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Nicko McBrain, the drummer of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, in his 2013 Jaguar XKR-S (Handout)
Nicko McBrain, the drummer of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, in his 2013 Jaguar XKR-S (Handout)

Nicko McBrain

Custom Jaguar captures rocker’s bad-boy image Add to ...

Nicko McBrain

Profession: Musician/drummer with Iron Maiden

Age: 60

Hometown: Hackney, London

The car: 2013 Jaguar XKR-S

Notable achievements

  • Started playing in pub bands at the age of 14; joined Iron Maiden in 1982
  • His albums with Iron Maiden include Piece of Mind (1983), Fear of the Dark (1992), The XFactor (1995), A Matter of Life and Death (2006) and The Final Frontier (2010); the Final Frontier album hit the No. 1 spot in 28 countries
  • In 2011, Iron Maiden won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance for the song El Dorado from The Final Frontier
  • Owns a restaurant called Rock ‘N’ Roll Ribs in Florida

Upcoming

More Related to this Story

  • Maiden England Tour 2013 with dates in Portugal in May; Italy, France and Germany in June; and Poland and Russia in July

*****

He’s one of the most influential drummers of heavy metal music. Nicko McBrain has been the driving force behind the British metal band Iron Maiden since joining the group in 1982.

After three decades, he shows no signs of slowing down. To date, Iron Maiden has sold more than 90 million records, performed more than 2,000 live shows in nearly 60 countries, and produced 15 albums. And 2013 brings a gruelling concert schedule that criss-crosses the globe.

On stage, McBrain is larger than life. On the road, it’s the same, thanks to his bold and powerful ride. The charismatic, bad boy drives a customized 2013 Jaguar XKR-S. It’s decked out with Iron Maiden touches that make it stand out on the street as much as McBrain stands out on stage.

This is no ordinary Jag – what customizations have you done to it?

It’s a very unique one-off motor car. …

On the running board where you open the door on the sill, they put my name in the Iron Maiden letters in the metal-look font. The supercharged louvers when the car moves is in the Iron Maiden font as well.

Then we made an Eddie growler [Eddie is the band’s mascot] from the cat. So, it looks like Eddie – even when you look at the original Jaguar growler. This Eddie image is on the front badge and stitched on the headrests of the seats in silver, so it’s a red and black interior with silver – it’s beautiful.

Instead of having the carbon graphite finish, I went with piano black in the interior. That looks amazing.

Before we had the schematics laid out of what we were going to customize, I went to the studio and they had these swatches. They had this blue called bling blue, which is now on the XFR-S, which is called ultra blue. But the working title was bling blue. They painted it ultra blue and it’s the only Jaguar in the world on the road in that colour.

Not only did I have the customizations done, I had this unique paint job on the XKR-S. It’s a beautiful machine. It’s a work of art.

Does your car capture your bad-boy image?

Yeah. It is totally me, especially when it’s bling blue.

The guys who made my car named it hairdresser blue.

Do you know what’s under the hood?

It’s 550 ponies and they all want to run!

The most amazing thing about the car is the torque – the power. Until the XKR-S, that was the fastest production engine they put in a car, but now they have the XFR-S.

I’ve never driven a fast car with power like that in my life! At first, I was a little bit frightened by it, to be honest with you.

When my friends ask, ‘What engine do you have in it?’ I say, ‘550 hp,’ and they have a laugh.

Have you always been a car guy?

Yeah. I’ve been a Jag guy.

I’ve always had a passion for Jaguars. I fell in love with the XK when I first saw it because it’s so reminiscent of an E-Type. From the middle of the roof, back it’s an E-Type.

I have two [Jaguar] Series 3 and my wife has an [Jaguar] XK.

I’m not so much a petrol head – I’ve just always had a passion for Jaguar cars.

For one thing, it’s very British although Ford owned it for a wee while and it all went a bit tits off, to be honest with you.

An American motor company taking over a British brand? The car went a bit pear-shaped for a while.

What do you think of the Indians owning it?

Mr. Tata is an Indian chap, but it’s still very British. The Indians and Brits – it’s all okay.

Mr. Tata has come into the company and he has a passion for it. There’s a passion behind the brand.

Of course, it’s a business, but at the end of the day, there’s a drive for the brand.

Nicko McBrain, the drummer of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, in his 2013 Jaguar XKR-S
 

What was your first car?

The very first car I bought was a Volvo 144, funny enough.

Volvo is Swedish and the Swedes never do anything in half measures. And they got [bad] weather over there, so they make a tank.

These cars go forever.

What did you buy when you got your first big cheque?

I don’t really know. I think I went down to the pub and stayed there for a while.

Let’s get one thing straight. We were never really into making money – it’s always very nice to be in a successful band that generates good income, but it was never about that.

I spent a lot of money on this car. I feel a little bit uncomfortable today because I’ve splurged a fairly big chunk of money on myself. But I’ve never splurged on a new car in my life. This is the first car I ever bought brand-new. I’ve always had a second-hand car.

What else have you owned?

I had a Consul, that my father had. I didn’t buy it; my dad bought it.

Then he had a Morris Minor and my dad said, ‘Yeah, you can have this car.’ I fit my drum set in a Morris Minor.

Then me and my wife bought a nice home and most of the money went to that. I was into a house.

What do you listen to on the road?

Iron Maiden. From Here to Eternity album – it’s a compilation of different sound tracks. I have that in the car.

When you buy a new car, you get Sirius radio with a three-month subscription that comes with the car. I was listening to old ’60s stuff. Its fantastic.

I love satellite radio. I’m listening to all of the old stuff that I grew up with. I’ve gotten out of that mid-life crisis and I’m going back to my youth driving a stunning sports car.

What’s your best and worst driving story ever?

I can’t tell you that.

The best driving story was taking possession of the XKR-S and driving it from the dealership to my house. To have that car in my hands was great. I got in it and took a photographer with me. I actually had to go and see my dentist, so we drove down to Aventura and then we went to my house and I dropped my mate off.

My worst driving memory was when I was driving a Jaguar XJ-L in 2004-2005 and allegedly I ran over a car park attendant. Allegedly. That wasn’t a very good day. I had a nasty experience. That was not a very good memory.

pgentile@globeandmail.com

Twitter: @PetrinaGentile

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