In 1993, Bruce Dickinson stepped away from Iron Maiden; in need of a singer, the English heavy metal band eventually brought Blaze Bayley into the fold. During his time in Iron Maiden, Bayley helped to create two studio albums: The X Factor (released in 1995) and Virtual XI (released in 1998).
However, Bayley’s time in Iron Maiden was relatively short, for in 1999, he was let go by the band. After his departure, the band reunited with Dickinson.
During a recent chat with Metal Hammer, Bayley reflected on how he felt leaving the band and shared what he thought of Dickinson’s return. Regarding how he felt being let go by Maiden, Bayley says “It was horrific.” He shares how, at the time following his exit from Maiden, he would hype himself up about his solo career to come, but then would find himself sobbing.
In the years that have passed since leaving Iron Maiden though, Bayley has had one hell of a successful solo career; his most recent studio album is 2021’s War Within Me.
When talking about Dickinson, Bayley speaks very highly of the Iron Maiden singer. Regarding Dickinson, and reflecting on when he left Maiden and Bayley joined the band, the former Maiden vocalist says, “Let’s face it, Bruce Dickinson is the absolute benchmark of what it is to be a heavy metal frontman.
“He’s one of the greatest singers and performers in any genre of music, and he’s just left your favourite band and they’ve got this idiot from Tamworth in? A lot of fans hated me on principle. There is a percentage of fans that still hate me. There are some people who have never even heard me, but still hate me because I’m not Bruce.”
Bayley is then asked if he’s listened to Dickinson’s comeback album, to which he says he has. Upon returning to Iron Maiden in 1999, the first studio album Dickinson worked on was Maiden’s 2000 record Brave New World. Speaking about the impact listening to that album had on him, Bayley says:
“Yes, [I listened to it], and I’ll admit that I cried my fucking eyes out. It’s a really good album, but I knew that if things had worked out differently, I would have been working in the studio with those guys, I would have been singing some of those songs. There was this sense of great loss that hit me really hard.”
For you Iron Maiden fans, what do you think of Blaze Bayley’s work in the band?