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Interview: Blaze Bayley


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Blaze Bayley is an artist riding a rocketship of momentum.

Hot off the release of his eighth solo album – Infinite Entanglement – in March 2016, the Wolfsbane and ex-Iron Maiden vocalist has since embarked on a blistering world tour, covering the UK, Europe and the Americas.

I spoke to Blaze before his show at the Railway in Winchester, and he described his new tour as “better than anything I’ve done since my first album with Iron Maiden.”

He continues: “Primarily, I’m a live artist; we don’t use any backing tapes or stuff like that. We try to keep everything as natural as possible and as good as we can. When it all comes together, you’ve created a feeling, and that’s something that we’re always looking for.

“It’s a connection: it’s not ‘you are watching me on-stage,’ it’s ‘we are together in this room, sharing an experience.’ And that’s what we try and do.”

Blaze’s UK stint of his latest tour has allowed him to play more intimate venues than usual, letting him get up-close and personal with his fans.

“The thing that I like about smaller venues is that, first, you can get close to people and you can destroy the rock-star myth and become something far more important. And the other thing is that most smaller venues are run by the owners, so it’s their own business and they’re independent: they’re not working for the O2 chain, they’re not renting the room, it’s their own place. And these are primarily the places we want to go to because we want to work with these people, so we end up in a lot of small venues. And we never say anywhere’s too small, we always say ‘Does it sound good? Do they treat the fans well?’”

The tour is in support of Blaze’s brand new album Infinite Entanglement. The singer says that, in many ways, the record was greatly inspired by his debut solo album, 2000’s Silicon Messiah.

“The production on Silicon Messiah – done by Andy Sneap – is very, very clear and we worked on those songs a lot before we got to the recording. That was the main thing that I did on this; more or less, the writing process took over a year. A lot of the songs were around for a year and got refined as we got closer to the recording.

“I know for a lot of my fans that Silicon Messiah is their favourite album, so I don’t want to make the songs copies of those, but I want to make sure that what you put on the album is instantly accessible and so clear that the first thing you do is be attracted to the voice. And from there, we were able to explore the rest of the music. And in the end we kept working on it, and I think there’s some strong ideas on it.”

Infinite Entanglement is a concept album, focusing upon Blaze’s interest in the worlds of science and neurology.

“What I’ve enjoyed about this album is it’s about my interests: cosmology, quantum physics and our relationship with consciousness. People were saying fifty years ago that everything that we see is in the back of our brain and that it’s an illusion that it’s out there. More and more now, that view is being challenged in the scientific mainstream: ‘Maybe it isn’t, maybe it really is out there. Maybe, instead of the limit being our eyes, our consciousness spreads out a certain distance.

“That’s very exciting to me and nothing that I have seen yet contradicts my belief that there is a telepathy or a sense of connection. But it’s something that can’t be measured yet. We don’t have the equipment to measure it just like we didn’t have the Kepler space telescope to see if there were planets orbiting distant suns, just like we didn’t have the technology to measure microwaves. Now we do, now we can see them. I still firmly believe those connections will be established scientifically and some people will go ‘Wow,’ while other people like me will just say ‘Told ya.’”

Blaze Bayley has been a figure in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal ever since Wolfsbane’s inception in the mid-1980s, a time which he describes as “heavy metal’s golden age”.

“Of course, there’s a load of old farts still going ‘I wish it was still the ‘80s.’ Just like I’m sure there are plenty of Christians saying ‘I wish Jesus Christ was still alive’,” he laughs.

“If you believe fashion is a circle, I’m so unfashionable that I’m actually outside that circle. I’m just lucky that every so often with metal and rock, people start to think about it a little more and a couple of people will get interested. But generally, people discover me on their own: I’m not in any mainstream media but people usually only get interested when they see that I’m still going.”

One aspect of Blaze’s career that fans still inherently cling to is his work in Iron Maiden from 1994 to 1999, during which he made two albums with the group.

“It gives me a great sense of pride to be in history’s greatest metal band. Before I even joined the band, I knew that every Iron Maiden or Kiss fan knows every member of the band, so I went into it with arms open. For me, it’s a great sense of pride and I found my true voice when I was in Iron Maiden working with [bassist and founder] Steve Harris. I learnt so much about song-writing with Steve and some of the music we made is just incredible.

“I always find it sad when people bring along The X Factor or ‘Virus’ or Best of the Beast and they ask ‘Do you mind signing Iron Maiden stuff?’ Why would I mind? It’s part of my career, I’m proud of everything I’ve done. At the time, that was the very best I could do and I was trying my best, so why would that be any different?

“I know a lot of people in a similar situation say ‘Well that was then, what I’m doing now is better.’ But for me, when I met my hero [renowned heavy metal singer] Ronnie James Dio, he never dissed anything about his past. He might have said about the treatment that he got from other people, but the music that he made and the things that he did going right back to Elf, he never said anything about that.

“And I loved being in Iron Maiden: I didn’t want to leave.”

There is no denying that Blaze’s work in Iron Maiden gave the singer a massive springboard in beginning his solo career, but he also has other plans right now: namely, the next Wolfsbane album.

“The last one was called Wolfsbane Rock! and that’s just gone great. We had some ideas left over so now it’s just finding the time. My next free time is August and we’re going to get some writing done then to finish the songs so we can have a new Wolfsbane album next year.”

But between now and then, Blaze has more shows than he can shake a stick at, set to spend the summer in the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Estonia, Bolivia and more.

Blaze Bayley’s new album, Infinite Entanglement, is available physically and digitally via Blaze Bayley Recordings.

Photo credit: Robert Hucko

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