Paul Andrews (born 17 May 1958, in Chingford, London), better known as Paul Di'Anno, is an English singer best known as the first vocalist to record with the iconic band Iron Maiden, from 1978 to 1981.
In his post-Maiden career, Di'Anno has issued numerous albums over the years, as both a solo artist and as a member of such bands as Gogmagog, Di'Anno's Battlezone, Praying Mantis, and Killers.
Iron Maiden (1978–1981)
Di'Anno grew up in Chingford, England - spending his teenage years singing in various rock bands and working as a butcher and chef. He became the band's singer after the departure of the very unpredictable Dennis Wilcock, who had pressured Iron Maiden founder and bassist Steve Harris into firing every member of the band (including Dave Murray), before becoming fed up himself. According to Iron Maiden's The Early Days DVD, he was introduced to the band by drummer Doug Sampson, an old friend of Harris' from his days in the band 'Smiler'. It was around this time that he first adopted the stage name Di'Anno, which he would later use to claim Italian descent. Their first audition with Rod Smallwood reputedly failed when Paul was arrested for showing off his pocket-knife in public. 1980's self-titled release quickly became acknowledged as a classic of its genre, as the band merged punk's energy with metal's riffs and progressive rock complexity, serving as the blueprint for such future genres as thrash metal and speed metal. 1981 saw the release of their second album, Killers, as well as a stopgap live EP, Maiden Japan. After having cancelled gigs due to Di'Anno's inability and, at times, lack of desire to perform, which had resulted from cocaine abuse and heavy drinking, Iron Maiden decided that to progress they would have to find a singer capable of withstanding the rigours of being on tour. They found a replacement in former Samson frontman Bruce Dickinson.
In 1981, Di'Anno left Iron Maiden after a meeting with the band and their manager Rod Smallwood. In Di'Anno's words: "It's like having Mussolini and Adolf Hitler run your band. Because it is Rod Smallwood and Steve Harris and that's it. There can't be anyone else and my character is too strong for that so me an' Steve was always fighting". Di'Anno was paid out by Smallwood at the time of his departure and does not receive royalties on Iron Maiden songs.
Di'Anno was the first project by Paul Di'Anno after he was fired from Iron Maiden. This group was originally called Lonewolf but after disagreement with a group already called Lone Wolf, they changed their name and ended up recording only one album under the simple moniker of Di'Anno. On the tour Paul refused to play any Iron Maiden songs (much to the dismay of the crowd), playing only their own songs and a few other covers (most notably Van Halen's version of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me" and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"). Having little success, the six-piece band disbanded shortly after they were done touring. The only other recordings available from this band are a single of "Heartuser", a Japanese single of "Flaming Heart" and a Sweden-only VHS release called Live at the Palace (also available on DVD as Di'Anno Live from London). During the latter performance, the band played an unreleased song entitled "Spiritual Guidance", which Paul told the audience would be on the band's forthcoming album. This album was never recorded.
Last known line-up:
Paul Di'Anno - lead vocals
Lee Slater - guitars, vocals
P.J. Ward - guitars, vocals
Kevin Browne - bass, vocals
Mark Venables - keyboards, vocals
In 1985, Di'Anno was to work on a project with a number of hired musicians. The group, called "Gogmagog" (see the Biblical book Ezekiel 38:1-2), was put together by DJ and record producer Jonathan King. Gogmagog was a rock opera project. King brought in Di'Anno, drummer Clive Burr, guitarists Janick Gers and Pete Willis along with Neil Murray on bass. Russ Ballard wrote the title song with King writing the other two songs and the 3 track EP called "I Will Be There" was recorded. However, although much praised by rock critics, the EP did not chart and the group disbanded.
Battlezone (1985–1989, 1998)
After the breakup of his self-titled band, Di'Anno formed Strike whilst in America with drummer Bob Falck (who had used the name Sid Falck while playing drums in Overkill) and guitarist John Hurley. The project was eventually named Battlezone, after a name straight from a comic book, upon the vocalist's return to Britain in 1985. Paul had previously known Battlezone guitarists John Wiggins and John Hurley from bands such as Deep Machine and Iron Cross.
The band's initial line-up comprised Di'Anno, guitarists Hurley and Darren Aldridge, bassist Laurence Kessler and Adam Parsons on drums. The latter had gone under the stage name A.D. Dynamite whilst in Aunt May. However, Parsons left shortly after to replace Vince Hoare in the London-based glam band Belladonna (formed by former Hell's Belles vocalist Paul Quigley, with Paul Lewis, Jeff Fox and Neil Criss) and Falck reappeared on the scene in time to record the band's first album Fighting Back. 1986 also saw the enrollment of former Lonewolf and Tokyo Blade guitarist John Wiggins.
Battlezone performed a club tour of America in 1987 to promote the début Fighting Back, but musical differences, arguments and physical fights within the band led to the departure of John Hurley and Bob Falck after the first tour. According to Di'Anno's book The Beast, Hurley had become an "egomaniac" and the drummer Falck a "liability", so they were thrown out the band. As Hurley and Flack had been responsible for the writing of Fighting Back in its entirety, there were concerns about this move. Their places were taken by ex-Persian Risk members Graham Bath and Steve Hopgood respectively, following the tour's completion.
The second album to be released was entitled Children of Madness and achieved considerable commercial success. It featured a track entitled "Metal Tears", which is about a guy who was unable to have a steady relationship and built a female robot who he subsequently fell in love with. The original idea came from a book titled "Clone". However, the track received criticism from the media for being very similar to a track (entitled "London") on Queensrÿche's Rage for Order album.
Guitarist Graham Bath, who had been recruited to play second guitar, wasn't enthusiastic about touring, so he was fired from the band. Peter West, the bassist, recommended a replacement Alf Batz, who joined just in time to go to New York for the video shoot." The video for "I Don't Wanna Know" was played in rotation on MTV in the US.
Drugs and infighting again put a strain on the band. Towards the end of the final tour, most members had quit leaving Di'Anno to complete the tour with a backing band in order to fulfil his contract.
Subsequently, American guitarist Randy Scott, along with Dave Harman on guitar and Eddie Davidson on bass, signed up with Battlezone. However, the band were without proper management and disbanded shortly after.
Following the breakup of Battlezone, Di'Anno and Hopgood formed the power metal band Killers releasing four albums. Hurley would later form glam rock band L.O. Girls and release the "Twelve Bore Honeymoon" single in 1990 and "Just Can't Say I Love You" in 1993. During 1990, Di'Anno fronted Praying Mantis for a tour of Japan, which was recorded for the subsequent Live At Last album release with ex-Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton. Wiggins joined a reformed Tokyo Blade in 1995.
By 1998, Di'Anno had resurrected the name Battlezone. Joining him were Wiggins and fellow ex-Tokyo Blade members bassist Colin Riggs and drummer Marc Angel. Second guitars were supplied by the Brazilian Paulo Turin. This line-up cut the album Feel My Pain, released by the fledgling "Zoom Club" label. Working titles for the album included "Spoon Face" and "Smack", both containing references to heroin use. The album had a heavier edge compared to the first two Battlezone albums. The band undertook a sold-out Brazilian tour in January 1998, with erstwhile Killers colleagues bassist Gavin Cooper and guitarist Nick Burr joining on this South American tour.
The band toured Brazil in the same year playing a three-week tour to sold-out audiences up to 6000 fans a night. Being brought back down to earth, Battlezone upon their return home put on a gig at the Walthamstow Royal Standard with an audience of only a hundred or so and a gig at JB's Dudley in the West Midlands attracting fewer than a dozen fans. A live track from the Walthamstow gig later appeared on a compilation of all three Battlezone albums, entitled Cessation of Hostilities. Ex-Battlezone bassist Gavin Cooper joined Lionsheart in December 2004, then moved onto Statetrooper in May 2005. The bassist subsequently joined the ranks of Magnum singer Bob Catley's solo band for UK dates in April 2006.
In mid-2008, a Battlezone compilation entitled The Fight Goes On was released as on the Phantom Sound & Vision label as a 3-CD box set featuring all 3 Battlezone studio albums.
Last known line-up:
Paul Di´Anno - Vocals
Johnny "Bravo" Wiggins - Guitars
Paulo Turin - Guitars
Colin Riggs - Bass
Mark Angel - Drums
John Hurley - Guitars
Graham Bath - Guitars
Alf Batz - Guitars
Randy Scott - Guitars
Dave Harman - Guitars
Peter Vester - Bass
Eddie Davidson - Bass
Bob "Sid" Falck - Drums
Steve Hopgood - Drums
Praying Mantis (1990)
After being dropped by BMG, Praying Mantis disbanded. Then, in a Spinal Tap-ish twist of fate, Paul Di’Anno called Dennis Stratton in 1989, about the Japanese wanting to have a ten-year anniversary of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The band found themselves enjoying a renaissance in Tokyo, Japan, prompting a reformation and tour in April 1990, which yielded the Live at Last LP.
Killers (1990–1997, 2001–2003)
Killers was formed back in 1990 or 1991. Cliff Evans was living in New York with the manager of Fastway. Steve Hopgood, who played in Battlezone with Di'Anno previously, called him and outlined his plans for a new band. Di'Anno flew over to New York from L.A. where they formed a band.
Within a few days, they had hired John Gallagher (from Raven) to play bass on a short-term basis and an American, Ray De Tone, on second guitar. Shortly afterward, a live album called Assault on South America was recorded, featuring a number of Iron Maiden and Battlezone tracks and covers of "We Will Rock You" and "Smoke on the Water". This was recorded primarily for the South American market, as a South American "money guy" was involved who was interested in backing a tour in the region. "Recorded in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela in Summer of 1993" is splashed on the back cover. However, according to John Gallagher, the South American tour fell thorough so the entire album was recorded on a mobile recording truck in New York. Later, a Canada-based record company called Magnetic Air Productions issued a pirate (bootleg) release worldwide, under a different cover, with no royalties being paid to the band.
Killers then played a showcase for several major record companies including Virgin, EMI, Sony and BMG. Representatives flew into New York from all over the world to see Killers play. They played only Iron Maiden songs because the band hadn't written any material. Maiden songs played included "Phantom of the Opera" and "Wrathchild" which evidently impressed a BMG representative enough to give the band a $250,000 contract. BMG were unaware that these songs had been recorded previously.
Once Killers had the record deal, they started to write the first album entitled Murder One. The band moved to Binghamton, where they stayed in a motel in which the owner had a set up rehearsal studio. The album was written in about in two weeks. It took only a further month to get it recorded. The album was recorded at The Powerstation in New York, with the exception of the drums, which were recorded at White Crow Audio (Burlington, Vermont) in half a day.
After the release of Murder One, Di'Anno married an English girl, whom he flew in to New York. Drugs and alcohol took their toll and the marriage quickly fell apart. Di'Anno left New York and moved in with his new American girlfriend in LA. A fight between him and her involving a knife caught the attention of the police, who came into the apartment and arrested him for spousal abuse, cocaine possession and firearms offences. After a court appearance, he was sentenced to spend four months in an L.A. jail. It was here that Di'Anno began writing songs for the next Killers album and posting them over to the UK, where the band were now living.
Di'Anno returned to the UK after being deported. It was here that the band was signed to Bleeding Hearts records located in Newcastle, where they recorded their second studio album. It was entitled Menace to Society after a comment made by the L.A. Judge. However, with a Pantera-like style it was poorly received by many critics with the exception of Metal Hammer magazine in Germany who voted it as the "Best New Album" for that year.
By 2003, Di'Anno and Cliff Evans went on tour as the only original members of Killers remaining. Di'Anno hired new musicians whom he remembered from touring in Germany and Austria. Marcus Thurston joined the band as second guitarist, Darayus Kaye took over bass duties and Pete Newdeck went on drums. Steve Hopgood had to retire as he developed tinnitus in his ears. The guitarist Graham Bath damaged his hands from playing so much over the years and developed arthritis. According to Di'Anno, he wanted Clive Burr (ex-Iron Maiden) on drums, but he couldn't get to rehearsals in time. Later on, Burr was to become severely ill from multiple sclerosis.
By 2004, Killers had disbanded. Cliff Evans, the former Killers guitarist and last original member of the band apart from Di'Anno, subsequently formed his own record company called Soundhouse Records and re-released the entire Killers back catalogue with the addition of another live album entitled Killers Live at the Marquee in 2008. Murder One album was reissued with 2 acoustic bonus tracks - "Wrathchild" and "Dreamkeeper". Following this, Paul Di'Anno made both Killers studio albums available for download free of charge through his own website. Following legal action, Evans was forced to cease selling any Killers material on his label.
Last known line-up
Paul Di'Anno - Vocals (Di'Anno, ex-Battlezone, ex-Gogmagog (UK), ex-Iron Maiden)
Cliff Evans - Guitars (Chicken Shack, Headfirst, Tank)
Graham Bath - Guitars (Persian Risk, Sphinx)
Brad Wiseman - Bass
Steve Hopgood - Drums (ex-Battlezone, ex-Chinatown, ex-Jagged Edge, Persian Risk, Shy, Tank, Wild)
John Gallagher - Bass (1991–1992) (Raven)
Ray Ditone - Guitars (1991–1992)
Nick Burr - Guitars (1992) (ex-Battlezone, ex-Idol Rich, ex-Tyrant, now Bad Back Band)
Gavin Cooper - Bass (1992–1994) (ex-Battlezone)
Nomad /Di'Anno (1999-2001, 2003-2008)
Following the demise of the new Battlezone unit put together in 1998, Di'Anno teamed up with expat Brazilian guitarist Paulo Turin and lived in São Paulo during 2000. A new band was created initially under the banner of "Nomad" and featured an all Brazilian line up. It was economically and logistically preferable for Di'Anno to live in Brazil during this period, in order to tour South America and release a self-produced album pleasing to that particular market. The album was distributed by Perris Records. However, complete worldwide distribution was not achieved.
The album was repackaged and released as The Living Dead. The package included a DVD video for the title track. This was recorded in the East London Docks and directed by Swedish director Mats Lundberg from Doom Films, who went to London to work on the concept with Di'Anno's manager Lea Hart. All of the special effects were added in Sweden and the story line was based on the lyrics and message of the song. Few previously released live Iron Maiden tracks were also added to the CD.
Late 2008, Di'anno relocated to the southeast of Brazil and toured with a new band/project named RockFellas with three Brazilian musicians: Jean Dolabella (drummer) ex-Diesel/Udora/Sepultura, Marcão (guitarist) of Charlie Brown Jr. and Canisso of Raimundos/ex-Rodox, playing rock & roll and metal classics. There, he was nicknamed "Paulo Baiano" ("Paulo" = Paul in Portuguese, Baiano = Who was born in Bahia), (vfs), being the "Paulo Baiano" nickname a pun/joke, for his name, Paul Di'Anno, is pronounced in a very similar way to the nickname above.
Di'Anno was, before being jailed in March 2011, recording a new solo album with Paulo Turin, the guitarist who worked on Feel My Pain and Nomad. The album was being produced by Dieter Roth in his studio in Germany. However, work on the album ceased due to record company problems.
Paul maintains an extensive world tour schedule including two recent trips through America where traditional metal band, Icarus Witch served as both his opening and backing band. In June 2012, Paul Di'Anno was given the Freedom of The City of Bariloche in Argentina for charitable work carried out several years ago.
Di'Anno has released an autobiography titled The Beast (ISBN 1-904034-03-9) and has had interludes with various drugs. The book includes a chapter of stories and comments regarding Di'Anno from former bandmates including Dennis Stratton, John Wiggins and Steve Hopgood.
In comparison to the soaring, operatic vocals of his successor in Iron Maiden, Di'Anno is remembered for having a more guttural "punk" sound to his singing, in part because he began his singing career in punk band the Paedophiles. Though Di'Anno was able to hit high-notes, he does not typically sing in Dickinson's trademark high tenor range. He usually sang with a raspy and rougher sound, although he was capable of singing with a purer voice as demonstrated by slower numbers like "Remember Tomorrow", "Strange World" and "Prodigal Son". Di'Anno's vocal style has influenced many singers of speed and thrash metal bands such as Udo Dirkschneider of Accept, James Hetfield of Metallica, John Bush of Armored Saint and Anthrax, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Tom Araya of Slayer, Dave Poole of Copstabber and Phil Anselmo of Pantera and Down.
Later in his career Di'Anno's style, along with his music, became darker and more aggressive.
Di'Anno has had several businesses outside of the music industry, including an internet cafe and a hotel/restaurant in England, both of which he sold. He was last resident in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
In February 2011 Di'Anno was convicted by on eight counts of benefit fraud for claiming more than £45,000 under false pretences. On 11 March 2011, he was jailed for nine months at Salisbury Crown Court. He has since been released early from prison, having only served two of the nine months to which he was sentenced.
Di'Anno's religious affiliation is made uncertain by his own words; he has given interviews that contradict each other on this subject, perhaps as a practical joke. He has a tattoo on the back of his head that says "666" and "GOD = SUCKER". According to his autobiography, he converted to Islam in the 1990s after reading the Qur'an. However he has subsequently reversed that position: I think religion kills everybody. I don’t believe in it. ... No, my father was a Muslim, I must admit. But I don’t give a fuck. In later interviews Di'Anno clarifies that he never was a true Muslim, that he never stopped drinking, but tried to become a better person by applying some of the Muslim philosophies to his life. Again according to his autobiography, he has claimed to be Muslim, Catholic, Jewish and even Aborigine.
Note: List excludes Di'Anno's many guest appearances on tribute albums.
Iron Maiden (1978–1981)
Paul Di'Anno's Battlezone (1986–1989)
Praying Mantis (1990)
Killers a.k.a. Paul Di'Anno's Killers a.k.a. Paul Di' Anno & Killers (1990–1997)
The Original Iron Men (1995–1996)
Paul Di'Anno (1997)
Paul Di'Anno's Battlezone (1997–1998)
The Almighty Inbredz (1999)
Paul Di'Anno (1999–2000)
Di' Anno (2000)
Paul Di'Anno's Killers a.k.a. Paul Di' Anno & Killers (2001–2003)
Paul Di'Anno (2003–2005)
Paul Di'Anno & Maiden England (2005)
Paul Di'Anno & Children of the Damned (2002–present)
Paul Di' Anno & The Phantoms of the Opera (2005–present)
with Iron Maiden
The Soundhouse Tapes (1979)
Live!! +one (1980)
Iron Maiden (1980)
Maiden Japan (also known as Heavy Metal Army) (1981)
Live at the Rainbow (VHS, 1981)
The First Ten Years (VHS, 1990)
From Here to Eternity (VHS, 1992)
The Story So Far Part One (Boxset, 1995)
Best of the Beast (1996)
Eddie Head (Boxset, 1998)
Eddie’s Archive (Boxset, 2002)
The Early Days (DVD, 2004)
Live at the Palace (VHS, 1984)
"Flaming Heart" (1984)
Live at the Palace (DVD, 2005)
The World's First Iron Man (1997)
As Hard as Iron (1997)
Beyond the Maiden (The Best Of) (1999)
The Masters (1999)
The Beast (Live, 2001)
The Beast in the East (DVD, 2003)
The Living Dead (a re-release of Nomad with bonus tracks, 2006)
The Maiden Years - The Classics (2006)
Iron Maiden Days and Evil Nights (2007)
The Early Iron Maiden Songbook (2010)
Fighting Back (1986)
Children of Madness (1987)
Feel My Pain (1998)
Cessation of Hostilities (Compilation with all three studio albums Battlezone released + Children of madness demo tracks and one new live track, 2001)
The Fight Goes On (Boxset including all three Battlezone studio albums, 2008)
with Killers a.k.a. Paul Di' Anno & Killers
Murder One (1992)
South American Assault Live (1994)
Menace to Society (1994)
New Live & Rare (1998)
Killers Live at the Whiskey (2001)
Screaming Blue Murder - The Very Best of Paul Di'Anno's Killers (2002)
I Will Be There EP (1985)
with Dennis Stratton
The Original Iron Men (1995)
The Original Iron Men 2 (1996)
As Hard As Iron (1996)
with Praying Mantis & Paul Di'Anno, Dennis Stratton
Live At Last (1991)
with The Almighty Inbredz
The Almighty Inbredz (1999)
Metal for Muthas (with Iron Maiden, 1980)
Kaizoku (1989, Song: „Danger on the Street II“)
All Stars Featuring The Best Of British Heavy Metal & Heavy Rock Musicians (1991, Song „She is danger“)
True Brits (1993)
True Brits 2 (1994)
True Brits 3 (1995)
Rock Hard Hard Rock (1994, Songs: „No Repair“, „She goes down“)
X-Mas: The Metal Way (1994)
Killer Voices (1995)
Metal Monsters (1996)
Metal Christmas a.k.a. The 21st Century Rock Christmas Album (1996)
Hard ’n’ Heavy Rock (2001, Song: „Lights Out“)
Wacken Rocks (2001, Song: „Wrathchild (live)“)
Classic Rock, Classic Rockers (2002)
Metal Masters – Killers (2005, Song: „Killers“)
Rock Hard – Das Festival (2007, Song: „Prowler (live)“)
on tribute albums
666 The Number One Beast (Iron Maiden Tribute) (1999)
666 The Number One Beast Volume 2 (Iron Maiden Tribute) (1999)
The Maiden Years (Iron Maiden Tribute) (2000)
Gimme all your Top (ZZ Top Tribute) (2000)
The Boys are back (Thin Lizzy Tribute) (2000)
Only UFO can rock me (UFO Tribute) (2001)
Another Hair of the Dog (Nazareth Tribute) (2001)
Numbers from the Beast – An All Stars Tribute to Iron Maiden (2005)
World’s Greatest Metal – Tribute to Led Zeppelin (2006)
An ’80s Metal Tribute to Van Halen (2006)
English Steel: Start 'em young (1993, Song: „She goes down“)
English Steel: Lucky Streak Vol. II (1994, Songs: „Danger“, „Dirty“)
Aciarium: The Heavy Metal Superstars (1996)
Re-Vision: Longevity (2001)
Spearfish: Back, for the Future
Destruction: Inventor of Evil (2005)
Attick Demons: Attick Demons (2010, Song: "Atlantis")
Wolfpakk: Wolfpakk (2011)
Prassein Aloga: Midas Touch (2011, "See the Bodies" und "Flesh of Life")
Scelerata: The Sniper (2012) (Guest vocals, co-writing, composing)
Rushmore: Kingdom Of Demons (2013)
Jake E. Lee album: tba (2013)