Matt Wardlaw of Ultimate Classic Rock recently conducted an interview with IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate Classic Rock: [“British Lion”] is some of my favorite material that I’ve heard from you in recent years. Everything feels very natural and it had to be fun, writing, recording and playing this stuff.
Harris: Yeah, well there was no pressure at all. I absolutely love what I do in MAIDEN and enjoy every minute of that too. This is enjoyable in a different way in the sense that I suppose [because] the people that you’re working around have not had the [same] sort of success or limelight that I’ve had, so there’s just an earthiness to that and it felt really good.
Ultimate Classic Rock: Despite your concerns about people giving this album a chance, it seems like the overall reception has been pretty positive.
Harris: It’s been very positive for the most part. There’s been a few people that haven’t been so kind to this thing, but it’s just a matter of opinion and that’s fair enough. But I think these people initially reacted when they very first heard the album when we had an online playback and they were talking about stuff straight away without really having the chance to have it sink in at all. I think some of those people maybe have changed their mind and some of them won’t. But it is what it is. Hopefully people will like it but if they don’t, well, then they can give it to someone else.
Ultimate Classic Rock: It’s been 30 years since [IRON MAIDEN‘s] “The Number Of The Beast”, which was the start of a very important new era for your band. What are your thoughts looking back at that time period?
Harris: Well, it was a scary time period as well, because we’d just changed singers and at the time, it was a very traumatic period for us, worrying about how people would take to the new singer, but take to him they did, in a big way, so we didn’t need to be worried! [laughs] But before the album came out, it was very worrying. We knew we had a really strong album and we knew we had a really great singer in Bruce [Dickinson], but you just never know how people are going to react. Lucky enough, everyone liked him and obviously it went on from there.
Ultimate Classic Rock: It’s incredible to read that you were working from scratch on that album and had very little material prepared prior to recording. And yet the album completely hit the mark. How did that change your approach to future recording? Was going in cold a good thing?
Harris: Totally, yeah. We didn’t have any material. We’d used everything up that we had from the periods before that, [from] before we were signed and the first two albums. The second album, “Killers”, there’s only three or four totally new songs, the rest of all of the stuff was all from early periods, so the pressure really was on big time. Not only did we have a new singer, but we also had to come up with the goods to come out with a really strong album with completely new material. The weird thing is that all of that material was written in a two- or three-week period, because that’s all of the time we had. So that put us under so much pressure, but that dictated the way we’ve recorded everything since. We thought, “Well, that’s the way we work well, under pressure, obviously,” so that’s what we’ve done ever since. We’ve just allowed ourselves a specific time of period to write and that’s what we do. So we don’t ever write on the road, we just write right there [in the moment] and it’s worked well for us ever since.
Read the entire interview from Ultimate Classic Rock.