Biographer: 'Blaze Has Taken Unfair Criticism For His Period In Iron Maiden'

Omega's Apple recently published an exclusive email interview with Blaze Bayley drummer Lawrence Paterson.

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Omega's Apple recently published an exclusive email interview with Blaze Bayley drummer Lawrence Paterson, conducted by Robert Gray. Topics of discussion included his book "Blaze Bayley: At The End Of The Day", as well as frontman Blaze Bayley's tenures in Wolfsbane, Iron Maiden and Blaze. Several excerpts from the interview follow: Omega's Apple: How did you come to write 'At the End of the Day'? Why did you feel Blaze Bayley Cook's story would be a compelling one? Lawrence Paterson: It was strange really. I'd toyed with the idea of writing my own book about the stupid things that have happened to this particular struggling drummer over the years, but wasn't sure if anybody would find it interesting or funny. Spinal Tap would look like a serious work of art compared to the reality. But after joining Blaze Bayley, the idea just kind of fell into place on its own. I'd followed Blaze's career since he left Maiden and was both surprised and dismayed by the apparent lack of recognition of what I felt were top grade metal albums. Ironically, this mirrored the feeling that I would get when I looked at Bruce Dickinson's solo metal albums. After joining the band I saw that the history was such a tangle that some things actually started to make sense. And the things that have happened to this band and all of its members are so ridiculous that you couldn't make it up. So it seemed like a good idea to write the story. I also feel that there are many misconceptions about Blaze's time in Maiden and now, ten years on, that it's time to start putting the record straight or at least straighter than it has been. Personally, how would you critique Iron Maiden's Blaze Bayley era (1994-1999)? His time with the band is somewhat overlooked in favour of Bruce Dickinson's and Paul Di'Anno's tenures with Iron Maiden, though do you feel the material Bayley cut with Maiden is underrated? I think that Blaze has taken a great deal of unfair criticism for his period in Maiden. I feel that there are several factors for this. First of all, Di'Anno features on the two albums that began it all. 'Iron Maiden' (1980) and 'Killers' (1981) are iconic and really ignited the flames that would follow and see Maiden justifiably head on a meteoric trajectory upwards. Then, of course, you have what is to me an unbroken run of excellence that culminated in 'Live After Death' (1985). The first three albums with Dickinson were to me at the time and still are genre-defining slabs of metal. They'll always be among my favourites and I believe that there are thousands of other people that feel the same. They were the glory days of metal and every band were releasing blockbusters: Maiden, Priest, AC/DC, Motrhead etc. etc every album was brilliant to me at the time and they still are. However, by the time that Blaze joined Maiden they had lost a certain something in my eyes. I never really liked the two preceding albums and felt that the crunch and bite that Maiden had had, had largely disappeared. Ironically, 'The X Factor' actually was a return to a darker feel than either of the two albums before it. But, I believe that one of the fundamental flaws with it is the production. The guitars are very weak and the drums lack the depth and solidity that fans of Nicko (like myself) loved. It wasn't the first album to lack that heaviness but it was possibly the most obvious. When you consider that the band was releasing an album with a new vocalist you would think that there would be more appreciation of the need to blow people's heads off with the sound. But it just isn't there. However, there are better songs on that album than the preceding two in my opinion. There are also some very lukewarm ones too, but if you listen to Blood On The World's Hands for example and picture it with the guitar and drum sound from 'Piece Of Mind' (1983) you can see that the ingredients are there for some class-A metal. Plus, I believe that Adrian Smith is the secret weapon in Maiden's arsenal and he was missing from the two albums that Blaze is on. 'Virtual XI' (1998) sounds hurried. There are actually some performances on there that surprise people for their apparent lack of precision, especially from a band like Maiden. Epics like The Clansman would have benefited from good production, as is apparent on the 'Rio' DVD (2002). But Blaze's vocals are excellent. Then the infamous Angel And The Gambler would have benefited from rehearsal when the band would have discovered (like they did on tour) that even they get bored and lost trying to play the whole thing. How would the people listening to the CD feel? And those keyboards should have been lost in a mysterious accident in the studio. So I think Blaze has carried the can for a lot of bad decisions made by an excellent band that was going through a hard time when metal was out of vogue. Blaze has been blamed for the cancellation of American dates, which may or may not have been the case, but it certainly didn't help his acceptance by the more dubious fans. All just my opinion as a hardcore Maiden fan and metalhead. Read the entire interview at Omega's Apple.

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    trivum_rulz666
    FUCK THE HATERS!!! blaze bayley is awesome! i was skeptical when he joined but he grew on me x-factor is great album! if you dnt like it die you aint maiden fan!
    Robert Gray
    Black Star wrote: Jack Darkley wrote: Who would you rather hear sing "Children of the Grave," Ozzy or Dio? Horrible analogy, considering Dio can actually sing. There's really no comparison there. I agree Blaze had his moments with Maiden. "Sign of the Cross" is awesome, and "The Clansman" is one of my favorite Maiden songs ever, even though I like Bruce's version more. Now, to say Blaze's "Sign of the Cross" can "batter the crap out of stuff Bruce does"? Have you even listened to "Hallowed Be Thy Name"? I also agree Blaze was a breath of fresh air. Bruce had grown kind of stale at the end of his first run, and really, the whole band was going downhill. With Bruce's return, I personally feel they are better than ever. "Paschendale" remains one of my favorite songs, as does "These Colours Don't Run". One thing about this article, though. Does anybody else think the drummer of Blaze Bayley would be slightly biased on this subject?
    That's a fair and valid point - obviously, that has to be taken into account.
    District
    I've always thought that the Blaze Maiden albums were Iron Maiden's best albums, though many man will disagree with me. I do have to agree about the bad production though.
    Oddsbodkins
    MT in Austin wrote: I like Blaze's solo material much better than Maiden releases from the same period. I'm not knocking Maiden, I just liked Silicon Messiah, Tenth Dimension, Blood and Belief and The Man Who Wouldn't Die better than the Maiden releases. I haven't heard Promise and Terror yet but I look forward to it.
    I won't lie , I found it slightly dissapointing On the whole though I think his solo albums are great, much better than X Factor and Virtual XI.
    maidenfan15
    I've always said this. Although there are some good songs on the two albums, it's not up to par with the rest of their albums. Blaze was a great singer and the albums were not his fault. They would have sucked with Bruce too. I just don't understand why the songs were so damn long.
    evan-simpson22
    You gotta think about this too : when Blaze joined Iron Maiden the year was about 1994 - 95 one of the two i think, and at that time it was more about the grunge and alternative rock (I guess some hip-hop too), but the point is like, its not because he joined in, its because the music world was changing, Besides look at Fear of the dark, or better yet No Prayer For The Dying, a totally underrated Iron Maiden album and it was even before blaze popped in, its just that they were reaching their down-peak around the ninties, but it did pick up with brave new world.
    Randomrings
    I'm a big maiden fan too. Adrian Smith's birthday is today by the way. But still have to say that Blaze isn't so great. His solo stuff actually sounds real good it's just, I don't think Blaze fit in maiden, even if Paul and Bruce weren't amazing. I've heard every studio album released so far and X Factor and Virtual XI are my least favorite. They're good, just not very good
    MT in Austin
    I like Blaze's solo material much better than Maiden releases from the same period. I'm not knocking Maiden, I just liked Silicon Messiah, Tenth Dimension, Blood and Belief and The Man Who Wouldn't Die better than the Maiden releases. I haven't heard Promise and Terror yet but I look forward to it.
    BlackSymphony6
    I think Blaze gets a lot of unfair stick, and his time in maiden was blighted by poor songwriting in general. However, I think Blaze was the wrong choice for a band like maiden, he had neither the range or the flair to follow a legend like Bruce. His solo stuff is much better, as the songs are written to suit his voice.
    cotton3434
    Oddsbodkins wrote: MT in Austin wrote: I like Blaze's solo material much better than Maiden releases from the same period. I'm not knocking Maiden, I just liked Silicon Messiah, Tenth Dimension, Blood and Belief and The Man Who Wouldn't Die better than the Maiden releases. I haven't heard Promise and Terror yet but I look forward to it. I won't lie , I found it slightly dissapointing On the whole though I think his solo albums are great, much better than X Factor and Virtual XI.
    Same.. don't like Promise and Terror much at all, whereas I loved The Man Who Would Not Die. Either I've developed a distaste for his voice (completely possible, seeing as my music taste has really changed in the past year) or it's just not as good as his previous albums.
    Whiskey Tango
    Have to agree that Adrian being absent on those two albums contributed. Adrian showing up on Bruce's album "Accident of Birth" was awesome. I still love almost every song on that album. Taking The Queen just ****in' rocks! Sorry for getting off track.
    duzit89
    this dude was a decent(not great) singer for the time iron maiden was in when blaze was there
    Drool_Mouse
    I think Blaze was just bad because 1) yes, he joined in a rough spot for Maiden, but also 2) because he was flat most of the time, even when they catered the key to his voice. But really it's ok, no one's perfect, so I just decide not to listen to those albums
    ippystratman
    I think the problem Blaze had was he had a very similar vocal style to Bruce, he just wasn't as good as Bruce so people just tend to go Oh he's shit coz hes not Bruce Dickinson which is a bit unfair since he is a rather good singer. Personally I think he brought a lot of emotion into Maiden's music but he kind of did come in it a time when they had hit a dead point. Some of the songs he did with them are amazing, X factor is a very underrated album but like I said his voice just doesn't compare to Bruce's but I still give him credit because he had to fill in for one of the greatest singers ever and he did a decent job of it
    Leather Sleeves
    zxxAACxxz wrote: In my opinion, Paul D'Anno was better than them both.
    Although I don't agree, I'm pleased to hear someone saying something different.
    Teh Skisgaars
    i still think bruce has one of the most amazing voices in metal, close to but not as good as dio (god) but man on the edge is up there in my 10 20 maiden songs and blaze's voice is perfect for that song
    Black Star
    Jack Darkley wrote: Who would you rather hear sing "Children of the Grave," Ozzy or Dio?
    Horrible analogy, considering Dio can actually sing. There's really no comparison there. I agree Blaze had his moments with Maiden. "Sign of the Cross" is awesome, and "The Clansman" is one of my favorite Maiden songs ever, even though I like Bruce's version more. Now, to say Blaze's "Sign of the Cross" can "batter the crap out of stuff Bruce does"? Have you even listened to "Hallowed Be Thy Name"? I also agree Blaze was a breath of fresh air. Bruce had grown kind of stale at the end of his first run, and really, the whole band was going downhill. With Bruce's return, I personally feel they are better than ever. "Paschendale" remains one of my favorite songs, as does "These Colours Don't Run". One thing about this article, though. Does anybody else think the drummer of Blaze Bayley would be slightly biased on this subject?
    BlitzkriegAir
    Blaze is a good singer, his solo stuff isnt too bad either those 2 Maiden albums just really blow
    FallenSaint
    It's a shame how many maiden fans demonize those two albums and blame blaze for the bands shortcomings during that period. Lol try saying "Blame Blaze" 5 times fast
    Rock'n'Roller
    i think iron maiden actually got better since blaze entered the band, and i think it helped them grow as a band. in my opinion the past 5 maiden albums are some of their best
    JFRules
    Sign of the cross was an amazing song. I love the song futureal too. Virus, Man on the edge. Guy has an awesome voice. But the albums had too many filer songs.
    FearOfTheDuck
    Yeah you can't blame Blaze for anything. I think the reason is why people have a problem with him is that he came after the great Bruce era Maiden.
    sticknick
    Agreed. Blaze was not to blame for these two albums. While certainly not the best two albums in Maidens catalogue, his performance was the best part them. Everything about them seems half assed and rushed; like Steve Harris took some of the shitty B side tunes on Piece of Mind (like Quest For Fire) and tired to turn them into 9 min epics. Blaze just happened to join the band when they were at their low point.
    Cerelil
    sticknick wrote: Agreed. Blaze was not to blame for these two albums. While certainly not the best two albums in Maidens catalogue, his performance was the best part them. Everything about them seems half assed and rushed; like Steve Harris took some of the shitty B side tunes on Piece of Mind (like Quest For Fire) and tired to turn them into 9 min epics. Blaze just happened to join the band when they were at their low point.
    And considering something like half of Brave New World (Which is an amazing album) was written while Blaze was still around, its obvious that it was the bands songwriting at fault during the Blaze era, not Blaze.
    scawti
    I like Blaze and Wolfsbane, but didn't like his voice with Maiden. Though, I think the band was still writing for a Dickenson style singer not what they had. I wished they went for someone like Kiske from Helloween... Blaze was a reall class act when Bruce and Adrian came back - like as a Maiden fan he was excited the classic line-up was back together.
    Jack Darkley
    I like Blaze and I like his voice, but I don't think he was the right pick to replace Bruce. He can do songs from "No Prayer for the Dying" and "Fear of the Dark" okay, but he couldn't do "Run to the Hills" or other such songs just because he didn't have the same range as Bruce. I like the albums he did with Maiden, just not when they had to do the older songs live. Think of it this way: Who would you rather hear sing "Children of the Grave," Ozzy or Dio?
    Metal Axe
    I feel like Blaze was a breath of fresh air for Iron Maiden. After years with Bruce's epic vocal range which would be shown in almost every Iron Maiden song, Blaze came along and brought a more mellow and darker sound with his vocals which I enjoyed after letting his voice grow on me, some Blaze songs are plain amazing!
    Blaze just happened to join the band when they were at their low point.
    +1, I didn't enjoy NPFTD and FOTD as much as other Iron Maiden albums.
    shwilly
    jetfuel495 wrote: I liked those two albums. Didn't like the production, but the music was enjoyable. Blaze did good on those albums.
    Dude, I COMPLETELY agree. Those albums sound cheap and the vocals suffered too, but that's no reason to dismiss all of that material and hold this guy responsible. I heard a local band covering "Lightning Strikes Twice" the other day and that song just kicks MAJOR ass if performed properly Also:
    I never really liked the two preceding albums and felt that the crunch and bite that Maiden had had, had largely disappeared
    Ugh, that sentence was just... ugh
    metallifreak77
    Blaze is not terrible by any stretch, we all know that, he just could not compete with Bruce Dickinson. As far as Maiden fans were concerned, how could you? I'm sure he is fine but even I do not like his albums with the great Maiden.
    isabiggles
    Why are people talking about 'whose to blame'? The albums were fine and there are some killer songs on there like Sign of the Cross that batter the crap out of stuff that Dickinson does. The albums weren't flops, it's just that fanboys refused to allow anything other than Bruce into their ears* (* for the most part)
    Amuro Jay
    I liked those two albums. Didn't like the production, but the music was enjoyable. Blaze did good on those albums.
    Cerelil
    So true, people shouldn't rate Blaze by comparing him to Bruce's stuff, they should treat it like a different band and be completely objective. And in before some tard says "first" Oh... wait!