Iron Maiden and Anthrax have recently wrapped up a joint tour across South America, and bassist Frank Bello had a cool story to share from the return flight.
The man sat down with fellow metal bass champion David Ellefsonof Megadeth for a Bass Gear Magazine feature, explaining how Maiden invited him to fly with them to New York after the tour because he lives there and they had a gig in the city.
He said: “That’s a 9-hour flight from Sao Paolo to New York. So, about the seventh hour, I’m having a glass of wine or something, just chillin’, and I get a tap on my shoulder from one of the flight attendants.
“She says, ‘Bruce wants you upstairs.’ And I’m just looking at her, ‘What are you talking about?’ She says, ‘Yes, he wants you upstairs in the cockpit.’ ‘Why?’ She goes, ‘He wants you to land with him.’
“All of a sudden, 15-year-old Frank Bello comes out, and I think I’m shaking a bit, dude! ‘Cause let’s face it: I’m afraid of planes. I’ve never been in a cockpit in my life, let alone Bruce Dickinson flying the fucking plane! One of my favorite singers of all time… So he invites me to sit behind him, in the cockpit, flying into JFK – my home airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, right?”
Describing how he entered the cockpit, the bassist added: “I’ve never had so many seatbelts in my life; they just keep locking, and shit’s being fastened everywhere…
“I’m a foot behind Bruce Dickinson, flying this huge, enormous fucking plane, and all of a sudden, the world is mine. All I see is lights in front of me – I’ve never been in a cockpit, dude!
“Imagine how crazy this is; very surreal. And they’re turning knobs, and Bruce is handling everything. Let me tell you something: I’ve always loved the dude as a singer, but there’s a whole new respect for the brain that man has. ‘Cause to know the things he has to, and the knobs he was turning, and talking as a pilot to JFK; it was just incredible.
“I’m seeing this whole, big thing here. There are so many planes coming in that they had a hard time finding a flight pattern, and Bruce and the other pilot were talking back and forth with JFK.
“It was hilarious. Bruce looks back at me and says, ‘Figures, you come up here at this time, and it’s the hardest landing we’ve had so far.’ And he’s laughing and we all just cracked up. [Laughs]“