Left to right: Dave Murray (photo by Ken Settle), Adrian Smith (photo by Rod Snyder) and Janick Gers (photo by Rod Snyder).
isney teen queen Miley Cyrus garnered a ton of press last year
by sporting Iron Maiden T-shirts in various well-timed photo ops.
When some of the more protective acolytes of the pioneering metal band from east London began saying she was a “poser,” she
attempted to prove her authentic-fan status by uploading a video of herself
naming Maiden songs to the web. None of us is losing any sleep over
whether Cyrus’ shirts sporting the band’s famous “Eddie the Head” mascot
were the fashion accessory of the week or signs of true fandom (we can
only hope the latter), but it’s probably fair to say that, long after her 15
minutes are up, Maiden will continue adding to their chapter in the history
books as they have done for decades. Celebrity is one thing. Longevity is
something else entirely.
In their 35-plus years as perhaps the greatest metal band of all time, Iron
Maiden has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. They led the
New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement of the late 1970s and early
1980s, and they forever changed the sound of heavy metal. Directly
or indirectly, Maiden’s influence permeates the sound of countless
bands from yesteryear and today—including hot-shot young bands like
Avenged Sevenfold, Dragonforce, and Trivium. In fact, it’s fair to say that
classic Maiden albums like The Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind, and
Powerslave are essential listening for any true headbanger.
Like their iconic, zombified mascot, Maiden shows no signs of faltering—even in the midst of an economic crisis and the changing face of
the music industry. The band’s latest release and 15th studio album, The
Final Frontier, debuted at #1 in 28 countries and at #4 on the Billboard
200 chart in the US, making it their highest-charting US release ever. The
album—which is also the band’s longest to date at 76 minutes and 34
seconds—features the expected epic compositions imbued with some
unusually challenging prog-inflected escapades.
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Premier Guitar recently caught up with Maiden guitarists Dave Murray,
Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers to get the inside scoop on The Final
Frontier. About an hour before doors opened at their sold-out show at
PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, we sat down for the interview at a hotel 40 miles away in midtown Manhattan. The band was pretty
wrapped up in the final game of the World Cup, but Murray, Smith, and
Gers soon got around to amiably discussing the new album and divulging
secrets of the Maiden sound before making the trek back to the venue.