Black Friday: Maiden heaven

Friday, August 27th, 2010 | musiX

Yesterday I stumbled on to the Billboard 200 chart. The top five caught my eye, and were as follows:

1. Eminem - Recovery
2. Kem - Intimacy
3. Ray LaMontagneGod Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise
4. Iron MaidenThe Final Frontier
5. Trace AdkinsCowboy’s Back in Town

Now, that is a motley crue. Upon seeing this, I realize a few things: a) I’m shocked that I am actually familiar with three of the five names, b) I don’t even know who Trace Adkins is, but I’d like to punch him in the face, and c) Wait … is that Iron Maiden?

My relationship with Iron Maiden is a long, bittersweet one. It all goes back to that fateful day I won a Piece of Mind poster at the Sun Country Fair in Red Bluff by popping balloons with some darts … or was it when I shoplifted that Powerslave cassette from Kmart? Either way, I think I was in eighth grade. The poster hung on my wall next to a poster of Van Halen with Diamond Dave sporting those assless chaps, and the tape spent time in my $9.99 Dynatone personal cassette player. Maiden was much heavier than most of the music I listened to. They didn’t sing about chicks. Or partying. They sang about Pharaohs. And flying. I liked it, but not nearly as much as my Out of the Cellar tape.

Iron Maiden continued to be one of those bands I enjoyed, but never fully invested in. My friends in high school raved about Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. I raved about Dancing Undercover and Crazy Nights. I wouldn’t actually ‘t steal buy another Iron Maiden album until 17 years later (fortunately bypassing the horrible non-Bruce Dickinson albums). I was living in Spain, and Maiden was scheduled to perform at Plaza de Toros de Illumbe on June 13, 2003—I was going to this show. To prepare for this event my roommates and I purchased Live After Death, Iron Maiden’s 1985 double live album (a must-own for any metal fan), on CD and played it non-stop for a month. Then we didn’t go to the show. By the time the 13th came around the semester had ended, we were broke, and we decided that cañas and bocadillos at Juantxo were much more important than Iron Maiden tickets (because they were). I think my roommate Matt Davidson ended up with that Live After Death CD.

My next encounter with Maiden came a year later in the form of a used vinyl copy of The Number of the Beast given to me for my birthday. The cover scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid … I mean, look at it for chrissakes! Released in 1982, Beast is the first Maiden album to feature the operatic pipes of Bruce Dickinson … yes, the Bruce Dickinson. And it has a great version of “Run to the Hills”!

I’ve since repurchased Live After Death (“Scream for me, Long Beach!”). And I finally saw Iron Maiden in 2005 at Ozzfest. I don’t even remember who else played—but Maiden was fucking great, and Dickinson’s vocals belied his years. It might as well have been 1985. You would think I’d have actually listened to the copy of 2006′s A Matter of Life and Death, given to me by a friend who insisted on its greatness. Yet, I’m looking at the disc as I type this, still wrapped in cellophane. That all changes today. That said, I’ll let you know what I think of the new record The Final Frontier when I get around to listening to it in 2014.

“Run to the Hills”Iron Maiden (Live After Death)

“El Dorado”Iron Maiden (The Final Frontier)

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2 Comments to Black Friday: Maiden heaven

ChuckDamage
August 27, 2010

I see a lot of little kids wearing Iron Maiden shirts these days. I wonder why they’re all tight with the new generation.

ibeamee
August 28, 2010

I never heard any Iron Maiden until a couple years ago when my husband and I were watching Metal Mania on my parents’ cable and “Run to the Hills” played. I learned a lot about my husband that night. Oh, and about Iron Maiden. Your history is much more interesting. Great post, Mark.

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