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Bruce Dickinson quit Iron Maiden because he wanted to "learn what it was like" outside the band.
The 63-year-old singer departed the heavy metal group in 1993 before re-joining the 'Fear of the Dark' hitmakers in 1999, and the star has admitted he felt the need to leave so that people took him "seriously".
He said: "I just thought that if I stayed with Maiden forever, all I would learn about was what it was like to be in Maiden. And in order to learn what it was like outside Maiden, you have to leave, because, unless you left, nobody would take anything that you did seriously. It would always be, like, 'Oh, bless him. He's doing a solo record. Let him have his fun and then he can go back to being in Iron Maiden.' I hated that. So I thought, 'F*** it. I'll just leave.' And [people said], 'What happens if your [solo] career doesn't work out?' "
Bruce was willing to take that chance, admitting he wanted to have a go at pursuing solo projects rather than end up being "grumpy" for not trying.
Speaking during his 'An Evening with Bruce Dickinson' spoken-word tour show at MTelus in Montreal, Canada, he added: "I said, 'Well, that's God or fate saying maybe that's [for] the best.' "
While Bruce is still in the band, he has the best of both worlds as he is also working on another solo record.
In January, the 'Number of the Beast' singer admitted he planned to finish up his new solo album - a follow-up to 2006's 'Tyranny Of Souls' - after his North American spoken-word tour wraps.
Bruce explained how once his part is done, he leaves the rest to his long-time collaborator, Roy 'Z' Ramirez.
He said: "I am obviously coming over to [America to] do the one-man [spoken-word] show [beginning in late January].
"When I get to the end of the one-man show thing at the end of March, then the idea is I've got about three weeks cooling my heels somewhere.
"I'll lie down in a darkened room for a couple of days and recover from the tour and then put my singing head on and go and have a chat with [longtime collaborator] Roy ['Z' Ramirez]. 'Cause we've already got a bunch of material, but we need to organise it a little bit.
"We have demos and everything, but we need to organise it a bit more properly and be a bit more serious about it - maybe write a few more tunes. And then basically leave it down to Roy. [Once] we've got what we wanna do, he can go off and start doing backing tracks and things like that."