By Andrew Catania
Amidst the crowd of musicians who proudly celebrate the coarse and explosive nature of heavy metal and hard rock that is a defining feature of the genre, there are only a few guitarists who have the ability to make the tones flow from the chords in a smooth demeanor. Lyricist, composer and master guitarist, Dave Murray’s fingers possess such a magical charm that teleports his audience into a whole new dimension through the fine fluidity of his tones.
Born on 23rd December 1956, David Michael Murray is one of the two longest associated members of the exalted British heavy metal band, Iron Maiden. Dave’s entire music career can be summed as “he knew what he wanted to become, and so he became”. Despite belonging to a destitute family who was on the move in search of opportunities, Dave possessed a natural musical flair in him that only flourished over time. He landed a role in a local skinhead gang that, if not much, at least provided him a platform to practice and rehearse.
His spark glowed subtly until he came across Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Chile’. Completely smitten by Hendrix’s style, he never really did veer off from the Hendrix-inspired rock and metal philia. By the time he turned 16, he had bid farewell to the skinhead gang, cofounding his own band called Stone Free with his friend Adrian Smith. Though this was not a notable feat, but at least it helped set course to where he was heading in life. Coming across an audition advert by Iron Maiden in 1976, Dave Murray took the opportunity and came out as a winner, nailing the audition. This was the moment that kick-started his career at a mere age of 20. Getting onboard with the axemen of Iron Maiden, Dave Murray embarked on a journey of learning and evolution. He had still not gotten over being chosen over Sullivan and Rance in the audition that he was sacked from the band over a dispute with the band’s lead vocalist Dennis Wilcock.
Dave had to take a step back and eventually landed in to form an association with his old friend Adrian Smith in Urchin, an English hard rock band. During the six-month time that he spent associated with Urchin, his one single release titled ‘She’s a Roller’ was enough to compel Iron Maiden to revoke their decision. 2 years later, he was back to being part of the mighty Iron Maiden. This was the restart to a long association that is still booming today.
Dave possesses a signature playing style that, as he clearly mentioned, has evolved from a number of eminent heavy metal legends, including the likes of Robin Trower, Richie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Kossoff and BB King. Dave’s forte entails finely squeezed tones that are dense, reverberating and are designed with finesse with an excellent attention to detail. His music is smooth and doused with intricate rhythms and nuances. It has evolved after a gradual transition from many instruments such as Fenders, Dean, Jackson, Ibanez, and Gibsons. Aside from being a vital part of all studio releases on the profile of Iron Maiden, Dave has made some notable guest appearances with Psycho Motel, Nicko McBrain, and Hear’n Aid.