THE MAN WHO PICKED HEAVY METAL OVER SOCCER
In the movie Wild One, Marlon Brando’s character is asked ‘what are you rebelling against?’ and he replies ‘what’ve you got?’ You can imagine a similar mode of thought going on in the mind of Steve Harris, London-born bass player for Iron Maiden. He turned down a try-out of his beloved soccer team West Ham at 14 (‘they want you in bed early and all that stuff,’ he says), chose bass over guitar, formed a band, named the band Iron Maiden (from a torture contraption he saw in a movie) and started writing all their songs. For subject matter, Steve is consistent – replicating the sound of machine guns, replaying the Charge of the Light Brade in the Crimean War under his galloping bass line that the guitarists follow (‘The Trooper’), telling both sides of the American Indian wars (‘Run to the Hills’), creating instrumentals to sound like Genghis Khan. His 13-minute ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ may be the only ode to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 18th-century poem that takes longer to witness than reading the original.
Whatever anyone's 'got' that's supernatural, horrific or violent is up for grabs, Steve - like a wild one - will take them on.
What you may not know about Iron Maiden:
* Their first two albums (‘Iron Maiden’ – featuring the eponymous single on the eponymous album; we love that – and ‘Killers’) is more bar-chordy and rock’n’roll at times, with the lead singer Paul Di’Anno’s more Bon Scotty growl than the high-pitched wails of Bruce Dickinson. Paul left the band after ‘Killers’ in 1981 (for a solo career with highly questionable album covers). Steve was part of the reason. "It's like having Mussolini and Adolph Hitler run your band. Because it is [band manager] Rod Smallwood and Steve Harris and that's it. There can't be anyone else and my character is too strong for that so me an' Steve was always fighting".
* FBO Member Terry Waska is a huge fan (OK, you probably knew this). He explains why Steve Harris is one of his favorites: "Because he’s got that move where he puts his foot up on the monitor and points his bass at the audience like a gun. If only I had a cool move. I came up with one I called 'The Thermometer', but I think it kinda freaked people out."
--> Steve Harris, we just want to thank you.
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY
**From March 22 to April 5, FBO is celebrating the forgotten, overlooked, abused or under-utilized bass by noting a handful of bass players you should know about.**