Iron Maiden's Nicko McBrain reveals that he offered to quit after a live mistake

Nicko McBrain
(Image credit: Ralph Notaro/Getty Images)

Iron Maiden drummer, Nicko McBrain has revealed that he was once so convinced that he would be fired from the band after missing a cue from vocalist Bruce Dickinson during a gig, that he offered to quit the band.

Nicko made the revelation while speaking to Chris Jericho on his Talk Is Jericho podcast, recalling the moment in question related to a live date at the Hammersmith Odeon 1984 during Iron Maiden’s Powerslave tour which was being recorded by the band’s producer Martin Birch for what would eventually become Live After Death.

Jericho asked the drummer, “Has there ever been times where you almost got to a trainwreck and you just got to keep playing?”

“We were doing Flight of Icarus and Bruce always, before you’d get a kick out of it, he goes, ‘Scream for me Hammersmith, Scream for me Hammersmith, Scream for me…’ Three times. It always was three times.

“One of the nights, he goes, ‘Scream for me Hammersmith, Scream for me Hammersmith…’ and he didn’t get to the third one, and I counted it in.

Not wanting to stop and derail the song entirely, Nicko opted to carry on playing, much to the surprise of his bandmates. “So they all ended up flying up to the drum riser, and they were all standing in the steps in front of me going, ‘What the fuck are you doing?!’”

“I went from this massive, ‘Yeah, I’m playing really well,’ to, ‘Oh my god, what did he just do?’ I thought, ‘I’m not gonna get fired, I’m gonna leave the band.’ So I’ve gone out when we finished the gig, I’ve gone into the dressing room, and I said to the guys, ‘I’m really sorry. You don’t have to fire me, I’ll just leave…’

“Everyone started laughing. Martin Birch came in, he said, ‘That was priceless!’ I did ask him about it years and years ago, and he said there was a quarter-inch tape that was running the whole show – not just the two-inch magnetic stuff that we had because it was all analogue in those days. [Birch] said, ‘I’ve got that in my attic, I’ll get it out one day just to embarrass you.’ So that was quite an experience."

Iron Maiden’s latest album, Senjutsu is out now.  

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.