The first time I heard Iron Maiden — when I was like 11 years old — was the moment I recognized music as something bigger than songs on the radio; it was the first time I was able to embrace music as a part of my identity. Iron Maiden were the first band whose T-shirts I wore, the first band whose logo I scrawled onto textbook covers and desks, the first band whose imagery and iconography meant something to me. They were my first favorite band — the first band that ever belonged to me, the first band that ever spoke for me. They were the band on which I built my understanding of music, and as such, the band on which I built my life. And their singer, Bruce Dickinson, was a god to me. He still is! So it was a hard reality check when I heard earlier today that Dickinson had been diagnosed with cancer — and a serious “thank fucking god” moment when I heard he was gonna be OK. Per a statement on the band’s website: “As the tumour was caught in the early stages, the prognosis thankfully is extremely good. Bruce’s medical team fully expect him to make a complete recovery with the all clear envisaged by late May.”
Like I said: Thank fucking god. Here’s the statement in full.
Just before Christmas, Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson visited his doctor for a routine check-up. This led to tests and biopsies which revealed a small cancerous tumour at the back of his tongue. A seven week course of chemotherapy and radiology treatment was completed yesterday. As the tumour was caught in the early stages, the prognosis thankfully is extremely good. Bruce’s medical team fully expect him to make a complete recovery with the all clear envisaged by late May. It will then take a further few months for Bruce to get back to full fitness. In the meantime we would ask for your patience, understanding and respect for Bruce and his family’s privacy until we update everyone by the end of May. Bruce is doing very well considering the circumstances and the whole team are very positive.
My friend and colleague Adrien Begrand, who loves Maiden even more than I do, wrote a Counting Down on the band’s catalog for Stereogum, and it is nothing less than essential. Today’s a pretty good day to celebrate Maiden, and you should read this while listening to a few (or all) of these records.