Monday, May 28, 2012

Iron Maiden

Sam Dunn recently had a series running on VH1 Classic called: Metal Evolution, and at the beginning of each show, they start the credits with Iron Maiden’s song “The Trooper” (from Piece of Mind). I love Iron Maiden, but mostly I like their first two albums. I even just got their first album for the first time for Christmas, after having grown up with it on a tape someone else made for me. But there is a point to this, and it has to do with marketing (surprise!): for Iron Maiden has always used a mascot I don’t particularly like: Eddie.

I know, I know: everybody loves Eddie. And it’s not that I dislike Eddie in and of himself; it’s just that I just don’t see why they chose Eddie instead of an actual iron maiden as their mascot. If I had been their art director or marketing guy, I would have said to make an iron maiden their logo/mascot, and to have one on every album cover, and to have a big iron maiden suit that someone could wear onstage that opens up and spills blood and a skeleton out of it. But had I done that, maybe they wouldn’t be so popular! Every metal fan seems to love Eddie, so maybe it’s why they’re so big. But personally, I think it’s the music for which they are enormously popular, and Eddie is a complete and total non sequitur, negating the great imagery that could have come from using an iron maiden as a mascot for Iron Maiden.

But you know, maybe I’m too literal. I used to play in bands in New York City, and I was a big fan of the band Helmet at the time, when I was playing a lot of the same clubs they were (CBGB's, etc.). When I first heard of them, it was when I met their drummer through a mutual friend, and he said he was in a band called “Helmet”, and I said: “Oh, cool: do you guys all wear helmets on stage?” Well, he thought that was silly. But still, I think this kind of thing is good for imagery and branding purposes. KISS made it big on imagery, and they’re about as big as you can get, so I don’t understand why so many bands fight the imagery thing. But then again, that was the late 80s/early 90s, and everyone was really down on stage shows at the time, calling anyone who did one a “sellout”. Of course, four random guys with T-shirts and jeans got old really fast, so pretty soon we started to get more stage shows going, like from The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black and White Zombie. (But then again, I think White Zombie was doing it before and throughout the whole hipster anti-stage-show-thing. They were really something when they were a NYC bar band! Just amazing!)

So, where was I again? Oh, yes: Iron Maiden. Yeah, I kinda think they should have used an iron maiden as their mascot; it would have been way more appropriate. Then they could have had album titles like Horrors of the Black Museum, Put to the Question, etc., and they could have used that great last shot from the movie The Pit and the Pendulum of Barbara Steele's eyes staring through the closed iron maiden as liner notes art, or printed it on the surface of a cd or something. Now come on, honestly: wouldn't that have been fun?