In 2019, Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson snapped his achilles tendon and the incident occurred as the band was secretly working on their 17th album, which we now know is titled Senjutsu, and he even recorded some of the songs while standing on crutches and wearing a medical boot.
While tracking the last Maiden record, 2015's The Book of Souls, Dickinson laid down his vocals despite have a cancerous tumor on the back of his tongue. At the time, he didn't seek a medical opinion, having assured himself of exactly what the condition was, and immediately sought a consultation once vocal tracking had been completed.
Once again, the singer did not let a medical setback impact his job in the recording studio, as he explained in an interview for a cover story by Kerrang!, where he also detailed other elements of Maiden's off-the-radar operations.
Senjutsu was recorded at Guillaume Tell Studios in Paris with longtime producer Kevin 'Caveman' Shirley in 2019, before Maiden stepped back out on the road for another leg of their venerated 'Legacy of the Beast' world tour.
The frontman had previously disclosed this injury while also revealing he more recently had a hip replacement, and in this new interview, he offered some insight as to how it impacted him on the studio before reclaiming the stage with Maiden.
“I did the last couple of tracks of recording on crutches, in a boot – one of those big boots you have to wear to immobilize your leg," he recalled.
"So, I bust it at the end of April [in 2019]. Thirty-six hours later I was on the slab having it stitched back together. And then 24 hours after the operation, I was in the studio, singing, with my leg the size of a fucking balloon," Dickinson continued.
Offering a summary of the recovery phase, the singer (who will turn 63 this August) added, "It was a month in a boot. I took it off and then I had another two weeks of rehab. Then I had four months to try to learn to walk again before the tour. That tour of America and South America, all those big shows, I couldn’t walk properly, so I just faked it."
He was amazed that fans, especially in South America, did not realize that the hyperactive frontman had altered his usual onstage routine of running and jumping across a massive stage for two full hours.
Elsewhere in the interview, Dickinson revealed that Maiden accidentally dropped a 'WOTW' clue far earlier than they had anticipated. The cryptic clues were part of an exhaustive teaser campaign that preceded the release of the new song "The Writing on the Wall" and, later, the Senjutsu album announcement, but a lot of meticulous planning almost went belly-up.
The clue first appeared in the cover art for last year's Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City release, but was quickly removed, save for the vinyl edition with a poster.
"It was all a mistake! My partner saw something online about the Mexico live album and said, ‘You know 'Writing On The Wall' is on the album artwork?’ And I went, ‘Fuck off. Really? Shit, it is, too,'" he realized. "We were worried that was a leak about the album because it had been done for ages," Dickinson continued.
As for that new song and its epic, Easter-egg intensive, animated video companion, that actually came about due to Rammstein's high-profile "Deutschland" music video.
"I said to Rod [Smallwood, Iron Maiden manager], ‘Have you seen the video for 'Deutschland' by Rammstein?’That, to me, is a groundbreaking video. That’s astonishing. Now, I’m not suggesting we do that, because we’re not Rammstein. But think of what we could do that would have the equivalent impact for us. So, I wrote storyboard for the vid, tweaked it a little bit, and gave it a happy ending. Well, kind of a happy ending – Adam and Eve start again, but with Eddie going, ‘I’ll still get you in the end,'" explained the frontman.
Read the full interview at Kerrang! and get the full details about Iron Maiden's Senjutsu, which comes out Sept. 3, here.