July 28, 2010

A Chat With Iron Maiden's Manager

I don't hide my creepdom-like fascination of all things Iron Maiden related. It all just adds to the folklore of it all. I had the opportunity of bumping into Steve Gadd a while ago, the world famous Iron Maiden road manager known under the alias of Gaddsy.

The Dope Attic: How is it going? How long have you been working with W. A. S. P. now?

Steve Gadd: This is my first tour with W. A. S. P. as their tour manager. I’ve worked with them when they were supporting Iron Maiden in the 80s, because I work mainly for Iron Maiden and this is my first tour with W. A. S. P., it began 5-6 weeks ago.

And how is it going, up to now?

SG: It’s very hectic. We began the tour in Milan with a bus, and we used to pack everyone in it, but then, as it was impossible to go on with a bus, because we were traveling very far, we went back home and then started to travel by plane. In November, for example, we had three gigs one after another, in Estonia, Sankt Peterburg, Warsaw and Frankfurt – four actually. It’s very tough. People often think we live a glamorous life but people who actually work in the business know that this is not true.

Did you choose W. A. S. P. or they chose you?

SG: I was proposed by Sanctuary Music, because Blackie’s was Rod Smallwood. And then Sanctuary called me and asked would I like to go on tour with W. A. S. P., or would I talk to Blackie and Blackie phoned me to ask… do I wanna do it, so, they chose me.

Your a legend, How old are you?

SG: (Laughs.) I’m not commenting on that now.

Fine. So, how long would you say you spent on tour?

SG: I’ve been on the road since I was a musician myself in 1970 and made seven albums. But that band split in 1981 and I started as a technician in Iron Maiden in 1984, and worked on the Powerslave album. Namely I was a Nicko McBrain’s drum tech for 12 years. Anyway, Sanctuary Music sent me off to work with Iron Maiden. They were good friends of mine, but that had nothing to do with the job, if I’d been just a friend I wouldn’t have got the job. They called me in 1996 to make the Virtual XI tour with them. So I’ve been on the road since, let me think, 25 to 30 years.

Steve, you’re somehow very… English.

SG: Yeah, I’m from London.

Maiden Playing Soccer On Stage
So which is your favorite sport – rugby or football?

Maiden Playing Soccer On Stage

SG: Football. I don’t play very well myself, but I like watching any football on TV.

Which is your favorite team?

SG: Arsenal. I used to go and see their games but actually I haven’t seen them for years. The last game I saw, Arsenal played Everton, home. Arsenal had just sold two of their best players, I don’t remember their names, Leam Brady and someone else. And we drew 0-0 at home versus Everton and then I thought “I’ll never go to see football games anymore” and I really haven’t, since then.

I asked you about football because it’s interesting whether you find any similarities between being a football team manager and a rock band manager.

SG:It’s interesting that you ask this because I was the manager of the Iron Maiden football team, and both somehow look like a… massive military operation. In the same way a football team manager makes sure that everything is all right with his team. You, from the spectators’ viewpoint, can’t quite feel this. But I must say that Iron Maiden has fantastic audience, everywhere in the world, and we’ve never had problems with the audience of Iron Maiden. The ordinary guys are a bit scared when they see leather jackets and see that everything is very… heavy metal, you know. I think, the most… unruly fans. But a great audience. Because I don’t work only with metal bands, as a tour manager. I do hip-hop tours, for example. Still not as much as metal tours, but still that gives me the opportunity to see that metal fans are great.

And which is the next big tour for you?

Iron Maiden.

Do you still play the drums?

SG: Playing drums is like riding a bike, yes, it’s like riding a bike – it can’t be forgotten. Yeah, I do find time but sometimes this happens once in two years. Sometimes I do, I go with Nicko sometimes and do drum clinics, which I was doing seriously in the past. But now, as I’m getting older, it’s in the past, I do it only for fun.

Have you met the other Steve Gadd?

SG: You know, this is a very good question. I’ll tell you one story, a true story. Quite a time ago I was playing in a bang called Charlie, and we were staying at the Sunset Marquee hotel in Los Angeles. We were on tour, I think, with Doobie Brothers.

What a name always makes me laugh..Doobies

SG: like 1978, there’s a pool in the middle of the hotel and small speakers around. We’re sitting around the pool and suddenly a voice says “There’s a phone call for Steve Gadd.” And there were the two of us who went to the phone. I didn’t know Steve Gadd then, I got to know him later, when we were working with Steely Dan. But then both of us went to the phone. And later there was a small article in the American magazine “Billboard,” which said “The American Steve Gadd keeps getting phone calls from girls, while the English Steve Gadd,” me, “is called only for recording.” That’s a true story.

And who was that call for?

SG: It was for me, and it was a girl. I met his brother once in New York, years later. But it’s fun that I nearly got to work for him as a drum technician while he was a drummer with Eric Clapton. That would be really interesting.

Unreal. Thanks for rapping with me your Mcbrain stories always seem to change my life.

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