Tuesday, January 02, 2018

What Does This Button Do?: An Autobiography by Bruce Dickinson

(hb; 2017: autobiography)

From the inside flap

"A long-awaited memoir from the larger-than-life, multifaceted lead vocalist of Iron Maiden, one of the most successful, influential and enduring rock bands ever.

"Pioneers of Britain’s nascent Rock & Metal scene back in the late 1970s, Iron Maiden smashed its way to the top, thanks in no small part to the high-octane performances, operatic singing style, and stage presence of its second, but twice-longest-serving, lead singer, Bruce Dickinson. As Iron Maiden’s front man—first from 1981 to 1993, and then from 1999 to the present—Dickinson has been, and remains, a man of legend.

"But OTT front man is just one of the many hats Bruce wears. In addition to being one of the world’s most storied and well-respected singers and songwriters, he is an airline captain, aviation entrepreneur, motivational speaker, beer brewer, novelist, radio presenter, and film scriptwriter. He has also competed as a world-class level fencer. Often credited as a genuine polymath Bruce, in his own words (and handwritten script in the first instance!), sets forth many personal observations guaranteed to inspire curious souls and hard-core fans alike.

"Dickinson turns his unbridled creativity, passion, and anarchic humour to reveal some fascinating stories from his life, including his thirty years with Maiden, his solo career, his childhood within the eccentric British school system, his early bands, fatherhood and family, and his recent battle with cancer."


Button is a light, fast, highlights-of-Dickinson’s-life read that focuses on the events, elements and people who shaped his life, his musical beginnings and career, and his other interests (flying airplanes, writing sex farce novels and fencing). If you are looking for details about his and others’ romantic relationships, dirt on other people, and other sleazy aspects of the rock ‘n’ roll world, you are likely to be disappointed. While there are mentions of sex and drugs (briefly mentioned, usually indulged by others) and profanity, from time to time, this is a relatively clean and respectful-of-others read that timelines Dickinson’s life thus far.

Button is a good offering for what it is, a fast-moving book that often feels like Dickinson is a tour guide focusing on the positive, not the salacious ─ a wise choice, considering how much it has allowed him to accomplish in his life.

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