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IRON MAIDEN’s ADRIAN SMITH: Fishing Is ‘A Great Way To Balance Myself Out’

IRON MAIDEN guitarist Adrian Smith, who recently released a memoir, “Monsters Of River & Rock: My Life As Iron Maiden’s Compulsive Angler”, spoke to the “Saltwater Experience” podcast about his love of fishing, something that began as a youth growing up in East London and continues to this day.

“The more I wrote [the book], and the more I read it back, I realized how important fishing is to me, and it’s important to have that balance [between my two passions],” Smith said (hear audio below). “Especially when you go through rough times mentally, I think fishing is so good for your head. Like I say in the book, fishing is like meditation but with a punchline. I can sit by a river or a lake, and I only think about fishing; you don’t think about anything else. It really washes your mind and gets you ready to face the real world and your work and stuff.

“Obviously, being in a band, especially in the ’80s, was a quite high-pressure environment, so I really found increasingly that fishing was a great way to balance myself out,” he explained. “And like I say, the more I wrote of the book, the more that became obvious.”

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Asked if he thinks that he would have had the same kind of longevity in the rock and roll world if it wasn’t for fishing, Smith responded: “I don’t know. It’s a good question. It’s brought me a lot of pleasure and a lot of happiness and a lot of satisfaction. It’s got so many benefits — I can’t think of any negative benefits, although sometimes it can get a little obsessive. But I suppose that’s like anything that gives you a buzz — alcohol, or some guys go off the deep end with golf. It can get a bit obsessive. Sometimes you have to rein yourself in a bit. And it’s such an adrenaline rush as well. People don’t realize how much it is. Especially something like bone fishing, when you’re closing in on a fish and you’re trying to get in the right position to cast and the fish is moving. But you’re really pumped up. People think you just sit there dangling a worm, which you can, if you want — that’s fine too. There’s so many different ways to fish and so many places and so many different environments. It’s infinite variety, really.”

“Monsters Of River & Rock” was released on September 3 via Virgin Books.

Smith is well known in the community as a fisherman, and a former cover star of coarse-fishing bible the Angler’s Mail (biggest chub of the season, August 2009). In his first, very personal, riverside memoir, “Monsters Of River & Rock”, Smith takes us with him on his incredible journey, through the highs and lows of life on tour, and on the river bank, as his fishing gear travels with him across the world.

Adrian got hooked on fishing as a child growing up in East London, plundering ponds and bomb craters on the Hackney Marshes for newts and sticklebacks and catching perch from the Grand Union Canal whilst on outings with his father. Things began to get more exotic when the young angling enthusiast grew up to become lead guitarist in one of the most successful rock bands in history, and started travelling the world playing to many millions of fans. But once a fisherman, always a fisherman. The gear went with him, the fish got bigger, the adventures more extreme.

Welcome to the world of Adrian Smith, as he clocks in to his day job furthering the geographical boundaries of hard rock, and clocks off to explore far-flung rivers, seas, waterways, lakes and pools on his fearless quest for fishing nirvana. His adventures range from his first sturgeon, a whopping 100-pounder from Canada’s swirling Fraser River that nearly wiped him out mid-MAIDEN tour, to a close shave with a large shark off the Virgin Islands whilst wading waist-deep for bonefish. Not to mention an enviable list of specimen coarse fish from the U.K.

Charming, funny, and moving in equal measure, “Monsters Of River & Rock” is the ultimate fishing-fantasy armchair read, and is also the story of a rock star in a fast-moving world who seeks peace and tranquillity at the water’s edge — wherever he is.

Smith was born in Hackney, East London, on February 27, 1957. He joined IRON MAIDEN at the end of 1980. Adrian is the bandmember who has collaborated on the most side projects outside of IRON MAIDEN, as well as writing and recording a series of albums in the early ’90s, before rejoining the band. IRON MAIDEN has sold 100 million albums, and tour the world playing to millions of fans. Onstage, Adrian uses Jackson and Gibson guitars. Offstage, he is an avid tennis player. However, his main hobby is fishing. He takes his rod and gear out on tour with him wherever he goes. This is his first book.

Photo credit (below): Nathalie Dufresne-Smith

Photo credit (below): Martin Weller

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