Blaze Bayley: The Endure and Survive Tour at The Whisky
Blaze Bayley may be best known for his tenure with Iron Maiden resulting in two albums (X Factor – 1995 and Virtual XI – 1998), but the powerhouse vocalist has amassed a stellar solo catalog of metal artistry ever since that fateful experience. On a cross country solo tour recently in support of his Endure and Survive – Infinite Entanglement Part II magnum opus, Blaze Bayley is as impassioned as ever, displaying time and again why he remains one of the most explosive if not scandalously underrated metal vocalists on the planet. Bayley and his band made their way to the world famous Whisky on the Sunset Strip, where they absolutely captivated the normally jaded Los Angeles crowd with a dynamic set spanning throughout a vast and illustrious career. Prior to the supremely memorable performance, we caught up with Blaze Bayley right before sound check at The Whisky to discuss the dynamic Endure and Survive trilogy and tour, time spent with Iron Maiden, science fiction movies, working with Tim Ripper Owens (ex-Judas Priest), and other topics of heavy metal intrigue. Read on…
How has this US tour been going, and what have been some of the highlights?
It’s been going great. Absolutely fantastic. We’ve had a lot more people than we expected at almost every venue. I’ve never done my own tour here with my own band and it’s just gone great and I’ve met a lot of fans that I didn’t know I had. A lot of fans have traveled a long way because we’ve played some out of the way places, so it’s gone really, really well. I’m very excited about it. So I think we’ll be able to come back next year with Part Three. This has been the Endure And Survive Tour. We’ve been to a lot of places in Europe and it’s great to come the US on tour and we’re hoping that we can come back next year as well. The albums done very well and so far fans have really enjoyed the new songs that we’ve had in this set and we’re very excited about Part Three next year.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Endure and Survive – Infinite Entanglement Part II?
Yes, it’s an album that is a concept – this story runs over three albums. Infinite Entanglement is part one and Endure And Survive is part two and 1st of March next year comes part three. It begins with a man who does not know if he is human because his consciousness has been downloaded into a machine body and one day he wakes up and starts to understand that his body’s a machine, not flesh and blood and they’ve done this to him so he can survive a journey of 1000 years to go across space. So, Infinite Entanglement is about the start of this mission and this man going on the mission to discover an Earth-like planet at the other side galaxy and part two Endure And Survive is about enduring that 1000 year mission, all the terrible things that happen to him and then surviving an attempt on his life because the ship’s computer and the ship itself are all geared to stop him getting to the new world.
How do you relate to this main character if at all?
It’s a fictional character. I think any writer draws on their own experiences being certain situations so there are things that I’ve experienced that I’ve put into that body. It is a fictional character.
In your mind, do you know what’s going to happen to the hero in Part 3?
I know roughly where I want him to be at the end of the story.
What is your favorite SciFi movie and why?
Gattaca. It’s an Ethan Hawke movie and of course the tag on for the film was “there is no gene for the human spirit.” That implies that by sheer force of will, with dedication and perseverance and anger, perhaps that you can overcome just about any obstacle. I really like that idea and the things that happen in that film just seem a breath away from where we are right now.
Star Trek or Star Wars and why?
I think it has to be Star Wars now with Rogue One. It’s a difficult choice, though, because the new films the ones that go back and explore Kirk’s early days and how he got to be commander, just great films and really exciting with Benedict Cumberbatch as well. But I think since Rogue One, I’m really back into the Star Wars saga.
When you look back on those two Iron Maiden albums that you did, X Factor and Virtual XI, what do you think of your work on them now?
I think it’s the best work I could do at the time and really some massive learning experience to be able to work with Steve Harris – he was like a mentor to me. I learned so much about songwriting from him and also about my own voice. He found parts of my voice in the studio and in the writing process that I just didn’t know I had before. They’ve become like a hallmark, they’ve become a very strong part of what I do. It was an incredible experience, really, and I’m really lucky to have sung on some huge songs that are important part of the Iron Maiden history. “Man on the Edge” was a big single, top ten all over the world. It was #1 in many countries, and “Sign of the Cross” is an absolute huge song. “Lord of the Flies” as well. A lot of great music on the X Factor album. Also, I think, it showed the start of the progressive era for Iron Maiden and of Virtual XI. Then we have Clansman and Lightning Strikes Twice, Como Estais Amigo, Futureal, all really great songs in my opinion. So I feel very fortunate to have been a part of two albums which have so many great songs on them. Songs which I drag them out and dust them off every so often and put them in my own set and just go down absolutely great, next to my own solo songs.
When you were in Iron Maiden, of course you did all the Iron Maiden songs, how interesting was it to hear Bruce Dickinson do “Man on the Edge” and other Iron Maiden songs you originated?
Bruce Dickinson is a fantastic singer. He’s a legendary voice. He’s one of the greatest singers ever, in the history of rock and metal. So versatile and such an honor and pleasure when Bruce sang my songs. It was absolutely incredible to think that someone that I held in such high esteem was singing something that I was a part of writing. It was an absolutely fantastic –
You and Ripper Owners have shared some similar experiences when it came to replacing more well known vocalists. Did you know each other during that time?
No we only met in Los Angeles when Priest doing a LA show and Steve Harris and I went along to see Priest and we met KK Downing and said hello. I met with, very briefly, but we didn’t really know of each other. It was many, many years after we both were away from those circumstances that we meet – I think it was in Brazil where we had a couple of shows booked together, we just got on like a house on fire. We jammed a few songs on stage, we had so much fun that we took the idea a stage further and in Brazil we did a thing called The Four Singers. We had Udo Dirkschneider, Michael Viscera, Tim Ripper Owens and Blaze Bayley all together. We did like a 2.5/3 hour set all using the same band with the singers changing and then you’d have two singers on at one time and then at the end you’d have a big finale with all four singers on the stage. It was just an absolutely fantastic experience. Tim and I have kept in touch since then, he’s a wonderful guy. Incredible sense of humor. He’s like the Bill Hicks of heavy metal. He’s fantastic. I really enjoyed working with Tim and obviously we both of our stories about the past and what happened with the various bands we were in. We both looked to the future and I’m completely committed to my solo career and then when I have any free time I get back together with Wolfsbane and we have an original lineup reunion this year in December on the 14th. So yeah, Tim is a great guy, I really enjoy working with him.
Do you still keep in touch with any Iron Maiden members?
Yeah, occasionally we talk to Steve – really I’m more in touch with Bruce than anybody. He’s been such a supportive person during my time in Iron Maiden and afterwards. I made my video for my song Escape Velocity for this album at Bruce’s flight training company. He leant me his flight simulator and set it up all for me. He’s a lovely bloke and occasionally I’m in touch with Steve.
Any messages for your fans?
Thank you very much for your support. I’m an underground artist and independent and directly supported by my fans and on this tour they’ve given me incredible support. It’s been absolutely fantastic. So thank you so much for your support, please visit Blaze Bayley Official Facebook and please visit Blazebayley.net to keep up to date with the news about the next release.
(Review and Photos by Ken Morton)
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