Paul Di’Anno — who fronted Iron Maiden on their punky, rough-hewn early records — will say goodbye to fans this summer after his performance at Bromsgrove, England’s Beermageddon Metal Festival. His farewell, prompted by doctors’ orders to quit touring, is set to take place on August 30th.
In recent years, the singer, age 61, has reported numerous health issues, according to Blabbermouth. He had a “rugby-ball–size abscess” removed from his lungs in 2016 and later had knee-replacement surgery on both of his legs, after multiple motorcycle accidents. He has had to perform sitting down at his most recent gigs.
“It’s been a tough four years waiting to play again,” Di’Anno said in a statement. “I hope to be standing for this show, and I’m really looking forward to it. Standing up would be great — if not, hell on wheels coming to ya!”
For his final gig, he’ll be supported by a backing band called Ides of March — the name of the instrumental that opens Maiden’s Killers record — which features former members of Iron Maiden from their earliest days. The lineup includes guitarists Terry Rance and Terry Wapram, and drummer Doug Sampson. Of those three, only Sampson recorded with the group, playing on the band’s demo, The Soundhouse Tapes, and some BBC recordings.
The group is planning surprises for the final concert, including songs Di’Anno supposedly hasn’t sung in decades. It’s unclear what other concerts Di’Anno could play leading up to Beermageddon, as his official pages haven’t been updated in years.
Di’Anno fronted Iron Maiden between 1978 and 1981 and sang on The Soundhouse Tapes; their self-titled full-length debut; Killers; and the EP Maiden Japan. His gruff voice, coupled with the aggressive songs bassist Steve Harris wrote for the band, set them apart from the other leading heavy-metal groups of the time. The press then championed them as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Di’Anno was eventually dismissed from Iron Maiden over claims of drug use that he’s refuted.
In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Harris shrugged off any punk influence, saying he didn’t like punks because they couldn’t play their instruments. Their speediness was just something inherent in their style. “I think we were just naturally fast artists because of adrenaline,” he said. “It’s not like we sat down and said, ‘Oh, we’re going to play fast.’ You start with the adrenaline and get onstage, and it was even faster than it was when you recorded it. Sometimes it can get a bit out of hand, but the energy at a gig can be really quite amazing at times. It was never premeditated.”