Replacing Bruce Dickinson in 1994, Blaze's first single with Iron Maiden was Man On The Edge. The song made it to No.10 on the UK singles chart, but the album it was on, The X Factor, got a kicking by the press.
Speaking in the new issue of Metal Hammer magazine, Blaze remembers having to give Steve Harris a pep talk at one point:
“It was a time of turmoil,” Blaze admits. “In the UK, the writers at the time had it in for Maiden, well before Bruce left. It was, ‘Oh my God, haven’t Maiden died yet? Don’t you know, grunge is here!’ I remember one time, Steve asking, ‘Oh, what will they think about this idea? Will they slag me off because it’s something I always do?’ I said, ‘Steve, fuck ’em. You’re Iron Maiden! Do what you fucking want! It’s for the fans, not the journalists.’”
The song Man On The Edge was written by Blaze and guitarist Janick Gers, who had joined the band in 1990. Blaze wrote the lyrics, and was inspired by the 1993 film Falling Down – about a man who pretends to commute to work so his family won't know he's lost his job.
“What connected that film with me is, when I was at school, it was common to have a paper round," Blaze told Hammer. "I signed up, but I got fired after a few months. I was scared of my stepfather at the time, so I’d still get up at 6:30 and leave the house. I’d wait for him to go to work before I returned. It wasn’t a good relationship between him and I.”
Blaze remembers how exciting it was to have Steve's seal of approval on Man On The Edge:
"When Janick and I took the bones of the idea [for Man On The Edge] to Steve and he thought it was good, that was incredible! In my eyes, he’s a giant – someone who’s written so many important songs in pop culture and heavy metal. Someone I admired as a songwriter said, ‘That’s a good idea.’ Wow!”
You can read more from Blaze Bayley in the new issue of Metal Hammer magazine, which is available to order online now.