Master Bruce receives eclipsed as befits a rock millionaire: in a spacious hotel suite at Potsdamer Platz. The 56 year old is anything but a typical representative of the hard'n'heavy genre: he wears his hair short, a polo shirt and jeans, is well-trained, humorous, has several university diplomas, talks like a waterfall and doesn't limit himself to promoting his current musical product.
With a total playing time of 92 minutes, "The Book Of Souls" is the longest work the Virgins have ever recorded. With "Empire Of The Clouds" it features the most epic Maiden song of all time and also surprises with piano, strings and wind instruments. All things that sound like heightened, late ambition. But far from it..
eclipsed: Bruce, a double album for the 40th anniversary of the band. The proof that Maiden aren't tired old sacks yet?
Bruce Dickinson: (laughs) Anyway, I'm not! But recording a Maiden album has nothing to do with work. It's more of a paid vacation with friends and a boy thing - with pretty mature boys. For some people, work is something they don't like, but it gives them the opportunity to finance anything they enjoy. While I've always thought: I should do everything I can to enjoy it and not be uncomfortable with anything. That's what I call work..
eclipsed: Are you interested in the history of the Maya, or why "The Book of Souls", which comes from this mythology?
Dickinson: That's up to Steve Harris, our bass player. He is obsessed with the history of the Maya and has been dealing with it forever. In this respect, the proposal did not come as a surprise. Like, "Shall we call it Book Of Souls?" - "Why not? Sounds like a pretty good Maiden title."
eclipsed: Whereby you already question the concept in the first piece, where it says: What if there is no immortality - what if eternity should fail? Isn't that a little weird?
Dickinson: (laughs) So far nobody has noticed that! In fact, the song is based on the Marvel comic "Dr. Strange versus Mephisto". I had bought a few Marvel series on the last tour and worked them through systematically. I was looking for a cool theme for a solo album. At "Dr. Strange" I found "If Eternity Should Fail", which was brilliant and which I really wanted to use. I had already recorded the title track. But when the project didn't happen, I left the song to Maiden. I was a bit worried about the spoken word part at the end, which tells a completely different story than the rest of the album. It's about a machine that robs people of their souls. And that's Dr. Necropolis, not Maya. I asked Steve if people would notice. But he waved off: "Don't worry, it sounds great. The main thing is that it's about souls..." (laughs)