Global hit - Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden was born in England in 1975. Since then, the heavy metal band has earned passionate followers in some pretty far-flung places. For example, there are quite a few Iron Maiden fanatics in South America. Reporter Ruxandra Guidi introduces us the band's number one fan in Bolivia.

When I walk into Daniel Romano's house in the Miraflores neighborhood of La Paz, I can hear the music blaring from the attic.

The top floor of his house is completely dedicated to his favorite band, Iron Maiden. He's got posters, figurines, books, t-shirts, and photographs, all featuring the band's creepy-looking mascot, Eddy. It's a skull face with long hair.

Romano is 37 years old, a translator by day and the president of the Bolivia Iron Maiden fan club by night. He has long, feathered hair and the overall look of a teenager.

I ask him what he finds so appealing about the old British metal band. He looks at me like I'm crazy to ask such a question.

Romano: "Iron Maiden has very, very complicated songs...For example, "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner", which is based on a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a poem against the Victorian era...It's a very surreal poem, with many levels...Iron Maiden took this poem that was about 13 pages long and turned it into a single son -- this is what I would call 'intellectual heavy metal."

The Iron Maiden fan club here is one of the largest in Latin America. It was founded five years ago with the idea of bringing Iron Maiden to Bolivia to perform. More than 40 fans got together and started looking for corporate sponsorship -- Romano says they needed to raise 80-thousand dollars total in order to get the band here.

But the club's secretary, 22-year-old Marcelo Rodriguez, says they finally managed to raise enough money this year, but Iron Maiden still would come. Rodriguez says the band's manager told him that they couldn't schedule firm date to Bolivia due to political instability in the country.
Rodriquez: "Many bands abroad have a bad view of La Paz, because it is such an unstable city, with so many protests. But we have a goal -- to bring Iron Maiden to Bolivia -- and we want our country to be on the map"

One way these loyal fans keep from getting too discouraged is by supporting local tribute bands -- with catchy English names like "Eternal Blood" and "Invaders".

The club also hosts an annual convention in La Paz that draws heavy metal fans from throughout Bolivia.

This year, the 4-day convention was held at a gallery space in downtown La Paz. Daniel Romano's posters and records covered the walls, and an Iron Maiden music video from the late 70s played in the background.

A group of guys, and they're all guys, chatted about Iron Maiden, of course, and about their upcoming concert in March in nearby Chile.

Javier Ramallo said he wouldn't miss it for anything. He expects to spend about 300 dollars for a hotel and bus package to Santiago.

But he says he wishes he could see the band right here, in Bolivia.

Ramallo: "It's frustrating that every time Iron Maiden is on a world tour, there are political and social problems in Bolivia. This time, we even raised the money to bring them and they were eager to come...It makes me really mad."

But Ramallo doesn't look all that mad. He rejoins his group of friends to watch some Iron Maiden videos. And in a couple of months, he'll cross the border into Chile to see his favorite band of all time. The same heavy metal band he grew up with and that he refuses to give up on.

For The World, I'm Ruxandra Guidi in La Paz, Bolivia.