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Paul Di'Anno

Paul Andrews (born 17 May, 1958, in Chingford, Essex), better known as Paul Di'Anno, was the first prominent vocalist in the band Iron Maiden from 1978 to 1981.

In his post-Maiden career, Di'Anno has issued numerous albums over the years, as both a solo artist and as a member of such bands as Gogmagog, Di'Anno, Battlezone, Praying Mantis, and Killers.

In the mid-1990s, rumours began to surface that Di'Anno might be rejoining Maiden (after the exit of Bruce Dickinson in 1993), but the speculation proved to be false, as Maiden hooked up with former Wolfsbane vocalist Blaze Bayley, before reuniting with Dickinson in 1999.

By the dawn of the new millennium, Di'Anno was living in São Paulo, Brazil, still playing music and releasing his latest solo album, Living Dead, in 2006.

Paul has had several businesses outside of the music industry which have included an internet cafe and a hotel/restaurant in England, which he has now sold.

He currently lives in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.

Di'Anno is currently recording a new solo album with Paulo Turin, the guitarist who worked on "Feel My Pain" and "Nomad". The album is being produced by Dieter Roth in his own studio in Germany. Recently, all 3 albums by Battlezone have recently been re-released as a box set under the title of "The Fight Goes On".

Career

Iron Maiden (1978–1981)

Di'Anno became the band's singer after the departure of the very unpredictable Dennis Wilcock who had pressured Harris into firing every member of Maiden (including Dave Murray) before becoming fed up himself. According to Iron Maiden's The Early Days DVD he was introduced into the band by drummer Doug Sampson, an old friend of Steve's from his days in Smiler. Their first audition with Rod Smallwood reputedly failed when Paul was arrested for showing off his pocket-knife in public.

1980's self-titled release quickly became acknowledged as a classic of its genre, as the band merged punk's energy with metal's riffs and progressive rock complexity, serving as the blueprint for such future genres as thrash metal and speed metal. 1981 saw the release of their second album, Killers, as well as a stopgap live EP, Maiden Japan. After having cancelled gigs due to Di'Anno's inability and, at times, lack of desire to perform, which has been put down to cocaine abuse and heavy drinking, Iron Maiden decided that to progress they would have to find a singer capable of withstanding the rigours of being on tour. They found a replacement in former Samson frontman Bruce Dickinson.

In 1981 he left Iron Maiden after a meeting between him and the band and its manager Rod Smallwood. In Di'Anno's words: "It's like having Mussolini and Adolf Hitler run your band. Because it is Rod Smallwood and Steve Harris and that's it. There can't be anyone else and my character is too strong for that so me an' Steve was always fighting".

Di'Anno (1983–1985)

Di'Anno was the first project by Paul Di'Anno after he left Iron Maiden. This group was originally called Lonewolf but after certain disagreements with a group already called Lone Wolf, they changed their name and ended up recording only one album under the simple moniker of Di'Anno. On the tour Paul refused to play any Iron Maiden songs (much to the dismay of the crowd), playing only their own songs and a few other covers (most notably Van Halen's version of the Kinks "You Really Got Me" and "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". After minimal success, the six piece band disbanded shortly after they were done touring. The only other items available from this band are a single of "Heartuser", a single Japanese release of "Flaming Heart" and a Sweden VHS release called "Live at the Palace" (today in DVD as "Di'Anno Live From London"). During this performance, the band played an unreleased song entitled "Spiritual Guidance", which Paul told the audience would be on the band's forthcoming new album. This album was never recorded, leading some fans of the Dianno project to speculate that there may yet be more material from 1984/1985 laying around somewhere.

Last known line-up

  • Paul DiAnno - lead vocals
  • Lee Slater - guitars, vocals
  • P.J. Ward - guitars, vocals
  • Kevin Browne - bass, vocals
  • Mark Venables - keyboards, vocals

Gogmagog (1985)

In 1985, Di'Anno was to work on a project with a number of hired musicians. The group, called "Gogmagog", was put together by DJ and record producer Jonathan King. Gogmagog was a rock opera project. King brought in Di'Anno , drummer Clive Burr, guitarists Janick Gers and Pete Willis along with Neil Murray on bass. Russ Ballard was hired to write some songs and a 3 track EP called "I Will Be There" was recorded. However, the EP was not released until after the group had disbanded. The three songs are only demos to be part of an album in which many more songs were written but never recorded.

Battlezone (1985–1989, 1998)

After the break up of his self-titled band, Di'Anno formed Strike whilst in America with drummer Bob Falck (who had used the name Sid Falck while playing drums in Overkill) and guitarist John Hurley. The project was eventually named Battlezone, after a name straight from a comic book, upon the vocalist's return to Britain in 1995. Paul had previously known Battlezone guitarists John Wiggins and John Hurley from awesome bands such as "Deep Machine" and "Iron Cross".

The band's initial line-up comprised Di'Anno, guitarists Hurley and Darren Aldridge, bassist Laurence Kessler and Adam Parsons on drums. The latter had gone under the stage name A.D. Dynamite whilst in "Aunt May". However, Parsons left shortly after to form the London based Glam troupe "Belladonna" and Falck reappeared on the scene in time to record the band's first album "Fighting Back". 1986 also saw the enrollment of former Lonewolf and Tokyo Blade guitarist John Wiggins.

Battlezone performed a club tour of America in 1987 to promote the début 'Fighting Back', but musical differences, arguments and physical fights within the band led to the departure of John Hurley and Bob Falck after the first tour. According to Di'Anno's book "The Beast", Hurley had become an "egomaniac" and the drummer Falck a "liability", so they were thrown out the band. As Hurley and Flack had been responsible for the writing of "Fighting Back" in its entirety, there were concerns about this move. Their places were taken by ex-Persian Risk members Graham Bath and Steve Hopgood respectively following the tour's completion.

The second album to be released was entitled "Children of Madness" and achieved considerable commercial success. It featured a track entitled "Metal Tears" which is about a guy who was unable to have a steady relationship and built a female robot who he subsequently fell in love with. The original idea came from a book titled "Clone". However, the track received criticism from the media for being very similar to a track (entitled "London") on Queensryche's "Rage for Order" album.

Guitarist Graham Bath, who had been recruited to play second guitar, wasn't enthusiastic about touring, so he was fired from the band. Peter West, the bassist, recommended a replacement Alf Batz, who joined just in time to go to New York for the video shoot. The video for "I Don't Wanna Know" was played in rotation on MTV in the US.

Drugs and infighting again put a strain on the band. Towards the end of the final tour, most members had quit leaving Di'Anno to complete the tour with a backing band in order to fulfill his contract.

Subsequently, American guitarist Randy Scott, along with Dave Harman on guitar and Eddie Davidson on bass, signed up with Battlezone. However, the band were without proper management and disbanded shortly after.

Following the break up of Battlezone, Di'Anno and Hopgood formed power metal band "Killers" releasing four albums. Hurley would later form glam rock band "L.O. Girls" and release the "Twelve Bore Honeymoon" single in 1990 and "Just Can't Say I Love You" in 1993. During 1990 Di'Anno fronted Praying Mantis for a tour of Japan which was recorded for the subsequent 'Live At Last' album release with ex-Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton. Wiggins joined a reformed Tokyo Blade in 1995.

By 1998 Di'Anno had resurrected the name Battlezone. Joining him were Wiggins and fellow ex-Tokyo Blade members bassist Colin Riggs and drummer Marc Angel. Second guitars were supplied by Paulo Turin. This line up cut the 'Feel My Pain' album, released by the fledgling "Zoom Club" label. Working titles for the album included "Spoon Face" and "Smack", both containing references to heroin use. The album had a heavier edge compared to the first two Battlezone albums. The band undertook a sell out Brazilian tour in January of 1998 with erstwhile Killers colleagues bassist Gavin Cooper and guitarist Nick Burr joined him on this South American tour.

The band toured Brazil in the same year playing a three week tour to sold out audiences up to 6000 fans a night. Being brought back down to earth Battlezone upon their return home put on a gig at the Walthamstow Royal Standard with an audience of only a hundred or so and a gig at Dudley JB's in the West Midlands attracting fewer than a dozen fans. A live track from the Walthamstow gig later appeared on a compilation of all three Battlezone albums, entitled "Cessation of Hostilities". Ex-Battlezone bassist Gavin Cooper joined Lionsheart in December 2004, then moved onto Statetrooper in May of 2005. The bassist subsequently joined the ranks of Magnum singer Bob Catley's solo band for UK dates in April 2006.

In mid-2008, a Battlezone compilation entitled "The Fight Goes On" was released as on the Phantom Sound & Vision label as a 3 CD box set featuring all 3 Battlezone studio albums.

Last known line-up

  • Paul Di´Anno - Vocals
  • Johnny "Bravo" Wiggins - Guitars
  • Paulo Turin - Guitars
  • Colin Riggs - Bass
  • Mark Angel - Drums

Former/past member(s)

  • John Hurley - Guitars
  • Graham Bath - Guitars
  • Alf Batz - Guitars
  • Randy Scott - Guitars
  • Dave Harman - Guitars
  • Peter Vester - Bass
  • Eddie Davidson - Bass
  • Bob "Sid" Falck - Drums
  • Steve Hopgood - Drums

Praying Mantis (1990)

After being dropped by BMG, Praying Mantis disbanded. Then, in a Spinal Tap-ish twist of fate, Paul Di’Anno called Dennis Stratton in 1989 about the Japanese wanting to a ten-year anniversary of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. The band found themselves enjoying a renaissance in Tokyo, Japan, prompting a reformation and tour in April 1990, which yielded the Live at Last LP.

Killers (1990–1997, 2001–2003)

Killers was formed back in 1990 or in 1991. Cliff Evans was living in New York with the manager of Fastway. Steve Hopgood, who played in Battlezone with Paul previously, called him and outlined his plans for a new band. Paul flew over to New York from LA where they formed a band.

Within a few days they had hired John Gallagher (from Raven) to play bass on a short-term basis and an American, Ray De Tone, on second guitar. Within a few days, a live album called "Assault on South America" was recorded, featuring a number of Iron Maiden and Battlezone tracks and covers of "We Will Rock You" and "Smoke on the Water". This was recorded primarily for the South American market, as a South American "money guy" was involved who was interested in backing a tour in the region. "Recorded in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela in Summer of 1993" is splashed on the back cover. However, according to John Gallagher, the South American tour fell thorough so the entire album was recorded on a mobile recording truck in New York. Later, a Canada-based record company called Magnetic Air Productions was to issue a pirate (bootleg) release worldwide, under a different cover, with no royalties being paid to the band.

Killers then played a showcase for several major record companies including Virgin, EMI, Sony and BMG. Representatives flew into New York from all over the world to see Killers play. They played only Iron Maiden songs because the band hadn't written any material. Maiden songs played included “Phantom Of The Opera” and ”Wrathchild” which evidently impressed a BMG representative enough to give the band a $250,000 contract. BMG were unaware that these songs had been recorded previously.

Once Killers had the record deal they started to write the first album entitled "Murder One". The band moved to Binghampton where they stayed in a motel in which the owner had a set up rehearsal studio. The album was written in about in two weeks. It took only a further month to get it recorded. Drums were subsequently recorded in Vermont in half a day. The album was given finishing touches at The Powerstation in New York.

After the release of Murder One, Paul married an English girl whom he flew in to New York. Drink and drugs took their toll and the marriage quickly fell apart. Paul left New York and moved in with his new American girlfriend in LA. A fight between him and his new girlfriend involving a knife alerted the attention of the LAPD, who came into the apartment and arrested him for spousal abuse, cocaine possession and firearms offences. After a court appearance, he was sentenced to 4 months in the LA County Jail. It was here that Di'Anno began writing songs for the next Killers album and posting them over to the UK, where the band were now living.

Paul Di'Anno returned to the UK after being deported. It was here that the band was signed to Bleeding Hearts records located in Newcastle where they recorded their second studio album. It was entitled "Menace To Society" after a comment made by the LA Judge. However, with a Pantera-like style it was poorly received by many critics with the exception of Metal Hammer magazine in Germany who voted it as the "Best New Album" for that year.

By 2003, Paul and Cliff were to tour as the only original members of Killers remaining. Paul then hired new musicians who he remembered from touring in Germany and Austria. Marcus Thurston was to join the band as second guitarist, Darayus Kaye took over bass duties and Pete Newdeck on drums. Steve had to retire as he developed tinnitus in his ears. The guitarist Graham Bath damaged his hands from playing so much over the years and developed arthritis. According to Di'Anno he had wanted Clive Burr (ex-Iron Maiden) to drum but he couldn't get to rehearsals in time. However, later on Clive was to become severely ill from Multiple Sclerosis.

Last known line-up

  • Paul Di'Anno - Vocals (Di'Anno, ex-Battlezone, ex-Gogmagog (UK), ex-Iron Maiden)
  • Cliff Evans - Guitars (Chicken Shack, Headfirst, Tank)
  • Graham Bath - Guitars (Persian Risk, Sphinx)
  • Brad Weiseman - Bass
  • Steve Hopgood - Drums (ex-Battlezone, ex-Chinatown, ex-Jagged Edge, Persian Risk, Shy, Tank, Wild)

Former/past member(s)

  • John Gallagher - Bass (1991–1992) (Raven)
  • Ray Ditone - Guitars (1991–1992)
  • Nick Burr - Guitars (1992) (ex-Battlezone)
  • Gavin Cooper - Bass (1992–1994) (ex-Battlezone)

Nomad /Di'Anno 1999–2001, 2003–2008)

Following the demise of the new Battlezone unit put together in 1998, Di'Anno teamed up with expat Brazilian guitarist Paulo Turin and lived in São Paulo during 2000. A new band was created initially under the banner of "Nomad" and featured an all Brazilian line up. It was economically and logistically preferable for Di'Anno to live in Brazil during this period to tour South America and release a self-produced album pleasing to that particular market. The album was distributed by Perris Records. However, complete worldwide distribution was not achieved.

The album was repackaged and released as "The Living Dead". The package included a DVD video for the title track. This was recorded in the East London Docks and directed by Swedish director Mats Lundberg, who went to London to work on the concept with Di'Anno's manager Lea Hart. All of the special effects were added in Sweden and the story line was based on the lyrics and message of the song. Few previously released live Iron Maiden tracks were also added to the CD.

RockFellas (2008)

Late 2008, Di'anno relocated to the southeast of Brazil and toured with a new band/project named ROCKFELLAS with 3 Brazilian musicians: Jean Dollabella (drummer) ex-Diesel/Udora/now in Sepultura, Marcão (guitarrist) ex-Charlie Brown Jr/now in TH6 and Canisso of Raimundos/ex-Rodox, playing Rock and Roll & Metal classics as:

SET LIST

   * Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf
   * You Really Got me - The Kinks
   * Kill the Poor- Dead Kennedys
   * Anarchy in the UK - Sex Pistols
   * Blitzkrieg Bop - Ramones
   * Helter Skelter- Beatles
   * Paranoid - Black Sabbath
   * Search And Destroy - Iggy Pop and the Stooges
   * Ace of Spades - Motorhead
   * Heroes - David Bowie
   * Jumping Jack Flash - Rolling Stones
   * Ain't Talkin' About Love - Van Halen
   * Sunshine of Your Love - Cream
   * Light My Fire - The Doors
   * Child in Time - Deep Purple
   * Seven Nation Army - White Stripes (AudioSlave version)
   * Highway to Hell - AC/DC
   * Gimme All Your Loving - ZZ Top
   * I Love Rock'n'Roll - Joan Jett
   * Message in a Bottle - The Police
   * Detroit Rock City - Kiss
   * Breakin' the Law- Judas Priest
   * I Fought the Law - The Clash
   * My Generation - The Who
   * Low Rider - War
   * Superstition - Stevie Wonder
   * On a Plain - Nirvana
   * Symphony of Destruction - Megadeth
   * School's Out - Alice Copper
   * Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed
   * Sanctuary (Punk Version) / Wrathchild - Iron Maiden

The Beast

Di'Anno has released a biography titled The Beast (ISBN 1-904034-03-9) and has allegedly had interludes with various drugs. The book includes a chapter of stories and comments regarding Di'Anno from former bandmates including Dennis Stratton, John Wiggins and Steve Hopgood.

Singing style

In comparison to his successor in Iron Maiden, Di'Anno is remembered for having a more "punk" sound to his singing. Though Di'Anno was able to hit high-notes, his overall scale was not as broad as that of Dickinson. Though he typically sang with a raspy sound, he was capable of singing with a more clean voice as demonstrated by slower numbers like Remember Tomorrow, Strange World and Prodigal Son.

His vocal style would later be highly influential in the thrash metal genre, with thrash and post-thrash vocalists such as James Hetfield, Phil Anselmo, Tom Araya, and Dave Mustaine citing him as an influence.

Later in his career Di'Anno's style, along with his music, became darker and more aggressive.

Religion

Di'Anno is an atheist, and has a tattoo that says "666" and "GOD = SUCKER" on the back of his head. According to his autobiography, he converted to Islam in the 1990s after reading the Koran. However he has subsequently admitted: I think religion kills everybody. I don’t believe in it. ... No, my father was a Muslim, I must admit. But I don’t give a fuck. In later interviews Di'Anno clarifies that he never was a true Muslim, that he never stopped drinking, but tried to become a better person by applying some of the Muslim philosophies to his life. According to his autobiography, he has claimed to be Muslim, Catholic, Jewish and even Aborigine.

Band Timeline

Note: List excludes Di'Anno's many guest appearances on tribute albums.

  • Iron Maiden (1978–1981)
  • Di'Anno (1983–1985)
  • Gogmagog (1985)
  • Paul Di'Anno's Battlezone (1986–1989)
  • Praying Mantis (1990)
  • Killers a.k.a. Paul Di'Anno's Killers a.k.a. Paul Di' Anno & Killers (1990–1997)
  • The Original Iron Men (1995–1996)
  • Paul Di'Anno (1997)
  • Paul Di'Anno's Battlezone (1997–1998)
  • The Almighty Inbredz (1999)
  • Paul Di'Anno (1999–2000)
  • Di' Anno (2000)
  • Paul Di'Anno's Killers a.k.a. Paul Di' Anno & Killers (2001–2003)
  • Paul Di'Anno (2003–2005)
  • Paul Di' Anno & The Phantoms of the Opera (2005–present)

Discography

with Iron Maiden

with Di'Anno

  • Di'anno, 1984
    • "Flaming Heart", 1984
    • "Heartuser", 1984
  • Nomad, 2000

Solo

with Battlezone

with Killers

with Gogmagog

with Dennis Stratton

  • The Original Iron Men (1995)
  • The Original Iron Men 2 (1996)
  • As Hard As Iron (1996)

with Praying Mantis & Paul Di'Anno, Dennis Stratton

  • Live At Last (1991)

Other projects and compilations featuring Paul Di'Anno

  • Metal for Muthas, 1980 (with Iron Maiden)
  • All Stars NWOBHM, 1990
  • True Brits, 1993
  • True Brits 2, 1994
  • True Brits 3, 1995
  • Killer Voices, 1995
  • Metal Monsters, 1996
  • Metal Christmas a.k.a The 21st Century Rock Christmas Album, 1996
  • The Almighty Inbredz, 1999
  • Classic Rock, Classic Rockers, 2002
  • "Tribute to Van Halen," 2006

References

External links

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