DOUG SAMPSON EX- IRON MAIDEN soundhouse tapes INTERVIEW SEPTEMBER 2015 - Iron Maiden fan site Legacy Project fans of Iron Maiden

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Soundhouse tapes Iron Maiden Doug Sampson drummer

Legacy Project: What inspired you to become a drummer?
Doug Sampson:  I went to watch my brother’s band Sam Apple Pie and they had a great drummer Lee Hayes.  He was good, really flashy and after watching him I decided that’s what I wanted to do.

Legacy Project:  What drummers influenced you?
Doug Sampson:  Keith Moon (The Who) was a major influence another was Ted McKenna of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

LP:  How old were you when you started drumming?
DS:  I was fourteen, Lee Hayes gave me my first drum kit and old one that he had in his loft when he found out I wanted to be a drummer.

Early Smiler pic with Dennis Willcock in the centre with Doug Sampson,
LP:  What was your first band?
DS: Smiler with Steve Harris and Dennis Willcock was my first band along with the Clee brothers on guitar before that I had just played with mates.

LP: How did you join?
DS: I answered an ad in Melody Maker for a boogie band looking for a drummer. They were also fans of Sam Apple Pie.

LP: What songs did you used to play?
DS: Everybody Loves A Drinking Man by Savoy Brown, The Red and the Black by the Blue Oyster Cult another was Birthday Madness.
A happy Smiler pic with Dennis Willcock,
Doug Sampson and Paul Harris

P: What was it like playing with Dennis Willcock and Steve Harris?
DS: Steve had a few gigs under his belt with Gypsies Kiss and Dennis took me under his wing I was only seventeen and Dennis had been in a few bands he was a real crowd pleaser.

LP: What kind of following did you have with Smiler?
DS: We had a good following every week it just got bigger and bigger through word of mouth people likes us and brought their friends we were playing The Cart and Horses at the time.

LP: Why did you leave Smiler?
DS: Dennis said he was going to leave and Steve said he wanted to form his own band so I thought as my mates were leaving it was time for me to go.

Who did you play with next?
Janski they phoned me up and said they were looking for a drummer.

How did you join Maiden?
I was asked at Dennis Willcock’s last gig that I had attended in at the Bridgehouse. Steve said he was looking for a change of drummer.

Dave Murray, Paul Di'Anno, Steve Harris and Doug Sampson
Iron Maiden line-up circa 1979

LP: Where was your first Iron Maiden gig?
DS: It was the Bridge House Canning Town
15th February 1979.

..........then two days later we played the Ruskin Arms.

Some people have said it was The Cart and Horses or the Ruskin Arms but it was definitely the 
Bridge House we never played the Cart and Horses.

What do you remember about Mad Mac (Paul Cairns)?
Top bloke, great guitarist but he had a lot of time-out due to an injury so we moved on without him.
LP: Any memories of Paul Todd?
DS: Steve said he had found a good new guitarist we did a photo shoot then he was gone. I don’t remember playing with him.
line up
LP: What about Tony Parsons?

DS: Fantastic guitarist I am not sure why he went he was a really nice bloke shy and quiet though. He joined Sam Apple Pie after Maiden. I remember him playing with them at the Ruskin Arms and ten blokes were head banging in front of him.
LP: What was your involvement in the song Running Free?

DS: I was playing around with beats in the studio glam rock Sweet style and the others started jamming along to the beat and Paul Di'Anno went off and wrote the lyrics.
LP: What kit did you use back then?
DS: Hayman twin tom Showman kit.

LP: What cymbals did you use?
DS: Anything I could get my hands on back then but I use Zildjian now.

LP: What is your favourite style of music to play?
DS: Rock and Metal I used to really love playing the stuff we played in Iron Maiden.

LP:What memories do you have of Iron Maiden.
DS: Great ones a favourite one was at the Music Machine, it was around Guy Fawkes night and Dave Light’s had organised even more pyro than normal and when it went off I was playing behind a flaming wall of fireworks, I couldn’t even see Paul Dianno or his mic stand.
DS: I also remember we always wore stage gear and when we played places like the Ruskin Arms we would walk out single file after changing into our stage gear. The crowd would just open it was like the parting of the waves nobody had to ask them they would just make a long corridor it was really eerie.
The blood was another thing Dave Light’s made a backdrop with loads of lightbulbs on it and a mask the spat out blood. The fans used to love that when Den was the front man but it wasn’t Paul Dianno’s thing so Dave created it to keep it in the set and it pissed over my head every night. There’s still some on my drum stool.

LP: What other bands did you play with?
DS: I used to help out my ex band mate Tony Parsons and his bass playing brother Steve in their band Press Gang. then later I joined Airforce.

LP: How did you meet Chop (Airforce guitarist and founder member)?
DS: I met him through Steve Harris, I had seen him around but didn’t know him.  Chop was a guitarist looking for a drummer and Steve organised a jam session with all three of us. Chop was in EL34 at the time a band he had been in for a long time. We had a few more jam sessions and I joined Chop forming Airforce with Tony Hatton on bass and my brother Sam of Sam Apple Pie joined us on vocals.

LP: What was your favourite song in Airforce?
DS: My favourite was Wargames we were the first line up more keyboard orientated the next line up was heavier.

LP: What music are you listening to now?
DS: My favourite bands are Korn , Deftones and System Of A Down. I love the drumming in System Of A Down and Rammstein I have a live DVD of Rammstein and they are incredible!  Flames shooting everywhere, people on fire, amazing stuff!

LP: Do you still have your Iron Maiden drum kit?
DS: Yes and I am bringing it to show the Iron Maiden fans at the Legacy triple header charity gig featuring my old band Airforce, GV1 and Buffalo Fish I have been asked to go as a special guest. The gig and meet and greet is at the Plough and Harrow’s (Maiden used to play their back in the day) dedicated music venue the SINBIN on Sunday the 8th of November the fans can take pictures of it for free but to help us make money I am allowing them to sit behind it to have a picture taken for a £5 donation to the evenings charities. I hope to see plenty of you there raising money for great causes.
Discography with iron Maiden

The Soundhouse Tapes (1979).

Sanctuary and Wrathchild for the compilation album Metal For Muthas recorded Manchester Square, London (24 October 1979).

Running Free released on Axe Attack Vol. 1 first pressing only from the Wessex Studio demos (25 & 26 November 1979).

Iron Maidens debut single "Running Free" (1980)  B-side "Burning Ambition" only from the Wessex Studio demos.

Best Of The B’Sides (re-release of Burning Ambition).

BBC Archives (2002) (Friday Rock Show Session from 1979).


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Sam Apple Pie was a British blues-rock band with a large live following, they played the first Glastonbury Festival and Frank Zappa joined them onstage for a jam at the Amougies Festival. They recorded two albums and also played the Royal Albert Hall, in London, for the Shelter charity. Sam Apple Pie headlined a night at the Camden Festival, 1972. The Camden Festival was also headlined by such acts as Wishbone Ash, The Faces, Nazereth and the Fairport Convention.

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