Jimmy Kay from Canada’s The Metal Voice recently spoke to Barry Graham Purkis, also known as THUNDERSTICK Ex drummer for IRON MAIDEN in 1977 and Samson during Bruce Dickinson‘s tenure with the band.
THUNDERSTICK spoke about the Holy Grail 1977 IRON MAIDEN PRE-Soundhouse rehearsal tapes which featured many of the songs on the first IRON MAIDEN album as well as two songs off IRON MAIDEN‘s Killer albums.
On how how he joined Iron Maiden
I answered an ad and auditioned much like many other drummers sitting in a corridor with non stop drummers all the way down…NEXT…NEXT and I got the gig. They also advertised for a keyboard player at the same time and that’s when this guy Tony Moore came on board and that was it. The line up was myself, Steve Harris a singer named Dennis Willcock, a guitarist named Terry Wapram and Tony Moore on Keyboards
On the inner workings of Iron Maiden in 1977
“I thought at the time when I first joined it was a joint effort of both Steve Harris and Dennis Wilcock. Dennis being the singer he was the man at the time was responsible for the logos and stuff like that . The Iron maiden type face that Iron maiden still uses to this day was formulated back in those days we are talking 1977. And Dennis he had such a large input into the band at the time. I really did think that the two of them were co-running as it were.
Steve Harris would make an effort to come up to my House in South East London and we would go through basic drum parts. I never done that before. I never actually sort of knocked it down to where you only have the bass and drums so you are building a rhythm section then we would rehearse with the whole band back in the East end.”
When asked about what classic songs were written in 1977 and if he ever got songwriting credits
“Burning ambition, Drifter, Sanctuary, Prowler, Another Life (Killers Album), Transylvania, Strange World, Charlotte the harlot, Wrathchild, Innocent Exile (Killers) and the song Iron Maiden. ”
“You can say I was actually contributing maybe I was the first drummer to come in that Steve would try to work alongside. And later on I was inputting regarding the songwriting but never got credit on anything ever.” You are always going to hear something you contributed too, you are always going to hear and think to yourself yeah that was due to me. ”
Asked if the 1977 Rehearsal tapes will ever be released
“Who knows, I have put these 30 second bursts on my facebook and the kind of interest it generated it quite phenomenal there are certain people are saying that they look on it as the heavy metal holy grail to have something such as that a 1977 recording of those songs. There is no way i can go out and release them cause I could imagine the full force of Iron Maiden legal team would come down on me because the songs there in contain Steve Harris compositions. However I own the tape. I own my performance on that tape. However I don’t own the copyright of the songs.”
When asked about what he thought of Steve Harris and the band back in 1977
“It was a work in progress, he was a guy in the band. The band was professional but they were not professional musicians at the time. They were professional in their outlook. They were focused.”
On the legal battle in regard to Iron maiden’s song Idea of march and Samon’s song Thunderburst
“We went and recorded the Samson album ‘Head On’ it was going to be the first album Bruce Dickinson was going to appear on and we had an intense writing session as soon as Bruce joined the band. And I brought Thunderbusrt onto the table, I had this rolling drum pattern though the toms and I explained that we had done this when I was a member of Iron Maiden. So we recorded it and Paul Samson (Samson guitarist) and Clive Burr were quite good mates cause Clive had been in Samson before I joined Samson so we kind of literally swapped places. Clive Burr went over to Paul Samson’s house and they were sitting there and Paul played the second side of the ‘Head On’ album and out came Thunderburst and Clive nearly fell off his chair and he said Jesus and he put on his finished recordings and out came Ides of March. What happened after that was that my management at the time didn’t really want to have any involvement in this. I was summoned to EMI building and in front of me was Steve Harris, Rob Smallwood and a couple of representatives from the legal team and EMI. And I was told in no uncertain terms that Steve Harris would take 50% songwriting on the Thunderbusrt track and I would receive absolutely nothing on the Ides of march track. If I wanted to contest that then we will see you in court.”
On the formation of Maiden77 group
Because of the interest of former members of Iron Maiden, I’m a member of Maiden77 which has emerged over the last year it’s a couple of fans of Maiden who put it together this Maiden77 site and they wanted to know history of all the members of Iron Maiden. But in doing that it has thrown up a lot of things that are contrary to each other. So a lot of people are interested in digging up the dirt. There were a lot of things in the documentary Early years part 1 that are not the truth. A lot of inaccuracies for example the Soundhouse tapes there was a guitarist that was never even mentioned the fact that he plays on the Soundhouse tapes Maiden77 consists of Tony Moore (keyboards), Terry Wapra m (guitars), Barry Purkis (a.k .a. Thunderstick; drums, percussion) and Dennis Willcock (vocals)
Watch Interview Here: