Brazil’s Wikimetal podcast recently conducted an interview with TWISTED SISTER singer Dee Snider. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud player below.
Asked to share his memories of late IRON MAIDEN drummer Clive Burr, with whom Dee worked in the late 1980s, Snider said: “Clive Burr and I were in a band called DESPERADO with [guitarist] Bernie Tormé [GILLAN, ATOMIC ROOSTER, OZZY OSBOURNE] and [bassist] Marc Russell. And we worked and developed the project for about three years; it was a passion project for all of us. And it was just about to be released in 1990, and the guy who signed us to Elektra Records left the company in a bad way, and sort of as a ‘fuck you’ to him, they shelved every project he was working on. So he left to work with another company, and they were, like, ‘Screw you! We’re killing all of your projects.’ And I’m, like, ‘Whoa! Whoa! What do you mean you’re killing all of his projects?’ And they shelved… which means they stopped the DESPERADO project along with a number of others. And it was a terrible, terrible time.”
He continued: “Clive Burr was an amazing drummer; he helped define metal drums, that guy. His drumming IRON MAIDEN. Those first three records… I love Nicko McBrain — he’s great — but he’s basically just doing what Clive was doing on those first three records. Clive and Steve [Harris, IRON MAIDEN bassist/mainman] and the guys, they defined the MAIDEN sound with Clive‘s drumming. And Clive‘s style was very unique. Clive was the only drummer I ever worked with — the only drummer I ever worked with — who could not finish his drum parts until he knew all the words to the song. And as a songwriter, sometimes we’d be working on the material and I didn’t have all the words done, ’cause we were, like, we were just experimenting. And he’d be, like, ‘Hey, mate, what’s the words to the song?’ And I’m, like, ‘I’m not finished.’ And he goes, ‘Dude, I need them.’ And I’m, like, ‘Why do you need the words?’ And he says, ‘That’s what inspires my drumming.’ And, literally, if you watch Clive Burr, he’ll be singing along with every song. And no other drummer I ever met — ever — worked that way. They worked with the bass, they worked with the guitar… whatever… Clive worked off the lyrics, which helped explain his very unique style of playing.
“Clive was very sick with MS for many years and I feel blessed that… I hadn’t spoken to him for a couple of years and it was his birthday. And I saw it on the calendar and I also discovered some footage of DESPERADO, which you can find on YouTube, rehearsing in Bearsville… We never did any live shows, except for one, but that’s another story. So I wanted to tell him about it. So I called him up. And he was… The multiple sclerosis had destroyed his motor function so much that he couldn’t even speak; he was just making noises on the phone. It was really sad. But when he gave the phone back to his wife, his wife said, ‘I don’t know what you said to him, but he was smiling ear to ear.’ I said, ‘I’ll tell you what I said to him. I said I just read a quote from Bruce Dickinson that said the best drummer that IRON MAIDEN ever had was Clive Burr and he wishes they gave him time to go through his stuff so he would still be with the band.’ So, considering that Nicko is the only other drummer, and he’s still there, that was a powerful statement by Bruce Dickinson and it made Clive so happy. And two days later, he died in his sleep. And I’m just so glad that I was able to speak with him one last time, make him smile before he went. It’s so sad.”
DESPERADO‘s debut album was recorded in 1990 and was re-released on CD in 2009.
Clive joined MAIDEN in 1979 and performed on the first three albums — “Iron Maiden” (1980), “Killers” (1981) and “The Number Of The Beast” (1982). Prior to that, he was a member of SAMSON, the band Bruce Dickinson fronted before he, too, joined MAIDEN.