This story was originally published in the May 2004.
There are few frontmen in metal as iconic as Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson. But while this means that even your parents might know that Dickinson is an avid reader who likes to fence and fly airplanes, there's a lot about this man that remains a mystery. Like, for instance, his favorite book, his favorite beast, or his favorite science fiction movie.
1. FAVORITE OFFSTAGE REFRESHMENT: Beer
"I'm a big fan of independent local breweries. My favorite beer is brewed about 500 yards from my house, Fuller's Extra Special Bitter. It's not something you want to drink a lot of — a couple of pints will make you quite happy. More than that and you're doing damage."
2. FAVORITE BEAST: Tigers
"They're beautiful, they're elegant, they're intelligent, and they're really wonderful predators. They're the great white sharks of the land."
3. FAVORITE BOOKS HE NEVER WROTE A SONG ABOUT: The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein
"We just thought it's such a huge book that it would be silly to write a song about it. It's almost as daft as imagining you could make a movie out of it. Though, of course, someone did that rather well."
4. FAVORITE FENCING FOIL
"You tend to customize your own equipment when you start fencing competitively, so I prefer a medium-to-firm stiffness blade with a Hungarian handle and a German point."
5. FAVORITE AIRPLANE
"If it flies, I'm interested. For jet airplanes I would pick the English Electric Lightning, the SR71 Blackbird, the Concorde, of course, and the Comet, which was the world's first jet airliner. In terms of piston-engine airplanes, I would pick the De Haviland Mosquito, which was a twin-engined light bomber, and the Lancaster Bomber, which bombed Germany flat in the second World War."
6. FAVORITE AIRLINE: Astraeus or British Airways
"I actually fly for Astraeus — I'm flying a load of people tomorrow morning. But if I'm a passenger, I tend to choose British Airways, because I know a few pilots there, and I know the airplanes are well-maintained."
7. FAVORITE SCI-FI MOVIES: Forbidden Planet (1956), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Quartermass and the Pit (1967)
"They're quite deep movies, all three. The human element and the plot are strong in all of them, though the science element in all of them is pretty cool, too. They're all fairly predictive of possible futures."
8. FAVORITE IRON MAIDEN-INFLUENCED BAND: Dream Theater
"I just think they write some pretty cool tunes and are a very good live band. They do their own thing without sounding like Iron Maiden."
9. FAVORITE NON–IRON MAIDEN–INFLUENCED BAND: Deep Purple circa 1971
"They were just awesome. From their instrumental virtuosity and soloing to their offstage antics and craziness, they were the most amazing rock band on the planet."
10. FAVORITE LUXURY CAR: Bentley Continental GT
"It' a monster, basically. It goes like shit on a shovel. But I'm never likely to buy one. It's a waste of fucking money."