Bruce Dickinson recalled making a “gobby” jibe about Iron Maiden being better than Metallica as he tried to persuade Steve Harris that he should rejoin the band in 1999.

The duo spoke after Harris had decided to end the tenure of Blaze Bayley, who’d replaced Dickinson five years previously. In a new interview with Classic Rock, the classic-era singer said that the idea of a reunion had come from band manager Rod Smallwood.

“Steve was very suspicious,” Dickinson explained of the meeting at Smallwood’s home. “He said: ‘Why do you wanna come back?’ I actually said, ‘I want to come back, Steve, because, in the words of my mates, “The world needs Iron Maiden” – and secondly I think we can make amazing music.'”

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Asked if he’d felt Maiden needed him back too, Dickinson said: “Probably. But there was no point in saying that, because it would have sounded like sour grapes. What I said was, ‘We will sweep away the past by doing an amazing future.’

He also lit a fire under his longtime musical partner by comparing Iron Maiden to the current kings of metal.  ”The first words out of my gobby mouth were, ‘Of course we are better than Metallica!’ People said: ‘You can’t say that.’ I said, ‘I just did!’ Then they started going, ‘Maybe he’s right.’”

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He argued: “You’ve got to have that attitude, though. It’s like Mick Jagger didn’t get to be Mick Jagger by sitting there going, ‘Oh, we’re quite good, you know – we’re almost as good as the Beatles.’”

Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith both rejoined in 1999, with Smith’s replacement, Janick Gers, remaining a member. The sextet went on to release Brave New World in 2000. “I also told them… ‘We are not to just do greatest hits albums – we are going to do a new album and it will be fucking great,’” Dickinson said of the reunion meeting. “And it was. Brave New World really delivered. So suddenly we’re off to the races again.”

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Metal legends kicked off inaugural festival.

Gallery Credit: Bryan Rolli

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