Former Iron Maiden frontman Blaze Bayley has revealed what it was like to audition for the heavy metal icons as the band sought to find a replacement for Bruce Dickinson in the 90s. Despite having played as support to Maiden while fronting Tamworth metallers Wolfsbane some years earlier, Bayley was given no preferential treatment upon his try-outs, which took place in the year following Dickinson's departure from Maiden in 1993.
"I still had to audition twice," he explains in an exclusive new interview with Metal Hammer. "People say I walked into it, but I had to audition the same as everybody else.”
When asked what the experience of auditioning for Maiden was really like, Bayley is positively effusive about the whole thing.
“Amazing!" he responds. "I was a Maiden fan, so I didn’t just know the songs, I knew every drum fill as well! The first thing I did was pick up my monitor and move it into the middle of the room. The guys were like, ‘What’s he doing?’ I was like, ‘I don’t care, I’m going to stand right here. No matter what happens, I’ll be able to say that at least I’ve been in Iron Maiden for an hour whether I get the job or not.’”
Bayley also confirms a famous anecdote once shared by Bruce Dickinson claiming that he sent his replacement a couple of yellow bricks in response to Bayley stating that joining Iron Maiden was like being Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz.
“It’s true," he admits. "I kept them at my house. Unfortunately, I moved five times and they just got lost. Somewhere, someone’s sitting in their house going, ‘What the fuck are these yellow bricks doing here?’”
Dickinson would eventually return to Maiden six years after his original departure, leaving Bayley to depart the band on amicable terms, even if he has also admitted that the experience of hearing Dickinson's return album with Maiden left him "crying my eyes out". To read more of the interview, pick up the latest edition of Metal Hammer magazine, out now.