Former Iron Maiden frontman Blaze Bayley says some Iron Maiden fans hated him for taking over vocal duties from Bruce Dickinson.
He joined the metal giants in 1994 and recorded two albums – 1995’s The X Factor and 1998’s Virtual XI. But he says a section of the group’s fans were against him from the start as they blamed him for the departure of Dickinson.
He tells Mitch Lafon: “When I joined the band, there were a lot of people who just resented me and actually hated me for being in Maiden. They blamed me for Bruce leaving, which is a classic girlfriend problem, where you blame your friend for your girlfriend leaving or whatever. But a lot of people didn’t want to listen to me.
“It was a very different time for Maiden. The music business was changing, MP3s were coming, the hardware was starting to disappear, CD sales were down for everybody worldwide. And it was a time when a lot of old-school Maiden fans didn’t want Blaze Bayley to be the lead singer. “
While he received some negativity helming Maiden, he says he thought he could convert the doubters with a third album. But he was sacked while working on fresh material – a move he says came out of the blue.
He continues: “It was a total shock to me. I had ideas for a third album. I had some melody ideas and lyrics. But, no. We finished in Brazil in December 1998 and in January 1999 I was fired.
”There I was working on lyrics and songs for a third album, which I thought, in my own foolish heart, ‘This is really going to turn things around.’ The fans are gonna go, ‘Now we understand why Blaze is there. This is really good.’ But I didn’t get that chance.
Earlier this year, Bayley stated that 20 years after he joined the band, fans were now returning to his two-album stint and looking at them more favourably.
He said: “People seem a lot more interested and view my period with Iron Maiden in a much different way. I think people take a fresh look at it now and go, ‘Well, the albums were the start of a different era of Iron Maiden. And outside the UK people are a lot more fond of those albums.”
He’s now back with his former band Wolfsbane, who put a Facebook spat behind them in July. A series of online outbursts looked to have split the band, but they vowed to “work it out” and continue with the group.