Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith said that he “got on the other guys’ nerves” in the time leading up to his departure from the band in 1990.

He bowed out while the band was working on what would be its eighth album, No Prayer for the Dying, which represented a back-to-basics approach after the synth-infused '80s LPs Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. He returned in 1999 after overcoming doubts that a three-guitar lineup wouldn’t work.

“I think on Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son, we were getting into more of a produced sound, which I liked – something a bit more of a refined sound,” Smith told Raised on Radio. “I think what Steve [Harris] wanted to do, maybe Bruce [Dickinson] as well, was go for a real rough and ready sound. … To be honest, I was really struggling.”

Smith noted that he "desperately wanted to write something brilliant, as everybody was. I was struggling; I don't know why … I was trying too hard probably. And we started recording – we actually started working. I think my lack of enthusiasm just got on the other guys’ nerves and that was it, really.”

You can listen to the interview below.

In another recent interview, Smith explained how Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” had convinced him to become a guitarist like his friend and future bandmate Dave Murray.

"I wanted to be in a band,” he said. “It was a eureka moment, that was it. That one song started it all. ... [Murray] was a bit further down; he'd actually put the time in and learn to play the guitar. … He started me off playing. I bought my first guitar off him. I think it was like five quid or something – it was something he had lying around.”

 

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