Hooks in You
Guitar World|March 2021
In his just-published first book, Iron Maiden stalwart Adrian Smith shares a boatload of big-fish stories
By John Katic

Iron Maiden guitar maestro Adrian Smith recently published his first book, Monsters of River & Rock: My Life as Iron Maiden’s Compulsive Angler. As its full title suggests, the eye-catching tome is dedicated to the guitarist’s number-one off-stage pastime, fishing. But there’s a bit more to it.

“[Monsters of River & Rock] started off as a 100-percent fishing book,” Smith tells Guitar World. “As I went on, I found there were parallels with my two passions of fishing and music; I was combining them more. I’d say the books is probably 70 percent fishing and 30 percent stories from the road, the studio and personal stuff. I don’t think at this point I’d do an autobiography on purely music.”

How did the idea for the book come about?

I was sitting with friends one evening, just talking stories, and somebody said I should write books. That was the seed of it, really. So I did a couple of test chapters. I’d already written a few things I was going to send to fishing magazines, but I never did. I took them out and sent a few test chapters to some publishers and got some feedback from [the publisher]. That was it — I started off writing.

Do you feel anxiety over presenting your written work? We know you as Adrian Smith the musician. Writing a book is, I’d imagine, a completely different window into the world of Adrian Smith.

It’s very easy to write. I enjoy the process of looking back over my life and reflecting on the changes I’ve seen. There’s some quite personal stuffin there about the highs and lows of being in a successful band and touring, especially in the Eighties when it was kind of crazy with drugs and alcohol and stufflike that. Just wild times. But it took me back to fishing — when things got a bit rough. I was able to take a bit of time off. For example, after the Powerslave tour, which was almost 13 months of straight touring, we were all kind of fried. I remember sitting in a hotel room in L.A. after that just being zonked out, and my girlfriend, now my wife, suggested we take a trip to Canada. That forms the basis of one of the chapters in the book. It is sort of restoring to me going out in the wilderness to just sit in a boat in the middle of a lake with no man-made sounds and just cast out a fly. It just did me the world of good. That led me to thinking about how fishing is a great balance for the crazy times you have sometimes in a successful band.

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