In a brand new interview with Metal Pilgrim, British heavy metal vocalist Blaze Bayley, who is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his joining IRON MAIDEN, spoke about what it’s like for him to still perform songs he wrote with the band such a long time ago. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “It’s very gratifying. And what is really nice, my voice is different now, and to bring those lyrics to life, now they have a slightly different meaning. And I can deliver those lyrics and put those lyrics over in a different way to when I was younger. So, as an older, more experienced man, I can tell the story within those lyrics and those songs a lot better than I could when we were recording in the studio, and even on the tours, because my voice has changed, I’ve learned so much more. And it’s the anniversary of joining IRON MAIDEN, not of leaving, so it’s a celebration of something good that happened.”

He continued: “I played huge concerts and recorded albums and had big success with ‘Man On The Edge’ all over the world. But the thing that really stayed with me that I’m most grateful for is what I learned about composing and writing when I was working with the [MAIDEN] guys. So there’s a line there that you can draw and go, ‘You know what?’ After I worked and wrote with Steve Harris and Janick Gers and Dave Murray and Nicko [McBrain], you can see, yeah, there’s a different way of writing.

“In IRON MAIDEN, I learned to take the luck out of it,” he explained. “A lot of times it was, ‘Oh, great. Oh, this song is good. Oh, that didn’t work.’ To go, ‘Ah, that doesn’t work because it doesn’t do this.’ Or it’s something you should just put down right now and not waste energy on. Try another idea. ‘Ah, that flows.’ ‘Okay, we can work on this.’ And ‘it should do this, it should do this.’ So, that was the thing. And if you listen to [my new solo album] ‘Circle Of Stone’, and you listen to ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Virtual XI’, you can see there’s some relationship between them that is, it’s just there as something I’ve come from. ‘Circle Of Stone’ is all my own work, I’m not trying to copy anything, but inside me is the experience of making ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Virtual XI’, that’s in me and that’s been taken forward. And I feel differently now.

“So it’s really fun for us to do these old songs,” Blaze added. “And they are old. And it’s like seeing an old friend; it’s just like seeing an old friend with new clothes. And what we do is a different arrangement. We’re not trying to do the record’ we’re not a tribute band. What we’re doing is, okay, you come and see Blaze Bayley, this is the way that we do it, and it’s slightly different. Nobody ever says to us, ‘Oh, it was terrible, your arrangements.’ They might say, ‘Oh, I think that drum’s a bit different. That’s the way we choose to do it. And one of the things that we do is we put in the harmonies in places I feel there’s really could, should have been harmonies. And on my new live album, ‘Damaged Strange Different And Live’, part of it is, I think, three or four MAIDEN songs, where they’re my versions, and they’re live versions of those old songs where we put bits in and take little bits out. And if you listen to it, it’s the Blaze Bayley version, but it’s still a song that we did with IRON MAIDEN.”

The 60-year-old Bayley fronted IRON MAIDEN from 1994 until 1999. The two MAIDEN albums he appeared on, “The X Factor” and “Virtual XI”, sold considerably less than the band’s prior releases and were their lowest-charting titles in the group’s home country since 1981’s “Killers”.

Since leaving IRON MAIDEN in 1999, Bayley has released a number of albums, including several under the moniker BLAZE and more than a handful under his own name. He also appeared on 2012’s “Wolfsbane Saves The World”, the first album of new material by WOLFSBANE since the group’s self-titled 1994 effort, and a follow-up LP, 2022’s “Genius”.

Blaze‘s latest studio album, “War Within Me”, came out in April 2021. The LP was recorded during 2020 with work split between Blaze‘s studio at home in the West Midlands and Christopher Appleton‘s studio in Greater Manchester.

Nearly a year ago, Blaze underwent a quadruple bypass surgery following a heart attack.

Bayley will release his new solo album, the aforementioned “Circle Of Stone”, on February 23.

In a recent interview with Tony Webster of The Metal Command, Blaze spoke about some fans’ initial reluctance to embrace his era of MAIDEN. When Webster noted that Blaze‘s solo work over the last two decades has gone a long way toward “changing the narrative” of his time with MAIDEN, Bayley said: “Yeah, I think you’re right, Tony. I’m hearing this a lot. People look back and they go… Some fans go, ‘Of course I’ve got every IRON MAIDEN album, but the ones I haven’t listened to are [Blaze-era albums] ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Virtual XI’. And now that’s all I can listen to that I haven’t listened to a hundred times. I have to listen to those. And it’s exactly what you say to me.

‘The X Factor’‘s got some incredible music on it, but the sound of it is so dark, and the way it was produced, it’s not accessible like some of the other MAIDEN albums,” Blaze explained. “You’ve gotta live with that for quite a few spins until you’re tuned into what things are doing. Then you can get to the music. I think that was maybe a problem with it at the time. It’s so dark and the sounds of things were quite different to what came before. People who did live with it, managed to find it. And it’s different cultures as well, different countries. In Sweden and Spain, those albums, people loved them as much as every other [MAIDEN] album. But in other places, people didn’t. It’s a different thing.

“For me, I do now [shows celebrating] my 30th anniversary and that’s an anniversary of joining MAIDEN. It’s a great time for me. But what I take away most isn’t I play big stadiums or all of that around the world. What I take away most is, working with the guys in [MAIDEN], writing songs with the guys and what I learned from their experience — they were so generous — and I found, working in the studio and writing, another part of my voice I didn’t even know I had. So, now I’m able to express the lyric and the melody and get the emotion and the passion and the specific feelings from that lyric, from that song. I’m able to get my voice and use my voice in a way I could never do before. And that’s because of everything I learned in IRON MAIDEN. And even though I’ve been in a wasteland, and I’ve been underground for a long, long time, I’ve kept singing and my voice has developed. And now I think my voice is the best it’s ever been. I have more control over my voice. I’m able to do more things that help me tell my listener a story than I’ve ever done before. And that goes back to those five years. That’s all it was out of my career of 40 years — five years with IRON MAIDEN, and I learned so much that I’ve gradually been able to build up. And now with [my upcoming album] ‘Circle Of Stone’, I’m so proud. The things I’ve done on this, I haven’t been able to do before. And I’m so proud of it.”

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