Bruce Dickinson

Born: August 7, 1958
Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England
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Paul Bruce Dickinson was raised by his grandparents. His real mom and dad had him when they were quite young, and neither felt capable of raising a child, so they sent him to be with his mother’s parents. His grandfather was an amateur tap dancer, and Bruce loved being around him. But, when Bruce began school at the Manton Primary, he was forced to defend himself from school bullies. He didn’t make many friends, and he began to get interested in music. He listened to Chubby Checkers’ “The Twist,” and the Beatles’ “She Loves You.” Soon, however, Bruce would make a move to his real parents’ home in Sheffield, where his parents were focusing primarily on making money. Bruce’s father gave him an old acoustic guitar, and he worked day and night to try and teach himself to play it.

His parents bought fixer-upper homes, remodeled them, and resold them, and that meant a lot of moving around for Bruce. Eventually, though, they were making good money, and they enrolled Bruce in a private school called Sharrow Vale Junior. When he was 13, he went to boarding school, and eventually he went to a public school in Shropshire. He was in a hurry to get away from his parents, and he hated school. He came to the realization that he was an outsider, and instead of shying away from the crowd, he made an effort to make himself stick out. He joined the school drama club, and felt comfortable on stage right away. He began trying out for every school play that came up, and he became quite successful at acting and directing.

In the dormitories, Bruce and fellow schoolmates would buy, sell and swap albums with one another. Bruce was highly affected, however, when he heard Deep Purple’s In Rock album, particularly the song “Child in Time.” He bought the album, and listened to it over and over again. He then began going to a lot of concerts, seeing as many local acts as he could, but Deep Purple remained his favorite. He wanted to be a drummer. He copped some bongos from the music department and began playing them, learning songs and trying to sing along in high notes.

Bruce had to transfer to a Catholic school, because he was expelled when the headmaster found out that Bruce had pissed in his soup. He joined the school, and met some kids who had started a band but needed a singer. He blew them away with his natural vocal ability, and he bought a microphone and an amp. They named the band Paradox, and began gigging around Sheffield. They then changed their band name to Styx, oblivious to the fact that there was already an American band by that name. They split up shortly, however, and Bruce went on his way with his amp and microphone. After school, he joined the Territorial Army, but was disgusted with the behavior of the drunken men in his unit, and the women who were always around them. He chose to go to college instead, and began attending Queen Mary’s College in London. When he moved to London, he began searching for another band. He roadied for a couple of bands, and managed to make a few contacts in the process. He met Paul “Noddy” White, and they began writing songs together. They formed a band called Speed, which was a speed metal band. Bruce developed his stage presence with Speed. They were able to constantly gig, borrowing the University’s bus under the guise of a student project. Speed ended, however, and Bruce began looking for a new project again.

One day, Bruce was browing Melody Maker magazine, and he saw an want ad for a singer. The band’s name was Shots, and Bruce was invited to join after he submitted a tape to the founders. They began writing songs together, and Bruce and Shots started playing bars and pubs around London. Nobody listened at first, but one night, Bruce stopped singing in the middle of a song to heckle a person in the audience who wasn’t paying attention to the band. Abruptly, people began listening, and Bruce and Shots were invited back to play the pub the following week.

Quickly, the band earned a following, and a reputation. Bruce’s cocky frontman act was very popular, and attracted listeners from all over. One night, however, musicians Barry Graham and Paul Samson came into the pub where Shots was performing. Bruce began to insult Graham, and the musicians were so blown away by the performance, they asked Bruce to join the band they were forming, known as Samson. Bruce was eager to leave him comedy act behind, and he agreed to join their band, but only after his exams were completed. Bruce attained his degree, and joined Samson the same day so they could begin rehearsal. Samson already had a record contract with a major label, and Bruce had never been in a professional situation before. He was greatly disappointed with the whole Samson experience, however. He realized while with the band that they were not serious musicians, and he tried to adapt to the lifestyle the other band members were living. He dumped his steady girlfriend of three years, because he didn’t want her to be around while he became an asshole, and he tried to fit into the stereotypical rock and roll life. Bruce became known as “Bruce Bruce,” named after a Monty Python sketch. The management became a problem, however, Samson ended up battling their management in court and having to sit idle for a while. When the band was finally able to perform, their ideas were so hodge-podge and meddled together, it was hard to figure out what direction the band was going in. Eventually, however, Bruce split from Samson, due to difference of musical interests. Bruce had already been noticed by excellent bassist Steve Harris, however, whose band named Iron Maiden was having problems with their own lead singer.

Bruce was invited to spend a week with Maiden in the rehearsal studio, and they recorded a few demos together. He felt comfortable with the band, they sounded great together, and they seemed to be moving in a more positive direction than Sampson had. Bruce agreed to join them right away. He was instantly happy with their structured schedule, although it took some getting used to at first. They wrote and produced their first album together, Number of the Beast. “Run to the Hills” broke the UK top ten, and album sales went through the roof. And Bruce now had a new nickname that he liked much better the Bruce Bruce: He was now known as the Airraid Siren. Bruce fit in well with the band, and their next few albums and tours showed a happy, strong, inventive band. The band had internal struggles, but managed to become one of the most influential bands to come out of the metal scene of the 80’s. The band toured constantly throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, with a very solid and consistent following that were as loyal as fans could be.

At the same at, Bruce was enjoying a fabulous career in fencing. He was ranked the 7th best in men’s foil discipline in Great Britain, and he represented England in the European Cup in 1989. He also had a couple of brief stints in unsuccessful television series, such as the Paradise Club, a series which aired on the BBC. In 1990, he began releasing solo material. His first solo album was Tattooed Millionaire, and Bruce found he liked releasing his own material as a solo act. He wanted to make music that fell outside of the scope of what Maiden was doing, and his solo project began to take priority. So, in 1993, Bruce officially announced his departure from Iron Maiden, as he would concentrate on a solo career. He released more phenomenal solo albums through his label, and began touring the world as a solo act. Eventually, however, he would reunite with Iron Maiden, and he is touring with them and releasing new material as we sit. It was a relief for Maiden fans everywhere when he rejoined.



Instruments Played / Skills:
Vocals Songwriter

Genres:
British Metal

Bands That Bruce Dickinson Has Played For:
Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson Has Worked With:
Dave Murray Adrian Smith Steve Harris Roy Z Alex Dickson Chris Dale Alessandro Elena Nick McBrain Janick Gers

Bruce Dickinson's Discography:
Skunkworks
Release Date: 1996
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