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‘CHEERS’ FROM A KILLER: Interesting to note how Paul Di’Anno signs with a lower-case “a” in “Di’Anno,” yet his album credits and website alternate between lower and upper. I’m guessing lower-case makes for a quicker autograph.

By Metal Dave

Somewhere between 1990 and 1992, I was sitting beside Paul Di’Anno on a Dumpster-ready backstage couch at the Showcase Events Center in San Antonio. Paul was eagerly devouring American-brand cigarettes and graciously obliging my unscheduled interview. A few hours later, the former Iron Maiden singer would take the stage with his then-new band, Killers.

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‘IRON LADY’: Maiden mascot “Eddie” casts his vote against Margaret Thatcher.

In the end, I had no media outlet available to publish the interview. It was too late for the daily newspaper and at the time I had no solid connections to national or international metal magazines (this was also before the modern age of websites, blogs and other more immediate outlets). The interview tape is also lost to the ages, which is very uncharacteristic for a hoarder like me. Don’t even ask why I didn’t bring a point-and-shoot.

Regardless, as a huge Iron Maiden fan, I was thrilled to be chatting with the guy whose voice launched one of heavy metal’s most immortal bands. After about an hour, the cigarette fog got downright toxic and Paul excused himself to tend to business. Together, we walked out the back door of the venue where my car was parked and he kindly signed an obnoxiously thick stack of records (“Iron Maiden,” “Killers,” “Maiden Japan,” the Margaret Thatcher EP) and two black-and-white photos ripped from the pages of “Iron Maiden: Running Free.” 

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EMBATTLED TOME: Di’Anno’s book will likely not win him any new fans.

About eight years later, I was on proper assignment for KNAC.com and got a second chance to interview Paul (I plan to post it in the near future). Again, it was a fun conversation full of insight regarding his tumultuous history and adventures with Iron Maiden, Killers, Battlezone and other musical endeavors.

And then along came Paul’s 2010 tell-all autobiography, “The Beast.” To say it makes him nearly impossible to like may be an understatement. His penchant for violence, drugs and other misbehavior is dangerously over-the-top and not the least bit funny (at least other tell-all, rock-n-roll books make you chuckle a bit over the band members’ self-inflicted stupidity).

It’s a shame Paul felt compelled to tarnish his vocal legacy with 350-plus pages of thuggish behavior (and nary a trace of remorse). Me? I prefer to remember his singing and the times he gifted me with his generosity. For that, I say thanks. For the rest, I hope he gets help.

  1. RIC ZONNER says:

    BACK IN JAN-FEB OF ’81 I WENT TO SEE UFO & A LITTLE KNOWN BAND CALLED IRON MAIDEN AT HARPO’S IN DETROIT. MAIDEN TOOK THE STAGE THAT NIGHT AND RAN THROUGH SONGS THAT I CAME TO FIND WERE FROM THEIR 1st ALBUM & THEIR CURRENT OFFERING “KILLERS”… AND THEY HAD ME FROM “THE GET GO”!! I WAS QUITE SURPRISED BY THEIR PERFORMANCE TO SAY THE LEAST.. I THOUGHT THEIR SINGER WAS AWESOME! I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THEM, NOT EVEN THEIR NAMES(?) IT WAS LONG BEFORE THE INTERNET, SO I ENDED UP DOING MY RESEARCH AT THE LOCAL IMPORT RECORD STORE “OFF THE RECORD”, WHICH AT THAT TIME WAS THE ONLY PLACE ANYTHING MAIDEN COULD BE FOUND… I BOUGHT “KILLERS” ON CASSETTE THAT DAY! THAT SHOW & THAT CASSETTE WERE A TURNING POINT IN MY LOVE OF MUSIC! PAUL DI ANNO HAD THE VOICE, NO OTHER SINGER COULD TOUCH HIM IN MY OPINION… AND THEN SHORTLY AFTER THAT..I FOUND OUT HE WAS OUT OF THE BAND(?) QUIT? FIRED? I READ BOTH HAD HAPPENED.. I COULDNT SEE HOW ANY OTHER SINGER COULD FILL HIS SHOES(?) ENTER BRUCE DICKINSON WHO I FOUND TO BE A GOOD SINGER.. BUT WE ALL KNOW DI ANNO “WAS” WAY BETTER THAN BRUCE.. I SAY “WAS” BECAUSE OF THE DOWNHILL DIRECTION DI ANNO TOOK OVER THE COURSE OF TIME. I SAW BATTLEZONE AT HARPO’S IN ’83 AND I COULD SEE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN DI ANNO FROM MY 1st ENCOUNTER.. AND I HAVENT SEEN HIM SINCE OUTSIDE OF VIDEOS. I RECENTLY READ “THE BEAST”, AND THE STORIES WERE CERTAINLY GRIPPING. THE THING IS IS THAT USUALLY AT THE END OF THESE TELL ALL BOOKS IS SOME KIND OF A TURNING POINT WHERE A CHANGE IN LIFE OCCURS FOR THE GOOD OF SAID SUBJECT.. AND SADLY THERE WAS NO CHANGE WHATSOEVER, NO REMORSE, NO AWAKENING… DI ANNO FLAT OUT GLORIFIED THE INSANITY AND CHAOS THAT IS HIS LIFE.. SADLY HES CONTINUED TO RUN WITH IT. NOW ITS ALL CAUGHT UP TO HIM AND HE HAS MAJOR HEALTH ISSUES ON TOP OF BEING UNRELIABLE. DONT GET ME WRONG.. I LOVE THE GUY! ITS JUST HARD TO SEE HIM IN THE SHAPE HES IN.. ITS TOUGH WATCHING THE TRAIN WRECK! ITS TOUGH WATCHING THE LEGEND FALL.. BUT GOD BLESS HIM, HIS WORK HAS & WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME.. BECAUSE AT ONE TIME IN MANY METAL HEADS OPINIONS.. HE “WAS” THE BEST!!

    • admin says:

      Ric, I never got to see Paul on stage with Maiden, but otherwise, wholeheartedly agree with you sentiments. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment. Best, 2Fast2Die