Ex-IRON MAIDEN guitarist Dennis Stratton rejoined his former band, PRAYING MANTIS, on stage this past Saturday, March 30 at the Very ‘Eavy Festival in Stadskanaal, The Netherlands. Video footage of his appearance can be seen below.
Stratton participated in the recording and production of IRON MAIDEN‘s self-titled first album in December 1979. He also appeared in the home video recording “Live At The Ruskin” in early 1980 (released in 2004 as part of “The Early Days” DVD set), MAIDEN‘s first video “Women in Uniform”, the “Women In Uniform” single, some subsequent single releases, as well as in the band’s first appearance on British TV (“Running Free” performed live on “Top Of The Pops”) and the “Live!! +One” album.
In a 2012 interview with Critical Mass, Stratton stated about his collaboration with PRAYING MANTIS: “The problem we had there was, again, PRAYING MANTIS consisted of myself, Tino and Chris Troy. But I went into that band in 1990 to go to Japan to celebrate 10 years of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. And [Paul] Di’Anno [vocals] came with us, which was a bit of a mistake, but there you go. And as PRAYING MANTIS went along, year after year, the record company wanted us to stay with them and record more albums. So, basically, Bruce was on drums, Bruce Bisland, and we used to get a singer in. We had all different vocalists. But myself, Chris and Tino were the nucleus of the band who wrote all the material. And we rehearsed and recorded the album. Bruce would then put the drums down and then we would get a singer in to do the album and the tour in Japan. Di’Anno only came with us once, and it was a big mistake. Clive [Burr, former IRON MAIDEN drummer] came in as a debt for Bruce because we were due to go over to Japan to do the tour as usual. But they wanted us to record a double CD/DVD live in Tokyo and Bruce fell off his bike and broke his arm. So, basically, we grabbed Clive and said, ‘Look, Clive, we’ve got this recording to do.’ So Clive came in and he sort of learned the songs. He came to Japan with us and did the recording. And, yeah, it was fine. It’s just a shame that when we came back that Clive then found out that he was ill and slowly got worse.”
Regarding the time he spent playing with MAIDEN, Stratton said: “The debut album could have been better. Better produced. Better played. Because it was quite rushed. I joined the band and they were waiting to record the album for EMI. And I got Clive in and we rehearsed and, basically, the album was recorded. It was very, very rushed because we were booked to go on tour with JUDAS PRIEST … But then in them days we were very young and I think that if the five of us had stayed together a little bit longer, we might have been a little bit different. Y’know, the lineup changes started and people were arguing, so yeah… When I look back on it, some of them are great memories. But I also had lots of memories before MAIDEN, with REMUS DOWN BOULEVARD and STATUS QUO. So the short time, the two years with MAIDEN, from ’79 to ’80, there’s lots of good memories. The KISS tour and everything else. And they still are good memories.”