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General fan vibe during the Blaze days

Discussion in 'Maiden Chat' started by nuno_c, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. nuno_c

    nuno_c A hollow universe in space

    I really like to talk about "controversial" times and/or aspects of the band.

    During the Blaze years, the internet was on it's way up and therefore it was easier for fans to interact. At the same time, it was clearly a polarizing time for Maiden fans.

    So my question is... If you were there and/or know somebody who was, what was the general vibe among Maiden fans during those years? Was the bashing as bad as it is nowadays? Were fans actually supportive of the band? Share your views!
  2. nibblet

    nibblet Invader

    I remember really getting into the internet in 98, in the run-up to the release of Virtual XI.
    Having not being totally disappointed by the 'X-Factor', I was still very excited about the new album, as were other fans on forums and so forth.

    But, then TAATG came out as a previewing single and I recall a mass shock as to how terrible it was. For me, the excitement turned to fear as I dreaded to think how bad the album would be. I think this was similar for others too.

    When the album came out, I found it to be not quite as bad the first single suggested it could be. But found myself not liking it and really, just getting disengaged from Maiden as a whole. From what I remember on the forums, the reaction was mixed.

    However, I did see the band on the tour of that year - and found it a very depressing gig (not just because of Blaze but because the bad as a whole seemed washed up and the crowd reactions, in turn, was quite low). Still, I recall the tour was being discussed quite negatively on the forums too. Especially cause the bulk of the US dates were being scrapped but also on the European dates there was talk of the poor performances and much of this centered around Blaze (though from the gig I saw, it wasn't just Blaze who was poor).

    And then there was the bands stadium tour of South America at the end of 98..... And this was when things got exciting. Because despite all the cock-ups and stories coming out during this part of the tour, there was a feeling this was all building up to Blaze being forced out and Bruce 'possibly' coming back. It was at this time that I recall the forums getting quite manic and probably when the anti-Blaze brigade was most vocal as it was getting obvious that he was on his way out...

    I think there was an element of fans (like myself) who quietly stomached Blaze thinking there was no alternative, but once it appeared there was a good chance of him going, suddenly the forums were very vocal in their disapproval of him.

    Now, I never liked Blaze as a singer, but he always came across as a grounded and decent bloke, so I remember thinking to myself, I hope he does not read these forums as it msut be very depressing...
  3. nuno_c

    nuno_c A hollow universe in space

    Excelent post, man!

    Btw, can you say in what way did it became obvious that Blaze was on his way out?
  4. nibblet

    nibblet Invader

    Btw, can you say in what way did it became obvious that Blaze was on his way out?

    Firstly, there was the fact that VXI was a major flop in commercial sales, and the tour was not doing well.
    I think its fair to say that objectively speaking, most people recognised a change was needed if Maiden were to avoid becoming something like Uriah Heep or Wishbone Ash...

    The internet was also full of rumours coming from significant sources... Apparently both Janick and Nicko were heard to have made comments back stage at gigs....

    And then there was the South America tour... This leg of the tour was stadiums which was a big difference to the rest of the world. HOWEVER, this part of the tour was a disaster. I recall at least one gig being cancelled and then, for what I believe must be the only time, the band didn't come out and play an encore at one of these shows.

    Blaze was reported to have said he was ready to go back on for the final songs but the rest of the band just left. Steve was reported to have said the crowd didn't seem to want it so they didn't bother.

    For me, it was after this incident that I felt certain Blaze was on his way out and this seemed to be the general consensus on the forums.

    As for Bruce.... Well, despite some renewed commercial success with his solo albums, he too was making noises about playing some shows with Maiden and, of course, he had by 1998 made two albums with Adrian too and both were out on tour playing Maiden songs in Bruce's shows. So, from that angle, it looked as if Bruce was on his way back in.
    GhostofCain, Luisma and nuno_c like this.
  5. nuno_c

    nuno_c A hollow universe in space

    Really enjoying your posts!

    The 98 tour seems to have been really sad though. I really have to search for some videos.
  6. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

  7. nuno_c

    nuno_c A hollow universe in space

    I did see them, but i think this topic is much more specific and that's why i started a new one. Sorry though :S
  8. CA Bryers

    CA Bryers Nomad

    I remember there was a TON of talk coming out of Bruce's side of the camp, rather than Maiden about a reunion. Since Bruce came back to metal with Accident of Birth, it was practically in every other interview...and his coming back to metal was probably somewhat calculated that way. He was having very little success with his solo work up until that point, so going metal was the only option if he was going to remain any kind of a moneymaking performer. It was kind of a win/win. By going metal, he probably hoped to gain some fans who were abandoning the sinking Maiden ship for a more familiar (and arguably better) sound. Either that, or he'd generate reunion talk until it happened. I don't doubt that he wanted those metal albums of his to succeed on their own and remain solo, but they weren't all that successful. He even said around the time of the reunion that he'd made the best album of his career with The Chemical Wedding, and nobody bought it.

    Meanwhile, the Maiden camp was pretty silent on the reunion talks (from an official basis). I rather compulsively collected interviews from both parties, and Steve for the most part was denying it was even a possibility. That was probably true from his perspective, since it seems Steve was the last holdout who had to be talked into firing Blaze (with the most vocal reportedly being Nicko, though there's no official word on that).

    From a fan's perspective, even in early internet days, there was a lot of negativity surrounding Blaze. I was a big supporter till the end, however, even if I was let down that I'd won tickets, backstage passes and I'd be going onstage for "Heaven Can Wait" during a show that was part of Maiden's North American cancellations due to Blaze being unable to perform due to some infection. I was sad to see him go, even if I knew Maiden would come out stronger for it. I was fairly certain, though, that Blaze would sink without Maiden. Post-Maiden, he put up a damn good struggle with some very strong first few albums, but there's only so much the guy could do before he could only afford to support himself and his family as he is now, rather than a full band. Though he got good reviews, there was just too much ill-will and "good riddance" vibes going on to really give him much of a chance.

    Now if Rod had made good on his early promise and managed Blaze properly (which it didn't seem he managed him at all) and if Maiden had been kind enough to offer him an opening slot on the Brave New World or Dance of Death tours to showcase his quite good solo material to fans who were more or less Blaze's target demographic (um...Maiden fans!), we might be talking about Blaze's career quite differently right now.
  9. nuno_c

    nuno_c A hollow universe in space

    Wow... thank you for taking the time to write this ;)
    CA Bryers likes this.
  10. CA Bryers

    CA Bryers Nomad

    Happy to! I fondly remember the Blaze years as being my most hardcore years as a Maiden fan, so I enjoy talking about it. :cheers:
  11. Travis The Dragon

    Travis The Dragon The dreamers may die, but the dreams live on.

    I remember going out to by The X Factor and putting in on and thinking that Blaze kind of sounded like Bruce on the soft opening part of Sign Of The Cross, but after that, I was a bit disappointed in his vocals and that they weren't as exciting and incredible as Bruce's. I have come to love the album a lot over the years though as well as Virtual XI except for TAATG.
  12. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Here's a question: Did you guys think Bruce would be back? I know there were rumors but did it seem realistic? When Blaze was in the band did it feel like that lineup was permanent or that he'd leave soon or the band would even call it a day? How surprising was the reunion announcement?
  13. Travis The Dragon

    Travis The Dragon The dreamers may die, but the dreams live on.

    With his solo career going, I didn't think he'd be coming back. I was extremely surprised and excited when I heard about it. I'll never forget hearing BNW for the first time and just freaking out!
    Mosh likes this.
  14. CA Bryers

    CA Bryers Nomad

    Considering Bruce was pretty much doubling Maiden's rate of output album-wise (4 solo albums to Maiden's 2 Blaze albums, not counting Bruce's live stuff), I didn't see any reason Bruce would want to come back. Sure, heading back into Maiden's wheelhouse with metal and the Edison gag were good hints that he might be trying to steer himself that way, but I took what he said at face value: that he was just trying to out-Maiden Maiden with his new direction. But after Chemical Wedding, Bruce started grumbling in interviews that his record label hadn't pushed this really great album (which it was) well enough, and I could start to see it. I didn't want it to happen, since we now had two sources of good albums instead of just Maiden, but it did happen. It sucked, since I considered Blaze to be the underdog in the whole situation--a guy who was good, but not nearly as talented as his predecessor--who inevitably got dumped in favor of the old girlfriend, metaphorically speaking.

    So to answer the question, in retrospect, it should have been a very realistic possibility, considering how beat up Maiden were getting by the press, and the goodwill of the fans was starting to dwindle. At the time though, I just didn't want to see it as a realistic possibility.
    Mosh likes this.
  15. harrisdevot

    harrisdevot Ancient Mariner

    I didn't see it happening. When I first read about the rumours of Bruce coming back, I thought it was bullshit, just because Steve and him would never agree to work together again. When it finally happened, I thought it was a terrible mistake, that this commercial move would be an artistic failure and that the reunion would only last for a couple of albums. As you can see, I've been proved wrong on every single point :D . To be honest, it took me much time to be fully convinced by the move : while I loved Brave New World, which is among my all-time faves, I hated Dance of Death and thought BNW was just a parenthesis. It is only when AMOLAD came out that I realized this reunion thing was an artistic success.
    I now think (but maybe I'm wrong again), that Smallwood :devil: has been very smart in launching rumours, just to test the fans and even some band members, to finally lead Steve (the only real obstacle) to reconsider.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
    Mosh likes this.
  16. nibblet

    nibblet Invader

    Not sure if anyone recalls, but there was a lot of 'rumours' going around that Blaze was only 'contracted' for two albums too.
    This seemed to have some credit when Maiden 'leveraged' the future earnings worth of their back catalogue in the very late 90s for a very size-able amount of cash - which included a cash windfall for past members like Bruce, but not, if I recall correctly, Blaze who was the singer at the time.

    I think Blaze would have been out of the band, regardless of Bruce coming back. I believe Bruce has stated as much in interviews (Classic Rock, Mick Wall....)
  17. cynick

    cynick Invader

    been a fan since 1992. even then I got to understand the impact that Adrian had on classic Maiden and I totally hated his departure.

    when Blaze came in, as a pretty fresh fan the expectations were high for a new album. then before the album the video for Man on the Edge came out and I kind of liked it. seemed to be a bit of a softer version of Be Quick or Be Dead, but nice overall.

    then I've seen them live for the first time in 1995. thought X Factor was an ok album. even stayed in contact when they got Virus out.

    by the time they put out the video for The Angel and the Gambler I just lost it... bought Virtual XI, couldn't get into it...

    didn't even know that they put out a video for Futureal after that...

    haven't rechecked in until BNW came out. have been equally excited for both Bruce and Adrian coming back.

    just wanted to say that I don't have any issues with Blaze. the guy came in in a very difficult situation. I guess the ones who should get the heat for the decision were Steve, and Rod too probably... really think that Steve's ego was so massive that he thought they would remain on top with such a different style of a vocalist. btw, never understood why they wouldn't tune down their older songs once Blaze came in...

    I remember my metal friends who I used to hang out with and that weren't IM fans used to tell me that Blaze just doesn't fit. it is ridiculous to bring in a guy with such a limited vocal range after a guy like Bruce Dickinson. just doesn't make any kind of sense.
  18. dickinson1978

    dickinson1978 Trooper

    back in 98-99 didnt heard a word from Bruce talking about Reunion,all i heard he was into metal again with 2 fantastic albums.

    So i heard the story of Nicko an Janick mocking blaze,but i remember a interview with blaze and nicko ( i was there) saying that Bruce was out and he could remember his name

    Nicko: Brrrr.....uuu.....cee?? i cant say it!
  19. harrisdevot

    harrisdevot Ancient Mariner

    Have you got details please ? Never heard/read that.
  20. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    Those two keep mocking everybody, really.
    Lego likes this.

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