Bruce Dickinson Admits Stealing Bongos To Be A Drummer Like Bonham

Bruce Dickinson tried to be the John Bonham of bongos but fell short.

The Iron Maiden vocalist recently spoke to The Big Issue for his Letter to My Younger Self and recalled his early days as a younger musician:

“I decided to be the John Bonham of the bongos – but then realized I could sing! I tried acting and had loved it, but it was more like acting up. At least I knew I loved performing. So I stole some bongos from the music room to try to be a drummer.”

He tried to be a drummer but performing was more attractive for him:

“It didn’t work out, but in the process, I discovered I could sing. And singing and running around on stage felt like theatre. So that set me on my way – I kept the theatrical part, the prog bit, a bit from Arthur Brown, a bit of the Deep Purple vibe and then there was Sabbath and it all came together.”

Dickinson’s Other Drum Influences

Besides Bonham, Ian Paice of Deep Purple and The Who’s Keith Moon were also big influences on the singer. In a chat with Gastão Moreira on the Brazilian MTV show Fúria in 1998, Dickinson noted:

“I don’t know what I was thinking back then. But I was just really, really, fired up by these bands. When I used to see gigs I used to look on stage and go ‘Oh, I wanted to be up there, you know. I wanted to be up there, doing that.’ I wanted to be a drummer. Actually, I wanted to be Ian Paice from Deep Purple. He was like [the] God of drums to me.”

He added, sharing how he gave up on drumming:

“I had this idea that I was going to be like Ian Paice but the personality of Keith Moon. So I was like: ‘Yeah, I would be like this big crazy guy behind the drums. But I would be able to play drums really, really good as well.’ Then reality came crashing in. I thought ‘I can’t afford a drum kit and I can’t drive a car. So how I’m gonna get my drums around? [I was depressed] and then I found out I could sing. So I thought ‘Wow, that’s the answer.'”

Dickinson ended his 2024 U.K. solo tour on May 24 in London. The show at O2 Forum Kentish Town was the last of six stops, including Wolverhampton, Glasgow, Manchester, Swansea, and Nottingham.