Ex-Iron Maiden Guitarist Dennis Stratton Shocked to Be Among Band’s Rock Hall Nominees
For the very first time, Iron Maiden were nominated for potential induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021. Only one member of the band's professional recording lineup throughout their 40-year history was left out and guitarist Dennis Stratton, who only played on the self-titled 1980 debut, was shocked his name was among those slated for possible entry.
Stratton, who currently plays guitar in the band Lionheart (originally active from 1980-1986, reunited in 2016) was interviewed on TotalRock's "Neil Jones Rock Show" following the Rock Hall's announcement of this year's nominees, which also included the Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine, New York Dolls and others.
"The first reaction, I've gotta be honest with you, is that I thought, 'It's not going include me.' Funny enough, I got a message on the Lionheart group message from [the person] who does all our graphics, the artwork, and he said to me, 'Have you looked online? You've been nominated with the band,'" said Stratton, who first joined Maiden in 1979.
His tenure in the band was short-lived and he exited in October of 1980 and was replaced by Adrian Smith, who was among the band's nominees, as well as founding bassist Steve Harris, singers Bruce Dickinson and Paul Di'Anno, guitarists Dave Murray and Janick Gers and drummers Clive Burr and Nicko McBrain.
Blaze Bayley, who replaced Dickinson from 1994 through 1999 and sang on The X Factor and Virtual XI albums, was the lone member of Iron Maiden's recording lineup to not receive the nod from the Hall.
"I've never had a lot of luck with Maiden," lamented Stratton, "and certain things that have gone on over the years, like the gold discs from the first album... I never actually got what I was due. I think I got two [or] three gold discs, and there should have been about 20. And I never actually get anything."
"It was only down to Steve Harris texting me about the re-release [of the first album], which was the 40-year anniversary, that the office actually sent me a copy of the of the 40-year anniversary picture disc," he continued. "So, I was happy about that. But this was a bit of a shock, because to include me and the other two, Clive and Paul, it's quite a nice gesture, from my point of view — very exciting, in my point of view."
Stratton also stressed that he and Harris remain in frequent contact, usually about the West Ham United soccer team (Harris has always had the team's emblem on his bass)
Regarding the Rock Hall's decision to leave Bayley out of the picture, Stratton commented, "I noticed that afterwards because I went on Facebook ... and when I saw that, I thought, 'Well, that's got to be down to the organizers of this event.' But when I found out it involves certain years, they have to draw a line somewhere, don't they? They make the rules, so I don't know."
Even if Iron Maiden do ultimately secure their entry, Stratton isn't confident the band will take part in the ceremony.
"I'd be surprised if we get involved with it, if we do get inducted, because after a couple of [disparaging] things that Bruce had said [about the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in the past], I'm a little bit thinking, well, are [the organizers] gonna look at them quotes, and are they gonna punish us [for what Bruce had said]? I don't know. I'm just very excited to be actually nominated," he concluded.
In October of 2018, when asked if he felt Maiden would ever be inducted in the Rock Hall, Dickinson took the opportunity to slam the establishment.
"I actually think the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an utter and complete load of bollocks, to be honest with you," said the singer. "It’s run by a bunch of sanctimonious bloody Americans who wouldn’t know rock ’n’ roll if it hit them in the face. They need to stop taking Prozac and start drinking fucking beer."
Unleashing more scathing criticism, Iron Maiden's "air raid siren" later asserted, "I'm really happy we're not there and I would never want to be there. If we're ever inducted, I will refuse — they won't bloody be having my corpse in there. Rock 'n' roll music does not belong in a mausoleum in Cleveland. It's a living, breathing thing, and if you put it in a museum, then it's dead. It's worse than horrible, it's vulgar."