The music of Iron Maiden isn’t exactly what you’d call religious, however their drummer claims himself as a Christian, citing: “I gave my heart to God.”
Although both Iron Maiden’s music and followers definitely wouldn’t be described as being religious, drummer Nicko McBrain has spoken out about how he’s been a Christian for over 20 years.
Speaking with fellow drummer Aquiles Priester via TVMaldita, McBrain noted that his conversion to Christianity in 1990 has changed his life.
“When I was a kid, I was very versed in Christianity — I went to Sunday school, and we had religious instruction as a lesson in schools in those days,” he began.
As he grew up, and became a little “wilder,” he notes that religion “didn’t really play much” of a part in his life, and he was straying from being “God-focused.”
Around the late 1990s, McBrain became a bit more interested in religion when his wife started reading the bible more, and asked hi if he’d like to go to church with her, to which he responded: “Yeah, sure. I’ll come with you.”
Recalling that it was a Sunday morning, he remembers that his wife was hankering to get him to go, and that he finally got up because “it was as though God had gone like this: ‘Get up. Come on. Enough.'”
Soon after, he found himself at a small church that he “wasn’t that impressed with,” he detailed. “It was all about raising funds and stuff. Now I know that to function and do charity work and missionary work, they need money. But this particular sermon wasn’t cup of tea…”
After this first encounter, he recalls visiting a second church called Spanish River church, where the band that played the worship was “phenomenal.”
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“The music was just… I’d never been to a church where there was this contemporary rock music. And I remember standing, listening to this music, thinking, ‘This is fantastic.’
“The pastor comes out, starts his sermon and he said a prayer. Normally, later on, he would close in prayer. And he basically said, ‘Where you’re standing now, ask God into your life. Ask Jesus Christ to come in there. Give your heart to him.’
“And I stood [with] closed eyes, and I swear that God and Jesus pushed me, and I kept moving forward as though I was being pushed over. I couldn’t feel anything. And this is the God’s honest truth — I thought, ‘I haven’t had a drink. I’m not in a hangover here.’ I felt his presence. And right there and then, I gave my heart to God, and I asked Jesus in my life.”
Although the Iron Maiden drummer does admit that there’s been moments in his life where he’s “turned away from the cross,” he’s noticed that “when you’ve gone focused and Jesus Christ-centered, it changes your life.”
Continuing on, he notes that Christianity didn’t cause him to stop partying or drinking straight away, but that all changed when Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson had a cancer scare: “I said a prayer to God and said, ‘Dear Lord, I promise I’m not gonna have another drink.’ And that was five years and two months ago.”
The change he’s made in his life doesn’t make him “sinless”, he admits – “it makes you sin less.”
“We’ve all got crosses to bear, baggage that we always hang around, and sometimes when you love the Lord, you read your Bible, you say your prayers to the governor, some of that baggage, all of a sudden it’s gone. And it’s a great saviour for me.”