No. 21

March 01, 2015

No one ever knows the surprises that life can present. Recently, at a routine checkup with his doctor, Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson was confronted with one of those surprises .... cancer. Apparently a suspicious discoloration on his tongue led to his doctor ordering further tests and biopsies where it was later revealed the singer has a small cancerous tumor on the back of his tongue. Thankfully it was caught in the early stages, signs are that the prognosis is good, and Dickinson is expected to make a full recovery which could happen as early as May of this year. He has been undergoing treatment since December and just completed a seven-week course of chemotherapy and radiation. It will take several more months to fully recover and return to his fit self.

The singer made headlines last year at the Sonisphere festival in England where like a daredevil he participated in a reenactment of a World War I dogfight in a 100-year-old plane over the festival grounds. Footage of the airshow showed scenes from all angles, including Dickinson's cockpit. Dickinson who has long had interests in aviation also indulged his passion in air travel last year by investing a reported $450,000 in what is being deemed the "world's longest aircraft," called the Hybrid Air Vehicle. Dickinson told the BBC last March, "It's a game-changer, in terms of things we can have in the air and things we can do. The airship has always been with us, it's just been waiting for the technology to catch up"

The Iron Maiden frontman was born Paul Bruce Dickinson on August 7, 1958 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. He began his career in music fronting small pub bands in the 1970s while attending school in Sheffield and university in London. In 1979, he joined the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the band Samson, with whom he gained popularity and performed on two studio records. He left Samson in 1981 to join Iron Maiden, replacing original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di'Anno, and debuted on the 1982 album The Number of the Beast. As frontman for the band, they released a series of albums in the 80's which went gold and platinum in the UK and US, resulting in Dickinson gaining worldwide fame, and becoming one of the most acclaimed heavy metal vocalists of all time.

Dickinson quit Iron Maiden in 1993 in order to pursue his solo career, which saw him experiment with a wide variety of heavy metal and rock styles. He was replaced by singer Blaze Bayley, but then rejoined the band in 1999, along with guitarist Adrian Smith. Outside his career in music, Dickinson is well known for his wide variety of other pursuits. Most notably, he undertook a career as a commercial pilot for Astraeus Airlines, which led to a number of media-reported ventures such as captaining Iron Maiden's converted Boeing 757 during their world tours. Dickinson presented his own radio show on BBC Radio 6 Music from 20022010, and has also hosted television documentaries, authored novels and film scripts, created a successful beer with Robinsons Brewery and competed at fencing internationally.

During the 19861987 Iron Maiden tour, Dickinson started writing his first book. Inspired by the novels of Tom Sharpe, in addition to Biggles and Penthouse, he created The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace, which Kerrang! magazine described as "a satirical swipe at fetishism among the upper classes", and whose title character is a "semi-transvestite" British land owner. Following its completion, Dickinson approached publisher Sidgwick & Jackson, who agreed to publish the book based on Iron Maiden's album sales alone. The book was released in 1990 (ISBN 0-283-06043-3), where the novel sold more than 40,000 copies almost immediately. Due to the high demand, Sidgwick & Jackson asked Dickinson to produce a sequel, which became 1992's The Missionary Position (ISBN 0-283-06092-1), a satire of televangelism. Dickinson has turned his hand to scriptwriting, co-authoring Chemical Wedding with director Julian Doyle. The film, in which Dickinson played a few small cameo roles and composed the soundtrack, was released in 2008 and starred Simon Callow.

We're all wishing Bruce a speedy recovery and hoping for the best in his battle with cancer. It is a shame to see such a talented singer become afflicted with such a deadly disease. It just further affirms how important it is to see a doctor regularly and catch such afflictions in their early stages where the success of cures are much higher. Bruce is a trooper and we would expect nothing less than his fighting with all he has. Iron Maiden had just finished their 16th studio album prior to his diagnosis and we may still expect it could still be released in 2015. Up the irons !!!

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