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Blaze Bayley Interview
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FHM: To most people, heavy metal means long hair and loud noise. What does it mean to you?
Blaze: It's about uncompromising force, power and integrity. I'd never compromise my music or the sake of hit singles. You've got to leave that to the Spice Girls of this world.
FHM: Some Maiden lyrics are very apocalyptic and deep. Where does your inspiration come from?
Blaze: I'm fascinated by the dark side of humanity that haunts us all--the nutshell of a brain we share with the apes which is liberated by half a bottle of Jack Daniel's. I also really like weird movies.
FHM: Does modern extreme music like gangsta rap and techno signify the death of heavy metal?
Blaze: If anything, it signifies a resurgence. Techno/punk bands realise the importance of metal. People said that grunge killed metal, but grunge killed itself. The strong bands like Maiden and Motorhead will always survive: we're still knocking out albums, playing all over the world in front of hundreds of thousands of people and making new fans all the time. Anyway, Lemmy will be around long after we've departed this earth. Have you noticed the way he's never changed? I'm convinced he's an Egyptian mummy.
FHM: What's the weirdest request you've ever received?
Blaze: One bird followed me to every UK gig, trying to get into my pants every night. Some sickos ask me to sign their girlfriend's breasts. I wouldn't let my girlfriend anywhere near a rock band, let alone when they've got a pen in their hand.
FHM: How true to life was This Is Spinal Tap?
Blaze: Everything in that movie has happened in real life, although not every day and not just to metal bands. I bet it happens to Louise or Oasis as well.
FHM: I can't see Louise walking through a metal detector with a foil-wrapped cucumber in her pants. Which blaze inspired your parents to name you? The Great Fire of London, perhaps?
Blaze: No, Bayley is my christian name. But I'm from Tamworth and in the darker regions of the Black Country, they couldn't grasp the concept of Bayley as a first name, so I invented Blaze as a glam-rock nickname.
FHM: So it's true--Tamworth is full of cider-drinking in-breds...
Blaze: Well, it's a small town with a lot of small town attitudes. For some, it was a big deal if you'd been to Birmingham for the day. Unreal, man! It's good to go back there, but it reminds me why I wanted to leave. I always saw music as my way out of being stuck in McDonald's in Tamworth. Mind you, it's not all bad. They do have Britain's only indoor ski slope with real snow. And a multiplex.
FHM: What's the nearest any of your band members have been to death?
Blaze: The drummer in my previous band, Wolfsbane, got into so much aggro that we nicknamed him "Danger." One night, we went to see AC/DC in LA. We were drinking backstage with Guns 'N Roses and The Cult when Steve disappeared. Suddenly he was dragged past by these great big monkeys, screaming: "All I can see is lights. Get me a hammer for my head! I want to crack it open!" And he meant it. Someone had passed him something to smoke--crack, or worse. He wanted to die that night.
FHM: Your hair's starting to thin a little on top. Any plans to shear it off?
Blaze: I don't think baldness is very attractive, so I might get a Samurai ponytail in future, or even have it all cropped off. But what worries me is that until you shave your head, you don't know what shape it is. Some people have a great, dome shape. Others have crooked skulls like the Mekon. What the world needs is a computer program that can show us what our domes will look like in their hair-free state.
FHM: Mmmm, interesting thought. What's the longest you've ever gone without washing?
Blaze: Oh, it's got to be more than two weeks, when I was living on a tour bus with Wolfsbane. There was only a toilet on board and none of the venues had showers, so we invented what we called the "Mexican Shower." We'd spray deodorant all over ourselves: feet, body, arse, bollocks--a great thick layer, enough to last a week. We were totally disgusting. I've thrown socks away that were like cardboard. It got pretty ripe in there, but it was still fucking brilliant.
FHM: Are you fond of the odd drop of ale?
Blaze: I'm no way near as self-destructive as I used to be. I tend to stick to Guinness nowadays. I might get dozy after a gallon, but if I sip away, I come into my own again. Then I'm good for at least 15 or 20. Drinking's all about stamina. Once, on the way back from Belfast, we drank a busful of booze, drank the bar dry on the ferry, saw dawn in with a couple more and arrived in Norwich at 1pm. We got straight on the Guinness. I was tearing up and down the street on other people's motorbikes until the small hours. I slept for days.
FHM: I thought all rockers swigged Jack Daniel's?
Blaze: Well, I tend not to drink spirits any more because they turn me into a combonation of Ghengis Khan and Alexander the Great--a small guy with a very bad attitude. I'm amazed I've avoided being killed or severely beaten.
FHM: Has your temper ever got you into hot water?
Blaze: Fucking loads of times, mate. Once I drank all the band's booze and walked into a pub near a gig we were playing. A group of bikers were playing pool and I grabbed one from behind and shouted: "I'm gonna fuck you up the arse, boy!" Danger had to drag me out of there, quick.
FHM: I bet that incident wasn't a one-off, though...
Blaze: I've taken on whole pubs full of people many times in the past if they've slagged off the band--and I've challenged whole arenas to scraps. Once, Maiden were in Texas, and this twat in the crowd kept throwing water. I wanted to destroy and bury him. The whole band jumped over the side of the stage trying to get ahold of him. The audience kicked the shit out of him for us. Another guy in Chile got the same treatment. He thought it was still fashionable to spit on bands.
FHM: What else would a man have to do for you to invite him to step outside?
Blaze: Let's just say I've had to sort out a couple of blokes who'd make a move on birds of mine while I was away on the road. They're the scum of the earth. I've also come very close to hurting a few journalists.
FHM: You're scaring me now...
Blaze: One writer had taken the piss out of Wolfsbane for not being serious. I saw him in a bar, marched up to his table and stabbed a flick-knife into it. Another time, we were mixing a live album. The music was loud as hell and we'd had a few. The journo who came over to do a piece on us kind of got caught up in the aggro. I started shouting "We mean it more than poser bands!" and smashed guitars through the windows and tried to fight him. We're best mates now.
FHM: If you had to have sex with another pop star, who would they be?
Blaze: En Vogue--all of them.
FHM: Given the choice between emptying a quarry with a small spoon or being bum-burgled by Mike Tyson, which would you choose?
Blaze: It would have to be the spoon. Although if it was somebody more attractive than Tyson, well, I'd have to work out if I'd get the quarry done before I went grey.
FHM: Is it easy to make a packet in rock?
Blaze: God, no. In Wolfsbane, we earned 60 pounds a week and spent it all on booze. Once we were so broke we planned to do a post office. We got the idea from Crimewatch, talked it up on a few sessions and bought replica Luger water pistols. We even got some black balaclavas and perfected Scottish accents as a cunning disguise. Our plan was to leg it down the road to a field where we'd hidden some pushbikes, quickly change, and pretend to be a bunch of Brummies down for a cycling holiday as we made off with the loot.
FHM: Did you go through with it?
Blaze: Thankfully, no. Wolfsbane split up soon after that and I got the Maiden job. I paid off all my debts legitimately.