Even a veteran rocker such as Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris has other musicians he'd rather avoid than meet face to face. But as it turns out, Harris' particular brand of evasion isn't born from any ill will. It's just because meeting your heroes can sometimes turn out to be a confounding affair.

Such was the case when Harris met Peter Gabriel for a tennis match, the Iron Maiden bassist doing his best to sidestep interaction with the former Genesis singer for fear that he'd "fanboy" too hard. That's how Harris described it to the magazine Classic Rock in the issue that hits newsstands this month.

"I ended up playing tennis with Peter Gabriel once, just because he was on the court in the same hotel as me," the Iron Maiden icon recalled. "I don't know if he even knew who I was, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to get tongue-tied. I didn’t want to act like a fanboy, even though I felt like one."

Gabriel isn't the only performer that's intimidated Harris with their musical talent. The 63-year-old bass player also claimed he "avoided meeting Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson for so long because I didn't know what I'd say to him."

The situation should ring familiar to any musician or listener who'd prefer not to run into their role models. Harris' story about Gabriel cropped up when asked about who he'd like to work with outside of hard rock and metal.

"When you're into bands that much, you don't really think about working with them," Harris further explained. "You never really have a chance. You tend to put them on a pedestal."

Earlier this week, the musician discussed why he first decided to pick up the bass guitar. Of course, that led to the circumstances that saw Harris form Iron Maiden 44 years ago, on Christmas Day in 1975. His other current band, British Lion, will release their second album The Burning on Jan. 17.

See Steve Harris in the Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Bassists of All Time