Nicko McBrain
Nicko McBrain
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Plans to bring a world famous drummer to the Falkirk area have been rocked ... by a 40th birthday bash.

Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain, who has toured the globe with the massively popular heavy metal band, was due to come to Larbert’s Dobbie Hall on Friday, November 11, to perform on the kit and provide an exclusive drum clinic for local musicians.

That was until the Dobbie Hall Trust, which runs the venue, discovered the hall had been double booked.

Norman Black, treasurer of the Dobbie Hall Trust, said it was not policy to discuss individual bookings.

But Falkirk music tutor and businessman David Dowell, who pulled off the coup of securing Nicko, was happy to tell his side of the story.

Mr Dowell told the Herald: “This is the biggest thing that has ever happened for my company, DD Drums.

‘‘My reputation will prosper through the success of this event or it will take a serious knock if it doesn’t go ahead.

“It’s shocking this has happened.

‘‘They sent me a letter which basically says they have the right to cancel my booking at any time, but they have not given me any reason.”

According to sources at the venue, it appears the previous booking – apparently a 40th birthday, – had not been entered into the register when Mr Dowell provisionally booked the hall for Nicko on September 16 and then made it official by paying the deposit on September 17.

Mr Dowell said: “The expense of setting this up has been massive.

‘‘It was well on the way to being a sell-out for a 700-capacity venue and I had to take on staff to help me with it.

“This is the only Scottish date Nicko is performing – the other seven are all in England. There were people coming from as far away as Leeds to see Nicko in Larbert.

“Nicko’s management company had already been up to look at the Dobbie Hall to give it the okay.”

After the letdown, Mr Dowell is now running out of time to find an alternative venue.

“I’m searching for suitable venues now, but Falkirk Town Hall is holding ballroom dancing that night.

‘‘I’ve tried everywhere I can think of and places are all booked. The worst thing that can happen is for me to call Nicko and tell him it’s all fallen through.”

David Brown, lead business advisor of Falkirk for Business, was stunned when he heard the news of the cancelled booking.

He said: “David Dowell has done so much for the youngsters of the area with his drum tuition business and in his hard work organising this event, which would have been of great benefit to the area.

“There are pubs and restaurants in the area that would have benefitted from this event not to mention the taxi services.

‘‘For all that to be turned over because of a 40th birthday party, which seems to be a bring your own bottle affair, has to be disappointing for David.”

Falkirk Council is now on board and attempting to find a solution which will allow the event to go on in the area.

Council leader Craig Martin said: “It came to my attention on Tuesday and I passed it on to our colleagues on the culture and leisure side to see if they can find a suitable venue for him.

“We can’t do anything about the Dobbie Hall situation and the trust, but it would have been great publicity for the area to have a musician of Nicko McBrain’s stature and fame come here.

“One of the alternatives we are looking at is St Mungo’s High School, which has an absolutely cracking theatre and stage.”

Nicko McBrain joined Iron Maiden in 1982 and is now regarded as one of the best heavy rock drummers in the world. He has provided drums for a dozen Iron Maiden albums so far and pounded his heart out on 20 world tours over the last 30 years.

He featured prominently in the award-winning 2009 rockumentary ‘Iron Maiden: Flight 666’, which captured Maiden on a whistlestop world tour - with lead singer Bruce Dickinson flying them from destination to destination in the band’s very own jet.

Fellow metal musicians have watched Nicko in wonder during Maiden’s live concerts, dubbing him ”The Octopus” after seeing the way his stamina and technical prowess allowed him to pound away at every piece of his extremely large kit.

Referring to Nicko, Iron Maiden bass player Steve Harris said: “He’s got his kit set so he doesn’t even look at what he’s hitting half the time. He just puts his head down and plays.

“He is without a doubt the entertainer of the band, so I would recommend anyone to see his drum clinics, whether they’re into drums or not.“