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Memoir of the Beast: Dickinson talks in Oz

Memoir of the Beast Dickinson talks in Oz.jpg

Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden performing live (Julien Reynaud/APS-Medias/ABACAPRESS.COM.)

For most people, simply being the beloved frontman for one of the biggest bands in the world would generate enough material for a one-man show, but Bruce Dickinson is spoiled for choice.

In addition to singing for heavy metal mainstays Iron Maiden, Dickinson famously is also an airline pilot rated to fly commercial passenger jets. He frequently flies his band's plane "Ed Force One" on tour.

He says he became a pilot to get a "proper job" outside of music, something that has also seen him take up fencing, novel and screenwriting and beer-brewing.

All of which gives him plenty of stories for his speaking tour in support of his autobiography "What Does This Button Do?" due to hit Australia in October.

The book surprised a lot of people who thought it was just going to be another one of those kiss-and-tell, rock-and-roll books, he says.

"I didn't want it to be that because there's a lot of things in my life that have nothing to do with rock and roll."

"Some of them are quite funny, some of them are quite poignant, but all of them are worth talking about as an entertainer, because it gives people a view through a different lens."

Dickinson says he created the one-man show after being asked by his publishers to do a few public readings of his autobiography, which he said sounded "boring."

Instead, he took inspiration from an unlikely source - British gadfly and public speaker Quentin Crisp, who did a series of speaking events in the early 1980s, one of which Dickinson went to.

"He was brilliant, erudite, very witty, but then towards the end of the show he took questions from the audience and organised them almost like a stand-up routine. And I thought that would be very interesting to do."

The shows will be a stripped down version of Dickinson's usual stage performance, both in terms of production - in place of Iron Maiden's trademark props and pyrotechnics is a simple projector screen - and in crowds.

Dickinson is used to performing in front of large crowds, and had just got off-stage from an Iron Maiden show in Bulgaria for 20,000 fans when he spoke to AAP, but the largest show on the speaking tour will be for around two thousand people in Melbourne.

He says standing by yourself on stage and telling stories is a different beast entirely to fronting a band.

"You can fall on your face in front of two thousand people and feel very stupid," he says.

Fortunately, he says that hasn't happened, as the depth of material he has to pull from, as well as audience questions "leading him up the garden path" have meant that no two shows are exactly the same.

All touch on his storied musical career as well as his extracurricular passions, and some have dealt with his diagnosis with tongue cancer in 2015, which has since gone into remission after aggressive chemotherapy, which he details in his memoir.

While he stresses his show isn't a stand-up act, he does try to put forward the funny side of things that have happened to him, even his cancer scare.

Dickinson says many audiences start out uncomfortable when the word "cancer" is mentioned, but he hopes he can show them a different way to look at things.

"By the end they're saying "well it doesn't seem so bad, maybe I should get a dose of cancer! See if it sorts me out, fixes my attitude on life!"

"There's a lot of stuff that goes on in life, and not all of it's nice, but that's life."

With even cancer not able to keep him quiet, fans of Dickinson will be well satisfied when he makes his way down under this October.


SYDNEY: Thursday 18th October - Enmore Theatre

MELBOURNE: Friday 19th October - Palais Theatre

CANBERRA: Sunday 21st October - Llewellyn Hall

NEWCASTLE: Tuesday 23rd October - Civic Theatre

BRISBANE: Wednesday 24th October - Eatons Hill Hotel

© AAP 2018