Bruce Dickinson Admits His Inspiration For His New Show Is Sting’s ‘Englishman’
Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson opened up about the inspiration behind the format of his spoken word show during a recent interview with BBC Radio 2 and stated that it was Sting’s ‘Englishman’ Quentin Crisp‘s one-man show that he watch when he was a university student.
Sting released ‘Englishman in New York’ as the third single from his second studio album, ‘…Nothing Like the Sun’ in October 1987. Despite only reaching number 51 on the UK Singles Chart when it first released, the song peaked at number 84 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April 1988 and reached number 32 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart that same month in the United States.
The legendary track which gained worldwide recognition was written about gay icon Quentin Crisp who was a professional model for life classes in art colleges as well as being an actor, writer, and humorist as well as being the ‘Englishman’ of the title of the song which was composed not long after Crisp had moved from London to an apartment in the Bowery in Manhattan.
During a recent interview, Bruce Dickinson revealed how he came up with his spoken word show which included the introduction of his biography ‘What Does This Button Do?’ that combines his three decades with the band, as well as his childhood, and apparently, he was inspired by the ‘Englishman in New York’ for his show.
After seeing Quentin Crisp’s one-man stage show which was a long-running hit both in Britain and America, as a student in university with his then-girlfriend, Iron Maiden frontman was mesmerized by Crisp’s wit and ability to entertain the audience with his humor, therefore, wanted to apply that spirit into his own show as well.
According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Dickinson said:
“When I did this biography, What Does This Button Do? … they said, ‘Well, let’s go on a short tour doing readings from the book. And I went, ‘Well, that’s a bit boring. Why would anybody just turn up? They can read the book themselves.’ So I sort of enhanced it with a few ripe stories, and it went down very well. And then I added to it with a bit of improv. So the last 45 minutes is based on something that I saw Quentin Crisp do, of all people.
When I was at uni, my then-girlfriend took me to see An Evening With Quentin Crisp … He was incredibly witty, fantastically entertaining. The last half of the show, though, was him coming out and riffing off of cue cards that the audience had written for him. And I always remembered it.”
You can listen to ‘Englishman in New York’ below.