IRON MAIDEN TRIBUTE ACT AREN'T READY TO STOP CLOWNIN' AROUND. FOUNDING MEMBER REFLECTS ON FRONTMAN'S CONTROVERSIAL ARREST IN JAPAN
Written by Johnny Pop!
POWERCLOWN ARE PLAYING AT PAT'S PUB ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2019 [[EVENT LINK]]
The Vancouver music scene was in shock when one of our own, the rainbow-haired, red-nosed clown, Dicksee Di’Anno, frontman of the Iron Maiden circus-meets-tribute act, Powerclown, made headlines after his overseas arrest in 2017. Di’Anno, real name Dan Whitmore. attempted to smuggle 9.8 kilograms of stimulant drugs into Japan during the holiday season. The seizure measured up to a street value of approximately $7 million dollars.
“My first thought was that he did it for publicity for the band, which I still think might be the case,” says Powerclown guitarist Sketchy Clown, real name Matt Fiorito, who formed the band with Di’Anno 20 years ago while touring in Europe with their first band, Scum Element. A fill-in bassist didn’t learn all the Scum Element tracks, so they opted to add a few Iron Maiden songs to their set, and also decided to dress up like clowns.
“It was close to Christmas time, we figured it would be appropriate to dress up like clowns,” Sketchy recalls.
Di’Anno is still locked up in Japan and Sketchy hasn’t had much chance to talk to him since the arrest. Sketchy describes Di’Anno as a method actor, the “clowniest” of the bunch, never ceasing to surprise. Sketchy recalls one of Di’Anno’s highlight moments, confirming Powerclown as an “adults only” style act.
While on their way to a show in Whistler, the group stopped in Squamish. A family had pulled up near the band, and a young boy seemed to be enamoured with Dicksee, who was sitting at the edge of the parking lot.
“Dicksee used to be sort of a method actor clown. If we had a show, he would, like, at the crack of dawn, he'd put makeup on. All day, he'd be a clown,” Sketchy says. “The little toddler guy sees Dicksee, and just starts walking towards him. Then I hear Dicksee say ‘You want to see a trick?’ Dicksee pulls out a pack of smokes, takes one out, lights it up, takes a drag, blows the smoke up in the air and says ‘There you go, it's called smoking.’ And then the parents came and grabbed their kid and took him away immediately.”
After a brief hiatus as a result of Di’Anno’s arrest, Powerclown returned earlier this year, playing the Invisible Orange Metal Cruise with new singer, Blaze Dailey, real name Denton Boothe, who fronts many tribute acts in Vancouver. Other current members of the band include drummer John Wayne Gary, (aka John Kurucz from Gross Misconduct,) rhythm guitarist Lippy Dongstalking (aka Ben Lightning from Wasted Strays and Legion of Goons,) and bassist Steve Hairlips (aka Briton Liakakos, who recorded for symphonic metal artist LEAH.) Sketchy Clown also wanted to give a special shout-out to “The Golden Child” Bruised Chickenskin, who was played by Unleash the Archers guitarist, Grant Truesdell.
As their satirical genitalia and drug-infused spinoffs of Iron Maiden band member names would suggest, Powerclown is clearly not your average circus act. The band is more compatible to a proudly drunken group of misfits who have no shame bathing in their own soup of filthy and weird.
“We are party clowns, not necessarily children's parties. We usually just party. We're just the ones, the ones doing the partying,” Sketchy says. “We tend to spray a little silly string and like, usually end up with a bunch of, you know, really hard to remove grease paint on the clothing and stuff like that. And yeah, we usually will probably drink of which try as hard as we can to drink everyone else's alcohol. We take every opportunity to fucking be as politically incorrect as we possibly can and to try to hurt as many feelings as we can. You can believe we're going to be calling people fucking stupid and pansies and wimps and wannabes and be blowing silly string all over everyone and they're probably going to be crying and we're going to be laughing.”
Sketchy also chimes in on what makes Powerclown different than other Iron Maiden tribute acts around the world, aside from being clowns.
“I think the biggest difference would be the fact that we wrote those songs and Iron Maiden stole them from us,” he concludes. “They cashed in on our fucking clown coattails. We're actually a cover band of our own material that was milked by these British… I'll use the word limeys. Heavy metal limeys that, you know, burned our schtick. By the way they dress, I think they actually look more like clowns than we do, too.”
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