Adrian Smith interview
by Steph Perry and John Perry
April 29, 1999
Adrian Smith is one of three guitarists in Iron Maiden. He recently re-joined the band after a nine-year hiatus. Smith was with the band from 1981-1990, on six studio albums, and co-wrote songs on monster hit records such as “Number of the Beast”, and “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”.
Adrian also plays guitar in Bruce Dickinson’s solo band. He appears on two Dickinson albums, “Accident of Birth,” and the most current release, “Chemical Wedding.”
We hooked up with Adrian and Bruce at the Parker Meridien Hotel in New York City to discuss Maiden’s reunion.
What’s it like for you to play with two other guitar players?
I think it will be great. We haven’t actually played yet! No, obviously I’ve played with Dave [Murray] since I was a kid, and Janick [Gers] I’ve known for years, and he’s a great player. The Maiden stuff historically has always had a lot of guitar parts. I think the potential for adding a different dimension to the band with three-part guitar harmonies is great. It’s really going to add to the band.
Can you tell us a little about your guitar set-up and your gear?
Yeah! It’s an 88 pre-amp, Marshall 9000 power amp, played in stereo through two 4 x 12′s, and for effects I have a TC Electronics unit which does delay and chorus, wah-wah, and a small Stone phaser (laughs).
What about the guitars?
I play mainly a Jackson King V right now. I’ve kind of revamped my relationship with Jackson. They’re great guitars. I still play my old Les Paul and I’ve got a really nice Strat.
How did Brazil go?
It was amazing. I think we played to 20,000 people in six days. We couldn’t even go out of the hotel — there were kids outside the hotel — it was just amazing.
Have you started writing any new material yet for Maiden?
Yeah, we have actually. We haven’t had a lot of time. The time we’ve allowed for writing is coming up, but we spent a week doing a little bit of writing, Bruce and I, just a few sketchy ideas, it’s shaping up real well.
How does it feel to be in the band voted best British metal act of all time?
Well, it feels great to be back in the band — period. I’ve been working with Bruce for the last couple of years, so we’ve re-established a good working relationship, and now going back to the guys, it’s like we just took a long vacation, and now we’ve come back together to work. It feels great.
Do you get to check out the internet at all?
I’m not very versed with computers (laughs). I’m sure I’ll have to catch up.
Are you looking forward to touring with Maiden starting this summer?
We’re just doing a short tour to promote this Ed Hunter video, as it goes along with this 20-song CD of greatest hits as voted by the fans on the internet, which is going to form the basis of our live set. It covers every album from the first album up through the latest. So we’re going to be playing stuff off of everything. So that’s pretty cool. The American tour is going to be three weeks and then three weeks in Europe. The main thing we want to do is concentrate on this new album at the end of the year.
What bands do you listen to?
In my car I listen to Kings X and Satriani, pretty traditional stuff. The guys in Biohazard gave me their new album and that sounded pretty awesome.
What are your interests besides music?
I like to go fishing (laughs). I like sports and working out. I play tennis, stuff like that.
Do you want to talk about how you and Bruce re-joined Maiden?
I’ve been playing with Bruce for two years and did two albums with him. We’re getting back into doing some real heavy stuff. A lot of the people were saying, “you guys are teamed up, when are you going to get back together with the Maiden guys?” From day one when I started playing with Bruce, people were saying this. At the time, my thought was that this was very unlikely to happen. But, down the line, the rumors seemed to get stronger, and Rod Smallwood, Maiden’s manager, contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in doing a tour. I said “oh yeah, I’d love to do it”, and then we started talking about a new album, which was real bonus. I mean, I would’ve loved to just do the tour, but doing a new album, I think it’s going to be great. So that’s how it came about, really. It just felt real natural, you know. Blaze was going to leave Maiden, and they were going to be looking for a new lead singer. I guess they thought of Bruce first off. There you have it, really.