Stay Heavy Birthday Club: Listening With Nicko and Smashing the Antiu

Today marks two Badass Metal Birthdays: Iron Maiden drummer/goofball extraordinaire Nicko McBrain is 62, and Nile founder/guitarist/vocalist Karl Sanders is 51.

Up first, Nicko!


If you are unaware, Iron Maiden is my Number One All-Time Favorite Band (Any Genre), and I’ve written loads about them in the past (some of it has appeared on this blog), and will undoubtedly write more, so I won’t delve too far into them here.  Here are the essentials regarding Nicko:

– born Michael Henry McBrain on June 5, 1952 in Hackney, London, UK

– began drumming on things around the house at the age of 10 after watching Joe Morello perform with the Dave Brubeck Quartet on television (or as they say in England, “the telly”)

– received his first drum kit at the age of 14, and joined a band that same year

– played in a number of bands before joining French band Trust (perhaps best known for being the band who wrote and originally recorded one of Anthrax’s best known songs, “Antisocial”), in which he first met Iron Maiden while the bands were on tour together in 1981

– was asked to replace Maiden’s drummer Clive Burr (RIP) in 1982 (fun fact: after leaving Maiden, Burr joined Trust, replacing Nicko)

– made his first appearance with Iron Maiden on German television, dressed as band mascot Eddie

– made his recording debut with Iron Maiden on their shit-hot 1983 album (and my personal favorite) Piece of Mind

– has remained with the band ever since

– co-owns a restaurant called Rock ‘n’ Roll Ribs in Coral Springs, Flordia

– is an unbelievably amazing drummer

– is a total corndog, ham, goofball, what-have-you

Unbelievably Amazing Drummer Evidence: “Where Eagles Dare” from Piece of Mind – Note that Nicko did not use a double-bass pedal on this song (or any song, save for one on an album from 2005), as he considers them “undrummerish”.

Total Corndog, Ham, Goofball, What-Have-You Evidence: “Listen With Nicko! Part I” (originally released on The First 10 Years box set)

Happy birthday, Nicko!



As for today’s other Stay Heavy Birthday Club member, Karl Sanders:

– born June 5, 1963 in California

– performed live with Morbid Angel early in that band’s career

– founded ancient Egyptian/H.P. Lovecraft-themed death metal band Nile in Greenville, South Carolina in 1993

– is endorsed by Dean Guitars

– fronts what is arguably one of the most innovative, talented, and consistent bands in the death metal genre

– has released two solo albums of Egyptian folk/ambient music

– probably knows more about ancient Egyptian history and myth than just about anyone else in existence

Here’s the first Nile song I ever heard, “Opening of the Mouth”, from their 1998 full-length debut Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka (the album title comes from the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Outsider”).  This son of a bitch is so fucking creepy!

Here’s the video for “Enduring the Eternal Molestation of the Flame”, the opening track from the band’s most recent album, 2012’s At the Gate of Sethu.

And finally, here’s “Kali Ma”, a song from Karl’s second solo album, 2009’s Saurian Exorcisms.

Happy birthday, Karl!

That’s all for today, heavy folks.  Keep on staying heavy.


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