Dave Murray performing in San José, Costa Rica, 26 February 2008
|David Michael Murray|
|Born||23 December 1956|
Edmonton, Middlesex, England
|Genres||Heavy metal, hard rock|
|Iron Maiden, Urchin|
David Michael "Dave" Murray (born 23 December 1956) is an English guitarist and songwriter. He was one of the earliest members of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden and, along with the group's founder, bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris, has appeared on all of the band's releases.
Growing up in various areas of London, Murray became a member of a skinhead gang before he took an interest in rock music at 15 and formed his own band, Stone Free, with childhood friend Adrian Smith. After leaving school at 15, he regularly answered advertisements which appeared in Melody Maker before auditioning for Iron Maiden in 1976. A short while later, Murray was sacked following an argument with the group's lead vocalist, Dennis Wilcock, and spent six months in Smith's band, Urchin. In the Spring of 1978, following Wilcock's departure, Murray was asked to rejoin Iron Maiden, in which he has remained to this day.
As a child, Murray's family lived in poverty and were constantly moving to different areas of London, which meant that he was often bullied and involved in fights. By the time his family settled in Clapton in 1970, Murray joined a skinhead gang and "had a violent couple of years of being out on the street." He developed an interest in rock music when he was 15 after hearing "Voodoo Chile" by Jimi Hendrix on the radio, about which he recalls, "everything changed, just like that. Getting into rock music wasn't like a gradual process for me; it was completely sort of extreme, totally black and white. I heard 'Voodoo Chile' on the radio and I thought, 'Bloody hell! What is THAT? How do you do THAT?' And I started hanging around the rock music section of the record stores and buying albums, thinking about getting into the big time, wondering what that would be like." After "hanging 'round record stores" and acquiring several Hendrix and blues albums, Murray decided to take up the guitar. At 16, he formed his first band, a trio called Stone Free, which also included Adrian Smith on vocals, who would also become a member of Iron Maiden in 1980. From there, Murray would answer ads in Melody Maker and regularly audition for different bands at the weekend, leading to short stints in Electric Gas, "this sort of soft-rock, American-type band," and The Secret, "this sort of mad punk band," with whom he would record a single "The Young Ones" under the alias "Reggie Mental" , and a demo "Café De Dance", in 1977.
In late 1976, he auditioned for Iron Maiden, eager to get back into "a more sort of heavy rock-type vibe." At the time, the band already had two guitarists, Dave Sullivan and Terry Rance, who disapproved of Murray's admittance, seeing it as a slight on their ability. The group's founder and bassist Steve Harris did not hesitate in choosing Murray over Sullivan and Rance, stating, "When the others made it plain that it was either them or Dave Murray, there was no choice. There was no way I was gonna let Dave go. Not only was he a nice bloke, he was just the best guitarist I'd ever worked with. He still is." Unfortunately, after only a few months in the band, Murray was sacked following an argument with then vocalist Dennis Wilcock after a show at the Bridgehouse pub in Canning Town which led him to team up with Adrian Smith again in his band, Urchin. During his short tenure with this group, Murray recorded one single, entitled "She's a Roller", after which he was asked to rejoin Iron Maiden following Dennis Wilcock's departure. Murray managed to hold down a 9 to 5 job working as a store keeper for Hackney Council, which he states was "so I could sleep off the night before," but was able to resign once the band signed with EMI in 1979.
Murray's solo guitar style throughout his career has been mainly based on the legato technique, such as on "The Trooper", which he claims "evolved naturally. I'd heard Jimi Hendrix using legato when I was growing up, and I liked that style of playing." He has also written songs for the band, though he is less prolific than other band members, usually forgoing lyric writing and concentrating on the musical elements of songwriting. He mainly co-writes songs with another member of Iron Maiden, "Charlotte the Harlot" (from 1980's Iron Maiden) being to date the only composition to which he is solely credited. Murray and Harris are the only members of Iron Maiden to have appeared on every one of the band's releases. Along with Adrian Smith, he appears at no. 9 on Gibson's list of the "Top 10 Metal Guitarists of All Time".
Until he switched to Victory in 2014, Murray used and endorsed Marshall amplifiers almost exclusively, other than on the Somewhere in Time (1986) and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988) albums and their respective tours, when he instead used Gallien-Krueger amps.
He has used Fender Stratocaster guitars almost exclusively. His black 1957/63 (the body is from a '63; the neck from a '57) Stratocaster, previously owned by late Free guitarist Paul Kossoff, was used circa 1978-1990. It was used as a template by Fender to manufacture an Artist Signature model in 2009. The original now resides at his mother's home. "I bought it in 1976," he said. "I saw it advertised in Melody Maker... I got the serial number to check it was [Kossoff's] guitar. It cost quite a bit of money but I didn't care. I just sold everything I had so I could get it, and I used it from then on. It just felt like I was holding a piece of magic because he had used this guitar."
In addition to Fender guitars, Murray has occasionally performed with various Dean,Gibson,Ibanez,ESP and Jackson electric models. During the Dance of Death World Tour 2003-4, Murray used a Gibson Chet Atkins acoustic guitar for live performances of the song "Journeyman".
As of 2015, his main guitar is a 2-tone sunburst Fender Californian Series Stratocaster with two Seymour Duncan Hot Rails pick-ups (bridge and neck positions), one Seymour Duncan JB Jr. pick-up (middle position) and a chrome Floyd Rose tremolo system. In 2015, Seymour Duncan announced the release of the official Dave Murray Loaded Pickguard set with demonstrator Danny Young performing the official video on the Seymour Duncan YouTube channel. On stage, Murray has also performed with a cream USA Floyd Rose Classic Stratocaster (with a 22-fret maple neck and same electronics and hardware as the sunburst model), a custom Stratocaster based on his aforementioned Paul Kossof Fender, and a Gibson Flying V. In 2010, he began using a Gibson Les Paul Traditional model, featuring Seymour Duncan '59 and JB pickups in the neck and bridge positions respectively, which his guitar technician, Colin Price, states was originally brought in for Adrian Smith to try, but was then bought by Murray for practising on tour. In addition to this Les Paul, he primarily used a 2002 Les Paul Classic with a Seymour Duncan '59 and JB neck and bridge pickups for the recording of The Book of Souls (2015), as well as a sunburst Gibson Les Paul Axccess with the same pickup configuration and a Floyd Rose tremolo.
In 2015, Fender announced a second Artist Signature model, based on his California Series Stratocaster. It retains all the specifications of his original guitar, has a compound radius fretboard and is made entirely in their Ensenada plant in Mexico.
In his spare time, Murray, along with bandmate Nicko McBrain, is an avid golfer as seen in the Rock in Rio DVD and Iron Maiden: Flight 666, revealing in 2002 that he tries to play "a couple of rounds in each week" and his handicap "can be anywhere from 15 to 24." Murray and his wife Tamar have one daughter named Tasha (born 1991).
I bought it from an ad in the papers. [Other than that, I have] three Fender Stratocasters and an Ibanez Destroyer I picked up on tour.