Basic Background Info

Birth: June 5, 1954
Location: Hackney, London, England
Band: The 18th Fairfield Walk, The Wells Street Blues Band, Streetwalkers, Pat Travers Band, Trust, McKitty, Iron Maiden, McBrain Damage
Genres: Rock, Metal
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician



Nicko McBrain describes himself as "a born entertainer" and "Mr. Excess All-Areas." His fans call him "The Mad McBrain," referring to his wild stage presence. Bandmember Steve Harris admitts that Nicko is "no doubt the entertainer of the band." During drum clinics he tells stories and jokes to his audiences; even when the audience doesn't understand, he is always laughing at himself.

Nicko McBrain, born Michael Henry McBrain, was born in Hackney on June 5, 1952. His parents started calling him Nicky as a child after his favorite teddy bear, Nicholas, his constant companion. Later in life, the nickname evolved to Nicko and it just stuck. As a youngster, Nicky enjoyed jazz like his father. Nicko McBrain recalled, "I used to pretend I was Joe Morella hitting the tubs. I'd go into the kitchen and pick up a pair of knives and start hitting the gas cooker." Nicko McBrain badly wanted a set of drums and his parents finally indulged him when he was twelve. Without any lessons or formal instruction, Nicko McBrain said he seemed to be able to play "almost straight away "I donít know how, I just could." Nicko McBrain left school when he was fifteen and played with various groups in local pubs. Nicko McBrain's style became more modern and incorporated characteristics of The Shadows, The Animals, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones. Nicko McBrain spent a lot of time doing session work, recording "anything: pop albums, folk albums, religious albums, or more rock type stuff. I didn't mind. It was all good practice."

Nicko McBrain's first few bands played at clubs, but didn't seem to get very far. The Streetwalkers, with Roger Chapman and Charlie Whitney, was his first brush with any sort of notoriety, but they, too, met with limited success. However, Nicko McBrain recalled, "Streetwalkers was a great little band. Why they never made it, I don't know." After Streetwalkers, Nicko regularly recorded in studios as a sideman.

Iron Maiden asked him to replace Clive Burr as their drummer in 1983(two of his early bands actually supported Iron Maiden on tour and the bandmembers remembered Nickoís skill). Critics and fans regarded Nicko McBrain's work with Iron Maiden as a very diverse body, he played a variety of styles and unique time signatures. Interestingly, Nicko did not use two bass drums or a double pedal. He called it "too complicated" and "undrummerish." Rather, he used one bass drum with a very speedy skill. He recorded one song, "Face in the Sand," with a double pedal and decribed it as one of the most difficult performances of his life and said that the band would never play that song on tour. Steve Harris said that Nicko McBrain's drum kit is set in stone so that he doesn't even look at it during performances, "he just puts his head down and plays."

Iron Maiden has never stopped recording or touring. Most recently they recorded A Matter of Life and Death. In a 2006 interview, Nicko McBrain said it was "absolutely not!" their last studio album. "We are not young kids anymore but this record has proved to me that we have still got immense music left in us. So it definitely won't be the last. We will have the usual time off after the tour and then take things from there." Their 2008 tour spans the world from Autstralia to India to South America to Europe and the United States.

In 1999 Nicko McBrain heard a "calling" from God and converted to Christianity, after his wife Rebecca prayed for him. When he walked into a church, he said, "I just sat there thinking, 'I didnít drink last night, why can't I stand?'" Since then, Nicko McBrain hass had "this love affair with Jesus going on in [his] heart."


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1975 Downtown Flyers Streetwalkers
1976 Red Card Streetwalkers
1977 Makin' Magic Pat Travers
1977 Putting It Straight Pat Travers
1978 Forget the Past Stretch
1982 Savage Trust
1983 Piece of Mind [Limited Edition] Iron Maiden
1983 Piece of Mind Iron Maiden
1984 Powerslave Iron Maiden
1985 Live After Death Iron Maiden
1986 Somewhere in Time Iron Maiden
1988 Seventh Son of a Seventh Son Iron Maiden
1990 Clairvoyant Iron Maiden
1990 No Prayer for the Dying Iron Maiden
1990 Running Free Run to the Hills Iron Maiden
1991 Best of Pat Travers Pat Travers
1992 Fear of the Dark Iron Maiden
1993 Real Live One Iron Maiden
1994 BBC Radio 1 in Concert Streetwalkers
1995 X Factor Iron Maiden
1996 Best of the Beast Iron Maiden
1998 In Profile Iron Maiden
1998 Powerslave [Bonus Video Tracks] Iron Maiden
1998 Real Live Dead One Iron Maiden
1998 Seventh Son of a Seventh Son [Expanded] Iron Maiden
1998 Somewhere in Time [Expanded] Iron Maiden
1998 Virtual XI [Japan] Iron Maiden
1998 Virtual XI Iron Maiden
2000 Brave New World Iron Maiden
2002 Eddie's Archive Iron Maiden
2002 Edward the Great: Greatest Hits Iron Maiden
2002 Fear of the Dark [Enhanced] Iron Maiden
2002 Fear of the Dark [Limited Edition] Iron Maiden
2002 Live After Death [Enhanced] Iron Maiden
2002 Live After Death [Limited Edition] Iron Maiden
2002 No Prayer for the Dying [Limited Edition] Iron Maiden
2002 Powerslave [Limited Edition] Iron Maiden
2002 Real Dead One [Limited Edition] Iron Maiden
2002 Real Live One [Limited Edition] Iron Maiden
2002 Rock in Rio Iron Maiden
2002 Seventh Son of a Seventh Son [Limited Edition] Iron Maiden
2002 Somewhere in Time [Limited Edition] Iron Maiden
2002 Virtual XI [Limited Edition] Iron Maiden
2003 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Pat Travers
2003 Putting It Straight/Heat in the Street Pat Travers
2004 Moonlighting: The Anthology Roger Daltrey
2005 Death on the Road [DVD] Iron Maiden
2005 Death on the Road Iron Maiden
2005 Essential Iron Maiden Iron Maiden
2005 Four Play Pat Travers
2006 Matter of Life and Death [Bonus DVD] Iron Maiden
2006 Matter of Life and Death Iron Maiden
2007 Death on the Road [3 DVDs] Iron Maiden
2009 Flight 666 Iron Maiden
2010 Final Frontier Iron Maiden


  • Nicko's drums and cymbals are labeled with the brand name (Premier and Paiste, respectively) in the Iron Maiden logo font.
  • When asked for his favorite song on A Matter of Life and Death, Nicko replied: "My personal favourite right now is 'Lord of Light,' but I can't get 'For the Greater Good of God' out of my head. All the way round the golf course this morning, I just couldn't stop singing it!"

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Premier
Cymbals: Paiste
Hardware: Drum Workshop
Heads: Remo
Sticks: Vic Firth

Pics & Clips