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Bruce Dickinson brands Iron Maiden’s concerts ‘a magical ritual’

Bruce Dickinson has described Iron Maiden’s concerts as “a magical ritual” that is “almost shamanic”.

The frontman of the legendary heavy metal group believes it’s his role to play with gig-goers’ energy levels and spirits when he steps onstage.

In an interview with The Quietus, he began: “An Iron Maiden show is a magic ritual.

“That’s absolutely what is going on. I look at what I’m doing – the way I behave, my placement on the stage at a certain point in the set – as almost shamanic. What you are doing is playing with the audience’s energy, raising it, lowering it, reflecting it back.”

And it’s not an undergoing for the fainthearted.

He went on: “I regard myself when I’m onstage as being essentially transparent. That’s the only way I can deal with the level of intensity that’s happening – removing myself from the equation and letting the song take over. Sometimes, if I throw a s***-fit at some guy in the audience, it’s because they’ve behaved in a way that’s broken the spell. That’s infuriating, because you were so in that moment of actual non-existence. It looks like you’re there, but actually you’re not. You’ve vanished into the music and the show – that’s what propels you, that’s what you’ve become.”

Bruce – who released his latest solo album, ‘The Mandrake Project’, in March, and is currently touring the record – has just been announced as a Patron of The Blake Cottage Trust, which is fundraising to secure the heritage of the late visionary, artist and poet, William Blake.

The 65-year-old rocker is heavily inspired by Blake and has long referenced him many times in his work, including on ‘The Mandrake Project’.

He’s helping the charity raise funds to carry out much-needed repairs on Blake’s cottage in Felpham in Sussex, England.

In the music video for his recent solo single, ‘Rain On The Graves’, Bruce uncovers a replica of Blake’s grave at the end, and it’s being auctioned off to raise money for the fund.

Of Blake, Bruce told the outlet: “He’s an artist to whom you should aspire.

“There’s a purity to what he does that is untrammelled by commerciality or anything like that. He was unpredictable, he was cranky, he was difficult to deal with. He’s uncompromising, he’s rude, he’s bellicose. But he’s incredibly powerful. He matters.”

In a statement, he said: “William Blake has given me so much over the years and I want to repay the debt by helping to restore the Cottage. Despite his impact on the world, there is no centre for Blake, nowhere people can visit to see the place where he actually lived and worked during a key part of his life. I want to change this.”

The year 2027 marks the 200th anniversary of Blake’s death and it’s hoped the Cottage will be open to the public and become a centre for artists, writers and visionaries who wish to follow in Blake’s footsteps. The first step is to repair the roof at a cost of £80,000, with the cost of restoring the whole Cottage estimated at £1.5 million.

A press release adds: “Bruce will be at the vanguard of the fund-raising campaign and will soon be launching an auction of memorabilia from both Iron Maiden and his solo career, through the Iron Maiden Fanclub.”

Blake’s most famous works include 1789’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ and 1794’s ‘Songs of Experience’, which continue to influence today; with U2 having called their 2014 and 2017 albums, respectively, after Blake’s poetry collections.

Head to blakecottage.org/donate to find out more and donate.

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