Iron Maiden songs covered by artists such as AC/DC, Motörhead, Simon & Garfunfel, the BeeGees, and many more! Would you believe it? No? Well, you'd better!
This iron Maiden tribute album is probably the most original and certainly the most inventive of all such albums that have been released to date. Two mad Swedish musical geniuses – namely Henrik Johansson and Mattias Reinholdsson – have gathered a few other talented musicians for this extraordinary (as in "out of the ordinary", "really not ordinary at all") record and every Maiden fan open-minded enough to appreciate different styles of music should definitely have it in his/her collection.
So read on and check out what this unusual – to say the least! – Iron Maiden ribute album has got to offer. Satisfaction guaranteed!
bass, guitar, vocals and stuff
drums, bass, guitar, vocals, keyboards, mandolin, recorder and other stuff
The pictures of the musicians and the comments about them are taken from the original Food For Thought website. The comments for each song come from an interview I did with Henrik Johansson and Mattias Reinholdsson in August 2005.
Be Quick Or Be Dead (Dickinson, Gers)
Originally Henrik and Mattias intended to do the vocals on 'Be Quick Or Be Dead'. They tried 666 different approaches before realising that they still hadn't learned how to sing. They still fight over who came up with the brilliant idea to ask a proper singer to sing it for them, but when asked Helena (who Henrik had played with in a previous band) was very enthusiastic about the whole thing.
This excellent Rock version of "Be Quick Or Be Dead" gives a first taste of what the rest of this album is like – and, as their slogan goes, this is indeed a very different perspective! This cover is actually much better than the original, with brilliant female Rock-style vocals replacing Bruce Dickinson's horrible raspy voice he had used for the Maiden song.
Helena Rosendahl: lead vocals Mattias Reinholdsson: lead & rhythm guitar, backing vocals Henrik Johansson: drums, bass, lead guitar, backing vocals
What if a song were performed as if it was another song? First I thought of 'Deuce', the Kiss song but it did not work but it lead on to another song in the end that was to be the blueprint for 'Be Quick'. Guess which one?
Twilight Zone (Harris, Murray)
This great heavy Jazz/Rock version of "Twilight Zone" is somehow reminscent of the style of the Silmarils, a very good French band of the 90s that quite unfortunately never really made it outside of their national borders and seem to have disappeared since. This cover is one of the best on the album although, like the original, it is unfortunately too short.
We knew Robin from playing gigs together with his band QOPH! Robin's voice was for us an obvious choice for 'Twilight Zone'.
In the nick of time we managed to track down Gomer and get him to do some crucial honking of the horns recordings that probably saved 'Twilight Zone' from the litter bin (tinny sort of word).
Robin Kvist: vocals Mattias Reinholdsson: guitar Henrik Johansson: drums, bass Gomer Explensch: saxophone
The idea just came to us on the underground. The guitar melodies just seemed perfect for horn arrangement.
22, Acacia Avenue (Harris, Smith)
Starting in a Samba-like "easy listening" style, the second half of this cover is really fantastic, with only jazzy piano and female voice, and is reminiscent both of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" and of Tori Amos's magnificent compositions. The original was a masterpiece in itself and this cover really does it justice in its own way.
We got to know Chris while he played for Bruce Dickinson. Chris being (yet another) one of the nicest persons in rock agreed on returning the favour since we had done some recordings for Chris' band Sack Trick. Chris' excellent fretless bass playing is heard on '22 Acacia Avenue'.
After having heard Gabriela's amazing renditions of Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden songs on the web we knew we had to have her on our record. And she was delighted to be asked! In our humble opinion her part of '22 Acacia Avenue' is possibly the best part of the whole record.
Mattias Reinholdsson: lead & backing vocals Henrik Johansson: drums, guitar, backing vocals, whistling Chris Dale: bass Gabriela Kulka: lead & backing vocals, piano
We talked about what kind of musical styles we might have on the album and I remember bossa nova coming up. Then I started thinking of the NOB album (which we still didn't know what to do from) and when I came to 'Acacia' it all fell into place at once.
The lyrics for the song is a bit schizophrenic and the music reflects that very nicely. We wanted Gabriela for the album and when we needed the end of the song it was obvious to ask her. Perfect!
The Angel And The Gambler (Harris)
Simon & Garfunkel meet Kenny Rogers in this pretty funny cover of a long Maiden song that has thankully been shortened. You're in for a good laugh!
Ulf is an old friend of ours and a super talented multi musician whom we played in a band together with years back. Ulf came to our help on several songs ('Sanctuary', 'The Angel And The Gambler' and 'Blood On The World's Hands') and did some truly wonderful work for us.
Ulrika happened to give Henrik a phone call during a vocal take in 'The Angel And The Gambler'... And what spooky
Can't remember where the idea came from, bit all of a sudden I found myself trying to learn Inside travis rolls on guitar... Didn't get very far, so we asked a friend to do it, and it was his suggestion to do the faster second bit of it. It sort of came together quite naturally...
The Mercenary (Gers, Harris)
Disco night at the Copacabana Club! The BeeGees are back in town! This hilarious Disco rendition Saturday Night Fever-like of "The Mercenary" serves as some sort of intro to the next song and ends abruptly in an explosion before "The Trooper" starts. Those Swedes have an excellent sense of humour!
Henrik Johansson: vocals, drums, guitar, pianet Mattias Reinholdsson: bass, guitar
'Mercenary' came from us thinking we ought to have a 70s disco BeeGees kind of style song on there and almost immediately 'Mercenary' popped up and it has a phrasing that lends itself to that kind of rendition quite well.
The BeeGees 'Mercenary' might seem like a very 'wacky' cover but the way the vocals are in the original version just led us to the BeeGees – the staccato way of singing the lines. It just seemed obvious.
The Trooper (Harris)
This time, the mad Swedes take us to the realm of Grunge and Death-ish Metal, contrasting voluntarily quite a lot with the previous song. The interpretation is really good and there's even the melody of "Mother Russia" just before the Russian "pulls the trigger".
The average fan of metal recognises L-G's voice from death metal pioneers Entombed. 'The Trooper' needed a really raw voice and in our book his is one of the best. He was our top choice and the result speaks for itself.
Henrik knew Anders from previous band efforts and since he is one of Sweden's
best keyharpists recording 'The Trooper' and 'Flash of the Blade' was a walking victory for him.
L-G Petrov: vocals Anders Peev: key harp Mattias Reinholdsson: bass Henrik Johansson: drums
I think its one of the oldest ideas. I have a demo of the version from 96 (I think). But with guitars. We wanted to do a hard rocking song without
Enter the key harp! And we were sitting on the underground discussing our recently found idea for 'Twilight Zone' when we spotted L-G Petrov in the back of the car and realised how well his voice would fit our version of 'The Trooper'.
Fortunes Of War (Harris)
Per was Mattias' neighbour. He had a computer and knew how to use it. Per is probably the one on this record furthest away from being a Maiden fan which is logical perhaps since 'Fortunes Of War' is very far from sounding like Maiden.
Yet another contrast: this is a brilliant Electro version of "Fortunes Of War", in the same style as the covers that can be found on the Powerslaves tribute album.
Per Holmlund: programming Mattias Reinholdsson: programming, lead & backing vocals Henrik Johansson: backing vocals, editing
I cant remember from where this idea came to me. But the album needed something in this style I think.
I remember talking about making a remix of this song years ago (around 1998) but my idea of it would have been to make it a lot more aggressive and drum 'n' bassy. When we started this project I still had my vision of it and Mattias started working on a version, and it's Mattias' version that ended up on the album.
Blood On The World's Hands (Harris)
Jazz down at the Cotton Club. This version of "Blood On The World's Hands" swings like hell in a rendition that could have been made by Harry Connick Jr. and Louis Armstrong having a jam together.
Mattias Reinholdsson: vocals, bass Ulf Nygårds: piano Henrik Johansson: drums, bass, guitar
It sort of came from the thought that we didn't have anything particularly jazzy on the album. And we were still not sure how The X-Factor was gonna be represented. And when the two parameters were put together 'Blood...' was the perfect song!
Stranger In A Strange Land (Smith)
This "hippy" acoustic version of "Stranger In A Strange Land" may be a little bit too long, but the perfect interpretation largely compensates for that. It maybe one of the weakest songs on this album, but this doesn't mean much for a song that's on an album of such quality.
On his embryotic demo version of 'Stranger In A Strange Land' Henrik had found himself vocally imitating a cello but he quickly found an easier way of getting the sound he wanted and that was to ask a cello player to record them. And to adjust gender representation, why not get a female cellist to record it?
Years back Henrik found some soundclips on the web with Pär Fransson playing Dave Murray solos spot on. When we started to work on this project we tried hard to find him but without any luck. But fate entered at Maiden's gig in Stockholm in 2003 when we managed to find the guy! Pär proved to be very enthusiastic about the whole project and made some priceless contributions to the recordings as heard on 'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son' and 'Stranger In A Strange Land'.
Pär plays guitar in Soulbreach and Maiden cover band Strangers In A Strange Band.
Henrik Johansson: vocals, guitar, synth, bass, beats Maria Karlsson: cello Pär Fransson: lead guitar Mattias Reinholdsson: wah-wah
This idea came to me while on my way to the underground (starting to notice a re-occurring pattern here? Don't get on the Swedish underground, you'll get weird ideas). I found the vocal phrases worked perfectly in 6/8 (the original is in 4/4) but I wasn't sure what to make of it. I'm still not sure what I made of it...
Flash Of The Blade (Dickinson)
Pretty close to the original, this rendition of "Flash Of The Blade" includes very efficiently a combination of key harp and cello that match perfectly the mood of the song.
We had been told about Kennys amazing vocals by a friend. After finding out his rather unusual surname finding him was no match for 'detective' Mattias. Singing 'Flash Of The Blade' demands some qualified pair of vocal cords. No match for young Leckremo as heard on the track.
Kenny sings in Trading Fate and sometimes with Maiden cover band Strangers In A Strange Band.
Yet another one of our favourites that we desperately wanted to have on the album. We discovered Marko's excellent playing through his previous band Höyry Kone that did an astounding cover of 'The Trooper' that can be found on the American Maiden tribute Slave To The Power. We needed an skilled cellist for 'Flash Of The Blade' and we knew he was a fan of Maiden's music so we thought why not ask. Marko said yes to the project to our delight.
Kenny Leckremo: vocals Anders Peev: key harp Marko Manninen: cello Mattias Reinholdsson: bass Henrik Johansson: drums
The mid bit is a bit Bach so doing it with strings was obvious to us. Again we wanted to avoid to use guitars.
The original idea was to have a proper string quartet to play an arranged version of it with drums and vocals, but it'd be a bit too costly and troublesome to track one down. So we went for a simpler solution.
Wildest Dreams (Smith, Harris)
Urgh! This is Motörhead, so bang your greasy heads, ya filthy lot!
Well, this is not really Motörhead, but an excellent interpretation of "Wildest Dreams" in the same style. Mattias Reinholdsson did a great job on the vocals on this one!
Mattias Reinholdsson: vocals, bass Henrik Johansson: drums, guitar
We tried to come up with an idea for any Dance of Death song. Most songs are quite long so we settled for a short one. After the AC/DC take on 'Futureal', that we recorded earlier, Motörhead cropped up as a band with a very distinctive trade mark sound. They turned out to be a good rolemodel for 'Wildest Dreams'.
Futureal (Harris, Bayley)
The obvious AC/DC touch of 'Futureal' obviously needed some AC/DC vocals to make it complete. A search on the web for Swedish AC/DC cover bands lead to Claes' band Live Wire. Mattias tried to emulate the style of Angus Young for the solo but (of course) failed immensly. Claes asked Live Wire collegue Jonas Lidström and that did the trick.
Bon Scott-era AC/DC doing "Futureal" is absolutely brilliant. The references to the original band in the lyrics ("dirty deeds", "I'm a problem child") are also really nice.
Claes Isacson: lead & backing vocals Jonas Lidström: lead guitar, backing vocals Mattias Reinholdsson: guitar, backing vocals Henrik Johansson: drums, bass, backing vocals
This actually started off with an idea that I had that went; What if you took away all the guitar melodies form a Maiden song? Just playing the chords very simple and crude. First I thought of doing it just doing it as a plain rock song. But it all lead to AC/DC very quickly. 'Cause it was more fun. I also read that Blaze really like AC/DC so I thought it would make him happy!
The Nomad (Murray, Harris)
When a tune needs some stomping pump organ, why not ask a classically trained Mozart fan to record it? And since Henrik only knew one classically trained Mozart fan he's the one who got the honors.
This fast polka-style rendition of "The Nomad" is reminiscent of Eläkeläiset's "Humppa" covers. Simply hilarious!
Henrik Johansson: vocals, drums, guitar, mandolin, recorder, heys Mattias Reinholdsson: bass, heys Kenny Leckremo: heys Edward Klingspor: pump organ
What would a song sound like if it was like an old film were everything is going a bit to fast? A bit 'umpa-umpa' I thought.
Sanctuary (Harris, Di'Anno, Murray)
Originally a Punk song (according to Paul Di'Anno anyway), this cover of "Sanctuary" is brilliantly done in the style of the Sex Pistols, although the vocals are not quite off key enough. Who cares? It's really great anyway.
Peter is Iron Maiden's former bodyguard and background singer ('Heaven Can Wait'). Nowadays he is being Maiden's tour masseur. We thought we had to have him on the record. Peter thought we were out of our minds wanting him on the record since he claims he is not one bit musical. But his perfomance on 'Sanctuary' is nothing less than brilliant we think.
Mattias had heard Björn's vocals on the Candlemass song 'Elephant Stone' (From the Thirteenth Sun) and thought "That's what 'Sanctuary' needs!". Since Björn lives in Stockholm and is one of the nicest persons in rock it all worked out smoothly (apart from that he lost his voice for six months after the recording).
Björn Flodkvist: vocals Mattias Reinholdsson: bass Ulf Nygårds: synth Peter Lokranz: diabolic laughter and carnivorous roar Henrik Johansson: drums, clavinet
Again we wanted to do a rocker without guitars. We wanted to come closer to the early 80s version that Maiden did. Faster and punkier.
Innocent Exile (Harris)
Henrik needed someone to sing 'Innocent exile' as he himself can't sing to save his life. But he's a bit clever and actually thought of asking someone who can sing to do it for him, and who better than Anni that him and Mattias had played in a band with.
This is a pretty interesting Electro/R&B version of 'Innocent Exile' that also incorporates some lyrics of "Murders in the Rue Morgue", proving that the authors of this cover have perfectly understood the meaning these songs and how they can be considered part of the same theme.
Henrik Johansson: programming, voice Anni Thulin: vocals
I woke up one Friday morning with this electronical beat-based arrangement of the track more or less finished in my head. (Maybe I had been on the underground the night before...) All I had to do was to put it together on my computer and get someone to sing it. Also, the album doesn't have too much electronic bits so I thought this would balance it up a bit.
Public Enema Number One (Murray, Dickinson)
Yet another magnificently performed hippy-style cover. The style also matches the lyrics quite well.
Mattias Reinholdsson: guitar, vocals, bass, pump organ
I wanted to do an acoustic version of a Maiden song. 'Public Enema' is one of my favourites but not one of Henrik's so I did it myself. The vocals could have been better and maybe the song is a bit long but it could have been worse!
Heaven Can Wait (Harris)
Mr Stenberg used to play bass in a band with Anders the keyharpist and Mr Johansson happened to be the drummer. In breaks during rehearsals the two Henriks would often spontaneously burst into improvised polyphonic vocals and bearing this in mind Mr Johansson thought that Mr Stenberg might be the voice needed on 'Heaven Can Wait'. This is the only recorded evidence of Henrik Johansson being right.
Elvis may have left the building, but he went to Sweden to record this cover of "Heaven Can Wait". And a good job he did too, although his voice may have changed a bit! Maybe more like the Rubettes or a similar band. Whatever the case, it's very well played and extremely funny to listen to!
Henrik Stenberg: lead & backing vocals Mattias Reinholdsson: bass Henrik Johansson: drums, organ, guitar, backing vocals, tambourine
It came very spontaneously. Henrik fooled around on the Philicorda and I fooled around even more behind the drumkit. The (I think) quickest recording on the album.
We were actually on our way out of the rehearsal room when the idea just attacked us. So we stayed and recorded it!
Burning Ambition (Harris)
Bo is the guitarist of the Swedish folk music ensemble Hoven Droven which is one of Henrik's and Mattias' favourite bands. 'Burning Ambition' needed an acoustic instrument for the solo and why not ask a guitarist to record an accordion solo for us? Bo proved to be very easy going and agreed to do it with out hearing the actual song before.
Check out Bo playing his main instrument, guitar, in Hoven Droven.
This is a strange acoustic cover of an Iron Maiden song that's not often – if ever! – covered. The accordion and recorder give it a new and interesting dimension.
Mattias Reinholdsson: vocals, guitar Henrik Johansson: vocals, mandolin, recorder Bo Lindberg: accordion
We just jammed at Henrik's place one day and voila! A campfire version.
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (Harris)
'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son' needed a touch of recorder and since we could not get hold of Ian Anderson we asked relative and friend Maria.
Dreamy and progressive music à la Pink Floyd (of the Meddle/Ummagumma era) is what this cover of "Seventh Son..." is about. The crescendo part is absolutely fantastic. Pass the spliff and put it on again!
Maria Odengrund: flute Mattias Reinholdsson: lead vocals, guitar (first bit), bass Henrik Johansson: pianet, backing vocals, drums Pär Fransson: guitar (last bit)
Another very old idea that Henrik had. But it turned out very different in the end. We thought it would be ironic to end the record by playing like Iron Maiden for last few minutes of the song. The last bit is so unbelievably good so we did not want to rearrange it. The first and mid bit are Henrik and me jamming. It just evolved very natural when we started to play the song.