Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson on why few new rock and metal bands are making it to arena-level

Additionally, he denounced plans to construct The Sphere in London, calling them “a waste of money and time.”

Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden has discussed the dearth of rock and metal acts that can play in arenas.
In an interview with Swedish radio station Bandit Rock, the vocalist shared his opinions and talked about a recent discussion he had with a Brazilian promoter. Dickinson was in Brazil to support “The Mandrake Project,” his next solo album.

Dickinson claimed that the promoter was grumbling about the dearth of big-name performers. Dickinson added that “big corporations” were to fault since they “took over.” Dickinson asserted that these businesses were motivated by profit-making. He said they, “propagate the big headliners, but they don’t bring on the bands that create the drama to create the fanbase, to create the dedication to bring it up.”

He continued, “You don’t become a headliner overnight, You become a headliner by doing loads of gigs at loads of places and fans and people follow you and all of a sudden you’re at Wembley Arena and you’re thinking, ‘Oh my god, these guys are playing arenas. And the next step up from arenas is, ‘Oh, they’re gonna go and headline a festival. Oh, yeah, great. They’re a festival headliner.’ And at that moment you go take a step up into that world.

Dickinson said, “Promoters have evolved.” He described Iron Maiden’s rise to prominence, stating that they began as special guests at Chicago and New York concerts before their name was distributed to a network of promoters. He said that these promoters would eventually “build” bands to the point where they could play as the main attraction in the city.

He hypothesized that promoters no longer “bring on bands in the same way: “You have to figure out that promoters, those individual promoters, were all taking individual risks.”

He continued, stating that he could “see the temptation” when promoters offered performers “a shitload of money,” but he issued a warning. “You can’t do anything after that. You’re kind of gonna work for us a little bit or just take a holiday, ’cause we’re gonna run the show from now on.’ And they just kind of hoovered everything up. I mean, they were smart businessmen.”

Dickinson referred to these modifications as “troubling” for the performance: “I may be unfair, but I get the impression that the scene was much more vibrant in terms of upstart bands that could come up and surprise people.”

Another reason he mentioned was the dearth of modest venues “where bands can just get up and do a gig”: “That diminishes the grassroots of people who go out and go, ‘Oh, my God. I went to a live gig the other day. Whoa, it was cool. It was so much better than sitting in front of a screen.’ … And you’ve just got to have the places to do that.”

Dickinson addressed his criticism of London’s plans to construct a mega venue modeled after the Sphere in Las Vegas. “I mean, what a waste of time. A waste of time, waste of money. You’d be much better off converting half a dozen old pubs into venues and saying to kids, ‘Hey, there’s a free venue. Go play.'”

A tour of the UK and Ireland by Dickinson is scheduled for 2024. You may purchase tickets and view the schedule here.




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