By: Rob Cavuoto
Legendary singer for Iron Maiden’s first two studio LPs, Paul Di’Anno appeared at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ on this ice cold December evening, in part to support the 30th Anniversary of Maiden’s first LP but mostly just to kick our asses!
Paul performed for over an hour, pulling out all the great Iron Maiden hits that he made famous including “Wrathchild, Killers,” “Phantom of the Opera” and of course my favorite “Running Free,” just to name a few. Paul also played “Marshall Lowjack” and “Faith Healer” from his solo band, Killers.
His opening act Icarus Witch, a new band out of Pittsburg, PA also doubled as his backing band, minus the singer. These guys did a stellar job recreating the hits of Maiden note for note flawlessly, as well as had some great rocking originals when opening for Paul.
By the end of the set Paul admitted his voice was shot and apologized that he wouldn’t be able do the last two songs but the crowd wanted more. With the help of a few shots of Jack Daniels and a highly-energized audience, Paul was able to finish the set strong with “Iron Maiden” and “Sanctuary.”
I had a chance to interview the colorful fast talking Beast after the show in a crowded VIP area, where thongs of fans were lined up to get an autograph and photo of the singer. Since it was getting late and Paul was going to meet all of this fans I held back on some of my questions, asking only a few of the burning ones.
Rob Cavuoto: When Bruce left Maiden in 1993, were you a candidate to replace him?
Paul Di’Anno: Not in a million years, I would’ve done it for 3 or 4 million dollars, with half going to Unicef and half going to another charity. I don’t need the money. I make quite enough off my own records and the Maiden records.
It’s never been about the money, it’s been about playing. Thanks to the fans my children have gone off to college, I owe them everything. Thanks for supporting my drug habit, taking care of my ex-wives [Laughing], my custom Harleys and my five clubs in Brazil.
Rob: Were you involved in the writing of Number of the Beast ?
Paul Di’Anno: I was, there is a very rare demo going around of me signing “Run to the Hills” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name.” I laid one of them down in Toronto but by then, I had lost all interest.
Rob: Do you still talk with Clive Burr and Dennis Stratton?
Paul Di’Anno: I love Clive, he is like my brother and I’ll do anything for him. Two and a half years ago I flew in from Brazil to perform with a French band at the Clive Aid Benefit. The band was awful but I did the best I could to make money for him. I had trouble with the flights and think it cost me more to fly in and out than we made for Clive. But I’ll do it again for Clive anytime.
Me and Dennis aren’t talking, he’s an asshole. He once dropped LSD in a band members drink before a show. You have to be some kind of prick to do that.
Rob: How is Clive doing?
Paul Di’Anno: He’s not doing too well you know.
Rob: Do you talk to any other members of Maiden?
Paul Di’Anno: Yeah, the problem is that we all live in other counties. When they came to Brazil, Stevie and Bruce were looking for me but I was out touring. It may happen where I join them on stage someday. That’s another bad press thing that says we all hate each other, it’s not true.
I love Steve and Dave. Me, Steve, Dave and Clive were like a gang and always in trouble. Anyone who slags off on Maiden I’ll punch them out. I quit the band because of all the ethics and politics. We all need to make money, but there’s making money and exploitation of money. That my only quip that I have about Maiden. I’m proud to be an ex-member of Iron Maiden.
Rob: Your book The Beast paints you as a pretty dark and angry guy.
Paul Di’Anno: That book is bullshit! It’s an old chapter in my life when I was a lunatic. I didn’t want to do the book for years and only agreed to do it to close that chapter on my life and because all the proceeds would go to a cancer charity. I had a ghost writer who tried to make it sound like it was me talking and I gave him a little too much artistic license. He took things a bit too far.
Rob: In it, you talk about all the lies and myths said about you. What the biggest lie that you want to dismiss?
Paul Di’Anno: That I beat all my old ladies. That’s bullshit. One of my wives’ pulled a knife on me and I hit her while trying to get it away from her. The LAPD didn’t see it that way and brought me up on charges.
Rob: What’s next after this tour?
Paul Di’Anno: I’m going back to Brazil to get my license to give tattoo. Then I’m taking the guns on the road to tattoo the fans. I have signed so many tits and arms over the years for them to go get tattooed; now the fans can come back and I’ll tattoo my name on them for free.
Rob: Are you really a member of Hell Angels?
Paul Di’Anno: Hell yeah, been a member since 1981.