September chronicle: Blaze Bayley
25 years ago I joined Iron Maiden. I wanted it, but really I never expected it to happen because my voice was, and is, so different to Bruce Dickinson’s. His voice had been, and still is, one of the defining sounds of heavy metal but maybe because I sounded different, the Maiden guys chose me. No music was written when I joined the band. Steve Harris said “I don’t care who writes the songs as long as they are great songs”.
We had many writing sessions for my first album with the band. It was the 10th Maiden album and a step into the unknown with a new singer, so “X Factor” was an appropriate title. It was amazing to write songs with people who had so much experience at the top level, and who had so much success, doing the music they wanted to do without compromising. I learned so much about song writing, singing and performing during my 5 years with Iron Maiden.
My voice has matured and changed in 25 years. I’m a better singer now. So, when the opportunity came to celebrate the albums I made with Iron Maiden, I was very enthusiastic. Singing those old songs with the voice I have now feels great. It’s just like meeting old friends. It’s a huge amount of fun.
Sweden Rock was the first festival this year where I performed a full set of my songs from my two albums with Maiden. I was nervous about the reaction from fans but it was totally awesome. I feel that I was singing really well and the songs came over really well also. Thank you so much to all the fans that came to listen and watch my performance. It was a huge weekend for me. I performed on 3 different stages! One full metal, one acoustic and one Allstar jam. I met up with my friends from Disturbed after their show. They were leaving almost immediately. So, they gave me everything that was left of their rider, a huge amount of booze and a lot of candy. Lovely men.
After Sweden Rock was Rock The Coast festival, in the south of Spain, where I met quite a few friends backstage. Among them was the magnificent Udo Dirkschneider. What a great festival. Total sunshine all the time. Thanks to all the great fans that came.
The next festival was Headbangers Open Air, in Germany. An intimate but very well established metal festival. The set went very well. It seemed that I was performing for quite a few people that had never seen me before and some who had only seen me perform with Iron Maiden 25 years ago. Also, some of my fans that have seen most of my solo tours and had travelled from all over Europe. As that festival was more intimate, I was able to walk about and meet fans after the show. Such a great vibe at all 3 shows.
I’m performing my anniversary set list at festivals in Switzerland and Finland. I’m really excited to see how fans will react to hearing these old songs performed with a fresh interpretation and the voice that I have 25 years after recording them. I’m feeling so lucky to have this chance to sing these songs again and I’m really enjoying it. Big thanks to everyone who has been so supportive.
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