Dickinson, Smith Rejoin Iron Maiden

Singer Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith have rejoined Iron Maiden, ending months of speculation from classic metal fans. The line-up of Dickinson, Smith, bassist Steve Harris, guitarists Janick Gers and Dave Murray and drummer Nicko McBain will record and tour in the future as Iron Maiden.

Smith joined co-founders Harris and Murray for the band's second album, "Killers," in 1981, and left following 1988's "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son." He was replaced by Gers, and eventually joined up with Dickinson when the later embarked on a solo career. Dickinson was a member from 1982's "Number of the Beast" through to 1993's "A Real Dead One" before former Wolfsbane vocalist Blaze Bayley took over for the next two albums, neither of which burned up any charts. Dickinson subsequently released two marginally successful solo efforts.

Bayley has been the only casualty of the reunion. Iron Maiden has opted to mount a rare three-guitar front.

The band will

play tour dates in the States and Europe later in the summer before entering the studio at the end of the year. They intend to launch a full world tour in year 2000.

The news comes on the heels of $30 million bond offering that surely sweetened the deal for the two factions by providing some immediate financing for the pending projects, though management says the timing was coincidental. The bonds are optimistically secured by future royalties from Iron Maiden catalogue sales. The group recently issued remastered and repackaged versions of their most popular albums in a 13-CD boxed set.

The official announcement of the reunion can be viewed later today on the official Iron Maiden website, www.ironmaiden.com/maiden/main.htm. The entire band will also be taking part in a worldwide interview with the Rock Radio Network at www.rocknetwork.com

February 25th at 4 P.M. ET, simulcast on Hard Radio at www.hardradio.com.