How do you see the future of Iron Maiden yourself?
“Well, we gotta get through this tour yet. [Laughs] We got a lot of life left in us. We’ve not ever, that I can recall, decided whether or not we want to carry on or not. We just carry on.
“I’ve always made it clear to Steve [Harris] and the guys that if I can’t drive the band physically, then I’d step down. Now, don’t get me wrong boys and girls, I’m not saying that I am. I’m just saying that it’s so important that the band carry on and play as much as we want.
“Because we have the passion. Again, it’s not finance, it’s not anything to do with that. It’s because we love it. But if it came as a chore or… And I’ll quote Jan [Janick Gers, guitar], if we ever became a parody of ourselves that would be the time to hang it up.
“And the thing is, we’re not. I mean, I’m the grandad in the band, I’m the oldest fellow in the band [he turned 65 today]. It’s quite unusual really, because every band I was in before Maiden, I was always the youngest or the second youngest. Now I’m the wise old man in a band! Well, they won’t agree with the wise, just the old.
“So we’ll carry on. And as long as our fans – which are the most loyal fans… And I’ll tell you right now, without a doubt, I compare it to the Arnie’s Army – the golfer Arnold Palmer. He started a fanbase back in the ’60s when he had this massive following. And they called them Arnie’s Army and they were the most loyal fans to a golfer.
“And every band says their fans are the best. And I love that bands do respect it. But I truly mean it. I know that we have the best fands in the world. And if we do not make you guys happy, then what’s the point?
“So we’ll carry on as long as you want us to, and as long as we have the heart to. And, believe me, it’s actually more passionate the more we get older. Than I think we had in the mid-’80s, in the first heyday of Maiden. You know, we’ve got a resurgence, we kind of went up and down over the years.
“Bruce came back, we had those four years with Blaze, we went through a leaner period of time. The adjustment didn’t really take as well as we thought. Then things turn around. In 2000 it was like the band began again.
“A new chapter, but six of us all of the sudden. [Laughs] You know, going from five-piece to six! You talk about we’re doing it for the money! You’re having a laugh. I don’t get paid as much as I used to when it was just five of us. [Laughs] The gig fee split!