During a conversation with Cosmo Music, Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain discussed the band’s current state and how long he’ll be in physical condition to play with the guys.
When asked, “How long do you think you guys can go? Is that energy still there?”, Nicko replied:
“No, you can’t kid yourself. We wish, but God only graces us with so much time on earth, and, you know, as soon as you’re born, you’re dying. At the end of the day, I will rock this band as long as I can.
“And this last tour, it was great because there was a lot of different moments in the set where we were using tapes to introduce the next section; we were using blackouts to change the sets, so I had a lot of breathing time.
“So the first three or four songs, in fact, ‘Aces High’ starts the set off, which is f*cking fast. We start rehearsing it, and I’ve kicked it off and I clocked it, and Adrian [Smith, guitar] goes, ‘This is f*cking too fast.’ ‘No, it ain’t.’ ‘Yeah, it is.’ ‘Alright, I’ll play it slower.’
“I took it down, like, 20 beats a minute; ‘It’s still too f*cking fast! What’s the matter with you?’ And I said, ‘You wait ’til we get to ‘Where Eagles Dare,’ then you tell me it’s f*cking fast!’
“‘Aces High’ starts, and then there’s a whole section of half a minute that sets up ‘Where Eagles Dare,’ and the only reason we do that, it sets the mood from the Spitfire because we’ve got to get that back, deflate it.
You can’t punch it with a knife [laughs] because we got to use him again, so there’s that time.
“When I finish the show, I am spent, and this is why I need a good day of rest if I want to get up and go out and have a stroll of it because walking is the best thing to keep fit, really.
“I mean, people say go to the gym, watch your diet… I don’t drink anymore. For me, and I’ve told the guys this, I said, ‘Look, guys, the day you feel that I’m not running and I’m just trotting, you got to let me know, because I’m gonna feel like I’m racing, but I may not be.’
“It’s physical, your body changes, I don’t hit the kit as hard as I used to. If I couldn’t do this job, I have to pace myself. So yeah, I will bow out gracefully, I won’t be the rat that deserts a sinking ship, although the Maiden ain’t sinking.”