My buddies and I are set to see Megadeth/Lamb of God/Hatebreed, and Testament/Exodus/Death Angel, both rescheduled from last year, with bolstered lineups. The mighty Obituary is also going out sandwiched between longtime Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, and veterans Prong.
One of the last shows I saw before the pandemic was Iron Maiden’s “Legacy of the Beast.” They’re making a noteworthy splash of their own soon: the release of their 17th studio album “Senjutsu.”
To say bands like these, still blasting away, are an inspiration would be an understatement.
When we see Maiden out supporting “Senjutsu,” drummer Nicko McBrain will be blowing out 70 birthday candles. It’s mind-boggling! A new album is just as impressive to me.
When some bands reach this point in their career, they don’t “see a reason” to record new music. Their catalogues are plenty massive to support a week’s worth of unique setlists.
And that’s cool. Fans will still pay top dollar to see their favorite tunes played by (mostly) those who recorded them.
Moreover, it’s not baseless speculation that “Senjutsu” is no more likely to become part of the Maiden lore than their 2015 effort, “Book of Souls.”
From their self-titled debut over 40 years ago, to their masterpiece “Powerslave” a few years later, to the underrated “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son,” it was then, during the 1980s, when fans swooned and became hooked.
That bond would survive the departures of vocalist Bruce Dickinson and lead guitarist Adrian Smith, and the rough 1990s that followed.
Since both were welcomed back at the turn of the century, Maiden has put out six new albums. Almost 400 years of life amongst the six members hasn’t slowed them down. Nor has cancer on one of the most recognizable set of pipes in all of music.
And when they tour, they don’t do so lightly.
Not only do they spend months admirably promoting their new albums, they take to the road in ‘off’ years to play nothing but classics. This arguably endears them to their fans.
That’s not to dismiss the real possibility however, that new stuff could click with metalheads. The most recent offerings from Metallica and Anthrax for example, are sure to be represented in future concerts.
That can’t happen though, without first putting in the effort to write, collaborate, and record. Oddly enough, I’m reminded of my 75 year-old dad.
For a decade or so, he and my step-mother have been living an ideal retirement: pulling a 5th-wheel across the country. They also sell RV supplies and accessories along the way.
When I asked him about the latter, he told me “I feel like I still have more to give in life.” It kind of made me proud.
I’ve never been one who’s had his 62nd or 70th birthday circled on the calendar as the day I’m simply going to stop. Only in the last few years have I found a hobby/side-gig that I would love to do ‘in retirement’ (teaching).
It’s clear that social security and Medicare, at the very least, need reform. Nevertheless, we don’t have to tap them and tap out of productive activities at a prescribed time. My dad and my bands inspire me in this regard.
Now if I could just get him to appreciate the beauty of a galloping Steve Harris bass line ...