The 62-year-old singer, known for his multi-octave vocal range and tireless stage presence, dished about his medical procedure in an interview with Download festival host Kylie Olsson ahead of Iron Maiden’s feature on Download: Reloaded, which will air on June 5 and 6 on Sky Arts.
“I had a new hip installed several months ago. So I got five and a half inches of titanium hammered into my leg,” Dickinson said. “‘Cause I run around onstage and jump, and [after] 40 years of fencing left-handed, it was just worn out.”
You can watch the full interview below.
Dickinson continued: “I mean, the last tour was really quite painful. And I put it down to the fact that during the last tour, just shortly before the last tour, I also broke my Achilles as well. My Achilles tendon snapped. … It’s horrible. That was two years ago, basically. So I got that stitched back together and went out on tour three and a half months later. So I couldn’t actually walk properly or run. So I modified what I did onstage and nobody figured it out. I was amazed.”
Still, the frontman admitted that even with the modifications, his hip “was giving me so much shit” on tour. The pain persisted when he got home to Paris and began fencing again, and it plagued him while he was on lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, at which point, he said, he “was running up six flights of stairs as my exercise.”
After a hip doctor confirmed that he had osteoarthritis, Dickinson — who said he was “getting addicted to ibuprofen” — opted for surgery. “I said, ‘It’s October. When the safety car comes out, Hamilton goes in for fresh tires. So let’s do it now in October. ‘Cause I might have a tour next year,’” Dickinson said. “Little did I know. But being an eternal optimist, [it was the] best thing I’ve done. So now, with my new hip. … I’m back training, fencing again. It’s absolutely incredible. I’ve been doing physio and doing weights that I haven’t done since I was 16 or 17 years old. I’m squatting 100 kilos. It’s mental what your body can do.”
Dickinson underwent a successful bout of chemotherapy for a cancerous tumor on the back of his tongue in 2015, the same year Iron Maiden released their most recent album and first double LP, The Book of Souls.
Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, who was also diagnosed with throat cancer in 2019 and has since received an all-clear, said Dickinson gave him advice on how to deal with the illness: “He basically told me … surround yourself with good, upbeat, positive people, places and things and try not to cause any unnecessary stress on yourself.”
Iron Maiden are scheduled to resume their twice-postponed Legacy of the Beast World Tour in June 2022, starting in Finland and hitting several other European cities.