We are very honored to present you the interview that Blaze Bayley, the ex- Iron Maiden singer, gave to Rock Overdose and to Konstantinos Sotirelis. Bayley talked about Iron Maiden years, about his new trilogy, his tour and many more! Enjoy:
Rock Overdose: Hello Blaze! I’m Konstantinos, from Rock Overdose. How are you?
Blaze Bayley: OK! Thank you!
Rock Overdose: So, please tell me how are things going on this tour? What’s the feedback so far?
Blaze Bayley: So far, it’s going great. Everywhere we’ve been. We’ve had four sold-out shows and it’s been really good. The response to the new songs that we’re performing, from the “Endure And Survive” (2017) album, is really good and fans are really getting in the new album, the new songs. So, it’s going really, really well. And everywhere we’ve been in Europe so far, it’s been good… [We’re] really excited about bringing the new album to Greece, playing for the Greek fans.
Rock Overdose: This tour is very big. How did you decide to start such a big tour?
Blaze Bayley: Well, I’m independent, so I don’t have to wait for anybody. I’m not part of the big machine of the music business. I’m very small; I’m an underground, independent artist – a cult artist, really. And, so, I can do what I want, really. I don’t have to ask anybody’s permission; there are no other bands on my label. So, I do what I want. I started this whole idea. Really, I wanted to do three albums in three years and bring the parts –each one- in the first, or around the first, of March and tour each one in the spring and early summer. And, so, because I’m independent, I’m able to do that. So, I like to play a lot of shows – I’m not trying to get big, or be in arenas or even big theatres. I like to play a lot of smaller, more intimate shows, because I feel that’s where I can really connect with my fans and where my music really comes to life. And you can see and feel the passion and the energy of the music. So, that’s it really... I said to my manager, ‘I want to do this: three albums, three years, a tour to go with each album’, and he said, ‘OK, then. We’ll… That’s what we’ll try to do’. And so far, he’s been very, very successful. We’ve managed to go to a lot of different places and different countries. And now, at last, after waiting for so long, we can come and do a tour of Greece, which I’ve waited a long time since the last time I was able to come. So, I could decide, really, for myself. The people that support me are my fans and they support me directly when they buy the tickets for the show, and they buy my CD and my T-shirts… That makes it possible for me to continue on this crazy journey.
Rock Overdose: As you’ve already said, you’re coming in Greece to play in eleven different cities in a few days. Why did you decide to play in eleven different cities? You know, most artists say that they’ll play in one show in Thessaloniki and one in Athens.
Blaze Bayley: Well, for me, it’s important to go everywhere. It’s not so important, the prestige of playing in the capital. For me, it’s just important to play where fans are. And I think it’s not so easy for people to travel; the economy hasn’t been great. So, I wanted to go to as many places as possible. And for me, of course, it’s very interesting to visit places in Greece that most tourists don’t even go to. So, I’m playing for the real Greek people and the Greek fans – this is another part… I said to the agent, ‘OK… I’ve got these few days available at the end of the European tour. Let’s see how many shows we can do’. We’re very lucky that he came up with a lot of different shows, so it’s really exciting.
Rock Overdose: Are you excited about meeting the Greek fans? You know, you have a very big fan club here.
Blaze Bayley: Yes, it’s always great! I’ve missed coming to Greece. For many years, I wanted Greece to be a part of my main tour. Every year, with all the political and the economic problems, it hasn’t happened. So, I’m hoping that’s all over now. I hope, you know, that this tour is the start of being able to come to Greece every tour.
Rock Overdose: I hope that this will be… That you can do this.
Blaze Bayley: If the fans come out, if they support me and come to the show, then it means I’ll be able to return.
Rock Overdose: Let’s see what will happen. What should we expect to see in your shows?
Blaze Bayley: Well, there’ll be a lot of songs from “Infinite Entanglement” (2016) and “Endure And Survive”. So, what I suggest is that, if fans haven’t had the chance to get those albums, go onto YouTube and there are a lot of videos on my channel with songs from the new albums. So, have a look on YouTube to see some of the songs before I get there. And I’ll be playing a couple of songs from my Maiden era and definitely a Wolfsbane song in my setlist.
Rock Overdose: Let’s talk a little about your latest solo album called “Endure And Survive”. What’s the feedback on this album?
Blaze Bayley: It’s gone very well. The most important thing for me is what my fans say, so I didn’t send this album to any journalists. I didn’t send this to any magazines. I made sure that the first people to hear the album were my fans that bought it. When my fans that ordered the album all had their album delivered, then I sent the album to journalists and magazines. So, the first people to hear the album properly were the fans who bought it, the fans who support me. And so far, all the reviews from those fans are really, really good.
Rock Overdose: I have to congratulate you for this album because I really like it. The same goes for the previous album, “Infinite Entanglement”; it was really good.
Blaze Bayley: Thank you very much!
Rock Overdose: I think you said that there’s going to be a third part of this trilogy…
Blaze Bayley: Yes! I’m working on it now, the lyrics and some of the songs, and it will come out on the first of March next year.
Rock Overdose: Will it be the same concept?
Blaze Bayley: Yes, it’s three albums and it’s one story. The three albums are connected by one story of a man who does not know if he is human – and this connects everything. It’s the start of a very long journey. He starts on Earth and he travels to the other side of the galaxy, to a planet discovered by Kepler’s space telescope. It’s the story of what happens to him and what happens when he gets there.
Rock Overdose: You know, I was wondering how you can manage to write three albums in three years and to have a big tour like this, [the one] you have now.
Blaze Bayley: Well, it means – first of all – I can’t ride my motorcycle as much as I want. It’s just… it’s work, in the end. It’s work; this is my whole life. I work for myself; it’s my record company. I’m supported by the fans. I’m the same as any person that works for themself. I’m not more special, I’m not more important than anybody else. I’m just the same. I’m just a man doing the best that I can with what I have. I’m trying to do the best work I can, with the time and the money that I have. That’s what I do really. And I’m very lucky to have the support of so many loyal fans around the world that make it possible for me to live this dream.
Rock Overdose: I think that the fans really appreciate your effort these years. Uh, what about Wolfsbane? Do you plan anything new? Maybe a new record…
Blaze Bayley: Yes, we’re planning a Wolfsbane reunion. It will happen in the UK. I think the first date is December 14th, in Winchester… and, on December 15th… We’re going to tour in the UK in December, between the 14th and the 25th of December. So, I’m very excited about that. It’s the original line-up and, while we’re together, we’ll be trying to write some new songs to put out an album next year.
Rock Overdose: As you know, a lot of people are waiting to ask you two or three things about Iron Maiden. So, I would like you to tell me why you think that the album you did with Iron Maiden… Why were the reviews from the fans very strict?
Blaze Bayley: I don’t really understand your question…
Rock Overdose: I mean… Um, how to say it… I think that taking Dickinson’s place was a very difficult task and… In my opinion, it seems that the fans, at that period, and the sales of the records, weren’t very popular for Iron Maiden.
Blaze Bayley: Well, that’s what you have to ask the fans. That’s not a question I can answer. For me, I’ve had incredible support from all of the Greek fans. We went to Greece twice; I think it was on the “X-Factor” (1995) tour, because we were so popular. And it was great for me. I’ve had positive reactions from all the Greek fans that I met. So, I’m not really aware of any negative reactions from Greek fans about my work with Iron Maiden…
Rock Overdose: Yeah, I think that the Greek fans really love you.
Blaze Bayley: So, that’s the only thing that counts. I don’t really give a sh*t about anyone else. Only the opinion of the fans is important; everybody else can f*ck off.
Rock Overdose: A few months ago, I think I read in an interview that you gave that you wanted to do a third album with Iron Maiden.
Blaze Bayley: No, that’s wrong. You may have read that, but that’s a lie. Someone has printed a lie; that’s false news.
Rock Overdose: Oh… What were your words exactly?
Blaze Bayley: That I would like to do a concert with the three singers – Paul, Bruce and me: a one-off concert, a special concert for the fans, where – as a big anniversary – you get the three singers together to sing the songs from their own era. ‘Coz I thought it would be real fun for all of the hardcore Iron Maiden fans; they would really enjoy a concert like that. And I would think it is fun, to have the three original singers sing songs from each era with the band. I thought that would be a lot of fun.
Rock Overdose: That would be very interesting. I think… Maybe you’ve read it too… Some sites – these are not your words – say that you wanted to do a third album with Iron Maiden and [that] you were very disappointed about all the things that happened next.
Blaze Bayley: Well, after “Virtual XI” (1998), I was expecting to make a third album with Iron Maiden. But, they sacked me, so I couldn’t do that.
Rock Overdose: Do you think that, if you made one more album, things would be better with Iron Maiden then?
Blaze Bayley: No, because, most of the ideas that I had then, I used on my “Silicon Messiah” (2000) album. So, most of the ideas that I was going to use with Steve Harris and Dave Murray for my third Iron Maiden album… Song ideas, like “Silicon Messiah” and “Ghost In The Machine”, and “Stare At The Sun”, and “The Brave” and “Born As A Stranger”, from the “Silicon Messiah” album… Most of those songs I put on my “Silicon Messiah” album, but my “Silicon Messiah” album was a total flop. Nobody got it; it hardly sold anything. And it wasn’t successful at all at the time… So, perhaps, that would mean that a third album with me and Iron Maiden would also be… would not have been successful.
Rock Overdose: I see… So, I have to thank you very much for this interview! It was a great, great honor for me! I would like you to close this interview with a message to your Greek fans.
Blaze Bayley: Well, my new album is called “Endure And Survive”. It is part of a trilogy that I am working on, which is called Infinite Entanglement. The first album is called “Infinite Entanglement”, the second one is called “Endure And Survive”, and we’ll be playing a lot of those songs when we come to Greece. I’m very excited about meeting my Greek fans again and it’s very exciting to come and play so many shows all over your wonderful country. Thank you for waiting and thank you so much for all of your support!
For the Rock Overdose Webzine,
Interview and questions: Konstantinos Sotirelis
Tapescript: Stergios Gkoutsidis