It's been something of an up and down two weeks for fans of Iron Maiden. On 12 March, just a week before the 10th anniversary of 3 charity gigs at Brixton Academy former drummer Clive Burrdied. That was followed this week by the release of the latest part of the ‘History of Iron Maiden’ series and the UK tour of Steve Harris and his solo project British Lion. The sad news returned last night, however, when it was announced that Steve Gadd has died.
|A typical serious picture with Iron Maiden. Gaddsy being touched by Steve Harris. Lucky man|
Steve wasn't a member of the band, and probably isn't someone who would be known outside of the more dedicated circles of the Iron Maiden family. As someone who was involved with the band for over 30 years though, his part in Maiden history is indisputable.
Gadd originally started out as a drummer in his own right, becoming friends with now Maiden tub-abuser Nicko McBrain and attending auditions together. On the first Iron Maiden history DVD Gadd said he knew Nicko would get the job with Maiden, because he always did, but he knew he would get called back 2 weeks later when Nicko got the sack for shouting his mouth off to his band mates. On this occasion the call never came, how different things might have been if it had.
Once he didn't have Nicko getting all the jobs he auditioned for, Gadd had a couple of more bands before joining Maiden’s Killer Krew for the epic World Slavery Tour in 1984 to be Nicko's drum technician. He stayed in that job until the X-Factour in 1996 when he moved to work alongside Dick Bell on the management side of touring, a job he did up to the Final Frontier world tour in 2011. He has apparently been diagnosed with cancer about a year ago and had been receiving treatment in London where he died.
I had the pleasure of meeting Steve twice, on both occasions when I had won the chance to enter the arena first for a Maiden gig (a competition run by the Fanclub called ‘First to the Barrier’). At Cardiff in December 2006 he was standing on the door making sure that we were allowed into the CIA as soon as possible to escape from the freezing temperatures outside.
I was trying to show off to the others in the queue and shouted out “Let us in Steve” (ooooh check that guy out, he’s such a fan he even knows the name of the crew) to which he looked at me and said “It wouldn't matter if you had the sense to dress properly you daft twat.” All in the best possible jest, even if I did get some stick. By the time I met him again at the last gig of that tour at Earls Court I knew better than to say anything, opting just to smile and nod as I walked past.
As you can tell I would be lying if I said I knew Steve Gadd, but ironically I've met him more than any other member of the band or road crew, and I was genuinely shocked and saddened to hear last night that he had died. It’s also saddening (but not shocking) that there is no news of the death on the Maiden website. Obviously as the Maiden family has grown over the years we don’t want to hear every little happening, but Gaddsy was definitely one of the stalwarts of my favourite band.
|Arguably the two most important non-band members. Dick Bell and Steve Gadd|