Lee Zimmerman of Goldmine recently conducted an interview with Bruce Dickinson about the IRON MAIDEN singer’s recently released autobiography, “What Does This Button Do?”.
Goldmine: You’re a relatively young man. It would almost seem a bit premature for an autobiography at this point.
Dickinson: “Getting throat cancer was a bit of a wake-up call, and then getting over it seemed like a good end point to a book. And secondly, the book was already getting to over 600 pages and we edited 200 pages out to get it to the length it is and I hadn’t even gotten started on a lot of the stuff that happened subsequent to getting better and a lot of the other interesting stories that weren’t in it. So you have to reckon that there’s 50 percent of another book on the cutting room floor. [Chuckles] So we had to keep this one pretty tight. And my editor wanted to edit it like it was a novel, so that it reads like a pageturner and I got that. You see a book on the shelf and it’s 600 pages and it’s, ‘Ohh… really?’ Whereas 400 is pretty tight and it bounces around and it’s pretty agile.”
Goldmine: Was writing the book easy or did it come as a challenge?
Dickinson: “I’ve always been able to string two words together. Its just that you never get much of a chance other than lyrics. I’ve been involved in two or three film scripts over the years and I did a couple of comic novels that got published. But I’ve never written anything as serious as an autobiography… not that my autobiography is so serious. I initially just thought it would be a series of anecdotes and I didn’t want to organize it in a timeline. But that’s what happened because I had to start at the beginning. I had a little notebook and the first thing I did was sketch out little bits of memories and it was only one or two words, but one or two words would conjure up a whole story or a whole scene. I would transfer those ideas straight down onto paper… quite literally onto paper because I wrote it long hand. There were pages of handwritten words. Most of it was written in my local pub. I’d sit down with two or three beers over the course of two or three hours and do 1,200 words and then I’d be done for the night.”