Why Blaze Bayley ‘Never’ Feared Iron Maiden Would Reunite With Dickinson

Music fans may have been shocked when Iron Maiden reunited with vocalist Bruce Dickinson in 1999, but the biggest surprise was perhaps for Blaze Bayley. The singer famously filled the gap for six years when Dickinson left the heavy metal giants in 1993 to pursue a solo career, but Bayley admits in a new interview that he “never” feared Dickinson would return.

talking with Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene for The series “King For A Day”. who interviews fill-in singers who have replaced featured vocalists, Bayley said, “I never had that fear because I thought there were eras of that band. Clive [Burr] and Paul [Di’Anno] was one era. Then there’s Bruce and Nick [McBrain]. It was a different era. And I really thought that the third record with Maiden with me would be the charm.” Bayley participated in only two releases with Iron Maiden (1995’s) X Factor and the 1998s Virtual XI) before Dickinson returned in the 2000s Brave new world.

Bayley also told Rolling stones, “I thought, ‘We’ve done these two records. And now with the ideas that I have, the writing experience and everything. I have things on my recorder and lyrical ideas…’ I thought, ‘When this third album comes out , it’s going to change the hardcore fans and put them back with us. We’re going to get going and this is going to roll and we’re going to get somewhere.’ I absolutely believed in my heart that it would happen.”

The singer also proposed his theory that he was pushed out due to “commercial pressure” from record label EMI to get Maiden back together, and reflected on other major reunions of the decade. “Judas Priest had a full reunion with their original singer. Black Sabbath had a full reunion with their original singer. Dark purple had a full reunion with their original singer. They were all big successes that boosted their numbers. The slave masters of music said, ‘We’ve got to have something. Maiden, what can we do?’ That was it for me,” Bayley shared.

Although he admits he was “freaked out” by the development, Bayley also noted that his exit was handled well and with respect from all sides. “I was treated very well by the guys, absolutely. And I can’t blame them for anything that happened to me afterwards… They did the right thing. We had a meeting with everyone around the table [and they said], ‘With the greatest respect, everyone does this. It’s a huge deal. We’re sorry. We cannot continue.”

Bayley recalls asking at that meeting if Dickinson was coming back and being met with a moment of silence. “That decision had been made a while ago. I was completely unaware of it. They said, ‘Yes, he is.’ I said, ‘OK. We have nothing else to talk about. I thank you for everything.’ And I’ll never say a bad word about this band because I’ve been treated very well’.”

Of course, Dickinson has remained with Iron Maiden ever since, releasing six albums in the new era, including the latest, 2021’s Senjutsu. The heavy metal icons are currently on the road with the Legacy Of The Beast 2022 World Tour. Find tickets here.

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