Many things can be said in relation to life and the kind of man that Bruce Dickinson is, but there is no doubt that he is a quite complete person. At 62 years old, Bruce has managed to conquer the tops of the mountains of music and win the hearts of his fans quickly and continuously, so he also began to set more ambitious goals in his day-to-day life. Despite the obstacles that have been presented, he has been able to reach most of them.
This is the definition of someone great, a big man, a giant heavy metal icon, an exemplary businessman, an inspiring entrepreneur, an artist who is one with the public, and a person capable of piloting his life and his band towards the best destiny that one can think of – that man is Bruce Dickinson. The vocalist and main figure of Iron Maiden lived a somewhat hard childhood, moving from school to school, facing difficulties in making friends, and experiencing expulsions from institutions for being the protagonist of some heavy jokes.
He has faced many criticisms throughout his musical career and about his personal life, for decisions he has made during this long journey. However, he has made it quite clear that the only thing that could stop him is death, as he emerged victorious from a battle with cancer in 2015. Despite all the myths and false rumors that revolve around him, Bruce is a great guy, even when his inner ego and strong personality make an appearance from time to time. Dickinson always demonstrates why he is considered a legend, not only in heavy metal or rock music but also in business and fame in general.
That is why it is much more than interesting to be able to review in detail the reasons that make him a great artist and an exceptional man. Below are the top 10 facts about Bruce Dickinson's life on and off stage, with or without Iron Maiden. All of these things are the work of The Mad Englishman and are not myths, as he is a living legend.
Solution to Dilemmas and Conflicts
In high school, Bruce went through several bands that are already extinct today or would not even be known to half of their fans. However, Samson was the first band that achieved good recognition and concerts of higher magnitude than small-town bars. But Dickinson, after a short period in the band, realized that it was not really the place where he should belong. This was generated more than anything by the poor aspirations that several of his colleagues had regarding the music, and on several occasions, they paid more attention to fame or money than to the artistic development of the group itself. Amidst these different sentiments towards the band's attitude, Samson performed at the same festival with Iron Maiden, and Bruce was able to see how amazing they were. Sometime later, their original vocalist was expelled from the band for substance abuse, and they were looking for a new lead singer. Immediately "Air Raid Siren" appeared at an audition and managed to join the band.
Maiden, Steve Harris, and Bruce Dickinson started building a high-level musical project, which allowed them to go on tours, have several successful albums, and reach a good fan base on a continental and even global level. But behind all these positives, Bruce felt a bit pressured, as it was tour after tour, album after album, and it was all happening too quickly. For this reason, he decided to leave Iron Maiden after the Fear of The Dark Tour was completed. He said that there were vibes that he did not like and that, as a result, he went out of tune or did not give his full potential in several of the concerts. Harris did not make any comments because he confessed that he hated him and what made him not sing properly was his own ego, in Steve's words.
Criticism from fans, the press, and the world in general, embraced Bruce, who began a stage as a soloist who occasionally takes up and sits down to compose personal songs, with a more individual perspective and slightly separating from Maiden's style. From the year of the band's departure, 1993, to 1999, Steve and he did not speak directly again or at least without intermediaries, as the only form of communication was comments from interviews or the press that undoubtedly were negative and quite heavy. Despite all this, in the last year of the 20th century, the possibility of Dickinson's return to the band arose. Harris initially refused a bit but eventually agreed to speak to him and see what was going on.
After all the inconveniences involved, Bruce had the ability to excuse Harris and to clarify the differences they could have, reaching a proper agreement in which the past should be removed, and the music would be the present and future of Harris, Dickinson, and Maiden.
After Iron Maiden's troubled World Slavery Tour, Bruce felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of dates that had been attached to the European tour. Mentally, he felt destroyed, tired, and according to his own testimony, it was the first time that he thought about abandoning his musical career. At that time, music was the most significant internal conflict that caused him, so singing heavy metal on stage could not serve as a method to get rid of the stress that was chasing him.
When the tour ended in 1985, all the members of Iron Maiden decided to enter a recess that would last at least six months. During this time, Bruce became interested in the practice of fencing, a high-level sport discipline with a lot of elegance. His grandfather had been a fencer for a good part of his life, and in fact, this was one of the most influential reasons for Dickinson to start training in this sport of knights.
Additionally, it must be taken into account that his grandfather was the person who raised him during the first stage of his life, which is why he created a special bond with the heavy metal superstar. Like a good grandson, he wanted to leave his grandfather's legacy high, and thus he brought new honors to this sporty part of the Air Raid Siren family. Bruce was able to acquire a position in seventh place in all of Great Britain, which caused Bruce to be invited to participate as a fencer in the national team of the United Kingdom for the 1992 Olympic Games in the city of Barcelona, Spain.
This fact adds another great point in favor of his greatness as a person, grandson, and man in general, showcasing his diverse talents and the numerous challenges he has faced in his 62 years of life in this world.
Military and Honorary Captain of the Royal Air Force of Great Britain
Although Dickinson did not participate as a soldier in a war battle, he had a military experience that has been part of his life since he was very young. He had his sights set on the military course during high school since he was passionate about this field that is undoubtedly more than honorable. In this same period, he and some colleagues created a kind of organization. They were in charge of devising different war games with difficulties that could arise in the real military field, which led him to join the Oundle School Cadet Force, earning quite considerable respect from his instructors and fellow students.
Years later, Bruce, in the midst of a situation where his parents pressured him to find a career or a job, joined the Army Reserve. His stay in this entity lasted around six months. Although Bruce has related in several interviews that he thoroughly enjoyed this experience, he could see that it was not what he wanted to dedicate his life to entirely. It should be noted that despite the desire of his parents, the military side of Bruce Dickinson never became the main thing in his life. We all have already seen through the years that The Air Raid Siren does not dedicate his time to just one thing.
On the other hand, this does not remove the fact that his relationship with the military has always been very close. This adventure recently enabled him to receive the title of Honorary Group Captain 601 Squadron of the Royal British Air Force, which could also originate from the passion that the Iron Maiden frontman also has for aviation.
Although this part of Bruce's life may seem somewhat fictional, it is as true and almost as important as his musical career. Dickinson loves to fly planes, both commercial and private. During the stage when he was outside of Iron Maiden and working as a soloist, Bruce also had another additional interest besides music and fencing; in this case, it was airplanes.
In the great state of Florida in the United States, he began taking flight classes. Gradually, he acquired the necessary knowledge to know how to fly a charter plane for fun. However, he got a job at Astreus Airlines after obtaining his commercial pilot license. In this way, he achieved the rank of a commercial flight captain and thus began his career as a pilot of charter aircraft.
He had made it clear before; Bruce Dickinson was not going to settle for just being an aircraft pilot. He took part in some high-profile flights. The first of these occurred in 2006 when an armed conflict originated in Lebanon, and 200 citizens of British origin were in the midst of this internal problem in the country and wanted to return to their home nation. Bruce took care of it. In 2008, a few pilots of the Royal Air Force had to return to Great Britain and were located in Afghanistan, so Dickinson was the one who made their return home possible.
In the same year, a slightly lighter but equally important case occurred; this time Egypt was the stage where the Iron Maiden singer had to demonstrate that he was not just a commercial pilot due to simple foolishness. It was then that without hesitation, the tourists that the XL Airways airline had left behind when they collapsed were able to reach their destination. Dickinson could have rejected any of these missions that were based on supporting other people. Still, he accepted them, as complex as each one was, he managed to complete them, even when in the years in which the events happened, he had already returned to Maiden.
It should be noted that since 2008, he has been the official pilot of the band. And since he was in charge of flying the "Ed Force One," a Boeing 757 in which the band was transported during the Somewhere Back in Time World Tour throughout that year.
Professor of Ancient History and Doctor of Music
When Bruce was 15 or 16, his attention was noticeably drawn to the dramatic arts. For this reason, he decided to join the Amateur Society of Playwrights at his school to learn a little more about this art. Once there, he began to nurture his mind with multiple knowledge of literature, history, politics, and universal philosophy. Following this, Dickinson began studying ancient history at the University of London at Queen Mary and Westfield College.
Here he was able to earn a degree as a professor of ancient history at the university level. But this is not all that the University of London could add to the life of the legendary Bruce Dickinson. On July 19, 2011, the same university educational institution awarded Dickinson an honorary doctorate in music. This honorary title is a symbol of reward for all the music and compositions that the Maiden vocalist has given to the world over time.
Responsible for sending the diploma to Doctor Dickinson was David Baker, Doctor of Neuroscience and Trauma. In this way, Bruce is not only a vocalist, composer, fencer, commercial pilot, honorary captain of the Royal Air Force, ex-military, and history professor, but since 2011, he has also been a doctor.
Writer and Polymath
It seems Bruce Dickinson has more and more talents in store that he has brought to light as time goes by, and one of them is writing. Bruce confessed that he had always had an idea that could not be taken from his mind, and you have already seen what happens when this great man commits himself to something.
According to him, it all started with the characteristics of a princely character named Lord Iffy Boatrace. From this point, he began to write the draft of the first page of the novel to observe the results that were obtained from this vague idea. Throughout the "Somewhere on Tour," The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace came to life. He defines it as a satire on the fetishes of people who live among the upper classes of society, recounting a reality through humor.
Officially, it was published in 1990, generating quite a high demand among readers, as its existence was exhausted, and its sales skyrocketed. For this reason, Bruce wrote a second part of the first book, which was able to reach bookstores in 1992, with the title of The Missionary Position. Both works were a great success, in sales and personally for Bruce himself. This even led him to become a screenwriter for the film Chemical Wedding, released in 2008.
The following year, the 1843 magazine carried out a worldwide study on business, culture, humanity, and, above all, the knowledge of various public figures that stood out internationally. After this study was completed, they concluded that the word that could correctly define the kind of man Dickinson is a polymath. This term refers to those who have extensive information in different areas of life in general; without a doubt, Bruce and polymathy have a special relationship.
This sixth reason justifies the greatness of "The Air Raid Siren." It can be said that in 2017 a book was published with the memories of the main singer from Iron Maiden. This literary piece focused clearly on what is essential, leaving aside divorces, births, or illnesses, since the artist wanted it that way. In summary, he recounts several of the adventures he has been able to experience, but only the positive ones, giving unique and much more descriptive details that cannot be found on the internet.
In 2010, Bruce Dickinson climbed positions at Astraeus Airlines, becoming the company's chief marketing officer. However, this new position in the organization was not very durable since a year later, the commercial airline had to close its doors.
It was then that the spark accompanying this polymath flared up again. Starting in the second quarter of 2012, Cardiff Aviation was founded. A company devised and launched by Bruce Dickinson himself.
In this way, the emerging company, until then only specialized in aircraft maintenance, offered the opportunity and opened its doors to people who lost their job at the disappeared Astraeus airline.
At the same time, it managed to generate 100 new jobs by the end of 2013, according to The Wall Street Journal studies. Step by step, the metalhead, fencer, aircraft pilot, and writer startup offered services such as training for commercial air pilots.
Finally, Cardiff Aviation is currently consolidated as one of the main British airlines. In addition, Dickinson, who plays the role of CEO of the company, estimates that in 5 years, his company will generate more than 10,000 jobs. This is another clear example of the kind of man Bruce has been and is today.
In 2016, a herd of turtles was stranded on the shores of an island called Jersey, located in the English Channel. However, only a single specimen survived this event. The animal, estimated to be 6 to 8 years old, had several injuries, was entangled in a fishing net, and showed symptoms of dangerous hypothermia.
After a local resident found the turtle, it was transferred to a veterinary clinic to stabilize its vital signs and ensure its survival. The turtle was affectionately named "Terry," and its story gained massive attention in Britain. A campaign was launched to raise funds for Terry's recovery and return to the sea, raising around 8 thousand euros. The money was used to cover the expenses of the New Era Wildlife Recovery Center, the best veterinary recovery clinic in Europe, located on the Gran Canaria Island of Spain.
Enter Bruce Dickinson, who learned about Terry's situation and wanted to help. Utilizing his pilot knowledge, Bruce offered to transport Terry from Jersey to Gran Canaria in his private plane, covering all expenses.
Once in Spain, the turtle received treatment and care from experienced specialists for over a month. Afterward, Terry was released back into the water with a GPS device to track her journey. The event was witnessed by Bruce and others, and even broadcasted by the BBC. Terry returned to her natural habitat, thanks to Bruce's support, showcasing his compassion and awareness for other species on this planet.
This is one of the reasons that most inspires Bruce's fans and the world in general because he has a vision in business and personal life that is summarized in several sentences that, although many speakers would be afraid to use, Dickinson is right, and in explaining them, he hits the mark.
For example, in 2018, he was invited to a virtual business event named VTEX Day in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. There he explained that music was always his greatest inspiration, and in fact, it was what he aspired to achieve the most. However, once he entered Iron Maiden, everything started to go very fast. This prompted him to seek a way out of the same routine that involved album recording and touring in various countries, which eventually became depressing. Bruce affirmed that the solution to this sadness was to search for new things to do that were all different but, above all, things that he genuinely enjoyed, as success would naturally follow.
Finally, he gave some suggestions to be followed in each person's personal and work life. Among them is the transformation from client to fanatic, referring to a fan of a soccer team who might abandon it, while a fan of a club never does. That's why Dickinson admitted that he hates customers but loves fans.
On the other hand, he said that the relationship with consumers in the business world is being lost. He added that all this technology in the modern world may lose sight of what is really important, and that a physical face-to-face space with the buyer would be better for carrying out business than through a virtual store or live chat.
To conclude with the 10 reasons why Bruce Dickinson is a great man, you can leave the phrase that he said during this conference: "Follow your dreams; this is not bullshit."
Defeater of Cancer
At the end of 2014, a doctor gave Bruce the terrible news that he had cancer on his tongue. Although this diagnosis is firm for anyone to hear, Dickinson's personality is known, and it would not stop him.
Immediately, the doctors advised the vocalist to start the treatment, so Bruce agreed to give this battle the best results possible. (The doctors informed him that the tumor in his tongue originated from the HPV that Dickinson had contracted in the past.) A total of almost two months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions were necessary to eliminate the terrible disease from Bruce's body completely. Although the treatment's progress after the first week was very encouraging, it was confirmed in May that Dickinson was officially cancer-free after the radiation sessions ended.
This became known after his last MRI showed no signs of removal or cancer itself. So the official page of the band gave the news to their followers, as did Bruce and Rod Smallwood (Maiden's manager). Since then, Dickinson has not stopped thanking the team of doctors who made it possible for his recovery to be effective. Today, he can continue to enjoy good health and his particular lifestyle.
In conclusion, Bruce Dickinson's journey as a multifaceted and exceptional individual is truly awe-inspiring. From his unmatched prowess as the frontman of Iron Maiden to his diverse talents as a pilot, writer, historian, and philanthropist, he has shown that greatness knows no bounds. Facing adversities with unwavering determination, he defeated cancer and emerged stronger than ever. Bruce Dickinson exemplifies the essence of greatness, not just in the realm of heavy metal but as a human being who continues to inspire countless fans worldwide. His legacy extends far beyond music, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of those who admire his extraordinary life's work. A living legend, Bruce Dickinson embodies the spirit of greatness, forever etched in the annals of history and the hearts of millions.
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