Blaze Bayley

TheTalisman

Ancient Mariner
Unless something's changed, Nicko and Janick were at the forefront of pushing for a change, primarily Nicko since he's the one who apparently said he'd leave the band if Blaze doesn't get sacked.
Well, I don't think ever Nicko said that he was leaving the band because of Blaze, but he said that there was a possibility that all of Maiden would have stopped if Bruce had not returned:
As we sit in the catering room watching opening act Clutch go through their impressive paces on a small TV screen, drummer McBrain offers a slightly different perspective upon the situation.“If we hadn’t got Bruce back there was a possibility we’d have ’ung it up, and I didn’t want to do that,” he tells me. “We knew that Bruce needed us and we needed him, so finally I brought the subject up with ’Arry. He took a bit of persuading, but even he knew it underneath.
Steve ruled it out it though, and said that Maiden would have still been out touring in 1999, even if Blaze had remained in the band (or more likely, if they would have gotten a completely new singer, as Steve thought they were going to get at first, according to The Run To The Hills biography):
In the corner of a deserted hotel bar, Steve Harris is intrigued to learn of McBrain’s earlier remarks about ’anging it up. “Did Nick really say that?” he frowns, looking puzzled. “Naaah, even if Blaze had stayed in the band we’d still have been touring this summer and making the next album abroad - even looking for a producer because Nigel Green [who worked alongside Steve on both ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Virtual XI’] isn’t available to do it.”
Source: http://www.daveling.co.uk/doc-ironmaiden.htm#article

Maybe there was some truth to Nicko's word though, as I can't imagine them being to enthusiastic to bring in someone new after Blaze, and go through the same uncertain process again. But things never got that far.

I don't remember reading anything about Janick's role though, other than that he lived close to Bruce's house in London during that time, and that they met up sometimes. But in the end I think that Rod and Andy Taylor had the most active part in bringing back Bruce though, and convincing Steve to finally meet with him - Bowie Bond time!

This quote, I think, sums up the whole thing going on behind closed doors while on tour in 1998:
“At the end of the day, Blaze wasn’t what was required for Iron Maiden. If you build a legend like Maiden, you’ve got to keep it a legend. It’s my job as manager to make sure everything’s the best it can be in every possible way. And in the end, Steve accepted that.”
Rod Smallwood
 
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Leigh Burne

Prowler
He’s always been very eager to blame anyone but his singing for him getting the boot.
I've never thought Blaze's voice was the problem with the albums he sang on.

The problem is the songs are mostly just crap.

When they actually gave him something decent to work with - "The Clansman", for instance - I like him every bit as much as Bruce.

See also: Blaze's solo material.
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
Thanks for sharing this interview.

I love this quote by Steve: ''With or without Bruce, we’d have carried on and made a bloody good Maiden album. I don’t mean to sound big-headed, but we don’t make shit albums''. Although I think Maiden needed Bruce more, than the other way around.

Some other curious things:
It seems they had 5 songs written for BNW by 1999.

Bruce felt that BNW could be one of Maiden's best albums. ''We’re not attempting to deny Maiden’s past or our sound, but I’m convinced it’s gonna make people listen to the band in a completely different way''.

Bruce: ''But I’ll tell you what - it’s all very grown-up and we’re working together more closely now than at any other point in the band’s history, maybe with the exception of ‘The Number Of The Beast’ album''.

Bruce: ''We didn’t want to rush into making an album. The whole reason that this Ed Hunter tour is so short is that we want to vibe ourselves up''.

Steve said Blaze is a great singer.

Steve about US crowd: ''Whichever line-up has come here we’ve always had problems getting out heads around the fact that they don’t know the songs, so we’ve made an effort to play a lot more of the oldies that they request''.

Steve about Bruce's acoustic stuff for SIT album: ''The criterion is that it has to be good. Unfortunately, in 1986, the stuff he brought in after we were all freaked out from the ‘Powerslave’ tour just wasn’t up to scratch. And the testament to that is that he never used it on his solo albums. I love acoustic stuff - I probably love Jethro Tull more than he does - but it’s about songs. And now we seem to be coming from the same place. I was relieved that he didn’t try to push us in the direction of ‘The Chemical Wedding’ [Dickinson’s most recent solo release] because that wouldn’t have suited us''.

Steve: ''I admit, I had my worries that Bruce and Adrian had gone off and done their own thing; would they be happy to compromise again?''

Steve: ''This line-up has the potential to be Iron Maiden’s best ever''.
I've never thought Blaze's voice was the problem with the albums he sang on.
I think the problem was his vocals live, especially with the old classic songs.
 

srfc

Ancient Mariner
Although I think Maiden needed Bruce more, than the other way around.

I disagree. They needed each other equally. Bruce had just produced a classic album that no one was interested in. If he hadn't joined Maiden in 99 he'd have continued in a downward trajectory, as would Maiden, until the reunion happened inevitably.

Maybe metal itself would have continued into the depth of Nu-Metal and would now be a dead genre if the reunion didn't happen.
 

CA Bryers

Educated Fool
I disagree. They needed each other equally. Bruce had just produced a classic album that no one was interested in. If he hadn't joined Maiden in 99 he'd have continued in a downward trajectory, as would Maiden, until the reunion happened inevitably.
Totally agree. When Skunkworks flopped and he knew there wasn't going to be a second album from them (due to radically different ideas in the band upon reconvening after the SW Tour), he changed his tune fast after steadily pissing on Maiden since '93. Suddenly Maiden were this great, historic band, and he couldn't say enough good things about them while he made a metal album with Adrian with the purpose of out-Maidening Maiden.

I tend to think that was more to get reunion talk started than anything, but I'm not sure about where his head was at with The Chemical Wedding. TCW diverged from the Maiden sound he was shooting for with AoB, using the Molossian guitar, and he seemed genuinely ecstatic about the album (as well he should have, since the album is probably the best thing he's recorded). But when it sold about the same as AoB, he admitted in reunion-era interviews that it was a huge blow. It's probably easy to imagine what he was thinking at that point. "Well, I made the best album I possibly could for my solo career, and it didn't make any difference." Bruce needed Maiden BADLY...but Maiden needed Bruce 100% also. I do think a third Blaze album would've been great, but there is no alternate reality that exists where a Blaze-led Maiden ever gets to the point a reunion-era Maiden did.
 

CA Bryers

Educated Fool
I think the problem was his vocals live, especially with the old classic songs.
I was a big fan of the Blaze era and Blaze solo to this day, but I agree that was the biggest problem. He would've been far more accepted in that arena if Steve had the common sense to have the band downtune to accommodate his smaller range.
 

Ascendingthethrone

Ancient Mariner
As it has been said many times before, Blaze was let down by the band not transposing the songs for his voice. I teach music and the first thing I do when picking a song for a choir is to make sure it is in the right key for their voices.

I really like the two Blaze albums and most of his solo work (King of Metal…) but he was not the right choice for the band in a live setting.
 

CA Bryers

Educated Fool
As it has been said many times before, Blaze was let down by the band not transposing the songs for his voice. I teach music and the first thing I do when picking a song for a choir is to make sure it is in the right key for their voices.

I really like the two Blaze albums and most of his solo work (King of Metal…) but he was not the right choice for the band in a live setting.
It's absolutely bizarre that someone with Steve's experience didn't think of this...equally bizarre that nobody in the band or management chimed in on Blaze's smaller range. Rod especially, who seems to be a pretty common sense sort of guy, it's surprising he didn't take him aside and say, "okay, fine, you can have him, but what are you gonna do about the Bruce songs?" Even if Steve can be all "Sergeant-Major Harris" as Di'Anno says, I imagine Rod's the one guy that wouldn't fly with.
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
I disagree. They needed each other equally. Bruce had just produced a classic album that no one was interested in. If he hadn't joined Maiden in 99 he'd have continued in a downward trajectory, as would Maiden, until the reunion happened inevitably.
Yes, you're right. I think he would have continue to release great albums, but without big sales & concerts, I guess. I also think a 3rd album with Blaze would have been great, but Maiden wouldn't be as big as they are now.
It's absolutely bizarre that someone with Steve's experience didn't think of this...equally bizarre that nobody in the band or management chimed in on Blaze's smaller range. Rod especially, who seems to be a pretty common sense sort of guy, it's surprising he didn't take him aside and say, "okay, fine, you can have him, but what are you gonna do about the Bruce songs?" Even if Steve can be all "Sergeant-Major Harris" as Di'Anno says, I imagine Rod's the one guy that wouldn't fly with.
I'm not sure about your last sentence - Rod wanted ''Futureal'' to be the first single from VXI album , but Steve insisted on ''The Angel and The Gambler''. They made a bold choice with Blaze, not many bands would make such a choice (and I like the 2 albums with him a lot), but when you change a vocalist you must be sure that he can sing your classic material live, because those are the band's biggest hits. And I think you can't downtune, becaue the songs will not sound ''right'' and will lose their essence.
 

Randalf

Ancient Mariner
And I think you can't downtune, becaue the songs will not sound ''right'' and will lose their essence.

That is fair enough with significant amount of Maiden material, but one could argue that they also lose their essence and do not sound exactly right when sung by a singer who's off the key, pitch and struggling quite a lot overall with the given material.

I actually kind of like how Blaze approached some tunes, though. Obviously he had no hopes for nailing some of the notes, but his attempted delivery of some songs wasn't totally bad to begin with - it's just that his technique and range and the key of the songs were so far from each other. That could've been helped with the much speculated downtuning. But it's obvious that his technique had it's limits anyway, as @Ruflux brought up on the previous page. But as far as his tone goes, he could've done fairly good job with certain kind of songs, I guess. And his take on Afraid to Shoot Strangers gets often praised, of course; it's quite alright.
 
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Azas

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
Steve: ''I was relieved that he didn’t try to push us in the direction of ‘The Chemical Wedding’ [Dickinson’s most recent solo release] because that wouldn’t have suited us''.
Shame, he didn't push. :D Ok, maybe TCW is too much for Maiden, I would be happy with AOB direction.
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
Shame, he didn't push. :D Ok, maybe TCW is too much for Maiden, I would be happy with AOB direction.
I agree with Steve. I think the sound of BNW is somewhat similar to AOB, especially a song like ''The Fallen Angel'', but at the same time songs like ''Freak'', ''Welcome To The Pit'' and ''Arc Of Space'' are not suitable for Maiden. AOB is his most Maiden-esque album, but the direction of it is perfect for Bruce and not 100% for Maiden imo.

The more curious quote from Steve in this interview is: ''And the testament to that is that he never used it on his solo albums'' (about Bruce's stuff for SIT). ''Tears Of The Dragon''? And that they had 5 songs written for BNW by 1999.
 

Azas

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
I sincerely don't like that they used VirtualXI era unfinished songs for BNW. All that Bruce's braging 'we must create our best album' and in the end, several songs were conceived even before he returned. F*, that. I wish, he pushed his creative mind much more for BNW.
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
I sincerely don't like that they used VirtualXI era unfinished songs for BNW. All that Bruce's braging 'we must create our best album' and in the end, several songs were conceived even before he returned. F*, that. I wish, he pushed his creative mind much more for BNW.
The most important thing is the songs to be great (and they are). You don't like them? Maybe it's a bit unusual for the first Reunion album, but it's not unusual for the bands to carry songs from the previous album writing sessions.
 

Ruflux

Ancient Mariner
I sincerely don't like that they used VirtualXI era unfinished songs for BNW. All that Bruce's braging 'we must create our best album' and in the end, several songs were conceived even before he returned. F*, that. I wish, he pushed his creative mind much more for BNW.
Considering the frankly pretty noticeable quality drop on average on the next album, I'm glad they didn't just erase perfectly good songs like Dream of Mirrors or Blood Brothers simply because "everything needs to be new". DoD had some gems on it, but it also had Age of Innocence, New Frontier and Gates of Tomorrow for example. Even the big Harris epic No More Lies is easily the weakest he's done in the reunion era and wouldn't sound out of place at all on VXI due to its repetitive, uninteresting nature.
 

Azas

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
Considering the frankly pretty noticeable quality drop on average on the next album, I'm glad they didn't just erase perfectly good songs like Dream of Mirrors or Blood Brothers simply because "everything needs to be new". DoD had some gems on it, but it also had Age of Innocence, New Frontier and Gates of Tomorrow for example. Even the big Harris epic No More Lies is easily the weakest he's done in the reunion era and wouldn't sound out of place at all on VXI due to its repetitive, uninteresting nature.
Hmm, You have a point. DOD album was not better than BNW. I like Blood Brothers. Dream of Mirrors is not good, imo.
 
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