Former IRON MAIDEN singer Paul Di’Anno has said that he thinks the band made the right decision to kick him out in 1981.
After joining IRON MAIDEN in 1978 as the replacement for singer Dennis Wilcock, Di’anno made a significant impression with his English swagger and punk rock charisma. One year later, the band would release their influential three-track demo, The Soundhouse Tapes as the band’s popularity continued to grow.
“We knew that what we had was unique compared to every other band around, and we had spent the previous couple of years playing every shithole in the U.K., also some decent venues as well,” Di’Anno tells Classic Rock in a new interview.
“The only person who might have had any doubts was me. Though I was a cocky frontman, I was all mouth and no trousers,” the singer, who turns 63 in May, reflected.
“What I do know, is that all the songs on that first album are fucking great. It’s such a shame that the production is complete dogshit,” Di’Anno commented about the common complaint about the production quality of Maiden’s self-titled 1980 debut record.
“By the time of Killers, the band was getting a bit more technical and losing some of that edge for me. I didn’t think that the songs had the same sort of attack, and then I started losing interest,” he continued.
“I felt that I might be letting people down by voicing my doubts so I said nothing but then it all built up to the point where I was rubbing Steve [Harris] up the wrong way. I don’t blame them for getting rid of me. The band was Steve’s baby, but I wish I’d been able to contribute more. After a while that got me down. In the end I couldn’t give a hundred percent to Maiden anymore, and it wasn’t fair to the band, the fans or myself,” he elaborated.
After his departure from IRON MAIDEN, Di’Anno remained active within the music industry as a performer yet never reaching a similar level of acclaim as he did fronting Maiden.
“The two albums I made with the band were pivotal [to the genre]. Later on in my life when I met Metallica, Pantera and Sepultura and they told me that those albums were what got them into music, it made me incredibly proud,” he says.
Paul Di’Anno was replaced by SAMSON singer Bruce Dickinson who made his live debut as IRON MAIDEN’s new frontman on Oct. 26, 1981.