Ex-IRON MAIDEN Singer PAUL DI’ANNO Reconnects With KISS After 42 Years

Former IRON MAIDEN singer Paul Di’Anno met the members of KISS for the first time in 42 years this past Saturday night (July 9) when the legendary rockers performed in Zagreb, Croatia as part of their “End Of The Road” farewell tour.

Di’Anno, who has been receiving physiotherapy and lymphatic drainage treatments in Croatia in preparation for his long-awaited knee surgery, supported KISS with MAIDEN on the former band’s 1980 “Unmasked” European tour. On that trek, IRON MAIDEN played 27 concerts and for the first time visited countries such as Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. This run of shows undoubtedly opened the European doors wide for MAIDEN and helped Steve Harris and company become one of the biggest metal bands of all time.

At the time, Di’Anno told U.K. journalist Geoff Barton that he and his bandmates were “having an amazing time” supporting KISS. “We came over expecting nothing, but it’s been so good,” he said. “Touring with KISS is one of the best moves we’ve made. They’ve been so great to us, I’m knocked out.”

MAIDEN guitarist Dave Murray agreed, saying: “KISS have been terrific. On our first gig with them we had trouble with our equipment; it was delayed at some border or other. It eventually arrived about an hour before we were due to go on, so that was okay. But all during the day [KISS bassist/vocalist] Gene Simmons had been saying to us, ‘Don’t worry, boys — if your gear doesn’t turn up, we’ll make sure you don’t have to cancel.’ Gene was prepared to lend us some of KISS’s guitars and drums; he even sent someone out to see if he could hire a backline for us. It was a nice gesture.”

Added Di’Anno: “KISS could’ve ignored us but they’ve been really helpful, really encouraging. We often notice the band members in the wings, watching our show. They like to see [MAIDEN’s mascot] Eddie warming up the crowd; they love that. [KISS guitarist] Ace Frehley got so carried away, I even saw him climbing up the lighting rig to get a better view — platform boots and all.”

A photo of Di’Anno with all four members of the current KISS lineup, as well as Chris Dale (who played bass on current MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson’s 1996 album, “Skunkworks”) and Chris’s son Archie, can be seen below.

Di’Anno recorded two classic albums with IRON MAIDEN — a self-titled effort in 1980 and “Killers” in 1981 — before being fired and replaced by Bruce Dickinson. He went on to front a number of other bands, including KILLERS and BATTLEZONE, and released several solo records.

Last month, Stjepan Juras, a MAIDEN fan and author of many MAIDEN-related books, who is taking care of Paul while he has been in Croatia, revealed on Facebook that the 64-year-old singer will undergo three operations over two days in July. The procedures will be followed by a period of hospital recovery, intensive care and rehabilitation, including re-learning of walking. If all goes well, Paul should be able to walk fully by the end of 2022. However, if the set of treatments fails, then a leg amputation will be the only option.

In May, Di’Anno came face to face with MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris for the first time in three decades before the band’s concert in Croatia.

Harris, whose group kicked off the 2022 leg of its “Legacy Of The Beast” world tour at the 22,000-capacity Arena Zagreb, came out before the show to greet a wheelchair-bound Di’Anno and chat with him for a few minutes.

After his friendly meeting with Harris, Di’Anno stuck around long enough to watch some of MAIDEN’s performance before leaving near the end of the set to avoid a huge traffic jam after the show.

Di’Anno spoke about his experience meeting Harris in person after all these years in a live video chat with Canada’s The Metal Voice. He said: “[That] weekend was absolutely amazing. ‘Cause me and Steve [have exchanged messages] about football [in the past]. But we actually hadn’t met [face to face] for a long time. And it was brilliant, because I met up with Steve’s sister Linda first, whom I hadn’t seen her in about 30 years. And then [seeing] Steve was amazing, and then [meeting up with MAIDEN’s longtime manager] Rod [Smallwood] as well, it’s made my whole year, actually. It was fantastic. It was pretty awesome.”

Paul went on to say that the last time he saw Rod was in 2013 when both he and MAIDEN performed — separately — at Brazil’s Rock In Rio festival.

“I missed the MAIDEN show because I got swamped by bloody press and stuff, so I couldn’t actually do anything to watch the band,” he explained.

Asked if it was “awkward” meeting up with Steve for the first time in 30 years, Paul said: “No. It was great. I wish I wasn’t in this sort of position [being in a wheelchair]. Yeah, it was quite emotional. If it had been the first time we spoke together in 30 years, it would have been maybe a little bit more weird. But, as I said, we talk about football and stuff like that, and Steve phoned me up a couple of times from [his home in] the Bahamas.”

Calling himself and Harris two “happy-go-lucky geezers” from London’s East End, Paul went on to say that he owes Steve dinner “big time, because he looked after my missus and son over in the States on the last MAIDEN tour in Connecticut, in Hartford. He really looked after them — gave them backstage VIP stuff and all of that. It was great. So when I get my legs back, I’ll take him out to dinner.”

According to Paul, Steve called him the day after the MAIDEN show in Croatia but he missed his call. “But I did text him back,” Di’Anno said.

Paul also set the record straight about where he stands with respect to his former band, saying: “What annoys me is that everyone’s spreading rumors around that we don’t like each other and stuff like that. I ain’t got nothing [against] IRON MAIDEN at all. I tell you, the show was brilliant on Sunday — absolutely amazing.”

More than a decade and a half ago, Di’Anno told The Jerusalem Post that leaving the MAIDEN juggernaut behind was the best thing that ever happened to him, and that he had no bitter feelings toward his former bandmates. “I absolutely have no regrets about leaving MAIDEN — I wasn’t right in the head at that time to be in the middle of all that,” he said. “I was fed up and disillusioned; it would have been cheating the fans and myself if I had stayed. It was easy to walk away from, and I’m very happy the band got bigger and bigger.”

Several years ago, Di’Anno told Metal Thunder Radio that he wasn’t as involved with MAIDEN’s songwriting as he would have liked. “Steve had most of the words and the lyrics [to the band’s first album] all written. That was some of the bones of contention that we had in the band — that I didn’t get to write as much as I wanted to. ‘Cause I am actually quite a prolific writer, but a lot of my songs were not accepted. ‘Cause it’s Steve’s band, obviously.”

He continued: “That first album was a revelation, I’ve gotta tell you. It was amazing. And the second album, for me, not so much. That’s when I started to lose interest a little bit. But [we] still [had] great times — really great times.”

In May, Paul played his first full solo concert in seven years at the Bikers Beer Factory in Zagreb. The show was filmed and parts of it will be included in a documentary about Di’Anno, to be directed by Wes Orshoski, co-director and producer of the acclaimed 2010 film “Lemmy” about the MOTÖRHEAD icon.

The Zagreb concert was free to attend and was held as a way of thanking Paul’s fans for their help during the most difficult time of his recovery. The show took place just a day before the IRON MAIDEN’s gig at the Zagreb Arena.

In February, Di’Anno outlined some of the recent health issues he has battled during an appearance on the “Još Jedan” podcast. He said at the time: “I caught sepsis [when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body] in 2015, and it almost killed me. And I spent eight months in a hospital in England. You’ve got a crucial 45 minutes to get as many antibiotics in you before you die, and they managed to do that, which was great. Then I spent eight months in a hospital, and then another three months in a care home. And while I was in there getting things done, on hospital visits, I caught MRSA [Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an infection caused by a type of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections] there twice, in the hospital. So that was it. So it kept delaying things and delaying things… And then they took this knee out put this cement thing in. And it was only supposed to be in there for a year. And the first time they put that in, it broke, so they cut me open again and put another in. And that one is still in here. And while it’s been in there this long, it’s going toxic.”

Di’Anno reportedly underwent an operation in 2016 to remove a “rugby ball-sized abscess” on his lungs and required a knee-replacement operation on both knees after getting involved in several motorcycle accidents over the years.

As previously reported, Paul recently teamed up with several Croatian musicians to form a new project called WARHORSE. WARHORSE recently entered the studio to record three songs, two of which — “Stop The War” and “The Doubt Within” — were released in May as a special DVD single along with Paul’s video message to all fans who bought the single and thus helped raise funds for his upcoming operation.

The WARHORSE single is Di’Anno’s first music release after a seven-year hiatus due to severe health issues. The band was formed by Di’Anno and two guitarists/authors, Hrvoje Madiraca and Ante “Pupi” Pupačić.

WARHORSE plans to record an entire album in a very short period of time, so that they can announce their first performances in the summer of 2023.

WARHORSE released 666 bundles containing the DVD single and event t-shirt from Paul’s comeback concert in Zagreb as part of a pre-sale and in less than two months almost all of them were sold out. Some of the last remaining signed copies are available from www.maidencroatia.com/warhorse.

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