Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson said he was the victim of beatings regularly during his teenage years.

He attended a boarding school in England during the ‘60s, where bullying was rife and there was nowhere to hide after the day’s lessons had ended.

“I was on my own in boarding school and I got the shit kicked out of me on a regular basis. Like, every night,” Dickinson told The Quietus in a new interview.

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“The lights would go out in the dormitory and 15 kids would beat the crap out of me. It was pretty horrible, but it builds up a degree of magical toughness which stood me in good stead.”

He added: “Not that I’d recommend it. There are other ways of doing that which are less unpleasant.”

Asked how he’d dealt with the trauma, Dickinson said: “I built up an overinflated sense of self-esteem… You can either go, ‘Oh, I must deserve it.’ Or you go, ‘You’re a bunch of idiots. You won’t hit me again. It won’t hurt.’

“You build up this shield of mental invulnerability because that’s the only way you can deal with it. It’s not generally useful because you don’t want to go wandering around under an invisible shield. It makes you aloof and distant.”

Why Bruce Dickinson Throws ‘Shit-fits’ On Stage

In the same interview, he explained how a form of invisibility was useful in his performing career – and how he struggled with being pulled out of it by wayward fans.

“I regard myself when I’m onstage as being essentially transparent,” he said. “That’s the only way I can deal with the level of intensity that’s happening – removing myself from the equation and letting the song take over.”

He continued: “Sometimes, if I throw a shit-fit at some guy in the audience, it’s because they’ve behaved in a way that’s broken the spell. That’s infuriating, because you were so in that moment of actual non-existence. It looks like you’re there, but actually you’re not. You’ve vanished into the music and the show – that’s what propels you, that’s what you’ve become.”

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When ranking Iron Maiden albums, perhaps the most striking thing is that they succeeded despite changing lead singers on three separate occasions.

Gallery Credit: Eduardo Rivadavia

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