Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith spent most of the ‘80s dealing with depression, he’s revealed.
The band’s increasing success contributed to his problems and led to a period of overusing alcohol and drugs to help get through the experiences, he told Metal Hammer in a new interview.
“I don’t really want to come across as ‘poor me,’” Smith said. “But [depression] was a feature of the ’80s for me. The last gig I did before joining Iron Maiden was at a pub in London. I remember getting on the bus with my wah-wah pedal in a Tesco bag, playing that show, then the next thing was a massive gig with Iron Maiden. Quite the jump!
“I managed with sheer bravado to get through the first tour, then it started to hit me a bit – people pay a lot of money to see us and there’s a lot of great musicians out there, meaning it’s very competitive.”
He noted that “it got on top of me a few times, and when we hit America, things really kicked in with booze and drugs, using it as a crutch. But you need to deal with those things, and knowing that now means I don’t have the same struggles. It’s all part of the process of growing up.”
Smith recently published Monsters of River and Rock, a book about his life as a musician and his passion for fishing. Last month, he told how he once abandoned the pastime because he didn’t think it was fitting for a rock star. “I couldn’t imagine Ritchie Blackmore trying to catch carp.”
He later realized that fishing helped him manage his “social anxiety.” “It’s good for your mind,” he told Metal Hammer. “As Billy Connolly said, ‘Fishing is meditation with a punchline.’ The cocoon of plane-to-van-to-hotel is a bit much at times, so it’s great to just go out into the country and free your mind, get that space.”