Bruce Dickinson “What Does This Button Do?” (Heavy Metal) [Music/Book]


Topic: Biography
Author: Bruce Dickinson
Year: 2018
Pages/Hours: 11 hrs 6 min
Publisher: Audible


A long-awaited memoir from the larger-than-life, multifaceted lead vocalist of Iron Maiden, one of the most successful, influential and enduring rock bands ever.

Pioneers of Britain’s nascent Rock & Metal scene back in the late 1970s, Iron Maiden smashed its way to the top, thanks in no small part to the high-octane performances, operatic singing style, and stage presence of its second, but twice-longest-serving, lead singer, Bruce Dickinson. As Iron Maiden’s front man—first from 1981 to 1993, and then from 1999 to the present—Dickinson has been, and remains, a man of legend.

But being a front man is just one of the many hats Bruce wears. In addition to being one of the world’s most storied and well-respected singers and songwriters, he is an airline captain, aviation entrepreneur, motivational speaker, beer brewer, novelist, radio presenter, and film scriptwriter. He has also competed as a world-class level fencer. Often credited as a genuine polymath Bruce, in his own words (and handwritten script in the first instance!), sets forth many personal observations guaranteed to inspire curious souls and hard-core fans alike.

Dickinson turns his unbridled creativity, passion, and anarchic humour to reveal some fascinating stories from his life, including his thirty years with Maiden, his solo career, his childhood within the eccentric British school system, his early bands, fatherhood and family, and his recent battle with cancer.

Bold, honest, intelligent and very funny, his memoir is an up-close look inside the life, heart, and mind of one of the most unique and interesting men in the world; a true icon of rock.

I bought this directly upon its release, but didn’t read it. I thought the ADHD fueled Bruce would just make me feel bad about not having acomplished a million things in my life as he has 🙂

Also, and this is a double standard from my side. I know first hand that alcohol abuse (ofcourse also drug abuse) can ruin families and lifes but when I look for music biographies I always go for the ones were I suspect the person in question would have lived a rough and wild life (like Ozzy Osbourne or Mötley Crue) and I though Bruce Dickinson where a max 1 beer person (like Paul and Gene in Kiss), but here I learned that’s not the case. Both drinking and smoking stuff is common, not to Ozzy or Mötley’s degree but that might be an impossible task. So nice to see that he’s human 🙂

I found his upbringing kind of interesting but it was first when he got into playing in bands that my attention was fully there. It was kind of funny to hear about his ventures in Samson and when he started in Iron Maiden and his early arguments with Steve Harris about how to move around on stage.

It’s his tour and recording memories that I find most interesting, like the recording of Piece of Mind, a vodka drenched Poland visit, first time in Brazil in front of 300.000 people, the building of the “Somewhere in Time Tour” stage, his solo-tour to Zarajevo and so on. I also loved to hear about inspiration for various songs and would have liked even more of that.

Other reviewers have complained about the lack of gossip about other band members, personally I couldn’t care less since the artists private life more or less has never interest me but the music, touring and recordings in itself. My complaint is all these pilot and fencing stories that I have 0% interest in, but I get why it’s in here since it’s a big part of his life, just that I don’t care.

Next, I would love a biography by Steve Harris to hear about Iron Maiden’s early years.