Nicko McBrain: Unleashing The Beast

nicko mcbrain

McBrain’s Setup

Drums Premier Series Elite (Final Frontier Finish)
1 24" x 18" Gen-X Bass Drum
2 14" x 5.5" Ludwig 402
3 6" x 6" Tom
4 8" x 8" Tom
5 10" x 10" Tom
6 12" x 12" Tom
7 13" x 13" Tom
8 14" x 14" Tom
9 15" x 15" Tom
10 16" x 16" Tom
11 18" x 16" Floor Tom

Cymbals Paiste
A 14" Signature Heavy Hi-Hat (Reflector Finish, custom)
B 15" Signature Reflector Heavy Full Crash (custom)
C 19" Signature Reflector Heavy Full Crash
D 16" Signature Reflector Heavy Full Crash
E 20" Signature Reflector Heavy Full Crash
F 18" Signature Reflector Heavy Full Crash
G 13" Formula 602 Heavy Bell (discontinued)
H 22" Signature Reflector Bell Ride
I 17" Rude Crash/Ride
J 20" Signature Crash prototype
K 22" Signature Reflector Heavy Full Crash
L 22" Signature Reflector Heavy China custom
M 40" Symphonic Gong (Custom Brilliant Finish)

Nicko McBrain also uses Premier hardware and stands, Vic Firth Nicko “Boomer” McBrain signature sticks, Remo heads, LP percussion and DW 5000 single pedal.

Heaven, Or, Golfing Can Wait

Unfortunately, due to McBrain’s sunken perch and cocoon of gear, he rarely catches a glimpse of his adoring audience during a concert. For the most part, he can’t even see his own bandmates — not that it affects their performance. After all these years, Iron Maiden is a well-oiled touring machine and clearly still in cracking form. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a little interaction with the lads now and again?

“Bruce is always climbing the walkway above me or up the stairway in front of me and we’ll have a little laugh,” McBrain says. “He’ll look at me like, ‘You’re f__king playing too fast.’ [laughs] Davey likes to come up and make an appearance. Steve’s getting a bit old, so he can’t climb up the stairs as much as he used to. He looks at me underneath me tom toms and we make faces at one another. Some nights I’ll hear him go ‘Nicko! And I’ll be screaming back, ‘You old c__t!’ He’ll go, ‘You play like a wanker!’ [laughs] Oh, it’s hilarious, the stuff that goes on.”

With Iron Maiden clearly feeling the love from inside and out — and deservedly enjoying every minute of it — it appears as if McBrain’s professional golf career (he’s a fiend for the sport and plays most every day) will have to wait. And at a mere 60 years young, who’s to say there isn’t another three decades of innovative and soulful hard rock drumming still to come?

“We just do what we do because we love it, and we love one another and we love the music we make,” McBrain says. “And we love the fact that a lot of people around the world love what we do! It’s just so wonderful. And I think that we just get better with age. It’s like a really good bottle of Chateau Palmer, you know? The older it gets, the better it gets. And we haven’t corked! [laughs] I haven’t thought of it that way before. We haven’t corked yet, have we?”

Page 4 of 4
Get the How To Tune Drums Minibook when you subscribe to our newsletter