• Blaze Bayley: "I am a very happy man; I don't need to be rich or famous, I just want to sing and perform."

    Blaze Bayley live on stage

    Sebastian Kluth: “Hello Blaze and thank you a lot for accepting this great interview occasion for me. It’s a true honour for me to talk to you. I’ve contacted you in order to promote your upcoming greatest hits album “Soundtracks Of My Life” which is filled with thirty tracks covering thirty years of your career. When you joined Wolfsbane back in the days, have you ever thought that you would one day stand where you are right now?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “Yes, because I was young and nothing was going to stop me back then. There have been some hard times where I thought I wouldn’t be able to carry on but overall I am very pleased with how things have turned out.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Let’s dig in the past a little bit. When you were in Wolfsbane, a lot of magazines covered your band and described it very positively as the next big thing but on the other hand the band never really got its breakthrough. How do you explain this paradox and do you think that there was maybe too much pressure on your band?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “We were four guys who just enjoyed performing. We weren't the top at what we did but we were the best performers at that time. We did really well in the UK but it was very hard to establish outside of the UK.  I think we managed to get as much out of it as we could at the time.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “In the nineties, you’ve joined the Heavy Metal legends Iron Maiden. Everybody knew that it would be hard or even impossible to take the heritage of Bruce Dickinson. Why did you and the band decide to accept this tough challenge and did you ever regret it?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “I can't speak for the band but I thought it was a great opportunity for me so I auditioned. I think Steve Harris wanted to try something a bit more different which is probably the best thing to do at that point. If he chooses somebody like Bruce Dickinson, it wouldn't have gone down well either. I am very proud of the work I have done with Iron Maiden and never regretted it.”

     

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Today, many Iron Maiden fans have re-evaluated the “X-Factor” record and start to dig it. The record seems to be like a good old wine that becomes better and better the older it gets. How do you see this record today? Did the band integrate you well in the song writing progress? How was the atmosphere while recording this dark masterpiece?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “I am very proud of it. I think a lot of fans didn't want to like it because it didn’t have Bruce Dickinson on it. I can't blame them, it is always difficult to change a band member, especially the front man.  I really enjoyed recording it as it was a great way for me to learn about writing music, with a musician like Steve Harris.”

     

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “When it comes to the “Virtual XI” record, many people still dislike it and think that the songs feel stretched and are not very well written. I think this album is quite intriguing because it has a cumbersome and dreamy atmosphere and it goes far away from the band’s roots and traditional heavy metal in general. Did you realize that this was going to be a quite different record back in the days and what were your motivations to adapt this new style?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “I just wrote what felt right at the time. It wasn't intentional but it just felt good.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “There are rumours that some songs on Iron Maiden’s “Brave New World” record had already been written when you were in the band but you didn’t get any credit for it. I think that your vocals would fit very well on songs like “Dream Of Mirrors” or “Blood Brothers” for example and even a couple of songs on “Dance Of Death” like “Age Of Innocence”. What’s your opinion about that?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “We'll never know if it would have fitted me better ;)”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “When did you realize that Iron Maiden was about to get Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith back on board? How did you react and how do you judge the circumstances of the split today?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “No, I did not know. I was asked to go to a meeting and there they told me I was sacked. I was devastated and didn't know what to do.” 

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “After your departure from Iron Maiden, you soon released your “Silicon Messiah” solo record that received many favourable critics. Did you write some of the songs on it for Iron Maiden? How comes that your first solo album came out so quickly?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “I had a lot of inspiration at the time and was already writing new songs when I was still in Maiden. I wanted to make the most of the fact that the Maiden fans still knew who I was so I released it quickly. I still get good comments from the fans about it. I think it is a very good album.”

     

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “After your “Tenth Dimension” album, the line-up of your solo project changed quite often. How comes that you weren’t able to get a stable line-up together?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “The finances. I made the wrong decision in trying to get a band fulltime together. There aren't enough shows or CD sales to support five band members full time. Some of them left, understandably, and some of them I had to sack because it was destroying me. It was too much responsibility for me.”

     

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “After your “Blood & Belief” album, you’ve changed the band name from “B.L.A.Z.E.” to Blaze Bayley. Why did you do that?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “I didn't think that the name Blaze was specific enough. When you google Blaze, you didn't see me but a lot of news stories about weather... With Blaze Bayley it is easier to find me on the internet and it was a good fresh new start for me.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “You then got together a new line-up and released two strong records with “The Man Who Would Not Die” and “Promise And Terror”. At the same time, you were going through quite emotional times with your marriage and later the tragic death of your wife. How do judge this period today and have you finally found your peace of mind?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “It was difficult, no doubt. I wanted to stop many times during that time. Not musically because they are great musicians and I am very proud of the music we wrote together but it nearly destroyed me. Looking back on it now, I should have taken a step back and put myself first instead of the music.  But I feel very good now and I have two great albums from that time so I have found my peace of mind.”

     

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Around the same time, Wolfsbane got together again as well. Why did you decide to reunite and why didn’t it happen when you were pulled out of Iron Maiden? How would you describe “Wolfsbane Save The World” in comparison to the band’s early three full length albums?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “We weren't in touch because of what happened in the past. We then started performing a few shows together again and we enjoyed ourselves again. We wrote the album and I think it is very much in the same style of the old ones. We have grown up now so the subjects are slightly different but the way we write is still the same.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “You’ve recruited a few unknown musicians to record “The King Of Metal”. Opinions about this album are quite mixed. Some fans say that you should have stayed with the previous line-up and ask themselves why you’ve changed your winning team. Others as me were completely blown away by the new album and judge it as maybe your most authentic, honest and personal musical output ever. What do you have to say about these opinions and the creative process behind this album in general?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “Musically it was a winning team but it was impossible to continue. The sacrifices that had to be made by everybody were too high. It is a very different style of writing than the previous ones and that is why it divides many fans. The lyrics are a lot more direct. Fans are entitled to dislike an album and prefer other ones. I just write what feels right at the time and what I think is good.”

     

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Your latest EP is called “Russian Holiday” and introduces us to four acoustic versions of classic tracks from your career and also to one brand new acoustic song. I was really intrigued by the lyrics of the title song. What are they exactly about and why did you choose Russia instead of another country to sing about?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “I was in Russia when my daughter was 5 months old. I had just finished writing “The King Of Metal” and had to go straight to Russia for a tour with Paul Di'Anno. I really missed my family at that time because I was working so hard. So the lyrics are about that and about some experiences I had when I was there.”

     

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Recently, you also got involved as a guest singer in different intriguing projects. One of them even made it on your greatest hits album and it’s the Sinnergod track “Wonderful Life”. I think your vocals fit very well to this track. Could you imagine being part of or playing yourself similar tracks in the future? Tell us more about this and other recent projects like your work with Ouijabeard for example. Did you get any other invitations or would you like to be a part of a certain project in the future?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “I have wanted to do this already for a long time but I wasn't able to because I had a fulltime band. I think I have done about fifteen different guest vocals now and we still get requests in. I sometimes have to turn down some because of political content in the lyrics or because I think it won't work well with my voice but so far I am very pleased with the songs I have been involved with. “Wonderful Life” is one of the songs that really stood out to me and I enjoyed working with the guys from Sinnergod so much because they do everything themselves, they have a great work ethic.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “You have also played a couple of shows under the name of “The Foundry” in 2013. Tell us more about this project and its members and how you’ve met them. Was it only a short project to play a couple of cover songs or can you imagine working together for a longer period and maybe even write your own material?” 

     

    Blaze Bayley: “It was an idea Rick Plester had. I was in the USA to write the two new songs for the “Soundtracks Of My Life” album, so it worked out well for me. It was great, I enjoyed working with the other guys and the shows were good. I don't know if we will be able to do more because we are all very busy.”

     

    Blaze Bayley - Soundtracks Of My Life (2013)

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Your upcoming greatest hits release also includes two brand new songs entitled “Hatred” and “Eating Children”. When did you write these songs, what are they about and what will they sound like?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “”Hatred” is a very direct song about a situation on “The King Of Metal” tour with a support band. I told a guy to leave me alone and he didn't. “Eating Children” is a completely different style of lyrics but also a very strong song. I am very happy with them. I wrote and recorded them with Rick when I was in the USA and we are now in the final mixing and mastering stages.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “You are going to tour Brazil as part of the “Russian Holiday” tour next December with Thomas Zwijsen and Anne Bakker. How is to work and tour together with these two very special musicians?” 

     

    Blaze Bayley: “They are great musicians! They don't moan and are no divas. They just like to perform well and have a good time! I am looking forward to it.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Afterwards, you will stay in Brazil for your “Soundtracks Of My Life Tour” in December and January. Why do you think that crowds are so euphoric in South America and especially in Brazil? How comes you pass so much time over there?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “The Brazilian fans are very outgoing and I can sometimes not hear myself singing because the fans are singing louder than me lol! It is just such a great time every time I am there and I also really like the agent that books me. I can't wait to be back in Brazil and meeting all my fans again!”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “After thirty years of career, what do you think were the greatest songs and albums you’ve made and which ones would you make sound different today if you only could?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “I am very proud of “Silicon Messiah” and “The Man Who Would Not Die”. I wouldn't change any of the songs because they all tell a story from that time.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “What were your greatest and your worst concert or festival experiences of the past thirty years?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “Too many to mention on both sides lol! Worst ones are the once that got cancelled.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “After all, what were your best and your hardest times over the last thirty years and what did you learn from all these experiences?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “Hardest time was being sacked from Maiden and having to give up my fulltime band. Best time was joining Iron Maiden and having my daughter. All my experiences make me realise how good I have it now being able to combine personal life with my pleasure of performing and making music. I am a very happy man.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “After thirty years, are there still some dreams you would like to realize? What can we expect from Blaze Bayley for the next years to come?”

     

    Blaze Bayley: “I just want to continue touring and making great albums. I don't need to be rich or famous, I just want to sing and perform.”

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Thank you once again for this amazing interview occasion. As always, the last words belong to the artist. What would you like to tell our readers and your fans from all around the world?”

     

     

    Blaze Bayley: “Thank you so much for all your support you have given me over the past 30 years and I hope there will be many more years to come! See you on the road!”

     

    Blaze Bayley in concert

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