“I said, Adrian, why aren't you singing in Iron Maiden? Be the singer!” Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham once encouraged Adrian Smith to return to Iron Maiden as the band's frontman

Steve Harris and Adrian Smith
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Thin Lizzy legend Scott Gorham has revealed that he encouraged Adrian Smith to rejoin Iron Maiden in 1997, suggesting that the guitarist could replace Blaze Bayley as the band's frontman.

Back in '97, the Californian guitarist guested on a song called I'm Alive on Welcome To The World, the second album from Smith's post-Iron Maiden project Psycho Motel, and in a new interview with eonmusic's Eamon O'Neill, Gorham admits that, at the time, he suggested to Smith that he should consider rejoining Maiden as their vocalist.

Gorham freely admits that he's a "big Adrian Smith fan", and not just because of Smith's obvious talents as a guitar player.

"He showed me the demos of that album he was going to record," Gorham says. "I listened to his voice. I said; "Adrian, why aren't you singing in Iron Maiden? Be the singer!" He's got a great voice, you know? Forget about being a great guitar player - which he is - this guy can sing!" 

"He said to me, 'No, that's way too much pressure, way too much being the frontman, you know, having to talk everybody every single night. No, no no, I'm good with just playing guitar'." 

Having stood on stage alongside Phil Lynott for years, Gorham admits that he understood Smith's reticence to step up to the frontman role.

"I kind of got that," he says, "because watching Phil every night, the way he could shrink the audience, no matter how big the arena was... that's a real art form to be able to do something like that. It takes a long time for most frontmen to learn how to do that, so I got what Adrian was saying. But I still think Adrian Smith ought to get out there and do a little more recording and do more singing."

Smith would, in fact, rejoin Iron Maiden in 1999, at the same time that Bruce Dickinson returned to replace Bayley. The guitarist has since displayed his vocal talents with Smith/Kotzen, his collaborative project with Winery Dogs’ Richie Kotzen. 

Read the full interview with Scott Gorham here.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.