Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson on Chinese Censorship: ‘We Don’t Really Give a S–t’
Bruce Dickinson has never been shy about expression. As Iron Maiden ventured into China, they became subject to the Ministry of Culture's censorship, which gave Dickinson and the band strict rules about performing. If censorship were a razor, the singer walked the line on that silver blade.
The demands were that Maiden forego the use of pyrotechnics, smoke, effects, the Union Jack flag Bruce waives during "The Trooper," harsh language as well as tossing items like drum heads, wristbands, guitar picks and drum sticks into the crowd. In the video below from the band's Shanghai performance, the frontman addresses these issues with the crowd following the performance of "The Speed of Light." "They did say ‘no cameras.’ Do I care? Everybody take out your camera device – take a picture," he instructed.
“It's great to be here tonight," Dickinson started up again, continuing, "It’s great to be in China tonight. We ripped it up in Beijing, and we thought, ‘That was a bit serious.’ They had a few rules, so we kind of stuck by the rules and we didn’t do any swearing," which was met with an overwhelming applause. "There’s another thing I can’t do – see if you can guess what it is later on.”
Toeing the line, Dickinson avoided cursing by mouthing each swear word as he talked to the crowd. “We don’t really give a s--t about all that, because the most important thing is the music. The most important thing is that we’re here, and you’re here, and we’re going to have a great f--king time," he exclaimed. The singer went on to lament the absence of the band's usually dazzling special effects, promising, “Next time we’ll have a word. Next time we come back to China to see you guys!”
During the Beijing performance, Iron Maiden were also forced to alter the lyrics to "Powerslave." The request from the Ministry of Culture is commonplace for bands playing inside the country. The line "Tell me why I had to be a Powerslave" switched to "Tell me why I had to be a wicker man," adapting the latter part from their 2000 single "The Wicker Man."
Iron Maiden are in the midst of a world tour spanning over 35 countries in support of their 2015 standout release, The Book of Souls. For photos (including dry ice and smoke!) and a review of their Madison Square Garden show in New York City, click here.
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