Tuesday, June 7, 2011

window shopping etc & a newspaper report on Maiden Indonesia trip with some 'unsual' photos and content.

Just now and yesterday, I spent some time checking out and recce some latest items in the shops..
Not only to see for myself how these items look like but also to see the prices. You never know you get lucky with some releases with affordable price tag. Yes, there is ebay, but going to the shops is still a thrill and necessary for bargain price hunters.

- Unfortunately some latest cds that I am checking for is still not around
- some of the high priority ones I want to take a look are
- Twisted Sister Under The Blade remasters with the Reading 1982 dvd, and of course the Ozzy first two album luxurious packaging.
I was very tempted on Roxette latest Charm School , I know its good from what I sampled on youtube, also becos it has a 2nd disc of live album recorded late last year. Roxette is one of the bands I depend on for good music.But I end up not getting anything...

Now moving on to the magazines... With Iron Maiden playing numerous indoor dates all over Britain especially in England, they are given prominent coverage on some popular rock related magazines and also appearing on the covers.
The magazines are at our shores.. Bloody expensive for me, but I got the Classic Rock with Eddie appearing very similar in a Barack Obama style picture.
Really nice magazine with contents of some other bands that I enjoyed listening too.

I will write about it maybe next few days, if I got the time, and if I finished reading it haha. At least reading about the bands that I bother to know about.

Metal Hammer has a cool cardboard cover of the Mexican Eddie 2011 event tshirt if I am not wrong.

No money to get it, hoping someone will scan it haha.

Record Collector also features Maiden on the cover. Another interesting one hopefully someone will scan the Maiden related contents.
I saw the magazine just now but, I can really afford only one out of these three. I just got a feeling its great Maiden related thingy but too bad. I need someone to scan it haha again.

From this Record Collector cover seems there is something to be said about Maiden's retirement date.
I understand Kerrang also features Maiden but I dont think its on the cover and from what I know the articles are not that good, but I do hope for a scan also.

Lastly for this early morning 'still of the night' environment..
This is what appears on England's Sunday Times Magazine 15 May.
Interesting article and photos including a 'heavy metal imam'? very weird..
A nice soul has scan it on the Maiden forum so just in case anyone miss it or not aware of it, I copy and paste here.

If even after clicking it and enlarging it and you still got problems reading..
here, another someone pasted this haha'

Beware of flying metal

After 36 years, Iron Maiden are touring the world in a private jet flown by their singer. Prepare for crunching guitars and heavy-metal imams

I ron Maiden are preparing for liftoff. We are at Singapore’s Changi airport on board their private jet, a Boeing 757. It’s impossible to miss: the band’s name is plastered along each side in huge blue-and-yellow letters. A picture of their demonic mascot, Eddie, leers sadistically from the tail, and just underneath the cockpit, beneath a Union Jack, is the logo “Ed Force One”. The night before, the band played to 11,000 screaming fans in the Singapore Indoor Arena. It was the second show of a tour they have dubbed Around the World in 66 Days — because, thanks to the plane, they can do just that. Our next stop is Indonesia.

At first glance inside, Ed Force One seems like any other 757. Air hostesses go through the life-jacket drill and serve tea and coffee. I’d half expected them to be PVC-clad vixens doling out pints of absinthe, but, sadly, they’re the real thing — from the Crawley-based Astraeus Airlines. The connection is the singer Bruce Dickinson, who, when not fronting Iron Maiden, has a day job with the airline. He qualified as a commercial pilot in 1998, and now does around 500 hours of flights for Astraeus each year. One way or another, he’s a busy man — Astraeus leases its planes and pilots to other airlines during their peak periods, so Dickinson is a kind of airborne freelancer for anyone from Thomas Cook to Saudi Arabian Airlines, flying passengers all over the world. And whenever Iron Maiden use Ed Force One to tour in far-flung locations, he’s both aeroplane captain and heavy-metal superstar.

Dickinson leads me to the back of the plane. Past his bandmates and their manager, Rod Smallwood, lording it in first-class; then, in cattle class, the rest of the entourage — including tour managers, production assistants, technicians, the support act, and 20 of the “Killer Krew”, which assembles each show. Dickinson is keen to demonstrate that this is no ordinary aircraft. “Normally you’d have about 50 passengers on this chunk,” he says, cheerily. Rows of seats have been ripped out to make an extra cargo hold containing huge flight cases filled with musical instruments, huge theatrical drapes, bulky sound and lighting desks, stacks of tightly wound cables and all manner of sonic gadgets and gizmos. In all there are 10.5 tons of equipment, including more stuff in the conventional hold below. Ed Force One is basically a flying heavy-metal circus.

“The conversion cost us about half a million dollars — and we could do this to any 757 worldwide,” Dickinson says. “Once, when we were in New Zealand, their air force came onboard to see how we had done it. We asked them how much it cost to convert their 757s and they told us $30m per plane. I went, ‘They saw you lot coming — hahahaha!’”

Dickinson wanted to be a pilot way before he wanted to be in a rock band, “since I first saw a plane. My godfather was in the RAF, he was in the siege of Malta. He’d tell me all these stories about Spitfires and Hurricanes. I’ve got a photograph of him in full uniform and I’ve got his active-service Bibles, which are amazing: he’d written out verses to hang onto when things were getting shit.

"I’d build plastic aeroplanes until I was in my mid-teens, and I’d have loved to have had a go at flying then, but I decided I wasn’t from the right background. And I thought I was too stupid at maths.”

How do his two very different occupations compare? “Strangely, both require a degree of precision — and you have to be completely calm, you can’t let the moment overwhelm you,” he says. “The biggest difference is that when you’re in Iron Maiden, your world is turned inside out — you wear your passion on your skin so everyone can see it. When you’re a pilot, your world is turned outside in — you’re constrained by a lot of things. Not least that you’re strapped to the bloody seat!”

Dickinson is free to roam today, as he isn’t piloting the plane — although he will fly the next leg of our journey, between shows in Jakarta and Bali. Instead, one of two other pilots who travel with the band heads into the cockpit and sends Ed Force One roaring into the sky.

Iron Maiden are the grand survivors of British heavy metal. Thirty-six years after forming in Leytonstone, east London, and against all odds, they are experiencing an unlikely career peak. Last summer their 15th studio album, The Final Frontier, went to No1 in at least 28 countries including Britain, where it displaced Eminem from the top spot. They may not be the most fashionable of bands but this is also their strength: they have sold 80m albums with virtually no radio support and little mainstream attention. This explains their muted reaction to winning their first Grammy in February for their recent single El Dorado. “It wasn’t voted for by the fans, so we didn’t take any notice,” shrugs the band’s founder and bass player, Steve Harris.

Maiden are also — still — one of Britain’s biggest touring bands. They consistently appear alongside U2, Coldplay and Muse in the Performing Rights Society for Music’s charts for Britain’s most prolific international touring acts. This may come as a surprise to many in Britain, where the band hasn’t played a show since 2008, but Iron Maiden has long been a global brand. Their manager, Rod Smallwood, says they can play to crowds of anything between 20,000 and 70,000 in most major cities in the world excluding those in Africa, an as-yet untapped territory. “As a business, it’s quite incredible,” he says. “We are by far the biggest we’ve ever been.”

As Ed Force One purrs towards Jakarta, the band and I discuss the differences between now and the 1980s — when they gatecrashed Top of the Pops in a riot of flailing hair, crunching guitar riffs and lurid Spandex trousers to perform live renditions of hits such as Run to the Hills and Can I Play with Madness. “Back then it never occurred to us to fly around in a private jet,” says Smallwood.

“We lived on the same tour bus for months on end. It was like a rugby tour — we had a lot of fun.” This would typically entail “drinking our way through all the booze on our rider”, says Adrian Smith, one of Maiden’s three guitarists, “and then we’d look for some more. We had a hotel room for a party after every gig. It went on like that for a few years. Couldn’t do that now”.

“It was sex, drugs and rock’n’roll,” grins the cheeky-chappy drummer, Nicko McBrain. Though, in truth, even in their hedonistic heyday they were always more drinkers than dope heads. “I’ve never done a drug in my life, never even puffed on a fag,” says Steve Harris, who as a youngster was on the books of his local football club, West Ham United. “I used to drink, but one morning I woke up in Amsterdam fully clothed and I’d thrown up on the floor and I didn’t remember a thing. I nearly died. I thought, that’s it: excess is out the window.”

They have kissed goodbye to other vices too. “We’re all happily married or in long-term relationships,” says McBrain, “so you don’t go out whoring any more and that sort of thing.”

Quite. Touring is a family affair now. The wives and girlfriends regularly fly out, and five of the band’s children travel with them on the flight to Jakarta, including two now grown up and in the Killer Krew. Besides, the band still get their kicks. “Going around the world, playing to an average of 30,000 people a night, all committed fans,” says Smallwood, “with your own plane, and police escorts on the ground. How could you possibly get bored with that?”

Inevitably, there has been the odd Spinal Tap moment — such as the onstage mock-sacrifice of a cage full of supposed vestal virgins — and outbreaks of egomania. “I went off the rails,” McBrain readily admits. “I got this superstar attitude where I was going into hotels going ‘When I’ve got a Do Not Disturb sign, what does it mean?’ Or: ‘I want a f***ing smoking room, not a no-smoking room!’ Rod said to me one day: ‘Nick, the band don’t like what they’re seeing.’ I rightly got reined in. The early years were volatile, but we were young and foolish.”

McBrain eventually found salvation in the Lord. “I’ve got my Bible with me wherever I go. Every time I make a prayer, Christ helps me out. Though some nights when he doesn’t, it’s like: ‘You’re on your own, Nick.’ Or: ‘You’ve been a naughty boy — I saw what you did last night, looking at that bird…’”

What a collection of characters they are. They’re priceless. Such self-deprecating candour is far, far removed from paranoid encounters with soundbite-primed pop stars and their helicopter publicists. Usually, the more successful artists become, the more restricted access to them becomes. But Iron Maiden are comfortable enough in their own skins to take me on tour with them for six days. “This band is like a marriage,” concludes McBrain. “And the music’s the sex. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all these guys, but there’s none of that. That’d be really pushing it. But to sum it up in a nutshell, this is a marriage of six guys.”

Just when things are getting cosy, Ed Force One lands in Jakarta and all hell breaks loose. Scores of airport ground staff have arrived to gawp; other arrivals are in for a long wait for their luggage today. We’re rushed through the airport and into a waiting room by an exit. Outside, police struggle to contain hundreds of young fans. They chant the chorus of the Iron Maiden song The Wicker Man: “Your time will come!” Theirs has. Western rock acts are a rarity here.

Instead of giving the ironic 'devil-horned' heavy-metal salute fans point the index finger skyward to signify the oneness of Allah

Back in the waiting room, the authorities have announced that it will take two hours to return the band’s passports, which were supposedly being fast-tracked. The six musicians loll around helplessly while growing numbers of airport staff arrive to stare. The band have all donned sunglasses. “Just let it wash over you,” smirks Adrian Smith, as workers, evidently not familiar with the current Maiden line-up, repeatedly ask for my autograph.

It’s a relief when Steve Gadd, one of the tour managers, suddenly materialises with the passports and shepherds us through the baying crowd outside and onto tour buses. As the fans hammer on the windows, one presses a photograph of a naked baby against the glass, inches from my face. I’m unsure of the protocol: should I bless it?

Fortunately, the bus pulls away. Of the 29 dates on this tour — actually the middle leg of the sprawling, three-part Final Frontier World Tour that began last summer in the USA and Canada — Jakarta always had the most potential for adventure. Or disaster. Erratic communication from the promoters, unused to putting on such a large show, had concerned Smallwood enough to dispatch his production pitbull, Dickie Bell, days in advance to shore up the operation. On arrival, Bell found that the vast outdoor stage — which needed to be sturdy enough to support nine tons of lighting — was rusty. It had simply been given a lick of paint. He eventually passed the venue fit for purpose, but less than 48 hours before the show.

Islamic extremists are another worry. Indonesia’s Muslim population, the world’s largest, is mostly moderate — but radicalism is growing. The previous week, a sectarian attack by hard-liners had left six moderates dead, and the Foreign Office recommended that British citizens avoid non-urgent trips to the country. Presumably that includes turning up in a Union-Jack-adorned private jet on a highly publicised mission to corrupt the nation’s youth. Maiden’s arrival is national news.

Indonesia’s shadowy hard-line group Islamic Defenders Front (known as the FPI) takes a dim view of heavy metal, which is enormously popular, believing it carries “messages” that lead young Muslims astray. But the FPI is also thought to have links to a recent youth phenomenon, the so-called “one-finger” movement. Instead of giving the ironic “devil-horned” heavy-metal salute, with the index and pinky fingers raised, fans point just the index finger skyward to signify the oneness of Allah. This is a new idea: the Islamification of heavy metal. The movement’s Facebook page has more than 10,000 friends.

"I’m suspicious of this one-finger scene,” says Wendi Putrano, the online executive editor of Rolling Stone in Indonesia. “It is like the skinhead movement being used by a political party. I know some people involved, and we can talk and be okay — but who knows what happens on the inside? There could be people recruiting teenagers for bombings.”

Could there be trouble at the gig? “I don’t think so,” says Putrano. “They’re also fans of Iron Maiden. They are hypocrites!”

The concert is at an open-air venue called Carnival Beach — a misnomer, as the nearest beach has all but disappeared under a plastic tsunami of litter washed up by the sea. As tens of thousands of fans arrive under a setting sun, many queue outside a musalla, a mini mosque, to pray. The white-bearded imam leading prayers wears an Iron Maiden T-shirt, as do several of the congregation. But as far as I can ascertain through a translator, these are social-networking, file-sharing young fans, same as anywhere else. Nobody here thinks there is a contradiction in praying to Allah then heading off to sing along to The Number of the Beast.

Backstage, meanwhile, police have appeared with rottweiler sniffer dogs. Nobody seems fazed. The air isn’t filled with the sound of flushing Portaloos. Aren’t they looking for drugs? “No,” somebody says, “they’re looking for bombs.”

In the end it all passes without a hitch. There are girls in hijabs headbanging in the front row. The stage roof doesn’t collapse. The predicted thunderstorms fail to materialise. And though there is a smattering of one-finger salutes, they are vastly outnumbered by the two-fingered variety. Dickinson charges around, leaping up onto the stage’s raised walkway and tearing across it like a Labrador chasing a tennis ball. Harris brandishes his bass guitar like a machinegun, peppering invisible bullets into the crowd. The three guitarists, Dave Murray, Janick Gers and Adrian Smith, strike rock-god poses and exchange intricate solos while Nicko McBrain furiously batters the drums. From a few rows back, it’s impossible to tell that they are all in their fifties, more than twice the age of most of the fans.

“There’s an element of the shamanic to it, on occasion,” Dickinson reflects back at the hotel afterwards. “You’re feeding off the energy from the audience and trying to feed it back. And you’re saying, okay, we’re going to build ourselves up to a big, big, big, big f***ing orgasm here. And then at the end of it we all go ‘Ahhhhh!’ and go home. And nobody died.”

The band and some of the crew are reclining in the bar, glugging expensive red wine to dampen the adrenalin — all except Dickinson, who will fly the plane tomorrow and is restricting himself to a single beer. Perhaps as a means of release he talks and talks, telling me about his latest passion: giant, modern-day zeppelins that have been developed by the late British aircraft designer Roger Munk. Dickinson and Smallwood invested in Munk’s company, Hybrid Air Vehicles, at an early stage when Munk, who later died in 2010, was struggling to stay afloat.

It was a prudent decision. In February, Hybrid Air Vehicles beat the aviation behemoth Lockheed Martin to win a £315m contract from the US Department of Defense to manufacture craft for use in military surveillance. “Planes run out of gas after about 18 hours, but this thing can sit at 20,000ft and look down on the bad guys for three weeks,” Dickinson enthuses.

“What we’ve got here is the rebirth of the British airship. A 100% sustainable vehicle that can, in various forms, take 1,000 tons of cargo across oceanic distances, using less than 25% of the fuel of a conventional aeroplane.” The huge financial injection from the Pentagon means that more aircraft may eventually be built for other purposes, such as transporting aid: “It just needs a big patch of flat ground to land on, or a marsh.”

This, lest we forget, is the singer of one of Britain’s biggest bands, less than an hour after coming offstage. Dickinson, as Steve Harris notes, is a “one-off”. Born to a working-class family in Worksop, Dickinson’s parents eventually made enough from running a hotel (his father also ran a garage) to send him to a boarding school, Oundle, in Northamptonshire. He struggled to fit in, and became increasingly “fascinated by rockets and submarines and airships — anything that was not on Earth”.

Perhaps if the mini-skirted girls who are literally hurling themselves through the hotel’s revolving front doors had swotted up on aviation they might have engaged him. Or they could have mentioned fencing — he was once ranked seventh in Britain at the men’s foil discipline. Or literature — Iron Maiden songs are full of literary references: Aldous Huxley, Edgar Allan Poe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Dickinson has written books too, pseudo Tom Sharpe romps featuring a transvestite aristocrat, Lord Iffy Boatrace (not his finest hour).

But no. The girls’ main tactic is to pretend to trip before falling theatrically to the floor then gazing expectantly at the band to help them up. It doesn’t work. The doormen usher them back outside. Not now, madam, can’t you see Bruce is discussing trigonometry? (We really did discuss “trig” — he was useless at school, but eventually mastered it when training to be a pilot.)

The following afternoon, Dickinson flies everyone to Bali on Ed Force One. “Takeoff is pretty intense,” he tells me beforehand. “The old heartbeat racks up to some astronomical number and your eyeballs are out on stalks. You’ve got to have your wits about you. Same thing with landing. The further you get away from the Earth, the more you can actually relax and enjoy it.”

The next concert is in the Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park, in a valley enclosed by limestone cliffs and guarded by vast, looming statues of Hindu gods. At one point Dickinson described Iron Maiden’s blood-and-sorcery songs as “theatre of the mind” — here they have the perfect physical setting. Maiden mostly err on the congenial side of heavy metal: the songs may frequently be “mammoth-heavy”, as the guitarist Dave Murray puts it, but they are also infused with “subtle harmonies and sweet little melodic things. If you dig deeper, you can imagine an orchestra playing them. They lend themselves to cellos, strings, violins…”

Maybe this is something Iron Maiden should explore when the knees finally give out. It could really work. How much longer can they go on like this, anyway? “I’ve no idea,” says Dickinson. “It’s hard to contemplate not being able to do it full-on. People should remember the glory days, not a pastiche. And we’re not that at the moment. There’s still an edge there, musically and physically. When that starts to depart, we’ll have to sit down, have a council of war and go, ‘What are we going to do, chaps?’”

It’s another young crowd tonight. Talking to fans, it’s clear that part of the enjoyment is that they have no idea which songs they will hear; they haven’t come just for the old classics, although when these materialise there are roars of approval. There are a surprising number of girls here too, although there can be no denying heavy metal’s Boys’ Own appeal. Imagine the energy and intensity of a football crowd but minus the threat of violence — that’s what it’s like.

Before I leave for London and the joys of the District Line, I catch up one last time with Steve Harris to ask what his band stands for. The reply, coming from the man who arrived in a hail of flashbulbs on a private jet, is steadfastly down-to-earth. “I’m not sure we stand for anything in particular,” he says. “We don’t think about it like that — we just do what we do. We don’t really take too much notice of what is going on around us. We just try to be a bloody good band."

Iron Maiden’s album, From Fear to Eternity: the Best of 1990-2010, is released on EMI on June 6. They tour Britain from July 20 to August 6. For more information, visit www.ironmaiden.com


Portdy said...


ni semua majalah best-best imported mahal gile,

last few years, SPH Singapore ada release FIRST movie magazine, memang best citer pasal upcoming movies semua...

dulu-dulu circa late 90s aku suka singapore punya mags (Singapore lagi hehehe) kalau tak silap ETC ke apa nama dia , entertainment magazine....

sekarang nak beli majalah ROTTW pun content macam dah tak boleh follow lagi daaa....classic rock tak banyak..

Portdy said...

lupa lak nak mention dua2 mag yang aku sebut kat atas dua dua dah tak release lagi huhuhu

berteromber said...

portdy...dulu2 kalau muzik mags spore yang best pada aku dah tentu2 la BigO...deaf tentu tau punya...

btw...heavy metal imam?..akak yang pakai tudung tu pun dasak gak tu...heheh...

iaryylr said...

Syabas Bro! memang superb lah! terima kasih kerana sudi berkongsi.

Dr. Ben said...

Classic Rock punya best... rasa nak beli.

deaf-angel said...

portdy singapore dulu majalah Big O memang legend tapi aku peribadi tak minat pasal dorang focus kat muzik aku tak minat sangat

Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

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