In a recent interview with “Anders Bøtters Tiny TV”, Bruce Dickinson spoke about IRON MAIDEN‘s reputation as having the most loyal and dedicated fans of any band working today. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I can’t speak for every individual IRON MAIDEN fan, obviously, and I can’t imagine what each of them is individually thinking and what kind of nuance they get out of what we do. ‘Cause I think people get different things out of different parts of what we do. So some fans will really zone in on some bits. Some of the kind of rhythmic things that we do, some people will be big fans of that; some people will be big fans of Adrian‘s [Smith] guitar; some people will be nuts about vocals and therefore they’ll follow some of my solo stuff. You’ve got all kinds of shades of opinion, but they all congregate around a central core, which is, ‘Yeah, it’s IRON MAIDEN, stupid.’ That’s it.”
He continued: “We’ve retained the identity because we are commercially independent. We don’t ever change what we do in response to external pressure. Everything we do is developed internally, and therefore even if we screw up, at least we screwed up for the right reasons. What that means is people trust you. So, some albums are better than others. Fine — I’m gonna let other people comment on that, ’cause I’ve got my opinions; other people have other opinions. And we know that — we’re not stupid. But nevertheless, we don’t go in there trying to make a rubbish album. We make the best album we can do that’s in front of our face on the day, on the week, in the month of that period of our lives. And that’s like a document for us, and it’s where we were at when we did that right then. And I think for a lot of MAIDEN fans, albums work like that for them too. So the album becomes like a document for their life as well at the same time. And in order for that to work, you don’t necessarily have to agree with what the band is doing at the time — and frequently, obviously, some people do and some people don’t — but you’ve got to believe that the band is sincerely doing it for the right reasons, and therefore you still keep that loyalty.”
Dickinson added: “To put it superficially, I would say that IRON MAIDEN fans are a little bit like plywood — we get a new layer every year, and they all just stick together, so eventually we get a table that’s, like, ten feet thick. And people are going, ‘How did you end up with a table ten feet thick?’ I said, ‘We just never lost a layer.’ And, of course, we’ve got people that started in 1983, ’84, and we’ve got people that started in the year 2000, 2005, 2015 — generations and generations. People whose first album was ‘The Book Of Souls’. And then they went, ‘Ah, I like this band. ‘The Book Of Souls’. Cool. Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ ‘Oh my God. They did another bunch of albums. What’s this thing? ‘The Number Of The Beast’. I never heard about that. Oh, this is cool.’ And you go back and you get a chance to rediscover all the discography.”
Referencing MAIDEN‘s latest LP, “Senjutsu”, which came out in September, Bruce said: “I think this album will deliver us a very new thick layer of plywood. And of course, where we exist — yeah, sure, we exist on albums and things, but where we really exist is on stage.”
“Senjutsu”, IRON MAIDEN‘s first album in six years, was recorded in 2019 in Paris with longstanding producer Kevin Shirley and co-produced by Harris.
For “Senjutsu” — loosely translated as “tactics and strategy” — the band once again enlisted the services of Mark Wilkinson to create the spectacular Samurai-themed cover artwork, based on an idea by Harris.
“Senjutsu” bowed at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, charting higher than even the band’s early classics like “Powerslave” and “The Number Of The Beast”. Nearly 90 percent of the LP’s 64,000 equivalent album units earned came from pure album sales. The critically acclaimed double album debuted one place higher than 2015’s “The Book Of Souls” and 2010’s “The Final Frontier”, which both peaked at No. 4.
“Senjutsu” was MAIDEN‘s 13th album to top in the Top 40 in the U.S.
MAIDEN‘s first two Paul Di’Anno-era albums, “Iron Maiden” (1980) and “Killers” (1981), as well as with those recorded with singer Blaze Bayley, “The X Factor” (1995) and “Virtual XI” (1998), all failed to dent the Top 40 in the U.S.
According to Billboard, “Senjutsu” logged the second-largest week of 2021 for a hard rock album in both equivalent album units earned and in traditional album sales. It trailed only FOO FIGHTERS‘ “Medicine At Midnight”, which debuted on the Feb. 20 chart with 70,000 units (of which 64,000 were in album sales).
“Senjutsu” topped the charts in several European countries upon its release, including in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland.