Posts Tagged Iron Maiden
Anne Echols is an amazingly talented writer from Atlanta who has just released her third book, A Tale of Two Maidens. She is a brilliant teacher and a wonderful human being. I was honored to get a chance to talk to her last week about her new book, Joan of Arc and, of course, Iron Maiden.
For those folks out there who haven’t read it, tell us a bit about what A Tale 0f Two Maidens is about…
The book is about a fifteen-year-old Felise who is an apprentice scribe in medieval France. She dreams of escaping her cruel guardian, who plots an arranged marriage for her. She dreams of being a writer and a book shop owner. The Hundred Years War rages all around her, even spilling into her town. This takes place at the time that Joan of Arc blazes onto the scene as a teenage girl who claims God-given powers to change the fate of France. Joan inspires Felise to run away and embark on a daring adventure of her own.
Every day draws her further into the underbelly of a life she has never known — a world of lepers and vagabonds, brawling men and loose women. Burning villages and terrified peasants are left behind in the path of war as Joan tries to free France from the English. When a young suitor from home pursues her, Felise finds herself drawn to him despite her quest for freedom and her distrust of men.
Following after the army, Felise meets Joan face to face and soon finds herself torn between Joan’s single-minded sense of purpose and her own desire for love and personal fulfillment.
Lepers and vagabonds! Sounds like she went to a Poison concert. What was the inspiration for writing A Tale of Two Maidens?
I wrote two other books (both non-fiction) about women in the Middle Ages. Joan of Arc has always fascinated me since I read saint’s tales about her and I wanted to understand the truth about her. I researched her life and found out that there were Joan imitators both before and after her death — false Joans who went around pretending to be her. That gave an idea for my book — to see how she influenced ordinary women of her time.
Joan of Arc figures prominently in your book. What do you think she was like in real life?
Blunt; down to earth; practical; bad-tempered; pious and celibate; fiercely loyal to the Dauphin (deposed prince); illiterate. Didn’t like dressing as a guy at first but I think she kind of got into it after a while. She would hear the sound of church bells and lapse into a vision of her saints but then snap out of it and go off and lead her men into battle. I don’t think she liked the adulation of the crowds and certainly didn’t believe that she could perform miracles. I think she truly cared about her soldiers — almost like a big sister.
If Joan of Arc were alive today, what do you think she’d be up to?
She’d be attached to a ruler who had been has been unjustly deposed (or unjustly lost an election) and exiled and she’d be the star military genius helping him or her get back in power. Maybe Radonski in Venezuela. She’d be an indigenous peasant from a small village in Venezuela with undiagnosed schizophrenia and hear voices to help him contest the election or stage a coup. I picture her in a Rambo style bandana driving around Venezuela in a tank — with a tatoo of her beloved saints and lots of groupies. They would use her name to market clothing products, t shirts, berets, and of course Joan of Arc goat cheese (I really saw this product at my local grocery store!)
Earlier I could have seen her as a female Che Guevarra.
Many of the readers are metalheads, so I want to make it clear, A Tale of Two Maidens is not a comparison between Iron Maiden with Bruce Dickinson and Paul Di’anno. But, in your opinion, who is the better frontman for the band?
Both are great singers, but I’d pick Di’anno for being raw and real — I believed that he was actually feeling the emotions as he sang. Dickinson was more theatrical and was having more fun performing but I didn’t believe him as much as I believed Di’anno. I think Joan would have liked the first singer better too.
Who was “more metal” Shakespeare or Chaucer?
This is a tough question…Chaucer came to mind first because I could really see someone doing a metal style Pardoner’s Tale in Middle English. Also I think the earthy, bawdy exterior of the tales (but often with a melancholy but truthful interior) lend themselves well to the metal blend (at least in my mind) of raucous exterior but often emotionally charged, compelling interior. And the ‘on the road’ setting definitely applies to both.
Shakespeare’s play have already been done in so many styles from the Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet, to a stage interpretation of Julius Caesar done in Star Trek style sci fi, so why not metal?
Westboro Baptist Church To Protest Funeral of Iron Maiden Guitarist Janick Gers; Gers Claims He’s Not Dead
The Westboro Baptist Church is at it again. This time, they have planned a massive protest at the funeral of Iron Maiden guitar player Janick Gers. There is only one problem; Gers believes that he is not dead.
“The whole thing is preposterous! My pulse is beating….you want to feel it,” claimed Gers to a roomful of skeptical reporters.
In spite of Gers protestations, the Internet has been filled with articles about his passing into the afterlife. Facebook has registered over 10,000 “RIP Janick” posts in the last several days. The Westboro Baptist Church has already flown 4,000 protestors to Des Moines, Iowa, where Gers’ memorial service is supposed to be held next week. Yet, in the face of overwhelming evidence, Gers will simply not admit that he is dead.
“You have to believe me! I’m alive! ALIVE!!!!!!” howled Gers as he fended off two EMTs who were trying to force him to lie down on a stretcher in order to be transported to the morgue.
The cause of death is yet to be determined and probably will not be until Gers agrees to an autopsy. So far, he has refused to be dissected. “If he’s alive, then let’s have him prove it,” said Des Moines Chief Medical Examiner Claude Perineum, “if we get in there and find out he’s telling the truth, we will immediately stich him back up and send him on his way. Otherwise, he’s just being dishonest and wasting the time and money of the taxpayers.”
While many in the metal world have grieved the supposed passing of Gers, Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps has been overjoyed. Phelps, who believes that America is being punished for its acceptance of gays and lesbians and its tolerance for high amounts of fluoride in the water supply, has already arrived in Iowa for the funeral. According to Phelps, “the decadent lifestyle and love of Satan preached by these British ne’er-do-wells has eroded the moral fabric of America. Iron Maiden’s singer, Ron Halford, is, in fact, an admitted homosexual!!!”
At a rally last night at The Des Moines Church of Christ The Climate Change Denier, Phelps announced that he had in his possession proof that heavy metal is a Trojan horse being used to turn America into a “breeding ground for the gay way of life”. “In my hand right now is a list of 205 homosexuals in the heavy metal world!” hollered Phelps with his grocery list grasped tightly and held over his head.
Many Iron Maiden fans plan to attend the memorial service whether Gers is dead or not. “Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all-time and, even though no one can figure out why they needed a third guitarist, this is indeed a terrible loss, if it is true, which it might not be,” said devout Maiden listener Kent Tekulve, who plans on walking over 1,000 miles from his home in Flagstaff, Arizona to the service.
The note under my door said “Meet at 3 AM in the parking garage behind the Waffle House.” I’d received notes like this before and, usually, they either led to great information or some guy in nothing but a trenchcoat asking me if I wanted to hold hands and whisper Carpenters lyrics into each other’s ears. Typically, these messages came from my high level contact in the CIA, a man who will only let me refer to him in public as Deep Thrombosis. He’s worked in The Company for many years and has put me onto some of the bigger stories Tyranny of Tradition has broken. He was the guy who tipped me off to Obama’s drumming on the first Overkill album and Nixon’s plot to assassinate the members of Black Sabbath.
I knew that a night meeting with Deep Thrombosis could be the thing that gets me that Pulitzer Prize I’ve been coveting all these years or even a date with The Great Kat. However, I was not prepared for the monumental significance of what he was about to tell me.
“Tonight, we are going to pull back the curtain,” whispered Deep Thrombosis while his shifty, beady eyes darted from side to side. “The information I’m about to give you could bring down the whole circus. If you print it, be warned, there is a good chance you will end up having a ‘boating accident’ or accidently hanging yourself while trying to install a garage door opener. And for godsakes, if you print this, you need to promise not to mention you got it from a source in the CIA! They’ll be able to track it back to me.”
“I will absolutely not mention how I got this information,” I told my CIA source. “I swear it!”
He proceeded to tell me the most outlandish story I had ever heard. A story of violence, intrigue and a CIA so out of control that it would go so far as to break up one of the great thrash metal groups of our time.
“The Company had heard some rumors that the next Slayer album was going to be all about drone strikes on Al-Queda bases. The thing was going to be called “South of Reason”. Typical longhaired hippie liberal propaganda. We’d have let Limbaugh handle them except they were going to reveal potential bombing coordinates, out some of our higher level agents, and really turn the metalhead public against the whole ‘secret murder of civilians who have had no trial’ thing. We couldn’t let it happen. So we took action.”
“The first part of the plan was to kidnap Kerry King and replace him with an actor who resembled Kerry King. We have a guy who has done some jobs with us in the past who was a dead ringer for King, a sort of grubby, misshapen fellow who slightly resembled a poorly shaven yeti. We scooped up the real Kerry and threw him into Guantanamo and told the guards he was actually Osama Bin Laden’s masseuse and to ‘not torture him’ until he gave us any information on the whereabouts of the secret terrorist training camps in Iceland.”
“The guy we are using as Kerry almost gave the thing away during the first show. He played three or four really great solos, which confused the audience. Luckily, one of our agents got ahold of him and told him to haphazardly move his whammy bar around really fast when it was his turn to solo and no one would know the difference. Things went fine after that.”
“We slipped a mind-altering substance into one of Araya’s drinks and, through the power of suggestion, convinced him to start listening to Asking Alexandria. We figured this would jam up any creativity that was flowing through his head. Then, we gave a copy of the band’s financial information to Lombardo. The rest is history.”
“The thing is, I’ve begun to realize that this sort of thing is dangerous. After all, if the CIA can destroy Slayer or overthrow the government of a foreign country or randomly kill civilians who happened to be in the same vicinity as people we believe to be terrorists without the consent of the American people, then what is the point of even calling our country a democracy.”
“I started thinking of what a soulless, unaccountable beast like the CIA could do if it really put its mind to it. Forcing Exodus to do a ska album? Getting Testament to hire Michael Bolton as their lead singer? Letting Janick Gers write all the songs on the next Maiden record? The possibilities were too horrible to consider.”
“So, I have chosen you to help put a stop to this. Publish this article tomorrow and remind America that in a democracy, the government needs to be accountable to the people or else they have ceased being a democracy. That transparency is the only thing that can keep us from becoming a nation capable of any atrocity in the name of opening new markets and exploiting new sources of human capital. That America should stand for something greater than the principal of bending other, weaker nations to our will. And that Slayer should start writing stuff that sounds more like it did before Divine Intervention, because honestly, the new stuff hasn’t been all that impressive. Except for God Hates Us All. That was pretty cool.”
I heard the sound of a car door slam in the corner of the garage and turned to look at it. When I looked back, Deep Thrombosis was gone.