Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson shared his opinion about using evil imagery in their songs during a recent appearance on the Psycho Schizo Espresso podcast.
In the interview, Bruce noted that using satan and evil imagery in the songs is considered dramatic and shocking for most people, attracting the attention of their fans. As the frontman said, society was more into religion back in the days, and they would believe in things such as absolute good and absolute evil.
Therefore, they had something to measure themselves against and understand how to lead their lives. However, using evil imagery in songs reminds him how Hammer movies reintroduced the ‘Dracula’ movies that feature blood, fangs, sex, and the devil, which was shocking for most people.
Dickinson mentioned that it is exciting to spot evil and satan imagery in the songs not because it is real but since it guides people into the drama. Thus, putting that into music and dramatizing it feels great.
Bruce Dickinson on using the evil imagery:
“‘Cause it’s really dramatic. And at a certain point in time, certainly for people of a certain age, like me, from what you might call a society which was — ’cause I’m 62, so going back to, like, the late ’50s, Europe was broadly Christian; a lot more people went to church back then than do now.
Probably four or five times, or even more, people would just turn up at church; they weren’t deserted, as they are now. And they would generally believe in things like absolute evil and there being an absolute good, but nobody knew anybody who was absolutely good.
But for sure, absolute evil existed somewhere, ’cause otherwise how could anybody be absolutely good. So you had to have something to measure yourself against.“
“What heavy metal bands did by adopting imagery was they shocked people. Because in the same way that the early Hammer movies reintroduced Dracula but with sex.
So they actually had Dracula, blood, fangs, sex, the devil — all this stuff was, like, ‘Oh my God. That is so shocking,’ but it really kind of turns us on in secret. And, of course, as kids, you’d be forbidden to watch it, and, of course, it would be interesting, and you’d watch it.
And then you’d just use your imagination to create stories. And then a whole raft of films came out — ‘The Omen’ and ‘The Exorcist’ and things like that — that all had this idea of an actual physical force of evil.
And it was quite exciting, really — not because you wanted to be it, but to know that you could imagine your way into the drama and put that into music and dramatize it.
You can check out the interview below.