Kastro Pergjoni, operations director of the Cart & Horses pub in Stratford, London, England where IRON MAIDEN made its live debut in 1976, recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise £20,000 (approximately $27,000) so former MAIDEN vocalist Paul Di’Anno can undergo his long-delayed knee surgery. So far, Pergjoni has raised only £8,600, or about 43 precent of the goal, from approximately 340 supporters.
Pergjoni, who has been behind Cart & Horses since 2016, leasing the pub from the building’s owners who are converting the beer garden and car park into flats, discussed his fundraising efforts during a new appearance on the “Uncle Steve’s Iron Maiden Zone” podcast.
Asked if he has approached the members of IRON MAIDEN themselves to contribute in some way to the Di’Anno campaign, Kastro said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Myself, no, I haven’t, to be honest, because I don’t wanna put things… What’s the best way to say it now? It’s not up to me to go to them, because I have no connections with IRON MAIDEN themselves. Even when I [need to approach] Steve [Harris, IRON MAIDEN bassist and founder], I go through his friends or his sister sometimes or close friends that he’s got to get stuff from him. But to go to MAIDEN for something that is related to MAIDEN, I don’t think that it is me personally, or Cart & Horses, the ones to contact them. I’d love if they come forward and just cover whatever is left or say whatever, but I don’t think it’s down to me to go to MAIDEN. Because [Paul‘s] got friends and he’s got connections with MAIDEN more than I have, so if MAIDEN wanted to, or if somebody else wanted to, they would have done it. But so far, nothing, unfortunately, no.”
Noting that Cart & Horses is currently undergoing renovations after closing in June 2019, Pergjoni continued: “I do ask them sometimes, or I’ve asked now, especially with the renovation, for a few things to be donated to the Cart & Horses, and I’m hoping they will. But for me now to go and ask them about something else now, which is not related to Cart & Horses, I think it’s not really the right thing to do… And also [Paul] himself is related to MAIDEN — it’s not me related to MAIDEN. It’s like going to somebody else’s family asking for their family. But if anybody wants, and if anybody listens and has to connections to MAIDEN or to anybody there, why not?”
Di’Anno recorded two classic albums with IRON MAIDEN — a self-titled effort in 1980 and “Killers” in 1981 — before being fired and replaced by Bruce Dickinson. He went on to front a number of other bands, including KILLERS and BATTLEZONE, and released several solo records.
More than a decade and a half ago, Di’Anno told The Jersulam Post that leaving the MAIDEN juggernaut behind was the best thing that ever happened to him, and that he had no bitter feelings toward his former bandmates.
“I absolutely have no regrets about leaving MAIDEN — I wasn’t right in the head at that time to be in the middle of all that,” he said. “I was fed up and disillusioned; it would have been cheating the fans and myself if I had stayed. It was easy to walk away from, and I’m very happy the band got bigger and bigger.”
Several years ago, Di’Anno told Metal Thunder Radio that he wasn’t as involved with MAIDEN‘s songwriting as he would have liked. “Steve had most of the words and the lyrics [to the band’s first album] all written. That was some of the bones of contention that we had in the band — that I didn’t get to write as much as I wanted to. ‘Cause I am actually quite a prolific writer, but a lot of my songs were not accepted. ‘Cause it’s Steve‘s band, obviously.”
He continued: “That first album was a revelation, I’ve gotta tell you. It was amazing. And the second album, for me, not so much. That’s when I started to lose interest a little bit. But [we] still [had] great times — really great times.”
At times, Paul has also publicly displayed his anger toward his former bandmates, most notably during a 2009 press conference in Argentina where he was asked about the rumors that his drug use had something to do with his split with MAIDEN. “Where the fuck do you people get this from?” he asked. “I left IRON MAIDEN because they were going too heavy metal, and IRON MAIDEN is a money-making machine, and I don’t give a fuck about it. It was not about drugs; it was nothing like that. Me and Steve… I [wrote] the song ‘Killers’. Steve had [what he thought] were better songs. I thought his songs were shit. Nothing to do with drugs; nothing whatsoever. Check your facts or otherwise this interview is over… I hate that! I fucking hate that! Because people… You say something but you don’t know. Well, I’m telling you. IRON MAIDEN is Steve Harris‘s band. It doesn’t matter about anybody else — whether it’s Dave Murray, Clive [Burr], me… it’s Steve Harris‘s band and all it is is money, money, money, money — nobody else counts. And I wrote fuckin’ 20-times better songs than his, but I only got one song on the ‘Killers’ album because it’s Steve‘s — he must have this. Fuckin’ Adolf Hitler. I’m not interested. So there you go. But you need to take drugs when you’re with IRON MAIDEN because they’re so fucking boring. And the only drugs were aspirin, because Steve [making hand gesture as if someone is speaking into his ear]… Fuckin’ headache.”