be dead. It hurts
more than it used to.”

That approach might mean longer lulls between albums, but
Dance — much like its predecessor, 2000’s Brave New
World
— finds Maiden sounding as assured as in the
early-Eighties heyday that yielded metal classics like

Killers, Piece of Mind and perhaps its most
enduring album, Number of the Beast.

“It’s a bit more sophisticated than those days, I suppose,”
Dickinson says, “but in terms of the energy, it’s definitely an
equivalent. It’s probably an amalgam of the first three albums I
did with the band, with about twenty-five years of experience on
top, and a willingness to go out on a few things that, for Maiden
at least, are a bit experimental. There’s a track, “Journeyman,”
which I suppose you could describe as being a bit melancholy, with
some acoustic guitars and such. That side might come out more on
the records.”

The set was recorded in the spring at Sarm Studios in London
with Brave producer Kevin Shirley at the helm and a less
indulgent tact on the part of the band. “It’s comfortable, but it’s
also a hell of a lot more focused,” Dickinson says. “We did
Number of the Beast in five weeks. We were staying up
drinking ’til five in the morning. People got to the studio at 2
p.m. and took a few hours to get over the hangover. Then we did
three or four hours of useful and productive work and then we
celebrated our productive work until four in the morning. This
cycle went on and we said, ‘This is rock and roll!’ Now we get in
the studio about midday and work until about five or six and get
about five hours of productive work and then we go home.”

Track list for Dance of Death:

Wildest Dreams
Rainmaker
No More Lies
Montsegur
Dance of Death
Gates of Tomorrow
New Frontier
Pashendale
Face in the Sand
Age of Innocence
Journeyman

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