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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews

Blaze Bayley

Interviewed by Larry Toering and Scott Prinzing

Interview with Blaze Bayley from 2012

MSJ:

How did you hook up with Thomas Zwijsen, and do you see yourself working with him on a permanent basis?

Thomas booked me for a vocal session for his upcoming album.  We recorded two songs for that and we felt we connected well. I offered him to help me with the new album and it has been great to work with him. I don’t know about the permanent basis. The music business changes a lot so I am not sure yet if and when there will be another full metal album. But I liked working with him and he is a very talented musician.
MSJ:

I see you will be touring North America, and on the tour you will be with Rick Plester on guitar (who also worked on the new album with you), and he is a fantastic musician. What can you tell us about Rick and your working relationship with him?

Rick is a very positive, down to earth, talented guitarist. I really enjoyed working with him, he has done some guest performance on my new album and I am booking a new tour in the US with him and the guys from Man the Destroyer. This tour was very poorly organized by the bookings agent and promoter but the professional behavior from the musicians have made it a good experience and we are all positive that with doing it ourselves, we will be able to do a much better tour this year!
MSJ: Do you feel that illegal downloading and digital technology in general have helped or hindered the music industry?
I think it helps the underground musicians but it harms the big sellers. I think it is something we will have to accept in modern society. People forget about the fact that when they put something online, they are actually taking away money from the artists they are trying to support. But on the other hand somebody might listen to a song and then buy the album...
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
I have no problems with that. My shows are what I am known for. You don’t know Blaze Bayley unless you have seen me perform live.  It is never the same watching a video but you get a small part of the chemistry of the night. I am sure that these clips will not stop any people who were planning to come to the show.
MSJ: How do you feel about the success of your album, The Man Who Would Not Die?
I am very proud of this album. I love every album that I have made and it is always nice to see some reward for your efforts.
MSJ: On the new album you came up with a lot of very thought provoking lyrics that deal a lot with being pushed around and told how to be. Can you explain the entire concept of the that whole approach to the recording?
In the last few years, I have worked with some people who have tried to take advantage from me, who disregarded my opinion and thought theirs was better.  I wasn’t in the best mental health at the time and struggled to fight against these people. With the help from my family I managed to build up my self confidence again and fight against these people. I wanted very clear lyrics on this album, in your face to those people who have judged me, tried to push me around.  I am pleased with how the album has turned out.
MSJ: If you were a super hero, what music artist would be your arch nemesis and why?
I don’t know. I like a lot of different styles of music and different singers.   Maybe someone like Ozzy Osbourne, just for the fun, not because I have something against him.
MSJ: Who would you see as some of your musical influences?
Ronnie James Dio has been the main influence on my music.  I saw him on stage and from then on, I knew I wanted to be heavy metal singer.
MSJ: In 1989 or '90, Wolfsbane's debut was listed in KERRANG!'s top albums of the year list. How did you see your future in that point in time?
I really wanted us to go all the way but we weren’t all on the same page and when I got the offer to join Iron Maiden that was it really.
MSJ: Where does everything stand with Wolfsbane at this point in time?
It is something for fun. It has to fit around what I do and is not a priority for me. It is the same with the rest of the band. We have done some shows last year and released the album early on this year. Jase is now working on a few more dates for October in the UK and maybe in August but as far as I know nothing has been confirmed.
MSJ: When you first joined Maiden, the pressure on any singer would have been enormous. How did you cope with those in the audience who didn't want to see/hear a new singer?
You just try to focus on the people who do want to see you. In life you will always have people that don’t like you. That’s fine. You just put the energy in your performance so that the people who want to see you, get the best show possible.
MSJ: You earned several writing credits during your stint with Maiden. What was it like to know that they included a few of your songs in the set for a few years after Bruce Dickinson rejoined them?
It is amazing!  It gave me a lot of confidence that my songwriting is good enough for Maiden. Because of this, I am never doubting my songwriting.
MSJ: Out of all of your work with Iron Maiden, do you have a specific favorite album, track or experience you hold closer than any other? If so, what would that be?
I really like the X-factor album. My favorite song to sing is “the Clansman” now.
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Nothing. A lot of things have gone wrong and mistakes have been made but it is all part of the process. You just get up, learn from your mistakes and go on. A lot of fans say that me getting my wife as a manager was a Spinal Tap moment but it has been the best decision of the last few years. She was not familiar with the music but she is very good at the business part of it. She is now also booking my shows, doing the promotion and selling merchandise, doing my webshop. She is the strong woman behind Blaze Bayley.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
The last one was Rhianna’s for my wife. For myself I am recently into folk music.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music, what do you think you would be doing?
My wife and I often discuss the fact that if I would stop, she would be the one going to work and I would look after our daughter. I think it is one of the best jobs you can have, bringing up your own child, learning them the right values.
MSJ: Do you have a musical "guilty pleasure?"
I would say folk music again.
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
I just want to thank all my fans that have been supporting me for all my career. I appreciate every one of them and I hope to see you all soon on one of my shows.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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