The Headbanging Moose celebrates Halloween with an exclusive interview with the one and only Blaze Bayley (Wolfsbane, Iron Maiden, Blaze Bayley) prior to his acoustic concert in Montreal this November.
The Headbanging Moose: From your first solo album until today, you have produced some very high quality Heavy Metal such as the masterpieces The Man Who Would Not Die and Promise and Terror. What in your opinion has changed and what has remained the same in your music since your solo debut with Silicon Messiah?
Blaze Bayley: The main thing that has changed is the way we record. With Silicon Messiah, I had to hire a studio with lots of equipment in, whilst now, with the new Soundtracks of My Life album, we could just record in Rick Plester‘s front room. It has become a lot easier and affordable in that way. I always write what interests me at the time or what goes on in my life, so that has stayed the same.
THM: You’ve just released a brand new song called Hatred, which is included in your new best of Soundtracks of My Life. What was your inspiration for that song and how was the recording process for it? Is it a “sample” of what people should expect from Blaze Bayley in the future?
BB: I had the idea for this song after having problems with a support band. I told Rick Plester about the idea and we came up with the music. I feel that I will record more songs like Hatred and especially Eating Children.
THM: I have seen you a couple of times in Brazil playing your regular Blaze Bayley concerts, with heavy guitars and drums, fast solos, and all your amazing energy on stage driving the fans crazy. However, you have been doing a lot of acoustic performances lately around the world. What’s the main difference for you when playing acoustic and why have you decided to start doing this kind of concert? Does it have anything to do with the fact that you’re now a father, as people usually “slow down” when they have kids?
BB: I have always wanted to a big acoustic tour but never found the right guitarist or time. It is a lot simpler because I can tour in Europe in my own car, so also a lot cheaper. It has worked out really well, although I notice that the fans are looking forward to my full metal shows again so the December dates in Brazil will be the last ones of the Russian Holiday tour. For me, the performance is exactly the same as full metal show, maybe even harder because there is no place to hide from me. The vocals have to be 100% to make that show work. Becoming a father, a parent, has made me want to work even harder. There is an undeniable reason to give my absolute best, to make sure my daughter has everything I want her to have. I want her to see that you have to work hard to make sure you can afford the nice things in life and I would love for her to join me when she is a bit older so she has a chance to see the world. My wife does a great job in combining my management with looking after our daughter so I have the freedom to perform as much as I want. It is always hard to leave home but once on tour, it all makes sense to me.
THM: The concert here in Canada, at the Piranha Bar in Montreal on November 9, will also be an acoustic performance. Could you please give us an idea of the setlist? Are you also playing any cover songs from other bands, like Doctor Doctor from UFO, or are you playing your regular setlist with a mix of Blaze Bayley, Iron Maiden and Wolfsbane songs only?
BB: The set will be mainly Iron Maiden songs and maybe also a song from other bands. A lot will depend on the rehearsals as I won’t be performing with my own guitarist. I am looking forward to meeting Some of the Few.
THM: During your world tour in 2011 you played that amazing sequence of dark and heavy songs that are part of a story from Promise and Terror: Surrounded by Sadness, The Trace of Things That Have No Words, Letting Go of the World and Comfortable in Darkness. Are you considering playing the same songs all together again but in an acoustic performance? I know those songs are very important to you, so how do you feel when you play those songs live nowadays?
BB: The songs are great and I like to add them in a set but it sometimes doesn’t work out like that. For next year, I’d like to keep the set fast so they might not fit in there. Acoustic they sound great.
THM: You had to cancel your whole Canadian tour back in 2012, and now in 2013 you’re only going to play one single concert in Canada. How difficult is it for an independent artist like you to organize a full tour in different countries? And how do you see the future of independent bands/artists in the world of Heavy Metal and music in general in the short and long term?
BB: It has been extremely difficult to book a tour in the USA and Canada. The agent that booked the 2011 tour, turned out to be not reliable. I think I am just not popular enough over there to get a full tour together. Europe, South America and some other places are ok to get tours together. My manager, my wife, books all my shows with the help of some agents. Since I split up with my full metal band, it has become a lot easier for me to tour as I don’t have to worry if my band can do the show. I just found musicians for the gig instead of finding the gig for the band.
THM: One of your recent tours was together with classical guitarist Thomas Zwijsen, playing songs from his album Nylon Maiden as well as some material from your solo career and Wolfsbane. Are you planning on joining forces with other different types of bands and musicians for some unique projects in a near future? I would love to see you performing together with the guys from Apocalyptica or Van Canto, for example.
BB: Everything is possible. My main focus is of course my own shows, which is what always gets booked first. Then, if some other projects show up, we try to fit them in if it is something that interests me.
THM: What are your favorite bands from Canada? Are there any new Canadian bands that you would recommend us listening to?
BB: I must admit I don’t know many Canadian bands. I performed in the US with Man the Destroyer, who were great guys and I am now guest on Some of the Few so I would say, check them out!
THM: What type of music and/or what bands do you listen to when you’re at home by yourself and with your family? Does your daughter already understand what your music is, and do you play any of your songs for her?
BB: I play a very varied range of music. From folk, to country to pop and of course to heavy metal and rock. We play a lot of music in our house, and although not always metal, my daughter always spots out the songs where I am singing. You can tell she has got a natural feel for music and goes dancing every week too. I think she will be a very expressive and creative girl.
THM: You toured with Iron Maiden in Canada back in 1996 during The X-Factour and in 1998 during the Virtual XI World Tour. What do you remember from those visits to Canada? Was there anything crazy or unusual that happened at that time you would like to share with us?
BB: I remember the fans, they were absolutely crazy and amazing!
THM: Thanks a lot for your time, I really appreciate that. Please feel free to send a special message to your fans in Canada and also to invite them for your acoustic concert in Montreal on November 9 at the Piranha Bar.
BB: Thanks for the interview. I’d like to say a huge thank you to my fans in Canada! I often see their comments on facebook and their orders on the webshop and I would love to perform my own shows there!