Part 10 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews! Although this book came out in 2010, I decided to talk about Paul Di’Anno during the 1987 period, when Paul released his Paul Di’Anno’s Battlezone album, Children of Madness. This was the first time I heard any of Paul’s post-Maiden music.
PAUL DI’ANNO – The Beast (2010 John Black Publishing)
Paul Di’Anno, when not in jail for assault or disability fraud, is in a state of perpetual arrested development. Scattered among the cool rock stories about touring with Kiss and rocking the stage aside Steve Harris, Di’Anno is like a little boy who will never learn his lesson. Girlfriend after girlfriend, fight after fight, arrest after arrest, Di’Anno never seems to grow up. As if an apology makes up for it, he says he is “deeply ashamed of” a drunken incident when he repeatedly pummeled a woman half his size in the face. Di’Anno states that ,”if I could turn back the clock, I would,” but he also admits that it wasn’t the first time it happened.
Paul continues to snort and drink everything that passes his way, while bedding every “bird” and smashing every bloke that gets in his way. In the meantime, there’s this story in the background about this band he was in called Iron Maiden. He talks about singing Deep Purple’s “Dealer” and “All Right Now” by Free at his audition. He describes the feeling of helping to build this band, and it sounds like being in the center of a tornado. It doesn’t take long for fame to have its effect in a negative way.
Only two albums in, Paul sheds some light on his departure. There were musical differences as he did not like the polished, more progressive direction that the band was seeking. His heart was no longer in it, and he knew it. This seems to have manifested itself in bad behaviour, and deteriorating relationships. After a final gig in Copenhagen, Paul handed in his resignation. While he has nothing bad to say about the guy who replaced him, he has special praise for Adrian Smith, “the best all around guitarist that Maiden have had.”
I just wish this book was more about the music and less about the drinking, drugs, and fighting. It doesn’t take too long to realize that Paul Di’Anno isn’t much for self-improvement. He tells his story with several winks and smiles, and lots of laughs too. At this same time this there’s dark undercurrent of violence and underachievement.
The Beast isn’t what I’d call an inspiring read, but it’s raw and real. The man has loads of stories. Whether they’re your cup of tea is really up to you!