Paul Di'Anno interview

"I've done some motherfucking crazy stuff, because of being an idiot and shit, but that's what makes me who I am!"

04/12/2013 @ 11:59
It's Sunday morning in a hotel lounge in Patras, following a great show that took place the night before. Paul Di'Anno seems a little tired, but it's obvious that this man’s spirit is unbreakable. Also, as he confessed in this interview, there are two sides of him and I got to witness a lovely person, with a great sense of humor and honest as it gets. The tears in his eyes when he talked about Clive Burr is one of the most emotional moments I've witnessed when interviewing artists and generally this conversation made me reconsider everything I had in mind for this man. Reading this interview is sometimes like trying to catch his train of thought, but you can't help appreciating the honesty in it...

Paul Di'AnnoHello Paul, thank you very much for your time!
You’re welcome!

How was the show yesterday? How do you feel about it?
Ah, I wasn't very happy! The band is great, it's the first time we played, so obviously everybody was a little bit nervous, but I’ve got a problem with my knees. I got that two new knees put in, so I’m trying to do the best I can and all I ask is that the mic stand should be fucking good. You know, really solid! And it wasn't! None of them! Plus the setlist, I mean what the fuck was this? I didn't feel very good about this, I wasn't happy, so, it was a bit of a calm down after Rock In Rio. It's kind of weird, but I hope tomorrow it will be better in Athens.

I've seen you live a couple of times and I think that your performance was quite good this time, maybe even better than the previous ones...
Oh yeah? (laughs)

Yeah. And it got me thinking about this farewell tour. Why is this your last tour?
To get my knees fixed! (laughs) I've been away a long time and honestly my wife and my son have been around in America for over a year, way over a year, almost a year and a half. Sometimes, you have to do this. Υou've got to say "Enough”! I've given everything in my life for music. Everything! But I’m not prepared to do this anymore, because my kids never see their dad. My boy is 14 and he's at the stage where he needs his father around and I want to be there for him.

Paul Di'AnnoIt’s totally understood, but could this leave a window of opportunity for you to do single shows, for example in Greece?
Well, to me, I think that a word tour doesn't have to be twelve shows or this type of bullshit. I mean, you're on the road for about 5-6-7 months at a time. I play about 250 concerts every year, maybe more, but we kind of slackened off a little bit and I was about ready after Christmas and the USA tour in January-February hopefully. It would be great to see my wife and my son and whatever, but things just slightly changed since Rock In Rio (laughs). I had literally hundreds of thousands of fans saying "Oh please don't quit yet!". But, you kinda start looking after your health as well. My health is fucked and my knees are damaged and because of the painkillers I have to take for my knees, which have steroids inside them, I'm becoming Demis Roussos! (laughs). I'm like "fuck this shit"! So, I'm gonna try and get the balance in between. So, I need a little rest as soon as I stop taking painkillers, cause I’m in fucking pain everyday with my legs. There's no stop, it hurts from morning to night and even in the night, especially after last time, this knee is actually fucking killing me. I get very little sleep because I’m in so much pain, so I have to decide what to do. So, what I’ve come to agree with my wife and my son - because that's as important to them as it is for me - is that I’ll carry on for a little bit longer, instead of quitting after March or April next year, to just extend it until I’ve really had enough. Because,  I’ll tell you one thing. Once it's over there's no coming back. No comebacks, nothing! I mean, there's plenty of other things I could be doing. You know, we have a few other ideas and stuff, about tattoo stores and stuff. It's all very nice having tattoo shops, but I don't tattoo. I used to, but I can't anymore until I take my diploma again. I wanna see that in the coming days, get that one done. Me and my friend Alex, a Brazilian friend of mine. He's never ever been restrained, he always wants to go, he is a pilot for a Brazilian airline and so we decided we're gonna do a big bar in Sao Paulo. He's started doing it anyway so we're gonna branch out and do another one, another rock bar in Sydney and that will be great. He’s gonna come over there for work and I’m gonna show him around where I grew up and it’s gonna be awesome. So, I'm basically going back to Australia.

Paul Di'AnnoThen I suppose you won't stop making music. I guess touring is another part, but you would make another record?
Oh fuck yeah! We're working on one right now! Me and my German guys. I demoed the songs very briefly, but the boys had just came back from the Ukraine tour. I just gave us a rough idea of what it is supposed to sound like and we took one of the songs and we played it live. It's called "Kissed By The Wings Of The Angel Of Death". We can get it on Youtube. The plan was to go to the studio around about Christmas time, before we hit America. Hopefully, it will happen because of the visa bullshit [he raises his middle finger and laughs about his asshole American friends]. But, now, it's all changed, because now we're gonna be in India. We’ll be playing in India, which is going to be great. I haven't been back there for a few years and believe it or not the Indian fans are fantastic, so this is cool. So, we're doing that and then I'll get the demos started eventually, as quickly as I can, and lay 4-5 tracks down. When all the work is done, everything is done, I'll decide for which ones I’ll write lyrics to. Maybe, we'll make a 5-track EP and finish the rest of the album when we've got time and we're ready.

Paul Di'Anno - Clive BurrNow, my favorite part and the most emotional part from yesterday's show was when you dedicated Remember Tomorrow to Clive Burr and you told some nice things about him. You also told that you, Dave and him were the ones fucking around…
Always, always! Always fucking around, me and Clive. We were both like that, we had the same sense of humor, which is all that British stuff, radio stuff, from the 50's and 60's, very famous radio shows, like comedy shows and we were big fans of Frank Zappa. Me, Dave and Clive, would always go everywhere together and we were always fucking around. It was great! Me and Dave used to share a home together, a house up in south London. But yeah, we did that, it was always us three, we always seemed that seemed to be out together, and do this and do that. The sad part of this is that I couldn't be there at the end – it broke my heart! I did it all for Clive. I flew back from Brazil and I don't try to make myself look fucking great or anything, but because it was for Clive. I flew all the way back from Brazil to Paris, to go and do three fucking songs with a band I never played before in my life, because it was for Clive. I've done about 7-8 Clive aid and stuff like that, money for the charity and stuff and it was a pleasure to do it, because he was my friend [editor: he is about to cry]. And the saddest thing is that when he died, I was on tour and I was a mess for days and when we first planned to do “Remember Tomorrow” I couldn't sing it for people. I started breaking up [editor: he goes way too emotional]… it's still difficult to talk about it… When the funeral was happening [editor: Paul is weeping] I was on the plane back to Brazil, so I couldn't be there even for that. I wrote a little eulogy which Mimy, his wife read out and apparently everybody laughed. The reason is because me, him and Dave always tried to piss Steve off. Not in a bad way… I mean, you know… We’d sit and there and drink planning to piss Steve every day. I didn't have time to sit around and sit in a room and cry or anything. I think it's going to be really emotional once I get home, see my wife and see my son and then there will be tears of happiness at that moment and then I think the rest of the floodgates are gonna open and I’ll end up fucking crying like a little girl over losing one of the greatest people I've ever known in my life. Still I’ll defy anybody who tells me there's a better drummer than Clive and I'll tell them that there isn't. He can be all technical like Neil Peart and stuff like that, but no-no-no, no way! Clive was fucking awesome man, he played from the heart. And what Clive was able to do with the drums and the cymbals was fucking amazing, there is no other drummer like that man, not in a million years! Sadly missed, oh I don't know, I can’t deal with that very much…

Dave Murray - Clive Burr - Paul Di'AnnoI guess the best way is to remember the good times, to remember the times that you laughed together.
(Laughs) There were lots of them! There are absolutely lots of them! I'll tell you what! He is a fucker, because when we did the “Live At The Rainbow” DVD – and that was a great tour - the last thing I would do before I went on the stage was to put my boots on and that fucker, he filled up my boots with shaving cream and confetti! I put one foot in and I'm like "what the fuck" and he's laughing his ass off… But, by then I couldn't change, because the intro was playing! It was fucking awful, that bastard! And he shit in the bath once and all… fucker! It's so funny, because we played little tricks on each other with all of the guys.

Paul Di'AnnoThat's great stuff to remember! You also made a statement about Greece about the situation that we're in. I guess you are living a similar thing in Brazil because i think they do have some similar problems…
Mostly social problems, not about money. There is no in-between, you either have a lot of money or you have nothing. Brazil is the sixth richest nation in the world. We have oil, we have everything. Unfortunately, it's a beautiful country, but full of poor people. Hopefully, now with the oil stuff we'll do the same as Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela. Everyone will have a piece of something, you know. They all will have a little piece of the oil. Because of that, many have built new houses, moved a medical station there, a library and schools and that is awesome. I think Brazil can follow that. That would be pretty awesome. Greece already has the education system… Come on man, it’s where civilization started, but I just think it is awful to have these terrible austerity things coming through and I know it's easy to blame Germany, but they are the world's richest nation and they are pulling the strings. But, I still believe that Greece fucking gives too much and should get the fuck out of Euro and the European Community and do what we do in England. Go back to your own money, Drachma or whatever and you’ll be fine. It will be tough, but you'll get there and you won’t have to ask anybody. You can pay your bills when you are ready and not when everybody else is up your ass asking you. It's such a shame to see this, because I come to Greece a lot and my best friend in Brazil, Alex, his family is originally from Greece, from Athens. He's my best buddy and we're partners on things like pubs and stuff and it's sad. When i first got here, his whole family - his father and mother – everybody were on Skype with me… you know “Geia mas” and stuff. I try to go back to Brazil every Christmas and we have our Christmas on Christmas eve. We have a Greek one or maybe kind of a mixed Greek and Brazilian one. It's fucking great man and we've done it for the last 3-4 years now. It's awesome! They come to my house and I go to theirs, pick up Alex, the baby and his wife and then go to his mother and father and they have this huge dinner. It's amazing!

Paul Di'AnnoThat sounds awesome! You know, Greece always loves you, because they get that you are who you are. You never pretended to be anything else than who you really are and people here do appreciate it. Regardless all the bad stuff you’ve been through, you seem to be one of the most honest guys…
...And it got me a lot of trouble! (Many laughs) I can't help myself! I've been really stupid in some ways! I've done some motherfucking crazy stuff, because of being an idiot and shit, but that's what makes me who I am! I didn't put an end when I was really sad. That was unfortunate, but it's just like a part of my journey through life... The best thing to do is not think about it so much just say “fuck it”, get on with it, move on, you know. It was sad, because I was away from my wife. But, yeah, it is what it is, I am honest. I try to be honest and you can't bullshit people, because if you bullshit people they'll catch you at the end anyway. Fucking life has been really tough on me the last couple of years because of this prison shit and because of the tax situation in England. I choose to go back to England every now and then, as I don’t have family and friends or stuff like that. The rest of my family is back in Australia or Brazil or in the States, so, really, technically, I don't really need to go back to England, there is really nothing there for me. I grew up a little bit in England, I worked there but I’m actually from Australia. I don't know, I'll do it just to see my friends and I’ll have all bunch of bullshit coming over me from the fucking government, but I’ll do it anyway. I'm like "fuck it" man. I pay the bills, I pay their fucking taxes but they still give me shit!

Paul Di'AnnoBut they won't fucking tame you!
No, i don't think that they can do that (laughs) . I have my wife to do that… She’s my best friend. As long as you are married to your soul mate and best friend, we have no secrets from each other whatsoever. I don’t fuck around with other girls and stuff like that, she's my one and only for me, we're best friends. We discuss everything together and she knows me so well, which is actually really nice to have, especially with being so much time away from each other. As I said am a jackass, I’m trying, but I can't help it, it's part of my nature. But, when I’m at home I’m a completely other person. I'm very quiet, and I don't mess around, I just spend most of my free time watching cartoons, which is never growing up (laughs)… We’re Scooby Doo fanatics… And that's what we do. There's two sides of me, like with schizophrenia. You see this side of me when I'm on the road, but the side that you wouldn't see is when I'm at home and that's a very private and special place that side you know. I love hanging out with my wife and I love hanging out with my son, cause he's changing and I'm watching him evolve, he's now 14, he's getting interested in girls and everything, it's awesome man. I don't want to be away from that too much you know.  Because, with all the other kids, I wasn't such a good father. I love them all, but I wasn't there for them and I don't want to make that mistake again.

Paul Di'AnnoDo you catch up with today's music? Do you listen to music in general?, Is there any stuff you like?
I do, I do! But not right now, because I'm writing. When I write, I turn it off and I don't want to make music I've heard before. I still listen to punk music all the time. I was just playing the Sex Pistols upstairs just right before I came down and AC/DC. I'm aware of other bands, but I'll tell you what, there ain't much going around which is sort of doing it for me, these 10 -15 years there's some American punk music and crap like that. If there is one American band that's doing it for me that's the Ramones, they're my all time favorite band, but punk is British. It really is! There's one good band in Australia called The Saints who are fucking awesome, that's the sort of stuff I'm still listening to still. I'm aware of other music, but I'm not really that interested in it. It's not got me moving enough to make me want to go and buy it or go and see them playing live. I have a hard time going to see music even if I want to, because it's not about me, it should be about the band I've gone to see and other people have gone to see. But, there'll be a distraction "Oh, look who’s here” (laughs). There's been one time I felt embarrassed, because I'm there to see the other band and the other guys at the concert should be there to see them – it was not about me - so I tend to stay away, I don't go anywhere, which is a shame really. When I'm off the road I'm basically a recluse. I don't go anywhere, just take a hard way down to the store, do a little shopping and then come back, that's about it, I don't do anything else!

So, I don't want to waste anymore of your time, because I know you are too tired…
Oh yeah! When I get to the other hote I got family time and stuff, cause Sunday is my special day with my family…

I need to thank you once again for your time and thank you very much for the interview!
My pleasure mate! No worries!

Chris Karadimitris