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Back to Music talks to... / Mar 13, 2024

hmv talks to Bruce Dickinson

Celebrating the release of The Mandrake Project has been an absolute BLAST for our fans who got the chance to meet the Metal icon legend at our hmv stores. From the midnight release at hmv Cardiff, to signing copies of the album at 363 Oxford Street, the Vault Birmingham, hmv Manchester & hmv Sheffield! Right before meeting hundreds of Metalheads eager to meet the icon, we had the opportunity to sit down with Bruce to chat about The Mandrake Project, performing live & Bruce's comic book!

Congratulations on the new album. With it being a decade in the making, how does it feel to finally have it out there, and with such a great response?

Well yeah it wasn't supposed to be a decade in the making but I think actually, it improved it for taking that long because you get a lot more systems and the world moves on and you incorporate new things! The most frustrating thing was having finished it a year ago and having to wait a year until we could get it out. But that’s because there’s the vinyl, and there’s the artwork to get right and I needed to come up with a title for it because we never had one! And that was the last thing. 

The oldest song on the record is 25 years old which is the last song. The one before that is 20 years old, but then the first two are from last year and the year before last, so we wrote them as soon as we got back together after lockdown. And that really messed everything up because with three years of lockdown, I couldn't go to America. But finally, it's out! 

Bruce Dickinson / The Mandrake Project | super deluxe edition CD

You have many gigs coming up. Are you looking forward to playing these new songs live?

Oh yeah, so I’m going to play for sure probably the first four tracks live, with your favourite Resurrection Men, and then we’ll see, definitely the first four, because you tour for so long, and lots of people would like to hear lots of songs, so hopefully I’ll play a lot of songs fans would like to hear

Following that, this is your first solo album in nearly 20 years. There are so many great songs from your previous solo albums, are you looking forward to playing some of your favourites from your back catalogue? Any spoilers?

Yeah so I am modifying it slightly, I said I was only going to do stuff from ‘Balls to Picasso’ then ‘Tyranny of Souls’ forward, but then I’m wondering because I’ve just remixed ‘Skunkworks’, and I didn’t know that half the band are massive fans of Skunkworks and Chris our guitarist is a massive fan and loves the album. We’re doing rehearsals this month, so let’s see. But you know ‘Chemical Wedding’, ‘Tears of the Dragon’ yeah, ‘Accident of Birth’, boom! It’ll be an interesting set and we can swap things around because we don’t have pyros and the big show or monsters, so because of that we can be a bit more flexible. So if we end up on the UK Tour and people are seeing us on multiple nights, it might not be exactly the same. 

You are our headliner for March, and you’re making a handful of festival appearances this summer. If you aren’t the final act playing on the day, what will you do with your evenings at the festivals? Are there any bands you want to watch?

I’ve got about 51 shows I’m doing, so I might take advantage of an early night! But, if there’s something I really want to see I’ll definitely stick around. But quietly, in the corner haha!

What’s next for Bruce Dickinson? Will there be another book? Another solo album?

Oh God almighty! Give me a chance! Ok, so in addition to ‘The Mandrake Project’ the album, you’ve also got ‘The Mandrake Project’ the comic, and that’s a 3-year comic. So every 3 months there’s a new episode. Episode 1 is out, episode 2 comes out at the end of this month, and episode 3 I just dropped the script off to Tony Lee today, and we’ll start the art for that issue now. And then episode 4 we’ll probably have the script done before I go on tour and get things scripted for episodes 5, 6, 7 and 8. So it’s just a rolling thing, it’s a 34-page comic. It’s like a dark soap opera, it’s very exciting and keeps me busy. 

Own The Mandrake Project now, on standard vinyl, exclusive@hmv lenticular cover CD, super deluxe edition CD & standard CD.

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