Bruce Dickinson would "freak out" if he didn't have his lyric sheet backstage at gigs.

The Iron Maiden frontman has admitted he gets "nervous" about forgetting his lyrics and always keeps a copy of them just in case, but never ends up using them.

Speaking on Fozzy rocker Chris Jericho's 'Talk Is Jericho' podcast, he confessed: "I get nervous right before I go on stage with Iron Maiden, especially at the beginning of a tour.

"Once you're sort of, like, five or six, seven shows into the tour, you're kind of back into the routine. So you kind of know what's gonna happen. But the big fear, especially for a singer, is that you walk on stage and open your mouth and garbage comes out, or nothing at all. And that's irrational, but it's valid.

"So just own up to it. I mean, I keep a copy of the lyric sheet backstage. I never look at it, but if I knew it wasn't there, I'd freak out."

The 'Run to the Hills' star says that after the first few shows, his confidence comes flooding back.

Mentioning his spoken-word tour, 'An Evening With Bruce Dickinson', he added: "Then every tour, once I get to, like, six or seven shows in, the training wheels come off and I leave it in the wardrobe case. But the one-man show's a bit different because it's just you.

"And if you stop, it all stops. If I forget the words [while performing with Iron Maiden], the band carries on."

The 63-year-old musician revealing he always has his lyric sheet nearby comes after he previously mocked singers who use autocues on stage.

Quoting the lyrics to Judas Priest's 'Breaking The Law', he remarked: "I don't use an autocue on stage. A lot of singers now, they just have the words there: 'Breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law.' Breaking the what? 'Breaking the law. Breaking the law.'"