For Canada’s The Metal Voice, Jimmy Kay spoke to Iron Maiden’s Guitarist Adrian Smith about his memoir, “Monsters Of River & Rock”, which was released on September 3 2020.
Other topics in the interview include, Maiden’s parting of ways with former drummer Clive Burr, Smith’s thoughts on the band’s album covers and his comments on the passing of Eddie Van Halen.
When asked to describe the content of his new book
“It’s primarily a fishing book but it is not overly technical. A lot of fishing stories and what happened around the fishing, traveling to and from fishing. Sometimes the fishing and the music literally cross lines like when Maiden were doing the Powerslave album in the Bahamas at Compass Point studios (I always take my fishing rod wherever I go). So when I had some time off I was fishing outside the studios in the Caribbean I cast out and I got tangled up with another line and it turned out to be Robert Palmer, addicted to love, that guy. Who came out running from his balcony and told me off, literally like that. The book is full of stories like that. Later on Robert Palmer turns up in the studio this time when I was recording a solo, this is a whole other story. All these things happen on my travels. When I actually got the physical book I was surprised there was so much music content in there. I would say it’s 30% broader stuff about me personally and stories on how we wrote certain songs (Iron Maiden), situations we found ourselves in the studio as well as fishing stories and travel of course.
When asked about his favorite Iron Maiden Eddie Album cover artwork
“I don’t know really, the graphic ones I am not too keen on like Killers and all that. But probably something like Brave New World Album it was kind of cool, it incorporated the imagery but it was also a little more subtle. I like that a bit more artistic rather than graphic horror of the early days.”
When asked about his relationship with former drummer Clive Burr and his feeling when he was let go from the band
“Clive and I used to share a room together, he was a great guy and he was a very funny guy. Let’s say he embraced the rock and roll lifestyle maybe a little too much and that’s why he ended up leaving the band. He was a great drummer and a great guy but it got a bit much for him and so we had to make a change. So that was very sad and I know Bruce had said subsequently and I think he said it at the time, I wish we had more time, to take more time off so he could have sorted himself out but we just didn’t have the time then. We would finish one tour and go straight into another one. That is the way you had to do it then, tour, tour, tour. The same thing happened with Paul Di’anno, it’s tough and it happened to me. It can get on top of you, a young guy and you have to perform every night and mentally it can be quite tough. You have a lot of down time as well to sit around thinking about stuff in your hotel room. Of course you end up drinking too much and that spirals, this life doesn’t suit everybody.”
When asked about his thoughts on the passing of Eddie Van Halen “It was very sad, very sad. Probably him and Jimi Hendrix certainly in my lifetime were the biggest effects on the electric guitar I loved his playing although when he came out, I had already been playing for 5 or 6 years already. So if I had been starting out when I heard him I would have just copied him like 99% of the other guitarists did. He was fantastic. I would have loved to meet him. I came close a couple of times but never met him. I love his guitar sound. if I’ve got a guitar and an amp and I’m just trying to get a sound I would probably use him as a reference point.”
Smith is well known in the community as a fisherman, and a former cover star of coarse-fishing bible the Angler’s Mail (biggest chub of the season, August 2009). In his first, very personal, riverside memoir, “Monsters Of River & Rock”, Smith takes us with him on his incredible journey, through the highs and lows of life on tour, and on the river-bank, as his fishing gear travels with him across the world.
Charming, funny, and moving in equal measure, “Monsters Of River & Rock” is the ultimate fishing-fantasy armchair read, and is also the story of a rock star in a fast-moving world who seeks peace and tranquillity at the water’s edge — wherever he is.