Let's cut to the chase: As Lions, the U.K. hard rock band that formed in 2015 from the ashes of Rise to Remain, is fronted by Austin Dickinson, scion of metal icon Bruce Dickinson. (Yes, that Bruce Dickinson.) The band isn't trying to sound like Iron Maiden, and Dickinson isn't trying to sound like his dad.
Cut to the chase, part two - cue the inevitable question of what it's like to try to make your own mark in music when your father is a revered figure.
Dickinson sagely replies, "I think it's a lot like anyone else giving this industry their absolute all. I've always let my work, both victories and losses, stand on its own two feet as mine alone. I wouldn't want to carve an identity for myself out of anything other than who I am as an individual, so I just ignore the 'so-and-so's kid' tag. The music has to speak for itself at the end of the day, so that's what I work at. Whatever pressure anyone projects onto me or my situation is more of a reflection of them. I work hard, I love what I do, and how many people can say that? I'm a lucky f--ker."
Dickinson and the rest of as Lions -- guitarist/keyboardist Conor O'Keefe, guitarist Will Homer, drummer Dave Fee and bassist Stefan Whiting -- are doing their best to roar on their own feet with Selfish Age, their debut album that arrived Jan. 20 on Better Noise Records. They're starting to penetrate U.S. rock radio with the album's first single, "Aftermath," and the band kicked off a tour on April as support for Shinedown. It will continue touring through May, joining such bands as P.O.D. and Nothing More along the way, as well as hitting fests like Carolina Rebellion and Rock on the Range.
While "Aftermath" starts simmering on the airways, As Lions is bringing a new track, "World on Fire," to the Internet. The song's self-explanatory title plays into the overall theme of Selfish World. "It's another reflection of what I feel makes up our day and age," explains Dickinson. "It's the more dynamic cousin of the [album's title track], albeit a lot less 'on the nose.' It definitely shares the vein of being deconstructive toward our way of life and what we're exposed to on a daily basis.
Dickinson admits the track is "a very reactive song. But I didn't want to drench it in specifics or politics, either. "Every single person who listens to our music is an individual and has their own personal story, so although I was inspired to write this song by the rampant sense of hopelessness the world is showcasing, I wanted it to have enough hope and raise enough questions that it could fit into someone's life if they wanted it to. Some of my favorite songs are the ones that are open enough to soundtrack my life at any given moment, so that's what we wanted to do."
Watch the video for "World on Fire" below:
Dickenson explains that the band recast the song acoustically for the video instead of depicting the version stripped onto Selfish Age because when it was written, "it was just me and Conor in my front room with a guitar and a piano. We got the chills straight away, and ever since we first demoed it and started building on it, we knew we wanted to strip it back to its origins at some point. Lyrically and melodically, it stands on its own two feet without the bells and whistles, so we wanted to show that."
As Lions tour dates
April 1 Tucson, Ariz. @ Rialto Theater
April 3 San Diego @ House of Blues
April 4 San Diego @ House of Blues
April 5 Bakersfield, Calif. @ Bakersfield Fox Theater
April 7 Los Angeles @ The Belasco Theater
April 8 Fresno, Calif. @ Paul Paul Theater (Blazefest)
April 10 Medford, Ore. @ Medford Armory
April 11 Eureka, Calif. @ Eureka Municipal Auditorium
April 13 Sacramento, Calif. @ Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
April 14 Chico, Calif. @ Silver Dollar Fairgrounds
April 15 Reno, Nev. @ Grand Sierra Resort
April 17 Anaheim, Calif. @ House of Blues
April 19 Dallas @ Trees
April 20 Laredo, Texas @ Club Annex
April 21 Corpus Christi, Texas @ House of Rock
April 23 Austin @ Grizzly Hall
April 25 Monroe, La. @ Live Oaks Bar and Grill
April 26 Baton Rouge, La. @ The Varsity Theater
April 28 Mobile, Ala. @ Midnight Rodeo
April 29 Jacksonville, Fla. @ Metropolitan Park (Welcome to Rockville Festival)
May 2 Destin, Fla. @ Club LA
May 3 Birmingham, Ala. @ Saturn
May 5 Concord, N.C. @ Charlotte Motor Speedway (Carolina Rebellion)
May 8 New York @ The Gramercy Theatre
May 9 Reading, Penn. @ Reverb
May 10 Syracuse, N.Y. @ Lost Horizon
May 12 Columbia, Mo. @ Blue Note
May 13 Somerset, Wis. @ Somerset Amphitheater (Northern Invasion)
May 15 Lincoln, Neb. @ The Bourbon Theatre
May 17 Fort Wayne, Ind. @ The Rusty Spur
May 18 Louisville, Ky. @ Diamond Pub Concert Hall
May 19 Flint, Mich. @ The Machine Shop
May 21 Columbus, Ohio @ Mapfre Stadium (Rock on the Range Festival)
Editor's note: The original version of this story stated that As Lions would be playing San Antonio's River City Rockfest on May 27 and Pryor, Okla.'s Rocklahoma on May 28. This information was provided to Billboard in error. The band is not performing at these events.