In a recent interview with Sweden’s Bandit Rock radio station, Iron Maiden’s iconic frontman, Bruce Dickinson, shared his insights on the dearth of emerging arena-level bands poised to inherit the mantle from the venerable giants of the past. As the old guard gradually treads towards retirement, Dickinson delved into the intricate dynamics of today’s music landscape, pointing fingers at the encroaching influence of corporate entities.
According to UG via Dickinson, the contemporary musical milieu is undergoing a profound transformation, largely shaped by the omnipresence of corporate interests. This corporate hegemony, he argues, has not only altered the essence of the art but has also contributed to the dwindling star power of modern bands, stymying the ascent of those destined for arena-filling greatness. In his own words, “The reason for that, I believe, is the big corporations took everything over, and they’re interested in making money, so they propagate the big headliners, but they don’t bring on the bands that create the drama to create the fanbase, to create the dedication to bring it up.”
Dickinson expounded on the arduous journey that leads a band to headline status, emphasizing the indispensable role of dedication. In his view, the metamorphosis from a local act to an arena headliner is not an overnight affair but a relentless pursuit forged through countless performances at diverse venues. “You don’t become a headliner overnight. You become a headliner by doing loads of gigs at loads of places and fans and people follow you and all of a sudden you’re at Wembley Arena,” he asserted. The trajectory continues, with the pinnacle being the leap to festival headliner, a milestone that marks a significant ascent into the upper echelons of the music world.
In a landscape dominated by corporate machinations, Dickinson’s observations shed light on the challenges faced by budding artists striving for recognition beyond the confines of local scenes. As the struggle for authenticity persists, his words serve as a poignant reminder of the essential, yet elusive, elements that pave the way for a band’s meteoric rise in an era where the corporate hand often guides the spotlight.