Iron Maiden’s Janick Gers: We still feel we have to prove ourselves as a band

2016-05-11 06:00

Cape Town – It’s at times like these that I just absolutely and completely love my job.

I get a call. "Would you like to interview Janick Gers from Iron Maiden ahead of their tour?" says the person on the other end of the line.

Without skipping a beat I say: "Of course!" I mean who wouldn’t, right?

Having chatted to Steven Tyler, the Foo Fighters and The Lumineers, to name just a few, over the last few years, these conversations with some of music’s most talented is what makes it all worth it. Well, for me anyway…

And even though I’ve done it a few times now, I still get nervous with every interview. I really don’t know what it is. A worry that just maybe I strike a blank and don’t know what to say, that the conversation doesn’t flow, that the person on the other end has a very difficult accent to understand, who knows! What I do know though is that even as I chat to these musicians, whether it’s about their music or something more personal, I can’t help but have a million thoughts run through my head, with the most common one being: I can’t believe this is actually happening!

Yes, so as I wait for the call to connect me with Janick, these thoughts once again fill my head, as this time I am doing it while away for the long weekend in an area with very poor cell reception.

But before I know it, Janick is on the other end of the line. (This is really happening, I think to myself)

I ask the first question: "Are you looking forward visiting SA again?"

Janick responds: "Yes, we toured to South Africa before in the 90s, we played Durban and Johannesburg. So we’re really looking forward to returning and playing our whole show for the fans."

"And what can fans expect from the show?" I ask.

Not wanting to give too much away, Janick answers: "We’ll be doing a few songs off the new album from Book of Souls, and we’ll be doing a few old songs, so it will be a mixture."

Wish this show didn't have to end! Thanks Vancouver! #IronMaiden #TheBookOfSoulsWorldTour #Vancouver #Guitar

A photo posted by Iron Maiden (@ironmaiden) on

Having received rave reviews, the band’s latest album Book of Souls is also the name of their world tour. I can still remember the day they announced on their website last year August that they will be heading to SA. It. Was. Mayhem. No, seriously! SA fans freaked out, and making it even cooler was the fact that the band announced they will be flying here in a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet, also called Ed Force One, piloted by vocalist Bruce Dickinson. I mean, holy shit!

It is also this exact plane that made headlines in March after it got badly damaged in a runway accident in Chile that injured two ground crew. It also caused the band to almost miss a show! But SA fans, there’s no need to worry, as Janick assures me: "After the crash, I mean we’re a 100 people bouncing around on the tour, but we haven’t missed a gig yet. Everything is fixed now, we have the plane back and we’re ready to go!"

With that out of the way, I just have to know: "Has anything ever gone wrong on stage?"

"It’s all rock n roll man," says Janick. "We deliver like a cabaret and it’s a lot of melodies, and things do go wrong. But we’re always pushing things as far as we can all the time. We’re an organic band, so it’s gotta be exciting you know. So yeah, things do go wrong all the time."

Known for his energetic stage performances which include a lot of tricks and dance moves, I am forced to ask: "Do you have any rituals before going on stage?"

"About an hour before the show I will arrive and check my guitars, pull my guitar strings, go through all the guitars. Oh, and I will also have some coffee before going on stage!" says Janick.

"And do you ever still get nervous?" I ask. "By now we know exactly what we do, but I do get nervous as you want to be the best you can, we still feel we have to prove ourselves as a band. We’re never complacent, always proving ourselves."

Our time sadly comes to an end. And as we say our goodbyes, I give a sigh of relief… until the next interview that is.

Tour itinerary:

Cape Town
Wednesday 18 May
Grand Arena Grand West
Ticket prices range from R510 – R905

Saturday 21 May
Carnival City Festival Lawns
Ticket prices range from R620 – R905

Tickets are available from Big Concerts and Computicket.

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