Bruce Dickinson was born on August 7, 1958, in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. He moved to Sheffield, England, when he was a teenager. Shortly after, he found his love of heavy metal, becoming a Deep Purple fan. Although he didn’t make it as a drummer in several local bands, he started singing with Samson’s local band. While performing with this group, he went by the name Bruce Bruce. They recorded Head-On in 1980 and Shock Tactics in 1981. He left the band right after the second album. Shortly after, Dickinson replaced Di’Anno as the lead singer for Iron Maiden. Several months after becoming the group’s new frontman, they released The Number of The Beast. Dickinson’s vocals helped propel the group to the top of the charts and sell out concert venues. Even though the group enjoyed many successes, rumors that he and bassist Steve Harris were constantly at odds. After the 1992s album Fear of the Dark, Iron Maiden started losing fans. Dickinson left the group in 1993 amidst a farewell tour and several live albums. However, Iron Maiden continued on without him. He picked up his solo career in 1994, releasing Balls to Picasso. He followed it with several more albums, including Accident of Birth, The Chemical Wedding, Tyranny of Souls. However, he returned to Iron Maiden in 1999, and a year later, the group released Brave New World. Even though the band was regaining their fans, Dickinson continued to work on his solo career. He is set to release another solo album this year. These are 10 things you didn’t know about Bruce Dickinson.
1. Cleared for liftoff
The Iron Maiden frontman is also a licensed pilot. He acquired his commercial pilot’s license in 1990, even flying Iron Maiden around the world in their plane Ed Force One. He also owns Cardiff Aviation, an aircraft maintenance company. According to Blabbermouth, he worked for the now-bankrupt Icelandic airline Astraeus. He gets similar excitement to playing live and flying an airplane. However, he thinks that feelings of happiness at a show are external since he feeds off the crowd’s energy. Flying an aircraft is a quiet satisfaction of getting the people safely to their destination.
Dickson doesn’t like that Metal is dismissed by many as not an art form. Moreover, he feels that punk music is the closet genre that was truly appreciated. In an interview with The Guardian, he stated that punk musicians can’t honestly play their musical instruments and that because of this, they can create something people look at as performance art. Even though he bluntly stated all of those genres, musicians just want to be part of heavy metal.
3. Not exactly poetry
In 2021, Dickinson did a series of spoken word shows. Although he knows many people expect a show similar to his Iron Maiden days, the closest they’ll find is his outrageous mouthy attitude. The concept is tongue in cheek autobiography about his unlikely rise to fame. Everything is improvised, and a lot of times, he uses the audience’s questions as fodder. Much like other portions of his life, Dickinson strives to make this another unexpected part of his career.
4. Turn left
Numerous tests are gauging whether a person is right or left-brained. In an interview with Forbes, he said, “I’m using both sides of my brain at the same time, which makes it difficult for some people to speak to me.” Having this ability is one of the reasons Dickison is thriving in so many things. The unique combination of structure in the airline industry and the chaos of touring on the road allowed Dickinson to have a unique perspective that has served him well in his career.
In 2015, Dickinson was diagnosed with cancer after doctors found a tumor on his tongue. Luckily, it was so small he was declared cancer-free the same year. After the surgery was done, he noticed he was hitting notes that he hadn’t sung in years.
6. Don’t worry, I’m a doctor
Dickinson received his honorary Doctorate of Music from London’s Queen Mary University on July 19, 2011. In 1979, he studied history while attending school. However, he is quick to say it was a front for his desire to pursue music.
7. All for the music
In 1994, Dickinson and his band Skunkworks, aided by United Nations soldiers, entered Sarajevo to play a concert. The historic moment was captured in the film Scream for Me Sarajevo. In 2019, he received honorary citizenship during a ceremony to celebrate the country’s liberation.
Although most of Dickinson’s political and religious views are unknown, he did reveal he voted for Brexit. According to Louder Sound, he said “If musicians were running Europe, Europe would run a lot better because we’d all get on with each other and say, ‘Yeah.’ He went on to talk about how Iron Maiden is recognized around the world, and he thought that it didn’t need to be such a hot topic.
9. Just say no
Although many people think that drugs and music go together, Dickinson is something of an exception. He admits to smoking a little bit of marijuana but only to show people it’s not a big deal. They didn’t do anything for him, and he’s never purchased them. Given his outrageous shenanigans, it’s hard to believe that he doesn’t partake. However, he’s quick to say that he just smoked a little of other people’s and really had no interest.
10. Ride my bicycle
In addition to his multi-faceted career, Dickinson also works with numerous charities. In 2021, he signed up for a charity bicycle ride with Heavy Metal Truants. It’s a 175-mile ride ending at a festival at Castle Donington. However, because of the pandemic, they reformatted the event allowing people to choose different distances. He’s vocal about encouraging his fans to join him.