Punk icons of the Dead Kennedys and the Damned have bitten back at Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson's dismissal of their genre as "rubbish."

Earlier this week the vocalist argued there was a world of difference between heavy metal and punk, telling the Guardian: "The closest the art establishment ever came to embracing metal was punk. The reason they embraced punk was because it was rubbish.

"The reason they embraced rubbish was because they could control it. They could say: 'Oh yeah, we're punk, so we can sneer at everybody. We can't play our fucking instruments – but that means we can make out this whole thing is some enormous performance art.'

"Half the kids that were in punk bands were laughing at the art establishment, going, 'What a fucking bunch of tosspots. Thanks very much – give us the money and we'll fuck off and stick it up our nose and shag birds.'

"What they'd really love to be doing was being in a heavy metal band surrounded by porn stars."

Now Rat Scabies of the Damned fame has posted a brief Facebook comment, saying: "Bruce Dickinson can think what he likes – but I defy Iron Maiden to play Smash It Up as it was written."

And the Dead Kennedys observed: "I don’t think he has ever heard East Bay Ray play guitar."

In the same interview Dickinson berated singers who rely on autocue to deliver lyrics, making mention of Judas Priest track Breaking The Law.

Maiden – cover stars of the current edition of Metal Hammer – headline Sonisphere on the weekend of July 4-6, where Dickinson will lead a WWI dogfight re-enactment above the arena.