On July 1, IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson was a guest on Steve Wright 's show "Steve Wright In The Afternoon" on BBC Radio 2. You can now listen to the chat below.
Asked how he first got the idea to do spoken-word solo gigs, Bruce said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It all started out years ago when I did this biography, 'What Does This Button Do?' And they said, 'Well, let's go on a short tour doing readings from the book.' And I went, 'Well, that's a bit boring. Why would anybody just turn up? They can read the book themselves.' So I sort of enhanced it with a few ripe stories, and it went down very well. And then I added to it with a bit of improv. So the last 45 minutes is based on something that I saw [English writer, raconteur and actor] Quentin Crisp, of all people.
"When I was at uni, my then-girlfriend took me to see 'An Evening With Quentin Crisp '," he explained. "So I went along. He was incredibly witty — fantastically entertaining. The last half of the show, though, was him coming out and riffing off of cue cards that the audience had written for him. And I always remembered it. So I thought, 'I wonder if I could do something similar.' Effectively, when the people show up, they will be given cue cards. Scribble down what you like — insults, whatever it is. I take them backstage during the interval and very rapidly turn that into some kind of script."
As for what kind of things fans ask about on these cue cards, Bruce said: "They can ask about anything. Some of them ask about the band. You get unwitting ones where people will say… It was fantastic — somebody wrote on a cue card, 'Do you remember meeting my mom in a hotel in Budapest in 1983?' And now my brain's really racing. And at the end of it, he put, 'By the way, you're not my dad. I checked.' When you get stuff like that, it's sort of comedy gold, really. It's quite a straightforward question, but it's how you glue it together.
"I do take the Mickey out of, largely, myself," he added. "I have been guilty of wearing — unrepentantly, I should add — some of the most ridiculous trousers in the world. And it all makes good sense and it's all in the best possible taste. And there's a reason why I'm not invited to Paris Fashion Week."
Dickinson will embark on a U.K. spoken-word tour this summer. "An Evening With Bruce Dickinson" will consist of six dates, beginning in Brighton on August 1 and ending in London on August 10.
"What Does This Button Do?", landed at No. 10 on the New York Times "Hardcover Nonfiction" best sellers list. It was released in the U.S. in October 2017 via Dey Street Books (formerly It Books), an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
"What Does This Button Do?" is Dickinson's third book. He has previously published two satirical novels, "The Adventures Of Lord Iffy Boatrace" about the English upper classes and "The Missionary Position" about televangelism.
Dickinson joined IRON MAIDEN in 1981, replacing Paul Di'Anno, and made his recording debut with the band on the 1982 album "The Number Of The Beast". He quit the band in 1993, pursuing several solo projects, and rejoined in 1999.
Dickinson, who turned 62 last August, has several other interests beyond music. He is a licensed commercial pilot and owns an aviation company. He has also done some acting and brewed beer.