BRUCE DICKINSON Signs Copies Of ‘The Mandrake Project’ In Paris: Video, Photos

IRON MAIDEN frontman Bruce Dickinson signed copies of his new solo album, “The Mandrake Project”, on March 4 at Gibert Disc in Paris, France. Video and photos of the event can be found below.

Dickinson will likely land his highest-charting solo album in the U.K. with “The Mandrake Project”. The singer’s first solo effort in 19 years occupied the No. 2 slot at the midweek stage, according to Official Chart Company figures.

“The Mandrake Project” was released on March 1 via BMG. Bruce and his long-term co-writer and producer Roy “Z” Ramirez recorded the LP largely at Los Angeles’s Doom Room, with Roy Z doubling up as both guitarist and bassist. The recording lineup for “The Mandrake Project” was rounded out by keyboard maestro Mistheria and drummer Dave Moreno, both of whom also featured on Bruce‘s previous solo studio album, “Tyranny Of Souls”, in 2005.

“The Mandrake Project” is not just an album. The comic book of the same name is a dark, adult story of power, abuse and a struggle for identity, set against the backdrop of scientific and occult genius. Created by Bruce, it is a collectable series of graphic novels scripted by Tony Lee (“Dr. Who”),stunningly illustrated by Staz Johnson (“2000AD”) and with covers by industry heavyweight Bill Sienkiewicz for Z2 Comics, which will be released as 12 quarterly issues that will be collated into three annual graphic novels, with the first coming at the end of 2024.

In a recent interview with Brazil’s A Rádio Rock, Bruce spoke about the inspiration for “The Mandrake Project”. He said: “[In] 2014, I was gonna do a solo album, follow-up to ‘Tyranny Of Souls’. And it was gonna be called ‘If Eternity Should Fail’. And the title track I wrote, we did a demo of it, which is actually on the [‘Afterglow Of Ragnarok’] single. I actually put the demo of ‘If Eternity Should Fail’ on the single, on the flip side of the single, so people could see, with the main track, how it evolved from the demo, from the beginning to the MAIDEN version. And because it ended up on [MAIDEN‘s 2015 album] ‘The Book Of Souls’, I went, ‘Hmm, oh, well. Maybe I won’t use it as the title track,’ something else. But in any case, I had some other tracks we were working on, with Roy. So then, at the end of 2015, I got diagnosed with throat cancer. So that was a year before I could do anything. And the first thing I had to do was go and go tour with IRON MAIDEN to make up for the time we had lost. So that was 2017. And then I went, ‘You know what? Let’s go back to America. And, oh, COVID.’ And that was three years of not being allowed to go into America. So it was five years —more than five years. I lost seven years of my life [laughs] during that. So in the meantime, the idea of the graphic novel… It was originally just gonna be one comic to do with the album, but the story had grown and changed, and so it became this 12-episode monster. And I was running ideas past a guy called Kurt Sutter, who wrote ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ and ‘The Shield’ and stuff. He’s an amazing Hollywood writer…. ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ was the inspiration for the four bikers of the apocalypse in the video [for IRON MAIDEN‘s] ‘The Writing On The Wall’. I wrote the script for that and was very involved in the production, and whilst I was doing it, I was Zooming with Kurt and I ran the idea of ‘The Mandrake Project’ past him. It wasn’t called ‘The Mandrake Project’ then. We were doing this album and I had no idea what it was gonna be called. And I had this story, and I didn’t know what to call the story. And I actually have no idea how I came up with ‘The Mandrake Project’. Somewhere I have a piece of paper, and it’s got some absolutely ridiculous ideas for the album title. I’m writing them down, ‘What about calling it this? What about calling it this?’, and just look at them all and go, ‘Which one feels right?’ And none of them felt right. And then… ‘Mandrake’ is such a great word. And, actually, has anybody done something [using the word] ‘Mandrake’? The answer is no. I was amazed. There was a DEEP PURPLE song, ‘Mandrake Root’. There’s a French comic called Mandrake The Magician. And there was something called The Mandrake Project, but it was like a one-off drum-and-bass thing. And I thought, ‘Well, that’s not gonna be an issue.’ So, ‘The Mandrake Project’. I thought, ‘That sounds really cool.’ So I thought, ‘Well, I could call the album and the comic ‘The Mandrake Project’.’ Because I had the story, but now calling it ‘The Mandrake Project’ — brilliant, now I can put that in there. So that’s how it evolved — piece by piece by piece.”

Dickinson went on to say that “The Mandrake Project” ended up being “like a continuation of what we had in 2014. Some of the songs were really quite fully formed,” he explained. “I mean, ‘Shadow Of The Gods’ was basically finished almost. ‘Sonata (Immortal Beloved)’, the last track on the record, that is over 20 years old. And I’d even forgotten we’d done it. And it was just a demo. And one evening, Roy was playing me like a jam he’d done. He’d seen the movie ‘Immortal Beloved’, with Gary Oldman, about Beethoven, and he goes, ‘You know what? I’m going to get a little tape loop of [Beethoven‘s] ‘Moonlight’ sonata and just play around with it and put some keyboards and put some guitars and make a little kind of ambient vibe.’ And he played it to me and said, ‘What do you think about this?’ And I went, ‘Oh, it sounds really trippy. I don’t know what I’d sing over that. Let me have a go.’ So I went in. I had no words, I had no melody, I had no idea what I was gonna sing. And I sang 80 percent of that song — made it up on the spot. Lyrics, spoken word — everything. I was just free associating. And we went, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ And I forgot about it. And then Z gave me some stuff. He said, ‘I’ve got a load of demos here. I found a few more.’ And that was on there. So Leana, my wife, heard it. She went, ‘What’s that?’ I went, ‘Well, it’s just a demo we did.’ She goes, ‘It’s amazing!’ I went, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘Don’t you think it’s a little bit trippy on there?’ She goes, ‘No! It’s fantastic! You’ve gotta have that on the record.’ So, I went, ‘Okay. All right.’ So we had to do a little bit of repair — there was no second verse. Because I sang the first verse and I was so, like, ‘Wow, that sounds great. Oh, there’s a chorus! I sang the chorus. God, that sounds brilliant.’ And then the second verse continued. I was, like, ‘Oh no. What do I say now? Oh, there’s a chorus coming up. Hey.’ And then I was back in the groove. So we had to create the second verse, and we had to do a couple of little fix-ups. But by and large, 80% of that take is the first take and the only take, with nothing written down at all. In fact, I had to listen to the song to write what the lyrics were. I didn’t have them written down anywhere. It was just there.”

Last month, Bruce revealed the addition of two new guitarists to his solo touring band. Swedish-born guitarist, songwriter and multi-platinum-credited producer Philip Näslund and Swiss session and touring guitarist Chris Declercq (who incidentally played on Dickinson‘s current single, “Rain On The Graves”) will accompany previously announced members Moreno, Mistheria and Tanya O’Callaghan (bass). Roy Z will not be part of the touring lineup.

The first chance to see the six-piece live will now be at The Observatory in Orange County, California on April 15.

Roy played guitar on Dickinson‘s 1994 album “Balls To Picasso” and went on to produce, co-write and perform multiple instruments on Bruce‘s subsequent three solo albums, “Accident At Birth” (1997),“The Chemical Wedding” (1998) and “Tyranny Of Souls” (2005).

O’Callaghan is an Irish musician who joined WHITESNAKE in 2021 and toured with the David Coverdale-fronted outfit the following year. She also hit the road with Dickinson last year as part of a performance of Jon Lord‘s “Concerto For Group And Orchestra” on nearly a dozen dates in Europe and South America.

Californian drummer Moreno previously played on “Tyranny Of Souls” and has worked with BODY COUNT, Jizzy Pearl, Dizzy Reed and Steve Stevens, among others.

Italian keyboard wizard Mistheria has collaborated with an array of artists live and in the studio, including Rob Rock, Mike Portnoy, Jeff Scott Soto and Joel Hoekstra.

Dickinson made his recording debut with IRON MAIDEN on the “Number Of The Beast” album in 1982. He quit the band in 1993 in order to pursue his solo career and was replaced by Blaze Bayley, who had previously been the lead singer of the metal band WOLFSBANE. After releasing two traditional metal albums with former MAIDEN guitarist Adrian Smith, Dickinson rejoined the band in 1999 along with Smith.

Today Bruce Dickinson at Gibert Disc, Paris 🇫🇷
Pics by Hervé Schultz, thank you so much Nico von Kohlendorf 🤘

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GIBERT DÉDICACE : Bruce DICKINSON

Posted by Julien Grégory on Monday, March 4, 2024

Signing session with Bruce Dickinson, singer of Iron Maiden 🤘🤘

Posted by Kevin Prail on Monday, March 4, 2024


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