Blaze Bayley has been the subject for discussion and in many cases dispute among metalheads due to his days with IRON MAIDEN. What most of the metalheads keep forgetting is that he is an artist who has been working really hard all these years and he has not been milking his days with the British band. So, as “King Of Metal” is already out there, METAL KAOZ got in touch with him and got answers to the following questions. He has a disarming honesty and a straightforward attitude that makes you feel that you are talking to a friend.
Hello Blaze! First of all, how were the shows with Paul Di’ Anno?
Very good, we had a lot of fun. Paul is a very funny person. So it was good. And I think I played in front of lot new people. Since I’ve left IRON MAIDEN I think there are a lot of fans that don’t know anything about what I’m doing now – some of them – and I think they love what I’m doing but they just don’t know about it and I got through to many of them. It was good that I played to a lot of people since we were doing double headlining shows. Also I enjoyed playing IRON MAIDEN songs from my era and I also added few songs from my own albums as well so it was like a MAIDEN tribute. It went well and the reactions were amazing. So, I was surprised since I didn’t know what to expect.
Do you think that you can do this in the future?
We are gonna be doing it in Australia in November for two weeks and then we have some European shows coming up as well so we both thought it was good and I think that is something will both do together again.
Is there any chance to get this package here in the US?
Yeah, I think it would be if we had a good agent and somebody reliable. Then it would be a chance of doing few shows in the US, maybe next year because we are already booked up. I’ll visit the US this year with my own thing so next year might be a chance to get there together.
You are saying you’ll visit the US in 2012?
Yes, I’ll be there with my own band.
Awesome! By the way I have to congratulate you about the Chicago show; it was an amazing show!
Ok, you have released a new album so how was the experience of making everything by yourself? You even produced the new album, right?
Yeah, it was the only way to get it done really because I had so little money to do it and so short time that I did everything myself, as a producer, but I also had as an assistant Thomas Zwijsen who also helped me with the song writing. I wouldn’t do this again if I had a choice because it was a lot of work. But in reality there were only two options; do this with me as a producer or not do it at all. So that was the choice and under those circumstances I’m very pleased. I think it got some of my best songs that I’ve done and some great performances so I’m really pleased with it. You can get it from www.BlazeBayley.net from my web shop there or if you come and see me on tour you can get it from me.
Is there any chance to release it on vinyl?
No, not yet because we haven’t sold enough copies but what I normally do with the vinyl is if the album sells enough copies, then I have enough money to do some limited edition vinyl. So we’ll see really how it goes. I’d love to do the vinyl because I really love the artwork.
It’s the best way to do it. You have written a song about Dimebag; how did this come up?
I had the idea for a quite few years, for about 6 years I’d say and in fact I had recorded a demo of this. And the people I was working with and the circumstances at that time didn’t work to do it earlier. I got together with my friend Thomas and when we wrote this album, we thought “lets see if we can make things work with this idea”, and it get together really well. And I was really pleased about that. Even if it’s is a lot time since his death, hopefully people will see that I’m not trying jump on the incident; it’s just a genuine tribute to someone who was very important to the world of Heavy Metal and I felt his passing and the way he died was very important and I think people should not forget about that.
Yeah, you are absolutely right. Are you still using session musicians for the tour?
I know a lot of musicians and people get in touch with me all the time you know, asking to tour and work with me, so I find people that I know and I like to work with and I get a band together and rehearse. Now I am touring with the band I recorded the album and I’m pleased with that. At the end of the tour we’ll see what happens but mostly I work with musicians who do a few trips – this band is from Europe and we recorded in Europe – so it was nice for me to be able to work with a European band. When I’ll come to the USA I will work with a US band and likewise in Russia I used some great Russian musicians. Before, when I had an exclusive band, I could never work with other musicians and is something I really enjoy doing and I like when other people get the chance to show what they can do.
But I was wondering if by this way you can get a steady sound on stage.
Yeah, but it’s much better because sometimes when you have a full time band, people get lazy, they treat the music and the fans with contempt and they just think any old shit is good enough and they don’t bother trying anymore. So when I work with different musicians they have a level of respect for the music and the fans. And what is good as well is that when you have a new band together the musicians bring their own interpretation and that brings new life to the songs adding more energy.
What about WOLFSBANE; you have released a great album, sounds like the old days. So are you gonna go on a huge tour or something like that?
Nobody can do a huge tour! No one can be away from home apart from me and Steve Danger. We wanted to do something because we had some musical ideas and it’s something we all featuring in our lives (my regular day job is my singing) and everybody has different things going on so we tried to fit around that and we hope people like the album and if it goes ok, then we’d love to have a short trip to the US but we haven’t really play any shows outside of the UK yet, so we thought that people would be interested and book us for festivals but we haven’t have many offers yet. I’m happy when start and hear the album and see that it’s serious; then maybe we’ll get more offers.
How difficult is to be a musician nowadays (of course I’m talking economically)?
I don’t know really. I think if you wanna do anything on your own terms it’s difficult, if you run your own business it’s not easy and it’s the same as that really I am just the same as a plasterer or a carpenter or a brick layer or anybody who works in construction and anyone who does his own contracts and work for himself. It’s the same as that, I work on a contract; somebody phones me up or e mails me and gives me a price and books me and that’s it. There is not much money as it was so it’s more work but it’s the same for everybody, you know. I’m not part of the big machine and I’m not part of the mainstream music business. I’m in a different place; I’m an underground band at the cutting edge of what is new, using social media and modern technology as compared to the old fashion to go plugging in the guitar and stand in front of the mic and sing; that’s very old fashion but the way the people can hear about you now it’s very new. And the way people hear music when you are not there, is very new. So, it seems people wanna come and see live shows but people don’t buy as many CDs. I’m very lucky that my fans are collectors and are people that want something in their hands to hold, smell and touch, so my fans do want CDs. I think the economic crisis will affect more the bigger artists. They are the ones to make lifestyle changes. For years I’ve had a lot of money, I’ve been completely broke and that’s it. Nothing really changes. The main thing for me is that I know that my fans support me directly. And my fans know that because I don’t have the big record deal or anything like that they will come to my concerts and buy my records directly from me. And that’s a much better way for me. I’m way better now than have somebody hype me on MTV saying: “this is the best guy ever, the most amazing live show” and then people come and get something that is not. So I’m a genuine artist and sing the music I want and play what I want. For me, it works this way; it’s a lot of work, but...
…I prefer to know that the money I sped go directly to the artist and not some fancy record label. So, I’m totally with you on that. Well, what about the cover artwork of the new album; who had the idea?
This guy from Sweden called Andreas and got in touch with me. He offered to do the artwork for the new album and so I looked some of his stuff and I saw this little robot and I said “I want that, can you do that for me?” and he said “I can do a really cool robot like Optimus Prime or something like that” and I said “no, I don’t want that; I want this humble robot because he is the one who has been fighting with the Decepticons and the rest of them and he survived”. And that’s the story of the robot and that’s my story. I didn’t want some flashy or evil or something like Eddie something that is not me; I just needed someone who survived that rocky road. The story of the artwork is that once this person was human – kinda go back to the “Silicon Messiah” idea – and gradually all the body parts got replaced by mechanical ones because of the dangerous job in a factory, and kept losing body parts, having accidents and everything, but the only thing that survived was the human voice and the will to sing. That’s the story of the robot. Nobody believes that a robot can sing, nobody takes it seriously but he refuses to give up. So “The King Of Metal” is the robot giving you the crown because you are the king of Metal, because you support me and you buy that CDs. The robot is giving you the crown. It can not be clearier who is the king of Metal. It’s you. If you look at the robot’s chest you will see the green mist which is his life meter and you see the level of green in the robot’s chest. And that’s singing is his life. But it’s difficult to convince people.
In the “Fighter” illustration it’s a mirror image of me as the robot. My microphone is in his hand and has the cable around his wrist like I do when I am onstage and he also illustrated my bad leg. For the motorcycle in “Black Country” I sent him photos of me sitting on my motorcycle so he used that motorcycle for illustration. When you buy the CD and see the artwork, you’ll get the feeling of that story, that vibe. We worked very closely together. During the writing of the album I was skyping him and we talked about all the details, so I’m very pleased with the artwork. It’s part of the CD and important as the lyrics are.
Of course. This is why we want vinyl. You have in the album “One More Step” which is a piano-based song. It sounds extremely personal. So this is the way you approach life now? One step at a time?
Yes, it’s dedicated to my wife because she is the person who sticks behind me and deals with my shit and insecurities and all the bad things I’ve been through with the breaking up of my band and all the problems. I was imaging singing to her because she sticks behind me through everything and she makes it possible for me to carry on.
You said that you still feel insecure after all these years?
Yes, there is a certain amount of insecurity you have to deal with I think. With my songwriting I have a lot of confidence, I was in IRON MAIDEN, they liked my ideas and one of them was a big single all over the world so I know that I’m capable of writing good ideas that are good enough for IRON MAIDEN. But I still have insecurity because I think well really just like everybody think that my music is relevant or worthless without a big show. I’m a small artist and play in small places and I’m not trying to really get big, I’m just trying to survive at this level and meet fans. I’m not a very glamorous person or stylish, I’m not really an icon so yeah, I do wonder if I’ll not be able to carry on, if I’ll not get enough support, if there are not be fans interested in buying the CDs or will I be able to make another album. I think that this is something everybody has to deal in his life.
Ok, Blaze, if you have anything else to add, please do.
I just want to say a huge thanks to all the fans that bought the CD, if you haven’t, please go to www.BlazeBayley.Net and buy it. I’m coming to the USA in September and we’ll be announcing the first dates soon, so thank you for everybody who is supporting me and making possible for me to live my life as a singer. Thank you very much!
Great, we’re gonna see you here in Chicago.
Yeah, I’ll be there in September. We are working on the dates now.
Thank you very much for your time, Blaze. I hope the best for you and see you again onstage, Blaze!
Ok, Dimitris, thanks! Cheers! I'll get the chance to play there.