In part 2 of the Iron Maiden Chronicles Jimmy Kay from Canada's The Metal Voice recently spoke to former Samson/Iron Maiden drummer Barry Graham Purkis AKA Thunderstick about the early years in NWOBHM band Samson with Bruce Dickinson on vocals ( Iron Maiden). Thunderstick also spoke about a new book and new album called 'Something Wicked This Way Comes'
When asked how Bruce Dickinson first joined Samson (Prior to Iron Maiden)
"Samson had been playing as a three piece and we had been approached by then CBS record company and they were looking at signing a hard rock band and they had their eyes on us. They had told our management we would stand a better chance at getting a big record deal if we had a singer up front."
"We just finished touring o support the debut album 'Survivors' and we went down to this pub and there was a pub band playing and sure enough it was Bruce singing. Paul Samson and I looked at each other and said this guy is really good singer. Part of Bruce's stage show was that he would start picking holes (making fun of) in the audience and having jokes at the audiences all done in a lighthearted way. At this particular gig the only place Bruce could use as a dressing room was the men's toilet. Bruce was doing a costume changes in the toilet, so we went into the toilet after Bruce and he thought because he was picking holes at me (making fun of ), he thought we went there to beat him up. We got talking, and we said would you mind joining our band and he said I cant I want to finish my history degree. So what he did was when we had those three piece gigs he would come out and join us just for the encore and that was it. As soon as he joined the band for real we started recording. He had a lot of material, we had a lot of material, we joined forces and that is what became of Samson's second album 'Head On'. "
When asked what Bruce had the same business smarts back then with Samson as he has today in Iron Maiden
"Bruce had a zest for life. He was hyper all the time and he thought rather than have an agency to book our gigs, he could get on the phone and book all the gigs himself. Bruce just sat there in the offices of our management, got on the phone and booked a tour."
When asked how he helped Bruce Dickinson find his voice in Samson
"His voice was very juvenile in the early days. Bruce had never recorded an album before. I took a lot of the production credit, I sat there with our sound engineer during HEAD ON. we did all his vocal tracks and he was finding his own voice."
"Bruce loved Ian Gillan, first time he met Ian Gillan we were recording our album in studio doing some overdubs and Ian Gillan came in and came into the control room. Bruce then ran out to the toilet. Gillan said to us you better go get your singer cause the last time I saw or heard him he was in the toilet farting up. That was due to the nerves of meeting his all time hero Ian Gillan."
When asked how Samson and Iron Maiden toured together
"It was because of me that Iron Maiden came out on the Heavy Metal Crusade tour package. Our management were the ones responsible for putting this package together, they said let's put a tour together and who can support us. I said a band I used to be in Iron Maiden they are doing the circuit again with new members lets have them on the tour. I was the one who suggested it, it was Angel Witch, Iron Maiden and Samson."
When asked about the success of Samson and the NWOBHM
"It was big at one point I was the focal point for the NWOBHM because there was a magazine called SOUNDS and they put me (Thunderstick) on the front cover. Inside there was a huge two page spread on one night of the Heavy Metal Crusade with all three bands and they called it the NEW WAVE OF BRITISH HEAVY METAL that was the first time they used that phrase and I was the focal point for that. We had a lot of success but did not have the right management we lost ground."
When asked if he had any demos, rehearsal tapes from the days of Samson with Bruce Dickinson that have not been released
"Yes, loads and loads. We used to record everything with Samson, rehearsals, pre-production, arrangements yeah I got loads of stuff. I even got Bruce Dickinson in the toilet, we stuck a mic up in the toilet we thought it would be a good idea."
On why Thunderstick quit Samson
"Paul Samson was starting to get fed up of me (Thudnerstick) getting all the press all the time because the press loved the image. Paul said he wanted to be treated seriously as a band. Paul wanted to wear street clothes and I left because I wanted to take the theatrics a bit further."
On Thundersticks new album and book
I was keeping a day to day diary of my experiences in Iron Maiden and Samson days, so I am able to pull on that information and I intend to do a book this year. Then I have new album so I am looking forward to that, Thunderstick the band will be all new members fronted by a female vocalist."
In Part 1 of the Iron Madein Chronicles
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
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