Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson writes about bullying, cancer and flying

NEW YORK (AP) — Bruce Dickinson used to think that writing an autobiography should come at the end of his career. A bout with throat cancer changed his mind.

After his recovery, the Iron Maiden frontman began writing his life story, filling up a stack of legal pads in longhand. Now the fruit of his labor has led to the recently released, "What Does This Button Do?"

The 59-year old rocker recalls turning down an offer to do a book 10 years ago, saying "I'm not really done yet." After being diagnosed with cancer, "I thought there's an outside possibility I might be done sooner than I intended."

In the book, Dickinson covers the rise of Iron Maiden, his love of fencing, his difficult upbringing, the creation of albums and becoming a licensed airline pilot. He ends the book with his victory over cancer.

"When I got all clear of that, then the question got revisited, and I went, 'You know what, this is a really good end point for a book.' Not that I'm planning on going anywhere else and checking out, but this is kind of the beginning of the rest of my life," Dickinson said.

And while Dickinson conveniently excludes the dirt on his personal relationships and barely touches on band politics, he does reveal some personal demons, especially in a passage that chronicles being bullied as a child. Those bad experiences at boarding school had a lasting effect on him.

"A really nasty bullying experience, whatever, it never leaves you," he says. "It leaves a permanent mark on your insides and that manifests in different people in different ways. With me, it makes me very angry. I get really cross, you know. If I see somebody else being bullied, it makes me really angry. So it's a bit like Hulk. You don't want to see me when I'm angry."