Former IRON MAIDEN singer Paul Di’Anno, who has been receiving lymphatic drainage treatments in Zagreb, Croatia in preparation for his upcoming knee surgery, spoke to the “Još Jedan” podcast about his health condition, relationship with the fans, depression and how it affected his songwriting process. He also discussed his time in IRON MAIDEN, BATTLEZONE and ARCHITECTS OF CHAOZ, and his upcoming free concert in Zagreb, which will take place one day before IRON MAIDEN‘s show in Croatia in May.
Speaking about his health, Di’Anno said (as transcribed by Phoosi.com) that he is doing “better” but noted that he still “a lot of work to do — a lot of physio and stuff like that.”
Paul went on to blast the U.K.’s free-at-the-point-of-use National Health Service (NHS), saying: “Fucking NHS sucks. I was a defender of them big time. But the nurses are awesome and all the workers. It’s the fucking bureaucracy bullshit — the management and the people who run the NHS are just total assholes. But the poor heroes — the nurses and the staff — they’re great, but their hands are tied. So they didn’t know what to do. They just dumped me.”
Di’Anno, who will turn 64 in May, outlined some of the recent health issues he has battled that have kept him from performing for seven years.
“I caught sepsis [when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body] in 2015, and it almost killed me,” he said. “And I spent eight months in a hospital in England. You’ve got a crucial 45 minutes to get as many antibiotics in you before you die, and they managed to do that, which was great. Then I spent eight months in a hospital, and then another three months in a care home. And while I was in there getting things done, on hospital visits, I caught MRSA [Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an infection caused by a type of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections] there twice, in the hospital. So that was it. So it kept delaying things and delaying things… And then they took this knee out put this cement thing in. And it was only supposed to be in there for a year. And the first time they put that in, it broke, so they cut me open again and put another in. And that one is still in here. And while it’s been in there this long, it’s going toxic. So, what the fuck are they doing over there at the NHS?”
According to Paul, his doctors in Zagreb found evidence of surgical instruments mistakenly being left within his body, potentially opening the door for him to pursue compensation through a lawsuit of medical malpractice.
“When I arrived here [in Croatia] at the clinic and they were looking me over, they found a fucking staple in my leg which was in there from the operation from four years ago. What’s going on?” he said.
“There’s gonna be a lawsuit, by the way. [Laughs]”
In January 2021, Kastro Pergjoni, operations director of the Cart & Horses pub in Stratford, London, England where IRON MAIDEN made its live debut in 1976, launched a crowdfunding campaign on JustGiving for Di’Anno to be treated privately. More than £13,000 was raised — roughly the cost for surgery on one of Paul‘s knees. A second crowdfunding campaign was launched last summer and has raised more than £13,000 of a £26,000 target.
Di’Anno reportedly underwent an operation in 2016 to remove a “rugby ball-sized abscess” on his lungs and required a knee-replacement operation on both knees after getting involved in several motorcycle accidents over the years. As a result, Di’Anno was forced to sit down while performing at his most recent shows.
Di’Anno recorded two classic albums with IRON MAIDEN — a self-titled effort in 1980 and “Killers” in 1981 — before being fired and replaced by Bruce Dickinson. He went on to front a number of other bands, including KILLERS and BATTLEZONE, and released several solo records.
In March 2011, Di’Anno was sentenced to nine months in a U.K. prison after he falsely collected government benefits by claiming he suffered nerve damage to his back that prevented him from working.
Di’Anno completed his first North American tour in early 2010, 17 years after he was deported following a prison term for guns and drug offenses.
Pergjoni, who has been behind Cart & Horses since 2016, leasing the pub from the building’s owners who are converting the beer garden and car park into flats, discussed his fundraising efforts during a 2020 appearance on the “Uncle Steve’s Iron Maiden Zone” podcast. Asked if he has approached the members of IRON MAIDEN themselves to contribute in some way to the Di’Anno campaign, Kastro said: “Myself, no, I haven’t, to be honest, because I don’t wanna put things… What’s the best way to say it now? It’s not up to me to go to them, because I have no connections with IRON MAIDEN themselves. Even when I [need to approach] Steve [Harris, IRON MAIDEN bassist and founder], I go through his friends or his sister sometimes or close friends that he’s got to get stuff from him. But to go to MAIDEN for something that is related to MAIDEN, I don’t think that it is me personally, or Cart & Horses, the ones to contact them. I’d love if they come forward and just cover whatever is left or say whatever, but I don’t think it’s down to me to go to MAIDEN. Because [Paul‘s] got friends and he’s got connections with MAIDEN more than I have, so if MAIDEN wanted to, or if somebody else wanted to, they would have done it. But so far, nothing, unfortunately, no.”