Global Merch Services chairman/owner Barry Drinkwater has worked on Maiden’s iconic merch for decades. He explains the appeal…
What role does merch have in Maiden’s world?
It’s been key in their ethos as a band, the persona of the band. It’s a badge of allegiance for the fans. It’s not what the band’s about – the band’s about the music – but there’s more to it with the entity of Eddie and how he’s portrayed on the merchandise which makes them more than just a band. Metallica are a band, they’re a great band, and they’ve got half-decent merchandise. Most bands have OK merchandise. Maiden are exceptional and unique in the fact that the merchandise embraces the fans.
How much do their T-shirts play into complementing the vision of the music?
It totally does. Rod will hate me for saying this, but it’s because of him – it’s his vision. Yes, he works with everyone else, but it’s really Rod’s mental anguish – and he anguishes about this – over the details of every little aspect, he looks at every piece of merchandise and colour. Which again is incredible. No acts have a manager like this, and I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of artists over the years. Nobody is on it like he is. And it shows.