To any true metal fan, the name of Paul Di'anno needs no introduction. As the pioneering vocalist of Iron Maiden, he is immortalized in such masterpieces as "Phantom of the Opera" and "Running Free". Following his run with Maiden, Paul formed his own bands Battlezone, Dianno, and Killers which expanded his global following. His latest record The Living Dead is perhaps his best work of all, worth the price of admission for the title track alone. I did an e-mail interview with Paul this past week and here's what he had to say:
antiMUSIC: First of all, it's an absolute pleasure and privilege to be able to speak (type) with a legend such as yourself. Congratulations on The Living Dead. I think it's the best work you've done. Can you tell us how this record came about --- how long in the works and what did it take to bring it all together?
Paul Di'anno: Well I made the most of the album in Sao Paulo, Brazil with Brazilian musicians apart from Symphony of Destruction and the 2 Maiden club live tracks that were made with UK and Argentina musicians. I spend a lot of time (where ever possible) in Brazil as it is kind of like my second home and it seems to inspire me to write/create in a totally different way to usual. I produced and wrote the album with my Brazilian guitarist (and previous original member of Battlezone) Paulo Turin and we both just clicked and the aggression energy levels just seemed to go overboard in the making of the album and that really was what I was looking for. I was all done from start to finish in about 4 weeks (I hate recording studios as I am easily bored with them) and to my mind....4 weeks is all an album should take. It all came together really quite easy and without any hitches like there usually are and the surrounding definitely helped to make this album what it is.
antiMUSIC: What were some of the first cuts that came out?
Paul Di'anno: First cuts were "Nomad", "The Living Dead" and "Dog Dead" and the last cut was "Symphony Of Destruction" as I thought it would be cool to have a Megadeth cover song as I have always loved this song.
antiMUSIC: The title cut is phenomenal and probably your best vocal in my view. Lyrically I would assume you're addressing something. What are you talking about in this song?
Paul Di'anno: Thanks, as I am personally very proud of this song and think it is just about the best song I've created. The song is about oppression and the have nots of this world and the injustices to the millions of people who have f*** all in life apart from just trying to stay alive. I get to travel a lot and I get to see a lot and I am so lucky to live a privileged life, but this was my way of saying to people...when you're getting pissed at your comfortable life not fitting to your plans...think of all the poor f***ers who have no life or indeed plans. The song is also rather personal to me in ways that are far too difficult for me to explain.
antiMUSIC: It's unusual to start a record with a slow song (although it obviously speeds up after the first verse). What made you pick this one to open the record?
Paul Di'anno: Well I started the album with this track for exactly that reason. I had to get this song to stand out and what better way than to kick off with it. Besides I can't stand having to stick to rules when making album, as just being in a recording studio bores the life out of me.
antiMUSIC: My 2nd favorite cut on the record is "Nomad" (awesome solo). Your vocal is excellent, especially the ending. What are the lyrics about?
Paul Di'anno: Basically about a Nomadic lifestyle wandering the land looking for peace and fulfilment, and what a load of old bollocks I talk about at times. I reckon I must be turning into an old f***ing hippie or something…ha-ha.
antiMUSIC: In "Brothers of the Tomb", it sounds like you got your privates caught in a vice. Your voice seems to get better as you go along. Was it difficult to get the high notes on this song and some of the others? And considering you have not exactly babied your voice over the years, are you surprised you still have such an amazing range?
Paul Di'anno: I did this song in one take and thought my balls were gonna drop off and my eyes were gonna f***ing pop out...ha-ha. Yeh you're right, I have been a mental case for a lot of my life resulting in my voice taking a hammering over a couple of decades....I guess I must have done something right, somewhere along the way...but god knows what that was??
antiMUSIC: Is there any other cut on this record that you're particularly proud of lyrically or vocally?
Paul Di'anno: Yeh, "Brothers Of The Tomb" and "Nomad", as they are just f***ing doing it for me.
antiMUSIC: Why did you include the two old songs? To introduce your past to newer fans?
Paul Di'anno: Well for people who don't have a clue of who I am, as it'll then possibly give them an idea. Also though the fans who do know me, as these are 2 Very Raw club recordings and they even feature me going way out of tune (few too many Bourbons!!) and sound like 16 years old at the Saturday night school dance.
antiMUSIC: What can you tell us about your band? A couple of the guys have been with you for a few years now.
Paul Di'anno: Well this is a difficult one as I now have 17 different bands worldwide as follows: One in Sweden, Two in Norway, One in Germany, One in Mexico, Three in Brazil, One in Argentina, One in Scotland, One in Ireland, One in Italy, One in Costa Rica, One in Peru, One in Finland, One in Japan and One in Australia. I get bored very easily and me and my manager decided to have bands everywhere (and keep adding more) and then they can all compete with other, which keeps them all on good form all of the time. Plus it is easier on the travelling and I get the bonus of having loads of great musicians to work with...without getting bored. I am always on the lookout for new bands, so if there are some of you out there, then email me at my website: www.pauldianno.com
antiMUSIC: What made you link up with Magick Records?
Paul Di'anno: My manager Lea Hart, as he has worked with them before via their parent company Cleopatra and he was convinced that they were the right company for me as they are honest, decent and enthusiastic people. They are really doing a better job for me than any other company I have been with in the last 25 years.
antiMUSIC: Why did you settle in Brazil and how did you develop such a close relationship with your South American fans?
Paul Di'anno: My manager first got me out there (with my old UK band Battlezone) in the early 90's with MTV sponsorship and 3 albums released on the same day, plus flying from show to show (first time for an international act there) on a long tour throughout the whole country. I just totally fell in love with the people and the place itself and have been constantly going back there ever since and have become like part of the scenery there. Just love it to death and can't wait to get back there again this June 2nd for a Major show headlining the Porao do rock Festival in Brazilia.
antiMUSIC: It says on your bio sheet that you landed a role in a Bollywood movie. What can you tell us about it and will we get to see it in North America?
Paul Di'anno: Unfortunately I got into a terrible argument with the director who wanted me to wear f***ing make-up for my role and I (accidentally) hit him...and that was the end of my Bollywood movie career !!!
antiMUSIC: Anything else you would like to tell us about the record or yourself that I didn't ask?
Paul Di'anno: Just one thing......go out and buy it you f***ers coz I have a lot of mouths to feed, and it's a Mutha f***er of a Metal album!!!!
antiMUSIC and Morley Seaver thank Paul Di'anno for doing this interview.