Posted on by Oran

The expression, “You can’t keep a good man down” is most certainly the case when it comes to Metal trojan, and round stellar guy, Blaze Bayley. With his Irish tour just days away, Overdrive caught up with the former Iron Maiden frontman to talk about his ’30 Years of Maiden’ show…

There’s lots to talk about, from your new album which is due on Feb 23rd, to the run of dates that you have coming up, celebrating the 30th anniversary from your time in Iron Maiden.

With the tour hitting Ireland this week, it’s best to start with the setlist that you have prepared for these upcoming dates. Can you give a little insight into what fans can expect to hear?

BLAZEI’m playing mostly maiden songs from my two Maiden albums, and a couple of my solo album songs. ‘Sign of the Cross’, ‘ The Clansman’, and ‘Man on the Edge’ are all in there. 

When you look back on your time in Maiden, does it seem like it was only yesterday, or a lifetime ago?

BLAZE – I love doing these old songs. It’s like seeing old friends . We always have a lot of fun.

The two albums that you featured on, ‘The X Factor’ (1995) and ‘Vitrual XI’ (1998) carried the band through some very difficult times, as with the global success of Grunge taking over. Do you remember any concerns within the Maiden camp during this time regarding the rise of Grunge, and how were you feeling personally about the future of Heavy Metal and your own career?

BLAZE – It was a dark time not just for heavy metal but for all music, because of things changing, from buying CDs and vinyl, to mp3 and streaming. The whole music industry was changing. We were doing things for the music and the fans. We got through because of the support and loyalty of dedicated fans

Do you still stay in touch with any of the guys from Iron Maiden?

BLAZE – Yes, I see the lads when they are on tour. They are playing better than ever, in my opinion.

Regarding Wolfsbane, you were approached by Rick Rubin and flown over the States to record, what would later become ‘Live Fast, Die Fast’ (1989). I’m sure the whole experience was somewhat overwhelming, to say the least. Looking back now, would you have changed anything about that opportunity with Def American?

BLAZE California and LA was certainly a culture shock but we found our way though ok. We all thought New York would have suited us better. But we were lucky to have any record deal at all. 

Speaking of Wolfspane, could you see yourself doing another round of live dates in the near future, or are you too busy with your own solo stuff?

BLAZEThe 2023 tour was a lot of fun doing a lot of songs from our new ‘genius’ album. With that being said, we would love to do another tour. 

What about issuing any of the Wolfspane vinyl. Could this be something that may happen in the near future?

BLAZE –  That’s highly unlikely, because of contract issues, but we will try.

You endured some very serious health issues, back in March of last year and we are delighted to see that you have made a full recovery and are able to perform live again, as well as write/record new music. When you experience something as serious as that, did it change your outlook on life and what you wish to achieve going forward?

BLAZEI had a heart attack in March when I was getting ready for my European tour. I was relieved when the doctors said I could lead a normal life if I had the surgery. It was quadruple bypass! I’m glad that I have been able to see my new album come to life and I’m glad to be back at work. I was ten minutes from being dead. Thankfully they got to me in two minutes. I’ve been very lucky.

I am living my dream of being a professional singer. My fans support makes it possible for me to live as an independent artist. I’m so grateful for all the messages of support and letters and cards that encouraged me to keep going, and all the positive things that helped me come back. 

I was lucky that my wonderful fiancé Kate was with me when I had the heart attack, and was there afterwards to nurse me back to health after the massive open heart surgery.

Your new solo album is due for release on February 23rd. Will you be touring that album throughout the UK and Ireland?

BLAZEI will be busy touring through UK, Europe & perhaps additional Irish shows later in the year. The immediate Irish Tour celebrates the 30th anniversary of when I joined Iron Maiden.

The first single (and title track), ‘Circle of Stone’ (listen below) has already been released, can we expect a few more singles before the album is officially released?

BLAZEYes, absolutely! Watch this space for another single imminently, and a third which is due on the date of the album’s release. 

Finally, if you could give yourself any advice when you were starting out in this business, what would it be?

BLAZELearn your instrument and your songwriting the best you can then also learn how to record yourself to the highest standard. All you need info and lessons are free on YouTube if you want to learn.

Blaze Bayley will embark on a series of dates in Ireland celebrating his time in Iron Maiden, which you can reference below. Belfast and both Cork dates are now SOLD OUT, with a venue upgrade in Dublin due to popular demand where there are currently under 40 tickets left.

Tickets are running low, so don’t miss out. Book your tickets here.


Oran O’Beirne 2024