Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson recently attended the New York premiere of the IFC documentary Monty Python: Almost The Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut), for which he was interviewed. It is airing through Thursday and comes out on DVD next week. Maiden fans have long known that after their concerts are over, the group puts on “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” from the film Life Of Brian. The late Python member Graham Chapman appeared in the video for “Can I Play With Madness,” directed by Julian Doyle, who also helmed Crowley (the movie written by Dickinson and inspired by his Chemical Wedding solo album) and edited the Monty Python films Life Of Brian and The Meaning Of Life. There’s always been a cheeky sense of humor that Dickinson and Maiden have possessed that certainly mirrors the absurdity that Python embraced in their heyday. A.D.D. caught up with Dickinson on the red carpet of the IFC premiere to get his take on the legendary British comedy troupe. (For my interviews with the Pythons, click here.)
How much influence has the comedy of Monty Python had on Bruce Dickinson, the songwriter, writer and screenwriter?
I don’t know really because it’s [in your] childhood DNA, things like that. If somebody says “Upper Class Twit Of The Year” it takes me right back.
How old were you when first saw Monty Python?
How much of a cultural impact did it have on England at the time?
It was huge, absolutely huge. It was compulsory viewing. At least 50% of the parents in the land thought it was so insane that it was morally reprehensible, and they banned their children from watching it. The BBC were going to take it off the air.
What did your parents think?
They just thought it was weird. That’s good, isn’t it? Anything your parents think is weird is definitely a good thing to watch when you’re 11 or 12 years old.
Will we ever see an Eddie painting that’s an homage to Monty Python?
You don’t need to do any homages to Monty Python. We’ve got this documentary. Just watch the original.
Is there any one sketch that you really love?
All the classic ones stick with you. I should have done my homework really and come up with a list of them all. As you wander along you think of another one. We’ve had the Cheese Shop sketch. We’ve had the “Upper Class Twit Of The Year” and the Parrot Sketch. I don’t suppose if you ever took Latin in school, but if you did Latin with a psychopathic Latin teacher, then the bit [in Life Of Brian] with Brian where he’s doing the graffiti and gets all his tenses wrong, hits home rather close and personal.
(Special thanks to Gail Flug for her Maiden history lesson.)