Iron Maiden Pay Tribute To Martin Birch: “He Was Fantastic At Motivating People”
Iron Maiden have paid tribute to Martin Birch, the legendary producer who helmed their most significant albums, and who passed away on August 9 at the age of 71.
Maiden leader and bass player Steve Harris, frontman Bruce Dickinson and manager Rod Smallwood issued their statements via the band’s website, acknowledging Martin’s pivotal role in the band’s rise and musical development as well as his uniquely human qualities.
“He was just absolutely brilliant. He wasn’t just a producer, he was a hands-on engineer too, so he knew how to get a great sound,” commented Steve Harris of the man who first started working with Maiden in late 1980 on their second album, Killers.
“He was also fantastic at motivating people; he just had a knack of getting the best out of you,” continued Steve who, as the band’s principal songwriter, forged a special bond with the producer over the course of eight studio albums. “He was also a really nice man, great fun with a terrific sense of humour and that made him easy to work with. We all got along with him really well and the whole band is very saddened by today’s news.”
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Bruce Dickinson was also fulsome in his praise of Martin’s impact on his own personal development, confirming the crucial role that the producer played when the singer replaced original frontman Paul Di’Anno for Maiden’s global breakthrough album, 1982’s The Number Of The Beast.
“To me, Martin was a mentor who completely transformed my singing: he was a psychotherapist and, in his own words, a juggler who could mirror exactly what a band was,” said Bruce. “That was his special talent as a producer. He was not a puppeteer, he did not manipulate the sound of the band, he just reflected it in the best possible way. Apart from all of that he was a wonderful, warm and funny human being. Martin and I shared a passion for martial arts – he for karate and me for fencing which gave us another bond too. I’m so very sad to hear this news, it’s incredible that he has passed away at such a young age for a man who was so full of life.”
Longstanding manager Rod Smallwood also confirmed Martin’s sense of loyalty towards Maiden, underlining the fact that he worked almost exclusively with the band for 12 years, often turning down offers from other artists in the process.
“He was a fantastic guy who always shared a mutual respect with the band. He never, ever, let us down in the studio,” concluded Rod. “He was a true gentleman and he will be hugely mussed by everyone in the Maiden Family.”
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