Mr. Paul Di'Anno needs no introduction. Conducting an interview with him is a big pleasure as he's very talkative and colourfully talks about Maiden years and his solo career. If it's true that we love people not because of their perfection but thanx to their little faults - Paul should be loved with whole our hearts.
Heavy Metal Pages: Hi Paul, it's good to see you in Poland for the second time. Welcome!
HMP: Have you done any sightseeing in Warsaw? We were supposed to show you some interesting places, but ...
Paul: ... but it's fuckin' cold here. We got of the plane yesterday and nobody told us what the weather was going to be like. I havent taken any warm cloths, got three T-shirts (you can see them ALL on here! (shows us & laughs and so we do). All I got is my West Ham's training top. I have borrowed gloves from my manager - nobody's told me such problems can occur. In England there's kinda nice weather and so in Norway, where the boys come from. We came to Poland and noticed "oh fuck!" I actually asked the lady on the plane, can I buy a ticket now and go back, cause I'm gonna be sick. But we're here for you anyway!
HMP: What do you remember from your first visit in our country? The gig took place in July 1990 and was so silent that even hardcore Maiden and your fans don't know much about it.
Paul: It was British All Stars group. We did it all for fun. I remember the visit really good as I got a couple of pictures of me and Lech Walesa (the icon of Solidarity movement, who got the Nobel prize and was the president of Poland between Nov. 1990 - 95)! I got two of them in my house in Brazil and the other two at my apartament. He can't speak English and I can't speak Polish so we could speak by signs only. He gave me a bottle of vodka. Really nice guy! True, fuckin' good man!
HMP: And one of the best known Poles in the world!
Paul: Yeah. Fuckin' great man worldwide known. When you think about people, who did something for their countries and nations, you think about Nelson Mandela or Lech Walesa, not about fuckin' George Bush or fuckin' Tony Blair.
HMP: Let me ask a question strongly connected with such attitude towards politicians. You were strongly into punk ...
Paul: I'm still into it! Punk idea has always stayed with me through all my life; it will never change. But what they call punk music nowadays is absolutely fuckin' bullshit. Offspring, Green Day - forget it ...
HMP: The same things told me Wattie of Exploited a couple days ago ... (Paul shows us Exploited T-shirt, which he's wearing under the West Ham top! He's really good prepaired to the interview!!!)
Paul: Always wear it. I love punk, came from it. I feel like I cheat sometimes the fans, cause I play them heavy metal while I'm punk singer. I'm really into it.
HMP: Have you got other inspirations from music played these days?
Paul: From this century? (laughs) I'd say ... System of the Down - both albums are fantastic; I like "Nation" by Sepultura very much, and Linkin Park as well. I know people say "it's a metal boysband" while they were put together. They probably write some music, there's also some other guy behind the band. But the point is that there are good songs! Other bands like Papa Roach ... well, I fuckin' hate them. They've got 3 hit singles , two of them are Maiden songs, they stole and use them.
HMP: I've heard that your not ehm, especially happy with Gogmagog project from the 80s. Why?
Paul: It was shitty, that's why! None of those songs were written by us. They were written by the guy called John Keane, who's actually in jail. This guy is in jail, because he's guilty of pedophilia. It's sick motherfucker.
HMP: And what about your first project, Di'Anno from 1984?
Paul: It had to be done differently than people were expecting from me. They thought I' ll do something like Iron Maiden songs, so I've gone completely opposite way. I always do it (laughs)
HMP: And then, in 1986 with "Children of Madness" you got an album that you could be prouf of. Well written songs ...
Paul: I really like Battlezone LPs, especially "Feel My Pain" ...
HMP: The heaviest one?
Paul: Exactly. Excuse me. (Paul takes his eye glasses on). Fine, now I can see you - I'm like Stevie Wonder (laughs). Back to "Feel My Pain" - that's the kind of music that I like: more heavy 'n' hard core. Even when I play Maiden songs, they sound heavier, just to make them more interesting for me, otherwise I could die at the stage.
HMP: The production on "Nomad" LP is very good ...
Paul: ... Thank you ...
HMP: ... probably the best. What are your plans concerning the future? Could we expect from your next album?
Paul: Oh, what's happening with my bands ... Well, we haven't done with Killers any new album since 1997, because I was in jail in America for a while (but no pedophilia! I was a gangman ha ha ...) But we got new members in the band - Cliff is the only original member, the rest aren't real permanent members anyway, but it's quite difficult to talk about the new album as we're been touring everywhere for a couple of years and we don't write songs on the road. My days are like this: interviews - TV, radio, press. I got no time to sit and write a song until I get home. And I don't write music for Killers anyway - I let them do that. So, what's comin' up in the minute - me and Paulo from my solo band - we got 8 new songs. I think that in the middle of next year there will be new solo album and a little later - new Killers album as well. It'll be quite interesting I guess. But we got a lot of tourning comin' up again. But after the concerts in Poland I got free weekend and I'm gonna see my wife. That'll be fuckin' great as I haven't seen her for the last two years (laughs) My wife is very pissed off me. She's actually left Brazil and she's gone to work to Rome. So, she could be nearer to me as I play in Europe. Her mother is looking at our children. Till now the closest I've to her was in Spain (laughs). We call each other every day and - as you may know - it's not the same. I'm gonna take a week off to be with her. In August I'm going to Brazil, I haven't told her already - she gonna kill me. But I'd also like to see my daughters and take there a week off. So I'm not only gonna tour there. Comin' up we got concerts booked in Canada, Mexico ... I need a holiday.
HMP: How came up the idea to make your DVD in Poland?
Paul: I don't know. You should ask my manager! It's a good idea, 'cause I haven't done a video for a long time. We have come back from nothing again. I'm not in a jail so I can work. The oportunity to do it was great, but unfortunately I wasn't able to bring Killers with me. So I took my Norwegian friends. I'm not taking Killers to Italy or Canada either. I'm finishing my commitments, which I'm contracted to, but I need Killers in the studio. They have to spend 3-4 months in the studio. Tough shift for them.
HMP: Question about the setlist - are you going to play "Children Of The Revolution", the T-Rex' cover?
Paul: We don't do it anymore. The setlist changes. There's a lot of Maiden stuff. We gonna do "Deep Keeper" for the first time ever.
HMP: And "Die By The Gun"?
Paul: No, not with these guys. I played it with Killers - in London recently. We did also "Man In The Attic" from my solo album, which you won't hear here. I play it with Brazilian guys.
HMP: Do you like the Maiden stuff that you play?
Paul: I hate it. I'm fed up with it. I'm really sick and tired. That's why we re-arrange them a little and make it really heavy. I change my singing style as well, sometimes I sing hard core so it sounds like Max Cavalera singing Iron Maiden. I do it delibaterely for fun, just to make it more interesting for me. I'm proud of my time with Iron Maiden, I'm proud of the songs I must admit, but you cannot doing them for so long and not to get bored. And it's the reason I do - it is the only concession I can do for my fans. Because I do music for me first - and if the fans like it - it's great. I tried once not to play Iron Maiden songs and I nearly got killed. So what we do right now is, we give them what they wanna hear.
HMP: Could you switch the Maiden songs - and perform sometimes my favourite Maiden song - "Twilight Zone"
Paul: Hah-hah. You'd try to sing it! (Paul laughs, so we do) We do the songs you wanna hear, we got way to many of them. With doing songs from all my albums from '80s and '90s, it should be roughly a 2 hour concert. It should be the next time when we come out. But my boys from Killers don't want to fuckin' play the heavy stuff from Battlezone. To perform it, I should fire them and find other musicans. So, what I do is - do the Killers stuff with them, and Maiden songs and the solo stuff with Brazilian guys. They will do the stuff I want them to play. So you see - it's very difficult.
HMP: Why is it so hard to get your recordings from the 80s?
Paul: Some Battlezone albums are released by American labels and you have to import them to Europe which makes the price higher. They are available but dont play double money for them. I dont have any records I've ever make. I haven't got anything.
Paul: Fuck that. I dont listen to that shit. (laughs) When you have to write it, rehearse it and then tour with it, you don't want to sit and listen to it at home - I'd rather die.
HMP: Maybe you could answer us some questions concerning the early Maiden years.
Paul: Maybe. Ha-ha...
HMP: There was a song called "Charlotte the Harlot". And the boys have always told they it was a real person they know. As I've been to Ruskin Arms, the East End blokes told me that it was fiction.
Paul: The guys don't know her - Steve, Dave and so on. When Doug Sampson and I were in the band, we knew her, because she comes from a place called Wolfenstone in East London and she truely used to live at Acacia Avenue. And she was an old lady - everyone knows her; her name was Charlotte. But she was about fifty when I was twelve years old. All the guys were going around her house and I was asking my mom about her (laughs) I think that Maiden boys heard the story and used it.
HMP: Thanks a lot, Paul. The other story is about concerts, where some skinheads were in the audience. Were you playing for English National Front?
Paul: No, no no. I'm definitely not a racist. I couldn't do it. There was a lot of skinheads those years. We actually had them in Holland with Killers a few years back as well. There was about 300 skinhead in front with "sieg heil" and we stopped the concert.
HMP: Were the skinhead from 70s and 80s connected with racism?
Paul: No. I was a skinhead for myself. You don't have to be a racist to be a skinhead. It was more contra fashion, if you know what I mean. I went from skinheads to punk and look at my haircut - I'm still between, I'm still skinhead (laughs). Heavy metal kids came from both skins and punks. (Enters Lea Hart, Paul's manager, who was responsible for the whole True Brits session, from which came a lot of albums, compilations and scandals)
HMP: Let's talk about True Brits session.
Paul: It was all for fun. Lea asked me, whether we can do some song and I answered: "sure". Do Thin Lizzy track, then ZZ Top. That's all being musician is about - you're supposed to be able to play everything.
Lea: There were guys from so many bands: Saxon, Praying Mantis etc. We did it for change, break - if you keep drinking the same drink you became tired with it.
HMP: The sessions are interesting, but why were so many albums released?
Lea: 'Cause we are poor...
Paul: Lea's got quite many children to feed hah hah
HMP: And you also played on so many tribute albums ...
Paul: the same reason ...
Lea: Paul's got a lot of children and ex-wives hah hah.
HMP: Why the hell were you singing your songs on Maiden tribute? We'd like to hear you in some later Maiden stuff.
Paul: Lea was engaged in that project and there was a problem: they couldn't find anyone to sing my songs. So I did them again. Bruce can't sing them and I can't Bruce's songs.
HMP: And what about Blaze's songs? "Futureal"
Paul: I'm not that bad singer. Ups, I'm sorry. Blaze is a nice guy, but he just wasn't right for Iron Maiden.
HMP: My cousin who lives in London claims that while they played their first tour, there were big banners in the concert hall: "Bring back Di'Anno!"
Paul: Thanks, man. I've heard about it. When Bruce left Maiden in 1993 I was coming from the States and stayed in London. Some guy came up to me with a copy of Kerrang magazine, where one could read: "Di'Anno - is he going to join Iron Maiden again". And I answered: "No"
HMP: Wouldn't you like to join them for one gig only - for example, for Clive Burr foundation?
Paul: I'd love to but they wouldn't allow us to do it! They didn't neither me nor Blaze there. Well, Bruce did - but Steve Harris didn't.
HMP: Hm, why?
Paul: I dont know. It's just their politics. It's Steve Harris Band. I am very angry about it all. We saw Clive at Christmas - there was a tribute to Iron Maiden at Ruskin Arms and I was there with my friends - Children Of The Damned from Italy and I did "Killers" with them. As you know, Clive is sick. He told me that after these benefit concerts done nearly year before in London, he still hasn't got the money yet. They didn't give him the money. So I'm not very happy with their attitude. Me and Clive and Dave were very close friends in Maiden. Clive's a great guy and I would do everything for him.
Lea: Sorry, but I have to interrupt you - we got 4 more interviews coming up ...
HMP: We understand - could we ask you to do some photos and sign some CDs.
During the session I asked Paul whether he's still WHU supporter. He didn't asnwer but showed me a tattoo. He's incredible with fitting to all situations: like a cameleon - he's at the same time punk, skinhead, football fanatic. Paul Di'Anno played two concerts in Poland. The first one - in Warsaw - was a warm up show before recording DVD in Krakow next day. But it's quite often situation that such performations are better as the pressure is lower. The gig at Proxima, Warsaw was incredible for both: artists and the audience. The relations were great, Paul and his boys played for us two encores, what happens really seldom. Hope to see them again!!!
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