Bruce Dickinson, the eminently lovable Iron Maiden frontman, surprised a whole lot of folks when he came out as pro-Brexit in 2018, essentially arguing that the European Union was not effectively taking care of Britain’s economic needs (or that of any of its other member countries) and that the U.K. would be better off alone.
That made him quite the target from a large section of Maiden fans, who naturally laughed when Dickinson complained earlier this year that it has become very difficult for U.K. bands to play in Europe and vice versa. Speaking to Sky News’ Kay Burley on June 28, he said:
“Don’t get me started on the government’s attitude to the entertainment industry. We are probably one of the U.K.’s major exports. I mean … come on. And yet we’re sitting here, we can’t do anything.
“It’s very well known that I voted for Brexit. But, you know, the idea is after you’ve done it, you then go in and be sensible about the relationship you have with people. So, at the moment, all this guff about not being able to play in Europe, and the Europeans not being able to play over here and work permits and all the rest of the rubbish — come on! You know, get your act together.”
The internet had a field day with his comments, lampooning them to no end. “Sounds like he wants the UK and European countries to set up some kind of agreement, to allow free movement of people, good and services, almost as though we might make a Union of European countries, and create a Single Market within it,” one Twitter user quipped.
Now, in a new interview with Classic Rock, Dickinson has dug in on his position and pushed back against his critics. His arguments: 1) There is bound to be difficulty at the beginning of such a transition that our leaders need to Figure The Hell Out ASAP, and 2) That he was mostly referring to younger, smaller bands in his previous comment, not Maiden, who have an army of people at their disposal to handle all the paperwork. As if of both of these problems were not completely predictable and Exactly the Sort of Thing the “stay” folks said would happen!
Bruce Bruce said in the interview:
“It’s slightly disturbing that people cannot contemplate that other people have other views contrary to themselves. It’s like a dog whistle, people start running around and jumping up and down in anger, and I think it’s out of all proportion. If you decide to do something reasonably radical in any walk of life, there are bound to be teething problems. If you suddenly change from Windows to a Mac, there will be things that really piss you off as you get adjusted to the new operating system. And someone might say, ‘Okay, in the long run, maybe being on a Mac will leave you better off, but in the meantime, how do we figure this out?’ That’s a perfectly reasonable position to take.”
“People are deliberately choosing to misunderstand the position I was taking in that interview. It’s unfortunate that both sides are seeking to take revenge political advantage. And there’s ultimately no point in that. Everybody has to get on. I have a German sister, I’ve a French partner who’s half-Italian who chooses to live in England because she thinks it’s great, and Brexit should make absolutely zero difference to those relationships. And it doesn’t. It’s only at the political level where they need to lock themselves in a room, and have no food or water until they figure this shit out.
“The bizarre thing is that I’m less concerned with Iron Maiden’s position because we have the resources and the demand and we’re inputting a huge amount into the European economy playing to close to two million people next summer. It’s not us I’m concerned about, it’s the younger bands who don’t have the time to go through all the paperwork and all the nonsense and there should be a way of streamlining those things for all performers. Culturally, we’re all very close, and so I think it’s something that needs to be a work in progress.
“I think it’s people trying to score political points at a high level, disregarding the fact that people still live next door to one another and still want to visit each other. Yes, we will be economically different and yes, we will have a separate independent sovereign political leadership, which is what I voted for, but we still want to get along.”
I’m going to paste the very same quote from earlier right here again, because it makes too much sense: “Sounds like he wants the UK and European countries to set up some kind of agreement, to allow free movement of people, good and services, almost as though we might make a Union of European countries, and create a Single Market within it.”
Maiden have a new album, Senjutsu, out now. They also have a European tour booked for summer 2022… if they’re allowed to go there, that is. Dates:
Sat June 04 2022 – HYVINKAA Rockfest (Finland) [tickets]
Thu June 16 2022 – DESSEL Graspop Metal Meeting (Belgium) [tickets]
Sat June 18 2022 – COPENHAGEN Copenhell (Denmark) [tickets]
Mon June 20 2022 – PRAGUE Sinobo Stadium (Czech Republic) [tickets]
Thu June 23 2022 – OSLO Tons Of Rock (Norway) [tickets]
Sun June 26 2022 – PARIS PARIS LA DEFENSE ARENA (France) [tickets]
Mon June 27 2022 – ANRNHEM Gelredome (Netherlands) [tickets]
Sat July 02 2022 – COLOGNE Rhein Energie Stadium (Germany) [tickets]
Mon July 04 2022 – BERLIN Waldbuehne (Germany) [tickets]
Thu July 07 2022 – BOLOGNA Sonic Park (Italy) [tickets]
Sun July 10 2022 – VIENNA Stadium Open Air (Austria) [tickets]
Tue July 19 2022 – STUTTGART Cannstatter Wasen (Germany) [tickets]
Wed July 20 2022 – BREMEN Buergerweide (Germany) [tickets]
Fri July 22 2022 – GOTHENBURG Ullevi Stadium (Sweden) [tickets]
Sun July 24 2022 – WARSAW PGE Narodowy (Poland) [tickets]
Tue July 26 2022 – FRANKFURT Dutch Bank Park (Germany) [tickets]
Fri July 29 2022 – BARCELONA Olympic Stadium (Spain) [tickets]
Sat July 30 2022 – ZURICH Hallenstadion (Switzerland) [tickets]
Sun July 31 2022 – LISBON Estadio Nacional (Portugal) [tickets]