Bruce Dickinson Shares His One Regret About Leaving Iron Maiden

In a recent interview with Classic Rock, Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden talked about his career, his upcoming solo project, and his departure and eventual return to the band.

Dickinson’s decision to leave Iron Maiden in 1993 was driven by a desire for self-discovery. While he doesn’t regret leaving Iron Maiden, Dickinson wishes he had a better plan and sees it as a spur-of-the-moment decision. Explaining if he would do the same again, the singer told Classic Rock the following:

“I would have done, yes. I wouldn’t have changed that, but I would have done it better [laughs]. I would have had more of a plan.”

During the period following his departure, Dickinson explored a variety of musical styles and released several solo albums. However, the transition was not without its challenges. The singer described feeling ‘institutionalized’ by his time in Iron Maiden, saying:

“It was a shock – hang on a minute, when did this happen? And I thought, what do I do about that? I made the decision that I either stay in Iron Maiden and become institutionalized for the rest of my life, or I have to leave.”

Dickinson Previously Said He Yearned to Explore Life Beyond Maiden

Back in 2022, Dickinson again reflected on the time he left Iron Maiden, saying he felt confined within the band’s identity. The singer admitted he was surprised about his decision to leave as well, saying:

“Honestly, I was as surprised as anybody else. I don’t think people really believed that at the time. I just thought that if I stayed with Maiden forever, all I would learn about was what it was like to be in Maiden. And in order to learn what it was like outside Maiden, you have to leave because, unless you left, nobody would take anything that you did seriously.”

As Dickinson made it clear back then, he didn’t want to look at the past in regret. So, instead, he took an action:

“It would always be, like, ‘Oh, bless him. He’s doing a solo record. Let him have his fun, and then he can go back to being in Iron Maiden.’ I hated that. So I thought, ‘F*ck it. I’ll just leave.’ And people said, ‘What happens if your solo career doesn’t work out?’ I said, ‘Well, that’s God or fate, saying maybe that’s for the best.’ And I said it’s better to take a chance now and do something else with your life than sit there somewhere in the fantasy world and end up just grumpy.”

In 1999, Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith made their return to Iron Maiden, reuniting with Steve Harris and the rest of the band. With his reunion, facilitated by manager Rod Smallwood, both parties put past tensions behind them.

Dickinson Continues His Solo Career Along With Iron Maiden

Along with his role in Iron Maiden, Dickinson’s solo endeavors continue. With the release of his first solo album in 19 years, ‘The Mandrake Project,‘ set for March 1, Dickinson is once again stepping into the spotlight. Produced by long-time collaborator Roy Z, the album is accompanied by a comic book series and a tour.

For ‘The Mandrake Project’ tour, Dickinson announced the addition of guitarists Philip Naslund and Chris Declercq, with Roy Z unable to join due to personal commitments. Details are available here.

Meanwhile, Iron Maiden’s ongoing ‘Future Past World Tour’ sees the band performing classics and new material to fans around the globe. Supporting their seventeenth studio album, ‘Senjutsu,’ the tour features a setlist that includes ‘Alexander the Great’ for the first time. You can get your tickets here.