The tough life of a rock 'n' roll singer: Interview with Blaze Bayley Skriv ut
Skriven av Jens Lundell   
Skapad 2011-07-02 22:26

There has been a lot of things going on in the former IRON MAIDEN vocalists life lately. He has split with his band and gone solo and has also reunited with WOLFSBANE, the band he left when he joined IRON MAIDEN. Critical Mass took the opportunity to conduct an interview with him right before his killer performance at Muskelrock festival outside Alvesta, Sweden.

What kind of artists inspired you to start singing?
– The first heavy metal singer that inspired me was Ronnie James Dio and as far as singing... I think when I was a very young child then Elvis Presley and as I grew up in my teens then Ozzy Osbourne was someone that I looked up to. I suppose Dio was one of the people that when I saw him perform I thought "That's what I want to able to do!" So going back in time, there's a lot of influenses so that's the main ones.

At what age did you start?
– I started singing at school. I tried to get into the school choir when I was fourteen, because that's where all the girls were. But they threw me out of the school choir because they said that my voice didn't fit, so I was obviously ment to be a solo singer.

Obviously a rock 'n' roll singer then!
– Yeah a rock 'n' roll/heavy metal singer and when I was 18 I got a job working nights in a hotel and to clean the hotel at nights and there was a piano. I started to messing about on the piano and that's when i started to write my first own songs. After a couple of years I got together with WOLFSBANE and we started that.

Have you ever played any instruments?
– Yeah, I play a little of keyboards and I try to learn guitar so I play guitar really well...on one string!

So it's enough to write songs?
– No, I don't write on guitar. I do a little bit on keyboards and then... Because I've worked with so many great players over the years it has always been very discouraging to for me to learn guitar cause you just talk to the guys and they know how to do everything. So I never bothered. The one time when I should learn guitar was when I had a broken knee and just sat at home but instead of learning guitar I played videogames!

What made you choose the name Blaze?
– It's the crazy nicknames we gave ourselves in WOLFSBANE. One was called Slut Wrecker, one was called Jeff the Brenie, another one was called Jase the Ace, one was called Steve Danger cause he was dangerous to himself cause he was dangerous to himself and I called myself Blaze Bayley, and Bayley is a last name in english, so when I used to introduce myself people would say "What's your name?" and I would say "Bayley" they said "No, your first name" I said "Bayley!" and they said "NO,your FIRST name!". So the first time I introduced myself and gave myself the stage name Blaze, and they said "What's your name?" and I said "Blaze" and they said "Oh". I thought that this is much better! So it just stuck with me through the years and you know, and my outrageus stage performances... So it just stuck with me.

You recently reunited with WOLFSBANE and you stated that "WOLFSBANE is my family and it's where I feel most at home". How come that you did not reunite...
– No, that's not the right qoute! That's what was on the website. That was misqouted. The split with the band had just happened and I was talking on the phone and it wasn't clear, so it's "like a family" I was supposed to say.

Alright, my next question was supposed to be why you did not reunite after you left IRON MAIDEN.
– I learned so much in IRON MAIDEN and working with Steve Harris and Dave Murray in particular. I learned so much about writing and it gave me a lot of confidence in myself and my own ability because "Man on the Edge" was a top ten hit, I worked on "Futureal" with Steve Harris, I had an inputting to "The Clansman" and "Lord of the flies", and it made me feel like "I can really do this! I think I got my own ideas that I can express and get my own band together!" and I really wanted to work with two guitars as well. So that's why I decided to do it and years later it was just appropriate. I was doing a gig and I said "Guys do you wanna come up and do a couple of shows?" and some friends heard about that and gave us support. Then we thought that maybe we should make an album. It's going on more like that. It's more like a school band in the mentality, so BLAZE BAYLEY is my fulltime dayjob.

What do you say about the legacy of WOLFSBANE?
– In the U.K it's very strong. In the rest of Europe we're not so well known cause we didn't have the opportunity to tour. We always wanted to tour everywhere in Europe in our van, just the same as we started in the U.K. We never had those opportunitys cause it was the late 80's and GUNS 'N' ROSES was becoming succesful and it was all about making a big expensive video, having one hit, put the album out and maybe getting a track on MTV. So it never worked for us but that was what we wanted to do [touring], so when I got my own band together that's what I tried to do. I gonna go everywhere that I possibly can. I don't care how small the gigs are. That has worked in the U.K and I'm trying to do that in Finland, Sweden and Norway now.

When you split with the BLAZE BAYLEY band you stated that "The mental, financial and emotional strain of keeping BLAZE BAYLEY together has proven to be to much for me and it has taken a terrible toll on my mental health". For how long has it been going on like that?
– It's been going on for a year, I think. When we started doing the album my father was dying in cancer at the hospital. I had to take days of the recording. When we started it we had no money to finish it. We sat around looking at each other going "Even if we finish the writing, we don't have any money to start recording the drums and even if we record the drums we don't have any money to record anything else!" and we were trying to bring out the book at the same time ( The bands drummer Lawrence "Larry" Paterson wrote the book "At the end of the day" which features the story of Blaze Bayleys career.). So I was under a lot of strain then, and to get the album out we had to borrow money. I had to beg all my friends to lend me money so I could do the album and do the book. We had to live on just nothing while we were doing the first part of the Promise and Terror tour and then we just got a bit of money in the middle of the tour, so from about June to September things were OK. Because we didn't have a manager, we didn't book six months in advance like we did before, so we only had a couple of months to promote gigs. We actually played for whatever we could get. We couldn't play for a proper fee and I couldn't pay my rent. I wanted to start a family with my girlfriend, as she was pregnant, and there was one day when we had no electricity and no food. I had to sell my silver album, the first silver album that I ever had from IRON MAIDEN. I had to sell that and I started to sell all my stuff... My stereo, everything... I got back from the tour in debt.

When I was in Brazil in January then I was having suicidal thoughts and when I got back, my girlfriend made me go to the doctor and see a psychologist. I felt like a fraud cause all my lyrics are about fight, carry on, fight to vertices... But I felt crushed at the time and I just didn't want to carry on at all with my life. I talked to my girlfriend seriously when I got back. We tried to make the tour work but in the end it was: "Look. However how unpleasant it is, these are the numbers! If you carry on like this you're not gonna make any money. You'll never pay back the debts. I still have debts from the BLAZE band. You're just not gonna get anywhere and we're not gonna be able to bring up the baby or anything."  While we were on tour there was still a chance that we could just about scrape through, but when the car died on the mountain and I had to find the money to get us back home... That was it. It was over. We didn't even have enough money to start the tour. We didn't have enough money for the petrol to get from Birmingham to Switzerland and I had to more or less steal that money to do that, so it was terrible and it was just getting worse and worse so I couldn't carry on. I lost my will to live really and I wasn't comfortable in darkness. Then when it finished I just started to feel myself coming back to life and I went to see the doctor. I started my medication and all of this and I started to feel like "Maybe, there is a future. Maybe I can make another album. Maybe I have got something to say" and luckily the fans have stood by me and it looks like I got a future.

You have obviously gone through some very,very tough times. How are you doing today?
– A lot better! Very positive. It's a tough couple of months. I had to cancel my gigs in May and June. But what we've been able to do is that now we're six months in advance. I've had to get a job in a factory to keep myself going during these two months. I work temporally but from august I'll be back full time on my music. I'll be working on the WOLFSBANE album, then I'll be going to my first ever solo tour of America with 20 shows. Next year I'm going to bring out my unplugged album and I've already started. I have some ideas for that and in 2013 I feel I will be strong enough to bring out my full metal album and I think that it will be the best metal album that I have ever done!

Official BLAZE BAYLEY homepage

Official WOLFSBANE homepage


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