Jens Lundell of Sweden’s CriticalMass.se recently conducted an interview with former IRON MAIDEN and current WOLFSBANE singer Blaze Bayley. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
CriticalMass.se: Why didn’t WOLFSBANE reunite after you left IRON MAIDEN?
Blaze: I learned so much in IRON MAIDEN and working with Steve Harris and Dave Murray in particular. I learned so much about writing and it gave me a lot of confidence in myself and my own ability because “Man On The Edge” was a Top Ten hit, I worked on “Futureal” with Steve Harris, I had an input in to “The Clansman” and “Lord Of The Flies”, and it made me feel like “I can really do this! I think I got my own ideas that I can express and get my own band together!” and I really wanted to work with two guitars as well. So that’s why I decided to do it and years later it was just appropriate. I was doing a gig and I said, “Guys do you wanna come up and do a couple of shows?” and some friends heard about that and gave us support. Then we thought that maybe we should make an album. It’s going on more like that. It’s more like a school band in the mentality, so BLAZE BAYLEY is my full-time day job.
CriticalMass.se: When you split with the BLAZE BAYLEY band you stated that “The mental, financial and emotional strain of keeping BLAZE BAYLEY together has proven to be to much for me and it has taken a terrible toll on my mental health.” For how long has it been going on like that?
Blaze: It’s been going on for a year, I think. When we started doing the album, my father was dying in cancer at the hospital. I had to take days off the recording. When we started it, we had no money to finish it. We sat around looking at each other going, “Even if we finish the writing, we don’t have any money to start recording the drums and even if we record the drums, we don’t have any money to record anything else!” and we were trying to bring out the book at the same time (The band’s drummer Lawrence “Larry” Paterson wrote the book “At The End Of The Day” which features the story of Blaze Bayley‘s career.). So I was under a lot of strain then, and to get the album out we had to borrow money. I had to beg all my friends to lend me money so I could do the album and do the book. We had to live on just nothing while we were doing the first part of the “Promise And Terror” tour and then we just got a bit of money in the middle of the tour, so from about June to September things were OK. Because we didn’t have a manager, we didn’t book six months in advance like we did before, so we only had a couple of months to promote gigs. We actually played for whatever we could get. We couldn’t play for a proper fee and I couldn’t pay my rent. I wanted to start a family with my girlfriend, as she was pregnant, and there was one day when we had no electricity and no food. I had to sell my silver album, the first silver album that I ever had from IRON MAIDEN. I had to sell that and I started to sell all my stuff… My stereo, everything… I got back from the tour in debt. When I was in Brazil in January, then I was having suicidal thoughts and when I got back, my girlfriend made me go to the doctor and see a psychologist. I felt like a fraud ’cause all my lyrics are about fight, carry on, fight to vertices… But I felt crushed at the time and I just didn’t want to carry on at all with my life. I talked to my girlfriend seriously when I got back. We tried to make the tour work but in the end it was: “Look. However unpleasant it is, these are the numbers! If you carry on like this, you’re not gonna make any money. You’ll never pay back the debts.” I still have debts from the BLAZE band. “You’re just not gonna get anywhere and we’re not gonna be able to bring up the baby or anything.” While we were on tour, there was still a chance that we could just about scrape through, but when the car died on the mountain and I had to find the money to get us back home… That was it. It was over. We didn’t even have enough money to start the tour. We didn’t have enough money for the petrol to get from Birmingham to Switzerland and I had to more or less steal that money to do that, so it was terrible and it was just getting worse and worse so I couldn’t carry on. I lost my will to live, really, and I wasn’t comfortable in darkness. Then when it finished, I just started to feel myself coming back to life and I went to see the doctor. I started my medication and all of this and I started to feel like maybe there is a future. Maybe I can make another album. Maybe I have got something to say. And luckily the fans have stood by me and it looks like I got a future.
CriticalMass.se: You have obviously gone through some very, very tough times. How are you doing today?
Blaze: A lot better! Very positive. It’s a tough couple of months. I had to cancel my gigs in May and June. But what we’ve been able to do is that now we’re six months in advance. I’ve had to get a job in a factory to keep myself going during these two months. I work temporally, but from August I’ll be back full-time on my music. I’ll be working on the WOLFSBANE album, then I’ll be going to my first-ever solo tour of America with 20 shows. Next year I’m going to bring out my unplugged album and I’ve already started. I have some ideas for that and in 2013 I feel I will be strong enough to bring out my full metal album and I think that it will be the best metal album that I have ever done!
Read the entire interview from CriticalMass.se.