The Story Behind Bruce Dickinson’s Nickname ‘The Air-Raid’ Siren

Perhaps one of the most common signs of the relationship between musicians and fans happens when fans give nicknames to their favorite artists in the music scene. Most of these nicknames come from those artists’ unique talents or significant events during their careers, but others have an interesting story.

For instance, Eric Clapton was nicknamed ‘Slowhand’ as he made the audience wait for him to change his strings during shows, or Jimi Hendrix was known as ‘The Bat’ due to his crazy lifestyle. As it seems, Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson‘s nickname ‘The Air-Raid Siren’ had an interesting backstory.

How Was Bruce Dickinson Nicknamed ‘The Air-Raid Siren?’

In 1979, Bruce Dickinson joined the band Samson and became famous under his stage name ‘Bruce Bruce.’ Following that, he left this band in 1981 to join Iron Maiden as Paul Di’Anno’s replacement. With this change in Maiden’s lineup, it’s not a surprise that some fans became displeased.

In an interview with Eddie Trunk, Bruce Dickinson talked about his nickname ‘The Air-Raid Siren.’ He stated that there wasn’t internet trolls back when he got this nickname, but bands were getting complaint letters similar to a troll. Following that, Dickinson recalled when he received a troll letter from a fan.

According to Dickinson, this happened back when he had just joined Iron Maiden and performed with them at the Rainbow Theatre. He said that one of the fans wrote them a complaint letter which read he hates Dickinson as he makes the songs sound like they’re being played through an air-raid siren.

Following this incident, their manager Rod Smallwood thought this was a brilliant idea and invented the nickname. Although it’s not clear whether the fan who wrote the letter was a troll or not, he helped Bruce Dickinson to become known as ‘The Air-Raid Siren.’

During the conversation, Bruce Dickinson recalled the story of his nickname as:

“Obviously, back at that time, you didn’t get trolled like you get trolled now on a professional basis on websites and things because there weren’t any. But you did get letters of complaint, which was similar to a troll. So this guy saw me doing the show at the Rainbow Theatre when I just joined Maiden.

We did five warm-up shows, culminating in one in London. He wrote a letter saying, ‘I hate this new singer! It’s like listening to all my favorite songs being played through an air-raid siren!’ And so Rod Smallwood went, ‘Brilliant! The human air-raid siren!’ And that was how he invented the name.”

You can watch the interview where Bruce Dickinson talks about his nickname below.