23 May 2003 - Nicko's back in the diary zone

Diary from the plane - Time : 1:15pm.
And from the hotel in Gijon - Time : 7:00pm

Well, well, well,
Here we are flying over the wonderful countryside of Northern Spain.
As you will have seen from yesterday’s diary I didn’t get past the first line.
That was because as soon as I had started to write it I had the call to leave for the first gig.
Man what a night!!!

Firstly though I have to step back a few months, well more than a few actually, to be exact, November 2002, last year.

We all got together in a small studio cloistered in a small part of North London.
There we got to grips with the writing of our new opus and most splendid piece of Maiden history to date.
I might add that the finished product IS without a doubt, our best yet.
We kicked off and worked from mid November up until the end of the second week of December when we all had a break to go back to our families and get ready for that most joyous occasion, CHRISTmas and New Year.
After a most splendid break at home we once again gathered in London but this time at Sarm West studios in the heart of Notting Hill Gate.
The studio room that we were using is a very famous room. The likes of the late Mr Hendrix and Bob Marley had made records there amongst such others as Led Zeppelin and whole host of others. I was overwhelmed with the history of the place. It loved my drum kit. The sound of the room is amazing.
Anyway we got the drum sound up and running and in hardly any time at all we had a couple of the new tracks laid down. It was really a great time making this album. The vibe was terrific and we all enjoyed the whole time we were together. We completed the back tracks by mid February and I headed back to Florida to spend time with the family. My son Justin had got the golf bug and so we were playing two or three times a week, HEAVEN on earth.
After a couple of months it was time to head back over the pond and return to SUNNY Blighty to do pictures and a little promo for the album and upcoming tour. We used a location out in Luton for the smudges and we used Mr Simon [blind as a post] Fowler to do the necessary lens duties. We had a great day with him.
The following day we were in London doing yet more Smudges for press and some other shots for the album. A great, yet gruelling, couple of days I’ve yet to see the smudges but am told there’re all out of focus and that we will have to do them all again. No I’m only kidding. According to Rod and Harry, they all look fantastic, especially the ones of the drummer. Tee Hee.

Well that will do for the swift little expletive of what the last six months have been like, so on to the TOUR.


I’m writing this part of the diary in my hotel room in Gijon, which is in the Northern part of Spain.
We left good old England at 1o’clock yesterday on a chartered Lear jet from Stansted airport. No, unfortunately we do not have the old Bruce Goose on this part of the tour and Bruce is enjoying being a passenger this time around. For you lot that may be asking ‘What’s the Kin Bruce Goose’? refer to my diaries from the last tour accessible through this site.
So on board we have our new tour manager Mr Ian [I feel left out] Day, Mr Steve [he’s a geezer] Gadd, Mr Rod [you can’t wear that] Smallwood and the entire band. Taking care of driving duties are Captain Doug Hopkins in the right seat and First officer Tommy Burke in the left seat. They are two top geezers believe me.
After one hour and forty minutes we arrived at La Coruna Spain, we headed straight to the hotel and checked in.
After a little while I popped down to the venue with Adrian to check on the gear. I’m using a floor standing kit on the first four shows so I have to make sure all the bits are in the right place. I have a new custom painted kit, which will be ready for its debut appearance at Donnington. A guy named Wayne Saunders who has become a close friend, has done the necessary paint job, and believe me it looks Kin amazing but I’ll let you lot be the judge on that. So after the old check up on the tubs I head back to the hotel.
I decided to dust off the old computer and get to work on the new diary. Then came the knock on the door.
So off to the venue.
When we arrived the vibe was instant. The band Stray was on stage and was going down great. The audience really were enjoying them.
We all started to get changed and there was a charged feeling in the dressing room.
We have always suffered from a bit of the old stage fright and tonight was no exception.
Just as we were ready to leave for the stage Bruce said that he had a mental block on the words to the beginning of ‘Number of the beast’ so we all had a bit of a laugh and made for the stage.
Rod had already left for his usual place at the out front soundboard and we were led out and up to the stairs at the foot of the stage. There were eleven thousand Spanish fans packed into the sold out basketball arena and from the noise that they were making they sounded like a million. It was crazy. The lights went down the air went blue. I said a wee prayer and took to the stage.
This was our first touring gig in two years and four months almost to the day. So yes we were nervous.
Well you had to be there to have really got the vibe but man it was so electrifying, invigorating and just brilliant. The fans were amazing all the way throughout the show and for our first show in so long we played a great gig.
Thank you to all of our fans around the world that still keep the faith and love to rock out and especially to all of you who were at the show in La Coruna.
You made our first night so very special.
On the way back to the hotel in the van we all felt that we had played a good gig. We had a few shaky moments but we got through them with out any problems. Bruce didn’t forget the words to ‘Number’ and we had a Kin blast as we usually do.
Well it’s nearly time to leave for the show tonight. We’re on stage at ten.
We’re leaving at eight thirty and it’s now eight o clock so until the next diary stay safe and God Bless you all.


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