Blaze Bayley InterviewBlasting-Zone.com: What ultimately led to the demise of WOLFSBANE?
Blaze Bayley: “We'd been together for quite a while from the start, really. For all of us, WOLFSBANE was our first serious band. What happened was we were offered the support slot for IRON MAIDEN around the U.K. I think it was thirty one sold out shows, which is a lot of shows in the U.K, so we did that, got to know the guys and everything. When they were looking for a singer for a replacement for Bruce Dickinson, they knew me, knew what I was like onstage and everything, so they asked me if I'd like to have an audition. I've always liked IRON MAIDEN… they're one of the first bands I listened to when I started to get into metal, so I was definitely interested. I went along and had an audition with a lot of other people, got very, very luck and managed to get the job. That's how it came about. I went off and joined IRON MAIDEN, made some albums and did some tours. It was very sad to see the end of WOLFSBANE, but I couldn't pass on the chance to become the singer for IRON MAIDEN.”
Blasting-Zone.com: Were you initially surprised when you were offered the job?
Blaze: “Well, the audition process is quite lengthy. You have to learn ten of the classic MAIDEN songs and sing them and at the second audition, you're invited back to sing in the studio as well so they would know what you sound like live and on the record. I really didn't think I would get the job because my voice is so different than Bruce Dickinson's. He's much more of a technical singer and I'm much more of a blood-and-guts singer, ya know? I'm more about the emotion and the passion of the song. When they chose me, I was very, very surprised that they had chosen somebody with a very different voice. But if you listen to the two albums that we made, they're just slightly different. The music's just slightly darker than what MAIDEN had been doing before. I was absolutely over the moon that I got it, but I never really expected to. I felt like the luckiest guy in the world when I got the job.”
Blasting-Zone.com: In all honesty, are you truly happy with the music you recorded with IRON MAIDEN?
Blaze: “Going from my days in WOLFSBANE, I worked with a lot of different producers… and some top people. With IRON MAIDEN, I was workin' with people that had platinum albums all over the world. What was great about it was that I had a lot more confidence in my songwriting because all of the ideas I was working with were fitting right in with IRON MAIDEN. I came from this small band and now I was in the huge band, but my songwriting ideas and everything were goin' great. I suppose one of the biggest things was that we did 'Man on the Edge', which was all my lyrics and melodies… and that was the song they chose to be the first single from the ('The X Factor') album. That was absolutely fantastic, ya know? It was a dream come true for me…that one of my songs would become a top ten single across Europe in the rock charts. …It was like a fantasy.”
Blasting-Zone.com: At this point, do you have any idea what the new material will sound like? Will it be more akin to “Silicon Messiah” or “Blood and Belief”?
Blaze: “I don't think we can really say until we get into the studio. I've been pretty pissed off over the last year, so I know lyrically and melodically a lot of the ideas are quite aggressive. I would expect it to sound darker and more aggressive in places, but equally, I've come to terms with a lot of my personal issues, so perhaps in places it will sound more emotional. Some of the ideas that we've had so far sound really old school and some of them sound very modern, so I think all we can say is that the next album will have all the hallmarks that you would expect of a BLAZE album. Power, passion, interesting lyrics and good quality songwriting that's based one hundred percent on what you believe in your heart and not on trying to be big and trying to be huge… We write what we feel, we write with passion and hopefully the kind of fans that listen to our music are people that understand that and will enjoy it.”
Blasting-Zone.com: So why were you so pissed off?
Blaze: “Well, the record company that I had. I've gotten rid of them now. They lied, cheated, blackmailed me and stole money from me. They told me that playing live gigs does not sell CDs in their opinion. For me, with my background coming from getting the band together just from a live perspective… hearing someone say something like that goes completely against everything I stand for. You're gonna go in the studio but then you're not gonna go tour with your album? That's absolute lunacy to me. So I had to get out of the record deal and get rid of the record company. The management I had before I had problems with as well. Sanctuary Management, when I was with them, they tried to bury me…they put out my album the same week as IRON MAIDEN. This is no fault of IRON MAIDEN or the IRON MAIDEN management now, but Sanctuary management then did not want me to get anywhere with my own stuff. They didn't want me to take the lights away from IRON MAIDEN, which is impossible, basically. Sheer paranoia they had. The band lineup changed because people were more interested in the money and how much they were going to get out of it instead of making the best record that we could or getting out and putting on the best show. I'm not interested in being a millionaire, ya know? I'm interested in playing a million shows for a million fans. That's what I live for. In the end, it took a long time to sort them out. You know who your friends are when you go through something like that. I've come through that now even though at times I didn't think I would. I've got the strongest band I've ever had, I've got a fantastic manager and now I've put together my own record label. Nobody can fuck with me anymore and the fans will get absolutely the best value that I can give them…”