The Number Of The Beast

by Chris Olley (Six By Seven)

The Number Of The Beast by Chris Olley of Six By Seven
“Are you gonna be ok speaking to him?” she says.

“Yeah sure, why?” I say.

“It’s just that some people totally freak out when they meet him,” she says.

I’m standing outside of a studio door at BBC 6 music, and the nice girl who is chaperoning me is asking if I’m gonna be ok meeting Bruce Dickinson.

Listen to the EP while reading the text.

Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden is just about to interview me. Yes that’s right, he’s about to interview me. Bruce has a rock show on 6 Music, and he loves our album The Way I Feel Today and has requested to have a chat with yours truly. Apparently, when he does this with lesser rock stars, they have a tendency to get a bit freaked out because they are being interviewed by one of their heroes. I’m ok speaking to Bruce; I’m not freaked out at all.

It’s September 1980, I’m 15 years old, and I’m standing outside the Westfahlenhalle in Dortmund Germany. I’m about to go and see KISS and the little known Iron Maiden are supporting them. Iron Maiden have just released their first album. All around me are painted faces and denim jackets. I can’t wait to go in and experience my first gig.

Iron Maiden take to the stage after being introduced by a denim-clad roadie wearing an Eddie mask. They launch into the first song, and I immediately realize this is the greatest moment of my life. It’s even louder than going to the football. I walk into that venue as a Kiss fan, and I walk out as an Iron Maiden one.

Monday morning, I’ve got my pocket money, and I go to School and nip over to the NAAFI (squaddie Asda) and buy the eponymously titled Iron Maiden album. It’s brilliant.

“I will never stop loving this band,” I tell myself.

Their second album, Killers, comes out a year later… OMG, it’s BRILL! Then the singer leaves. The next thing that happens is they come back with Run To The Hills, which hits the charts, and the album: The Number Of The Beast. They now have the singer from the band Samson, he sings with that rock opera kinda voice. Poodle ROCK is born. The door is now open for Def Leppard, Twisted Sister, and Bon Jovi. It’s all gone Pete Tong. Heavy Metal has lost its way. Rock music is soaked in cocaine and too much money sounds like it’s made for FM Radio and wears hair spray and spandex without being able to laugh at itself. It’s the eighties. Even Black Sabbath and AC/DC make terrible records.

But before all that happens, I go around to my mates house to listen to The Number Of The Beast. It’s ‘orrible. I fucking hate the new singer in Iron Maiden, he’s ruined my favorite band.

So here I am at 6 music’s headquarters, and I’m about to go in and be interviewed by Bruce Dickinson. I just know he’s gonna be super nice. He flies EasyJet passenger planes in his spare time for fuck sake. I have about 11 pieces of paper in my hand for him to sign. As soon as I told my friends I was gonna meet him, they put in requests for autographs. (After the interview he dutifully and kindly signed them all like a man who gets asked to do this all the time).

I walk into the studio, and he turns around and nods and then stands up to shake my hand. He’s so small that I look down to check to see if he’s standing in a hole. He’s pre-recording his rock show and playing a song which sounds like Powerage era AD/DC. It sounds incredible, it sounds just like Bon Scott is singing but I know it’s not AC/DC, I’ve never heard this song before.

When the track finishes, he fades his microphone up and says:

“That was the Australian band ‘———–‘ * and the singer of this band should have taken over as the vocalist for AC/DC after Bon Scott died, not that idiot Brian Johnson. Brian Johnson ruined my favorite band.”

*(I can’t remember what he said the name of the band was)

Six by Seven

Six by Seven, Category: Artist, Albums: Best of Six By Seven, Bochum (Light Up My Life), The Way I Feel Today, The Closer You Get, The Things We Make, Singles: All My New Best Friends, All My New Best Friends, I O U Love, I O U Love, So Close,


Artist’s Note
Nottingham, UK
Alternative, Experimental, Krautrock, Psychedelic, Alternative Rock, Post-Rock
radio show, interview, heavy metal, Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, AC/DC, singer

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