During an appearance on Talk Is Jericho, Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith talked about rejoining the band in 1999 and remaining in the fold ever since.
“Yeah. You definitely, as you get older you get wiser, you get a bit more aware of other people as you get older, generally, and how they feel about things. It’s just a natural thing, so yeah, it’s a little bit more compromising in what we do.
“But I think we got a much clearer idea of what it’s about, especially since I was out of the band for nine years, so I can see it from an outsider’s point of view; whereas in the ’80s, we were just album-tour-album-tour, there was no life outside of the band, so it was difficult to get perspective.”
You were jamming with Bruce at that point in time [performing on two of Dickinson’s solo albums, 1997’s ‘Accident of Birth’ and 1998’s ‘The Chemical Wedding’]. Was that always kind of thing where you were always a package deal? How did they present you to come back to Maiden?
“Well, Bruce approached me in the mid-’90s, he’d written some songs for his first album – it wasn’t his first solo album, but around the ‘Accident’ at the time. So I really liked what they were doing, and I just contributed a few songs and it went off from there for the next three-four-five years.
“Then they wanted Bruce to come back, Blaze [Bayley] was fired from the band; I was playing with Bruce, so there was something in the air about me coming back, and I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll just do one tour or come home after set.’
“If you would have asked me 10 years before, I’d say, ‘No, I would probably never do it.’ But things change – as you get older, you get wiser. I thought it might be nice just to round it off.
“Again, Steve [Harris, bass] does come off with some wacky ideas that first you think are not going to work. So he suggested to the guys, ‘Why don’t we have three guitars?’
“I joined up, and we went up to Portugal to write some songs, and I had the song ‘Wicker Man,’ and so I started playing that, and away we went. And then we just never looked back, really.”