National Projects


Band: Bruce Dickenson (of Iron Maiden)
Title: Balls To Picasso
Year: 1995
Label: New Sanctuary
Genre: Heavy Metal

Notes: Bruce is definitely up for the “biggest voice in the smallest package” award. What a truly gifted singer he is. But it’s safe to say he’s not the tallest guy in the world.

He and I got along straight away when I told him that I was a “Van Der Graaf Generator” fan. Peter Himmelman is one of his biggest influences as a singer. Their premier album, “The Aerosol Grey Machine,” is one of the Holy Grail’s of hard-to-find prog music. He said he had it on vinyl and promised to make a copy for me. He never did. But he did reference them on his autograph he signed for me on a picture disc of “Number of the Beast.” And we sang along to “Lemmings” together as I drove him to the airport as he was leaving.

The song we worked on was called “Shoot All The Clowns,” a rather political statement. Cool tune with a neat, almost Latin feeling, rock breakdown with congas and shakers. The song was produced by a guy name “Shay Baby.” Yep, I’m not kidding. He was the definition of “Greasy LA Producer Guy.” But he was cool. We also had a surprise visit from veteran record producer Bob Margouleff (Devo, Oingo Boingo, Stevie Wonder [see Terra Sul entry]) during the mix.

We just did guitar and vocal over dubs and mixed at Granny’s. The basic tracks were recorded originally at “Townhouse 3” in London. That was the famous “The Who” studio where the “Who Are You” video was shot. There they had three days of problems that could only be explained by paranormal interference. I.e. ghosts, specifically, the ghost of Keith Moon! (A story too long to get into here.) If you want to hear the rest, email me).

Best of all, at the same time, I was producing a jingle in the B room with local artist Joel Edwards for Commercial Hardware. Bruce saw the lyric sheet sitting on the kitchen table. In horror, he said, “People actually pay you to write this shit? This is fucking brilliant! I’ve got to sing this!” Luckily, I had the tape on the machine ready to go in B and we ran down! I was just dying! Bruce Dickenson was going to sing on my jingle!!!!!!!!!!

We got him in the booth, set the level in his cans and he chickened out!!!!!!!!!!! I tried to talk him into it, but no go. Denied!!!! Pansy!!!! It’s my best “big fish” story in the biz to date. Otherwise, I love the guy!