Iron Maiden undergoes a renaissance
By Geoff Martin April 18, 2009
(Full interview with the album interview available by clicking the link at the end of the article)
...........Wait a minute. Golf? Tea-drinking references? Christianity? Are we still talking about good ol’ head-banging Iron Maiden here?
Yes, we still are. And yes, Nicko McBrain is a Christian.
His conversion is apparently a complicated issue, but one McBrain obviously loves to talk about. What follows is his response to a single question about his conversion, which he says happened in 1999.
Are people ever confused by his conversion, given his line of work?
“The usual question I’ve been approached with is people coming up to me and going, ‘How can you play Number of the Beast?’ Well, ’ang on, it’s a story. If you look in the Book of Revelation it tells you about all that, all that grief, all that business. And that, by the way, was a song written from a nightmare that Steve had.
“And my opinion is, well look, one of the greatest tricks the Devil ever pulled was making you think he didn’t exist, and I can tap people on the shoulder and say, ‘I’m not glorifying him -- if I was then I wouldn’t be Christian.’
“Because I understand, and most Christian people understand, that sin is the Devil’s domain, and the ultimate sin is death, but we have a way up, and that’s where your faith and your Christianity comes into play. Sometimes I’ve had an opportunity to talk to people about my faith, and what I feel, and maybe that’s the way the good Lord’s working with me.
“To still be able to be in such a great band, where people think we’re demonic or Satanic, most people that know and have a modicum of sense and intelligence knows that not to be true. It doesn’t take an Einstein to listen to the records and listen to the lyrics of the songs to know what’s going on.
Okay, so Eddie’s the mascot of the band, right? And he’s a… sort of… well, he’s a demon, you know! He’s whatever you want him to be, you know? I mean, listen here, look at the number of the Beast, here he is, the Devil’s the puppet! But you know, we’re not glorifying Eddie as being evil. It’s just … he’s just a cartoon character.
“But people can look at that and say ‘wait a minute, Nick, ’ow can you say you’re a Christian, you’re playing in a band that’s got this kind of stuff going on?’
“But when you become a Christian, you don’t become sinless, the idea is to sin less. We’re all sinners, we’re never going to be clean till the day the good Lord is standing in front and judgment comes, but to me, I try to live my life, I do fall off, and occasionally I fall off hard and I have to get down on my knees and beg forgiveness, so it’s not an easy ride, and it’s not professed to be either.”
Okay, he might have rambling a bit there, but there was no way we were going to interrupt an answer like that. Then, as McBrain paused for only the briefest of moments, we had the opportunity to slip another question in: has he tried converting any of his fellow band members?
“We’ve had some incredibly deep conversations amongst each of us,” McBrain said. “I can’t say to you that I’m trying to convert all these guys in my band to be Christians. I’m leading them on my route, and if they choose to follow what God’s plan is in the Bible, that’s up to them. I say to them all, you know, look, in my belief, at the moment, if you turn to your saviour Jesus Christ, I’ll have eternal life in Heaven with you! … We don’t talk about it every time we get together, but we’ve had some interesting conversations over the years.
“I truly praise the Lord for being able to carry on with this band, and the blessings that we have to be able to make this kind of music, and still go out there and turn young kids’ heads and they go ‘Crikey, these guys can play! They might be old farts, but listen to that!’
And, as McBrain points out, the band has bucked the trend of rock music by not having a dead member in its past, despite nearly three decades in the business.
“The legacy here is that you can actually talk to each member of the band, you know? It’s not posthumously. We’re still around, and I praise the Lord again for that, and maybe I’ll go tomorrow, but the thing is that the passion that we have is to play this music, our music, together as a band, the six of us.”
And best of all, he adds, “I’m still the best-looking one in the band.”
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