Marcus Motolo is a priest from Brazil, where Iron Maiden is probably the second most dominant religion after Christianity. For years, Marcos Motolo was recognized for his most striking features: founder of the international fan club of Iron Maiden, a passion for heavy metal. Now, he has 172 Maiden tattoos, his parish calls him ‘Padre Iron Maiden’ and he named his son Steve Harris after the band’s bassist.
His first tattoo was made in 1999 by a well-known São Paulo tattoo artist, Jeca Tattoo, and it was, of course, the band’s mascot Eddie. Eddie was inked on the belly with the chains tied on the nipples and inside the belly button. When he was making this tattoo, he didn’t plan to tattoo the whole body, but there is a myth about not having an odd number of tattoos, so he started making more and more tattoos. Today, he has 172 Iron Maiden tattoos all over his body.
He also told in one of the interviews that he was approached by a member of the Yakuza in Brazil and was asked to sell the tattooed skin.
As he recalled:
”They found me at a tattoo convention in São Paulo where they US $ 36 million for a very delicate surgical procedure. I declined, but later was afraid of being kidnapped because of that. It seems that there is legislation that prohibits the trade of human tissue.”
Now, he lives in a small town in Brazil called Itaquera where his parish calls him ‘Padre Iron Maiden’ and he doesn’t mind so as he is preaching to his followers using only the morality of Iron Maiden lyrics. Not a single Bible to be found — unless of course, you are a member of the Maiden Army, in which case every single Iron Maiden album is biblical. For example, you can hear the following words during his prayers:
Woe to you, oh Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the Beast
With wrath, because he knows the time is short…
Let Him who hath understanding reckon the Number of the Beast
For it is a Human Number, its Number is Six Hundred and Sixty Six.
Sounds familiar, right? This musically-themed preaching style is fast becoming a mini-phenomenon in Latin America, Brazil especially, where Iron Maiden cemented their status as musical gods in the land of the Samba with their infamous 1985 Rock in Rio concert, performed to 350,000 metal-mad Brazilian fans. Three decades later and these churches are popping up everywhere.
The São Paulo provincial government is not happy about this and is vigorously attempting to ban these churches, with the promise of jail for any minister or follower who performs or attends such sermons. Yet the unlikeliest of allies is thwarting the government’s attempts to do so: the local Catholic Church ministry. They see using the lyrics of popular artists like Iron Maiden as a powerful recruiting tool to draw in the young, disillusioned and impoverished to the church.
Here’s an outtake from the Iron Maiden documentary featuring him.