On the Road
This is the first instalment of a series of DVDs that takes us through the whole history of Iron Maiden, from their humble beginnings in London's East End pubs to the gigantic concerts in the most prestigious venues all aroung the world. This particular double-DVD deals with the period from the pre-Iron Maiden days to 1983, after the release of the Piece Of Mind album.
The older fans will watch all this with some nostalgia, reminiscing of the first time they saw the band and started taking interest in it, while the younger ones will be introduced to the early genesis of Maiden, realising that they sounded quite different at the time. It is also a nice piece of advice for those who want to start a band, a tale of persistence and hard work. Talent is usually not enough to succeed, and the band's efforts to make it to the top are clearly highlighted, with the tough gruelling concert schedules and every musician's contribution to pushing Maiden forward. And let's not forget the EMI people without whom all this would never have been possible.
Although there are some mistakes in the dates and the packaging looks pretty bland, this is an absolutely brilliant set of DVDs. Every Maiden fans needs it in his collection, as it compiles historical documents, as well as rare footage and photographs never seen before. So, if you're really into Maiden, do not eat or sleep until you've bought this piece of musical history. It 's a well worthy purchase that you will watch over and over again without ever getting tired of it.
For a quarter of a century Iron Maiden have been on the front covers of the World's leading contemporary Rock and Metal Magazines. 25 years of massive World Tours, Number One albums, record sales of over 55 million, breathtaking stage productions and, of course, Eddie. This double DVD comes packed with over 300 minutes of material, both live and documentary, tracing the 'Early Days', 1975 to 1983, when the attitude of the band took shape and they gave us such classics as 'Phantom Of The Opera', 'Wrathchild', 'Run To The Hills', 'The Number Of The Beast', 'The Trooper' and many others. The early days of the greatest and most popular Metal band that Britain has produced – a band often imitated but never matched.
The first disc illustrates the burgeoning power and increasing skill of the live concerts using over 120 minutes of rare and often never before seen live concert footage covering each of the four album-related Tours of this period, Iron Maiden 1980, The Killer World Tour 1981, Beast On The Road 1982 and World Piece Tour 1983.
This remarkable collection of live material is enhanced by a second disc packed with an incredibly in-depth look at the early history of Iron Maiden and their remarkable story. 'The Early Days' documentary tells the humble beginnings and dreams of a group of teenagers in London's tough East End and the day-to-day struggle of simply just starting up a band and keeping it together for occasional pub gigs and the efforts involved to make the band bigger, yet still refusing to compromise around fashions or trends. It all makes an enthralling, uplifting and entertaining story of determination, originality, hard work and sheer self-belief ...and an awful lot of FUN. This is where it all started.
Also included are 90 minutes of extras and extensive photo and artwork galleries, gig listings and discography, promo videos and other TV appearances and documentary footage making the most comprehensive insight into the Early Days of one of the Rock World's most successful and enduring bands.
From the double DVD back cover.
Live at the Rainbow –21st December 1980
This 30-minute visual feast was not only the very first Iron Maiden video (only previously available in VHS), but also one of the first videos to feature an (almost) full-length Rock concert. The band can be seen as visionaries in the light of the many live performances that are released on DVD these days, and this is one more testament to Iron Maiden's originality and innovative power.
As an introduction to the Di'Anno era for the new fans, the concert at the Rainbow is probably the best way to start. Althought their first frontman didn't have the theatrical dimension of Bruce Dickinson, Paul's presence on stage is raw and honest, and his voice perfectly fitted the early compositions of a young Steve Harris, himself also full of energy and aptly chanelled aggression. Many will notice that the lyrics on "Killers" are different from what they are on the studio album; in fact, Paul explained that he had quickly scribbled some lyrics just before going on stage in order to prevent the band from having to play the song instrumental. Check out Eddie's first stage appearance, holding a smoke-machine and getting up to his usual antics.
Less than a year after signing to EMI, the band were already pushing boundaries with 'Live At The Rainbow', which really was one of the first feature-length concert videos to be released. This video shows exactly why Maiden were the leaders of NWOBHM with a show of power, aggression and musical ability that left many bands in their ever growing shadow. The band admit themselves that at the time they were incredibly nervous at the thought of being filmed although this seemed only to add to the final performance and really was a portent of things to come. However, it's very hard to top the description of this show from the original video sleeve which ends by saying, "An Iron Maiden concert is not for the faint-hearted, nor is this video."
From the double DVD booklet.
The Ides Of March (Harris)
Killers (Di'Anno, Harris)
Remember Tomorrow (Harris, Di'Anno)
Phantom Of The Opera (Harris)
Iron Maiden (Harris)
Beast over Hammersmith –20th March 1982
Steve Harris was not happy with the first footage of this concert, that was originally filmed in order to be released in the early 80s. Apparently, there wasn't enough light and the original reels were said to look like the band were playing down a mineshaft. Thanks to modern technology, however,this intense moment of the Beast on the Road tour of 1982 has partially been salvaged to give a 45-minute video introducing Bruce's then new flamboyant style as a frontman. Check out a brief appearance of Charlotte – yes, the blonde bimbo wiggling her arse on stage is supposed to be her! – during "22, Acacia Avenue".
When we originally did it, the people who videoed it were supposed to do their homework by coming to two shows before Hammersmith and they didn't. So consequently, the lights ended up being too dark. So, basically, there was no way we were gonna put out the full hour and a half video because it would have been a rip-off. But now to have five songs as archive stuff is OK. I think it would have got on people's nerves watching an hour and a half of shots that were fairly dark. We had arguments with EMI about it.
With the exception of "Murder In The Rue Morgue" and the inevitable "Iron Maiden", all the songs are taken from the Number Of The Beast album, which makes sense, as they were promoting the album that had just been released at the time. It is anyway quite interesting to hear Bruce sing older songs on the Beast Over Hammersmith live album, and realise that his detractors, who preferred Paul, were pretty wrong to bitch about the "Air-Raid Siren" – although Bruce's voice was different and hadn't yet attained the parfection it has today, it had an indeniable quality that could only improve over time. The video simply highlights his performance as a frontman right from the start. He was able to communicate more efficiently with the audience than Paul, despite many other qualities, ever did.
With their first Headline World tour already under their belts, the Beast On The Road less than a month into the tour and a certain new vocalist named Bruce Dickinson making his presence known to the home fans, the band decided to take the opportunity of filming a full concert-length feature. Filmed at their sold-out show at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon, this first major filming venture for the band didn't quite turn out as expected.
Major technical and lighting problems caused the end product to be virtually unusable. This being said, 'The Early Days' DVD represents a historical document and it was decided that it is necessary to include the best parts of the show for you, the fans. We have made efforts, using modern technology, to get the best we can out of this. However, we must point out that we have encoded the disc in such a way that you can only watch this section once before it self-erases... Only joking!
From the double DVD booklet.
Murders In The Rue Morgue (Harris)
Run To The Hills (Harris)
Children Of The Damned (Harris)
The Number Of The Beast (Harris)
22, Acacia Avenue (Harris, Smith)
Total Eclipse (Harris, Murray, Burr)
The Prisoner (Smith, Harris)
Hallowed Be Thy Name (Harris)
Iron Maiden (Harris)
Live in Dortmund –18th December 1983
Although this is not a complete concert, it is nice to see the very beginnings of the band's "classic" line-up during the World Piece Tour tour back in 1983. It is taken from a German TV programme that was airing the show, but whose producers decided not to show the much talked about killing of Eddie at the end of "Iron Maiden" (it was supposedly deemed too violent). This is actually a shame, as it must have been hilarious to see the scene, complete with Brucepulling out women's tights covered in red stuff that were supposed to be Eddie's brains,and Dave smashing his guitar on the straight-jacketed mascot – incidentally, he was supposed to switch to a cheap imitation stratocaster, but he got annoyed whenhe frequently played a chord wrong in another song, so he decided not to switch, and smashed his favourite, most valuable guitar up on Eddie's head.
There again, with the exception of "Sanctuary" (which is played a little bit too slow ascompared to earlier versions), the rest of the songs are taken from the Number Of The Beast and Piece Of Mind albums, the Di'Anno era being mostly ignored. At the end of this particular footage, the drumkit got trashed and we can see Dave and Nicko getting pied by the crew. Although pieing has always been a tradition with Iron Maiden when one of the musician's birthday was coming up or for the very last gig of a tour, the destruction of the instruments was not at all common and this seems to be the only occurrence of such a behaviour on stage throughout their career. As it was the very last concert of the tour, it is quite likely that Maiden wanted to let off a bit of steam and, in the excitement, relished the final moments of a long and successful tour.
By this point, the band were now recognised worldwide as a major touring and recording force, having completed three World Tours in three consecutive years. The phenomenal work rate and effort that the band and management had committed was possibly captured best at this, the last date of the World Piece Tour. Other bands featured on the heavyweight Metal bill were Judas Priest, The Scorpions and Ozzy Osbourne, but Maiden's performance that night could not be topped by any of them. Originally, this show was filmed and broadcast by ZDF Television in Germany to a Europe-wide TV audience, and, to the best to our knowledge, has never been repeated since. Unfortunately, following extensive research, the original rushes have since been destroyed and all that still exists are the songs broadcast by ZDF TV, which represent 95% of the set performed. The one missing song is 'Iron Maiden', which was the violent climax to the show where Eddie was violently lobotomised and "murdered" on stage by the band. This was deemed far too excessively violent for conservative European TV audiences in 1983 and cut from the broadcast, and only a short clip remains of this violent event from Maiden's own '12 Wasted Years' video. However, as most of you know, Eddie made a full recovery in the form of being completely resurrected in Egypt shortly afterwards... but that's the next part of the story.
From the double DVD booklet.
Sanctuary (Harris, Di'Anno, Murray)
The Trooper (Harris)
Flight Of Icarus (Smith, Dickinson)
22, Acacia Avenue (Harris, Smith)
The Number Of The Beast (Harris)
Run To The Hills (Harris)
The Early Days –
While the younger fans may find this part only moderately interesting, the long-time fans will be delighted by this hour-and-a-half of recollections of the past. It is in my view the main reason to buy the DVD in the first place, as the actors of the Iron Maiden saga, past and present, recall the very beginnings of the band when playing down the local pub was already a claim to fame. We then follow the evolution of the band after signing with EMI and all the way to the arrival of Nicko McBrain, completing the famous "classic" line-up of the band and thus going into the Golden Years of Maiden.
Those who already own theNumber Of The Beast video will have the same thrill of watching and hearing the story of this fabulous band "from the horse's mouth". This documentary is along the same lines, only with interviews, footage and pictures that had never been seen before by the fans. Although 90 minutes may seem long, there is not a dead moment or any time to get bored; the facts are there, told by the actors themselves, and the story of this bunch of teenagers who went on to world-wide fame through hard work, dedication and talent is absolutely fascinating.
This documentary is a perfect summary of Mick Wall's official biography of the band up until 1983. Those who want to know more and who are interested in details of this story should indeed get hold of this book too.
Welcome to the first instalment in the story of one of the best-loved bands in the world. I've worked closely with the band and manager Rod Smallwood for seven years now and have been involved in all levels of the creative processes with them in that time, which as you can imagine, is always full of surprises.
When 'The Early Days' was first discussed with Rod back in May 2004, it was decided that this was to be the most complete record of the history of the band that was humanly possible. At the time I thought it would probably be a few live clips and a short 20-minute interview with the band about their recollections. However, following a full day with Steve Harris rummaging through his own personal dusty archives at his home, even he was surprised by some of the things that were being found (including the original Soundhouse cassettes!). At that point it became obvious that we had to track down as many of the original members of the band as possible and other willing participants who were able to unlock their memories to get the full story. Director Matthew Amos, producer Mj Morgan and I then proceeded to complete 40 interviews, visit four countries and spend countless hours locked in a windowless void studying reels of footage before eventually managing to get the documentary part of this DVD down to 90 minutes.
Personally for me, being an avid fan of the band, this was an amazing experience to be able to see, talk and listen to this cast of colourful characters. These are the people responsible for taking the dreams of Iron Maiden, believing in them and then making those dreams a reality regardless of the adversity of fashion and trends. The success story of Iron Maiden, since their days of signing to EMI records in December 1979, has been told before, although the personalities, pressures and personal sacrifices behind what it takes to become a major worldwide band haven't been captured in this way before.
From the original drive and determination of a young trainee daughstman named Steve Harris, the documentary tracks the seven-year struggle from 1972 of playing pubs and clubs and the lengths the band went to become not only self-proclaimed 'Rock Kings of the East End', but eventually Britain's most exciting Metal band (not to mention the fire risks of home-made pyrotechnics, hypothermia and dodgy landlords!). With line-up changes galore, it seemed that even managing to keep the same line-up for at least a few pub gigs was a daunting challenge in itself. But the focus, drive and determination never wavered and the desire to move on, build bigger stage sets using various forms of DIY and become more spectacular never lessened.
The story continues through the seemingly never-ending touring schedules that even to a new band today would appear to be foolhardy and overly ambitious, yet Maiden marched on to greater success. 'The Early Days' finishes with the final show of the World Piece Tour that was filmed by ZDF TV in Germany and broadcast across Europe to millions. A show performance that is, in my opinion, a performance that is the stuff of Rock legend.
'The Early Days' is just the first part of a story that covers 25 years and counting. The complete collection of 'The History Of Iron Maiden' will illustrate through their live performances and further documentaries how they have become one of the most highly respected Rock bands and have remained there.
One thing that was very clear throughout the filming – and this is a word that many people used about Iron Maiden – was that everyone, regardless of their role in the story, feel they are part of the Maiden 'family' and are immensely proud of their achievements while with the band. I think this sentiment is also the same for the fans as well and possibly one of the greatest attributes the band has is that they have never lost touch with their loyal followers over the years and have remained down-to-earth despite their immense success. I think that this documentary manages to capture that feeling.
I believe that 'The Early Days' is not only an honest, uplifting and revealing portrait of the band and their origins, but an essential guide to anyone out there who wants to follow in their mighty footsteps or indeed realise their own dreams. Enjoy!
Up the irons!
Sanctuary Artist Management
From the double DVD booklet.
"I wanted to start with drums"
The documentary starts with the 1983 Dortmund show, where Maiden played on the same bill as other giants of Metal, such as Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Def Leppard and Judas Priest. Then, we go back further in time to the very roots of Iron Maiden, with Steve Harris admitting that, if he had had more room, he would have chosen to play the drums. He then decided to play "the next best thing", which was, of course, the bass.
Steve recalls how, within ten months of starting to play, he did his first ever gig at the now famous Cart & Horses pub, almost next door to where he used to live. He also shares with us a funny little anecdote of how he messed up the bass intro of one of the songs because he was so nervous to play before an audience.
His first band, Gypsy's Kiss, did only five gigs, three at the Cart & Horses and two at the Bridge House, before they split up through musical differences. He then went to join an already established band called Smiler, where he met drummer Doug Sampson. As the complexity of Steve's songs was not to the taste of the guitarists, he eventually decided to leave and form Iron Maiden.
"The very first line-up"
The very first line-up of Maiden was Paul Day on vocals, Dave Sullivan on guitar, Terry Rance on guitar, Ron "Rebel" Matthews on drums, and Steve. Except for Paul Mario Day, the rest of the band of that time are interviewed and reminisce of those days when they were playing pubs, gathering an even bigger audience every time they performed.
They already had their own PA system and home-made stage effects and light show. At first, they put ads in the papers quite often, but after a while this became unnecessary, as they gained a local fame through word of mouth.
The first singer, Paul Day, had a good voice but unfortunately no stage presence. He was subsequently replaced by Dennis Wilcock, whose voice wasn't so great but who could "do the business" on stage.
"Looking for a guitarist"
When Dave Murray joined Maiden, the other two guitarists simply left. Dave talks about his surreal audition in a mobile home in the middle of a cow field.
Steve talks about the ads they used to have at the time. They were somehow corny, but they worked pretty well, as everyone wanted to find out who "these cocky gits" were.
Bob Sawyer came in as second guitarists and things started getting awry with Dennis Wilcock. He had a bit of a reputation that he'd caused trouble in every band he'd been in. Maiden was in this respect no exception and he broke it all up, managing to get everyone but Steve and himself fired – and that included Dave Murray!
"He just decided to leave"
Terry Wapram joined the band and, when Ron Rebel left, they tried various drummers and ended up with the infamous Thunderstick (of later Samson fame), who was finally kicked out after a gig where he somehow misbehaved.
A keyboard player, Tony Moore, joined briefly without much success. Then Doug Sampson re-joined the band just before Den Wilcock quit on a whim. When Dave Murray was asked to re-join too, Terry Wapram decided to leave, as he wasn't too keen on sharing the guitar parts with Davey.
For a while, there were just three musicians: Dave, Steve and Doug. They had "no van, no lorry, nothing. Basically, just an idea." The arrival of singer Paul Di'Anno, with his gruff stage attitude and powerful voice, gave Maiden a brand-new dimension.
"We were then a four piece"
They stayed a four piece for quite some time and, while they were on the lookout for another guitar player, some of the songs with the answering guitar where played with the bass answering instead.
Eddie made his first appearance as a kabuki-type mask hung on the backdrop and spewing false blood and smoke on Doug at the end of the concerts.
Many guitarists were tried out, but none of them stayed on for long. Paul Todd, for instance, only stayed within the band for a week. Tony Parsons, then another guitar player known as "Mad Mac" also made a brief contribution to Maiden at the time.
Steve talks about the three-ton truck called the "Green Goddess", and how it was converted into a makeshift tour bus. Early touring was tough, with gigs all over the country, while at the same time having day jobs.
"We recorded the Soundhouse Tapes"
The Soundhouse Tapes are recorded at Spaceward Studios with Paul, Dave, Steve and Doug. They tell a few anecdotes about the making of this recording and the events that surrounded it.
Steve gives the tape to DJ Neal Kay of the Heavy Metal Soundhouse, who also remembers how it happened. "Prowler" went to No. 1 in Kay's Soundhouse chart and Maiden were invited to the Heavy Metal club to play live for the regulars.
Rock journalist Malcolm Dome recounts when he saw Maiden for the first time at the Music Machine in May 1979.
"Anyway I got this tape"
Rod Smallwood appears and becomes the band's manager after being blown away by both the music and the attitude of the musicians on stage. "Up till now this band's been a hobby, but from now on it's very serious." – Rod.
Manager Andy Taylor meets them for the first time in the Mecca in Newcastle and becomes Rod's partner in managing the band. A mere 5,000 copies of the Soundhouse Tapes are released.
"We put our money on Maiden"
Maiden sign with EMI after impressing their A & R men – a three-album firm commitment.
Doug Sampson leaves for health reasons, unable to handle the heavy touring schedule. Dennis Stratton joins soon before Clive Burr comes in to replace Doug. The five-piece is now ready to record their first album.
"You could pack in your day job"
Signing with EMI allows the musicians to leave their day job, although they earned less money afterwards (30 quid a week!).
The songs on the first album are strong, a "best of" of the four years before that, but Steve was never really happy with the production. He disses producer Will Malone for being uninterested in the work at hand. In Steve's words, "He did sod all on that album." Dennis Stratton went over the top with "Phantom Of The Opera"'s vocal harmonies and Rod didn't like that, as it sounded too much like Queen to his liking.
The idea of Eddie takes shape in the drawings of Derek Riggs, who explains where he got the idea from. As the band were pretty shy, Eddie was going to become the one who roars for them. In the shape of Riggs's artwork or live on stage with Rod wearing a mask, Eddie becomes the official Iron Maiden mascot. Michael Kenney relates a funny anecdote about the making of the "Women In Uniform" video.
"They're not going to mime!"
Iron Maiden play live at Top Of The Pops, something that had only been done once, many years before. They support Kiss on their European tour and gain a fanbase on the old continent. Dennis Stratton is sacked at the end of the tour for musical differences and for not being committed enough to the band.
Adrian Smith, who would have joined before if he hadn't been so committed to his former band, Urchin, finally integrates Maiden as second guitarist. Dave and him speak about their friendship that dates back to their school days.
"A good friend, a great player"
The musical evolution of the band continues with two perfectly complementary guitar players.
The live video is filmed at the Rainbow, an innovation at the time. The musicians remember that time: Paul talks about making up the lyrics to "Killers" just before going on stage and Adrian recalls how fantastic it all was, despite wearing a naff waistcoat!
The second album is recorded with master producer Martin Birch.
"Tour, tour, tour. Play, play, play."
Audiences keep growing as the band tours the world for the first time. The first seeds are planted in America.
Paul Di'Anno explains that he was getting a little bit unhappy at the time, and that his dismissal was inevitable and for the best.
Another singer is sought and they tried out Terry Slesser whose voice, as good as it may have been, didn't fit the band. The perfect singer is found: Bruce Dickinson.
"The band went to another level."
Bruce on vocals brings the band to new heights, not only musically but also theatrically. Bruce tells us of his "battles" with Steve to be at the front of the stage. Paul Di'Anno: "Bruce Dickinson is the best Maiden vocalist ever."
The third album, packed with brand-new material, is recorded and released. The Number Of The Beast album is discussed, although naturally more briefly than on the video that is dedicated exclusively to this classic album.
"Am I a Satanist? ...No!"
The cover artwork of the album and the title track cause a stir among the religious right in the States. Maiden are accused of being devil-worshippers, which gives them even more publicity.
The Number Of The Beast album was definitely a big turning point for Maiden in America, becoming Number One as the band was humbly jump-starting their tour bus on the road. Feeling generous, Rod increased the band's wages from £60 a week to £100 a week after the album had been Number One for two weeks.
Steve discusses briefly why the Hammersmith show of 1982, which had been filmed to make another video, was not released.
"The schedules were pretty hefty."
The subsequent world tour, dubbed "The Beast On The Road", takes Maiden all over the planet.
The management talks about their strategy and about the fact that they'd planned everything for the next 18 months or so.
A giant Eddie is designed and appears on stage during the tour. The venues grow with the audiences around the world. Eddie is firmly established as the emblem of the band, becoming better known than the musicians themselves!
"Table number 76? Your steak's ready!"
Iron Maiden go to Australia for the first time in November '82. Dave tells stories of playing in the weirdest places in the middle of nowhere, "a Blues Brothers sort of thing."
Problems arise with Clive during the tour and he's asked to leave. He is replaced with the unflappable Nicko McBrain, despite Rod being unsure that this was the right choice. Steve Gadd, Nicko's drum technician, talks about this unusual character.
"Now they're there!"
The "classic Maiden line-up" takes on the world after recording their fourth studio album, Piece of Mind. Nicko and Bruce talk about the rehearsing and writing conditions. Adrian talks about his collaboration with Bruce in the song writing process. Bruce jokes about the "new toy" the band found in Nicko.
Dave and Nicko describe Steve's song writing process. Rod tells us of the origins of the album's title while Bruce explains how impressed he was by the opening track's intro on drums.
"They'd never lose touch."
Malcolm Dome mentions that Maiden have always been and always will be close to their fans.
Eddie gets killed in Dortmund, although German censorship prevents the filming of this particular event to be aired on TV.
Steve is described by all as being the band himself, with his hard work and vision. Nicko: "He had this dream and we're living it with him." The band's success is described to be due to the association of Steve's work, Rod's support, and EMI's involvement in promoting Maiden.
The last minutes take us back to Dortmund, where the documentary started, and on hold until the release of the next instalment of Maiden's historical account.
Twentieth Century Box – Granada Television 17th August 1980
This black and white LWT documentary presented by Danny Baker was an attempt to explain what the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal was all about, concentrating essentially on Iron Maiden. The presenter himself is trying to show this movement in a humourous light, although with a pretty dubious sense of humour, hinting that this music is overwhelmingly followed by Whites and that it is also rather sexist. Obviously, this sounds quite ridiculous.
The "hero" of this little 20-minute documentary is undeniably Rob Loonhouse (real name Rob Yeatman), who explains in details how he made his cardboard guitars and why putting frets on them is a waste of time. Danny Baker wanted to take the piss? Well, Loonhouse responded in the same way, mostly when he stated that he'd seriously envisage a career as a professional headbanger, "'Cause that's what I'm good at." Well done Rob!
Although there is a slight mix-up in the dates the programmes were aired, it is nice to see these old documents that the BBC was keeping in its dusty archive. The fact that the band was playing live is also noteworthy, as TOTP was already then a fake show where musicians and other wannabe stars were miming on a playback tape, making them look even more stupid than they normally were. Things haven't changed much since then...
These videos are not strictly necessary for those who already own the Visions Of The Beast DVD, but they complement very nicely this set of archives for the 1980–1983 period of the band. Another review of this DVD stated very aptly that "Iron Maiden were one of the few bands to follow Queen’s lead and make proper music videos before MTV took over the world and forced us all to watch soft porn rip-offs", so we might as well enjoy these first promo videos, even if they look a little outdated now.
Live at the Ruskin Arms – 14th April 1980
This is the most ancient footage known of Iron Maiden on stage in a London pub. The raw power and atmosphere are absolutely fantastic, and it was already clear that Maiden were not going to last long in pubs, but go on to play to much larger audiences.
I've actually got about an hour of it, [Footage from the Ruskin Arms, 1979] so it's interesting to watch. The sound's not too bad, considering it was done on a home video. It was filmed by a mate of Dennis's, I think. I've got one copy, which is like gold dust, if I lose that, then that's it. They're good memories. But there was one thing we were upset about. Vic [Vella, an early member of the road crew] had some black-and-white stuff from the days when Doug was in the band and we wanted to use that, but his bloody kids had taped over it. I was gutted, he had us pissing up the side of the truck and everything.
This is also the only footage of the band playing "Charlotte The Harlot" on stage, which makes it even more special. Filmed by a single camera, we really get the feeling that it's a little band playing a little venue, filmed by a mate. Those who are in a band will know what I'm talking about. Its dodgy quality makes it even more enjoyable. A great video indeed!
This is certainly the earliest Maiden footage we are aware of and was until recently thought lost forever. The gig was on the day of release of the debut album, Iron Maiden, and was a thank-you to all the Ruskin regulars for their support. All the door takings went to the Dr. Barnardo children charity. We think it was probably filmed by Vic Vella but he doesn't remember after all these years!!! Only one old VHS copy existed of this original home-video recording and that was thought to be gone for good until Steve came across it at the bottom of a box full of old stuff when he was looking for memorabilia for this DVD.
The Ruskin Arms is in East London and became famous owing to the band playing there on a regular basis in the very early days. Since that time, the pub became something of a must-visit location for fans who travel from around the world to visit the old Maiden haunts and venues in London. This performance, filmed on a single camera, allows fans to see not only this rare footage but also possibly the only known filmed versions of 'Another Life' and 'Charlotte The Harlot'.
Those who have seen Schtonk! will know that diaries are not always what they seem. I am not saying that this isn't the real McCoy, but the pages are really surprisingly neat for a 30-year-old diary that stayed all that time at the bottom of a cardboard box. Apart from the fact that the menu on the DVD announces – apparently wrongly – that it's the diary of 1975 (I'd be ready to bet a lot that it is in fact 1976), even the title on the cover reading "Dates to Remember" is so cheesy that it raised my suspicions. Moreover, some of the dates and venues in the diary do not quite match the information I had gathered concerning the early Maiden gigs, but I may very well be wrong.
Real or fake, it is in any case interesting to see those dates and comments. It shows the man considered by many a musical genius in a more human light and demonstrates that he had a pretty normal youth like any other kid, enjoying other bands' gigs while setting up his own. Isn't it just nice to know that, on 10th June 1976, he went to see Genesis at the Hammersmith and found them "Bloody Brilliant!", right?
This is a nice little collection of various very early Iron Maiden flyers. We also discover that Steve was also balancing the books quite efficiently and that he didn't wait for Rod Smallwood to give him proper business advice!
Discography 1980 – 1983
The title is pretty self-explanatory: this is the summary of the first Iron Maiden official releases at the beginning of their career.
On the Road
Yet another great collection of photographs, backstage passes, tour programmes and many other things from the early days of Iron Maiden until 1983 with the first appearance of the "classic" line-up. Highly recommended for those who are curious to get the feel of what things were like at the time.
The so-called "Easter eggs" (I personally find this expression rather silly) are quite easy to find. On the second DVD, they appear on every menu when you highlight the "Main Menu" option and press the arrow down once more. The West Ham hammers will then be visible in the top right-hand corner of the screen. All you have to do is hit "enter" and enjoy.
These hidden extras comprise the following (in no particular order):
Jeff Daniels – Riot at the Queen Elizabeth
Terry Wapram – Catching fire on stage
Bob Sawyer – Eventful gig at the White Lion
Doug Sampson – 'I Wish I Was Back On The Farm'
Rod Smallwood – Lost in Japan with Nicko
Rod Smallwood – Going through the customs with Steve
Ross Halfin – The "Rod Faces" photo sessions
Barry Drinkwater – Driving through Europe without a license