Blaze Bayley

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Blaze Bayley
BlazeBayleylive.JPG
Bayley performing in Slovakia in March 2012
Background information
Birth nameBayley Alexander Cooke
Born (1963-05-29) 29 May 1963 (age 58)
Birmingham, England
Genres Heavy metal, hard rock
Occupation(s)Singer, musician, songwriter, lyricist
InstrumentsVocals, keyboard
Years active1984–present
LabelsBlaze Bayley Recording
Associated acts Wolfsbane, Iron Maiden
Website www.blazebayley.net

Blaze Bayley (born Bayley Alexander Cooke, 29 May 1963) is an English singer, musician, songwriter, and lyricist. He pursued a solo career, which established from 2000 until present, and already released ten studio albums. [1] He was the lead singer of Wolfsbane from 1984 to 1994 (and currently since 2010, following reunions in 2007 and 2009). He was also the lead singer of Iron Maiden during Bruce Dickinson's absence from 1994 to 1999, before Dickinson decided to reunite with Iron Maiden, shortly after Bayley's departure. [2]

Contents

Early life

Bayley was born Bayley Alexander Cooke [3] in Birmingham, England on 29 May 1963. His main inspiration to be a singer was when he saw the legendary Ronnie James Dio perform live at Birmingham Odeon on Dio's "Holy Diver" tour. [4] At the time, Bayley was working a night job as a hotel porter.

Career

Wolfsbane (1984–1994, 2007–present)

Bayley started his musical career as the lead vocalist of Wolfsbane, upon their formation in 1984. The first album, Live Fast, Die Fast , was released in 1989. [5]

Prior to this, they had recorded three demos entitled Wolfsbane (1985), Dancin' Dirty (1987) and Wasted but Dangerous (1988). This last one was recorded at Square Dance Studios, Derby, U.K.. They were the supporting act for Iron Maiden's UK division of their No Prayer on the Road tour in 1990. Wolfsbane's second release, an EP titled All Hell's Breaking Loose Down at Little Kathy Wilson's Place , was released the same year. The band's second full studio album Down Fall the Good Guys , was released in 1991, giving them their only UK Chart entry with their single "Ezy" charting at No. 68.

Def American dropped Wolfsbane as they felt that the band were not selling well enough. This did not stop the band from being voted as the UK's best unsigned act in 1993. The same year, the band released a live album, Massive Noise Injection , through the Bronze Company label.

The band released their third studio album, the self-titled Wolfsbane , in 1994, again on the Bronze Company label. A limited edition of this album included the EP Everything Else. When Bruce Dickinson departed fellow English heavy metal band Iron Maiden in 1993, Bayley was chosen between hundreds of auditions. Wolfsbane disbanded afterwards.

In 2007, Wolfsbane reformed for a one-off performance, with Bayley again taking up vocal and frontman duties. They supported the Wildhearts on a short UK tour in December 2007. Their next tour came in December 2009 supporting the Quireboys on their 'A Little Bit of What You Fancy 20th Anniversary Tour'. [6] Wolfsbane played a headline show at the Borderline in London on 9 April 2011. [7] This was followed by a tour supporting Saxon in April 2011. [8] A new album (Wolfsbane Save the World) followed an EP called Did it for the Money and a successful UK tour in 2011. [7]

Iron Maiden (1994–1999)

Bayley was chosen as Bruce Dickinson's replacement after hundreds of auditions. His departure from Wolfsbane led to their disbandment later that year. After a serious motorcycle accident put him out of commission for a year, Bayley was able to record vocals for Maiden's The X Factor , released in 1995. Bayley went on tour with the band in support of the album. Another Iron Maiden album with Bayley on vocals, Virtual XI was released in 1998.

The two Iron Maiden albums released during Bayley's tenure did not chart as well as the band had hoped. The X Factor peaked at No. 8 on the UK Albums Chart and Virtual XI hit only No. 16, both being the lowest-charting Iron Maiden studio albums since Killers was released in 1981, which peaked at No. 12.

Bayley left Iron Maiden in February 1999 after hearing that vocalist Bruce Dickinson was returning to the band. Iron Maiden occasionally perform songs from the two Maiden albums featuring Bayley, including "Man on the Edge" and "Futureal", which he co-wrote, though no Bayley-era songs appeared in the band's set list between 2004 and 2017. In 2018 the band played "The Clansman" and "Sign Of The Cross". [9] Likewise, Bayley has performed Iron Maiden songs originally recorded by the Dickinson and Paul Di'Anno led line-ups at some concerts. [10] [11]

Solo Career (1999–present)

Blaze (1999–2007)

The BBB (Blaze Bayley Band) Blazebayleyband.jpg
The BBB (Blaze Bayley Band)

Following Blaze Bayley's departure from Iron Maiden in 1999, he pursued solo career, with he formed his own band, BLAZE, in March that year. Bayley recruited guitarist Steve Wray, guitarist John Slater, bassist Rob Naylor, and drummer Jeff Singer, and signed a deal with German label SPV, releasing the band's debut studio album in 2000, Silicon Messiah . The album was followed up by Tenth Dimension in 2002 and the band's first live album in 2003, As Live As It Gets . All those albums had positive reviews. But financial problems and some issues with the record company soon led to changes in the band.

After recording the live album, Jeff Singer announced he was leaving. Three months later, Rob Naylor was also leaving. Session drummer Phil Greenhouse and bassist Wayne Banks were hired for the rest of the Tenth Dimension tour until permanent replacements could be found.[ citation needed ] Guitarist Jason Banks was drafted in for a few gigs at the end of 2003 to cover for John Slater.

At the end of 2003, Blaze began writing material for their third studio album, Blood & Belief . Phil Greenhouse was replaced on drums by Jason Bowld for recording and Dave Knight for touring. The band began to tour for the album shortly after it was released in 2004, but were set back again by the news that John Slater could not perform a large section of the tour. Despite rejoining the band later in the year, Slater eventually left the band in September with Steve Wray to form the band Rise To Addiction. Bassist Wayne Banks and drummer Dave Knight left the band to join the Robin Gibb band in September 2004.

Blaze performed a number of shows in 2004 and 2005 with the lineup of Bayley, guitarist Oliver Palotai, guitarist Luca Princiotta, bassist Nick Douglas, and drummer Daniel Löble. The two guitarists were eventually kept on as full members. The band's lineup shifted once again when Löble quit to join German power metal band Helloween early in 2005 and when Douglas returned to another German heavy metal band, Doro. The two were replaced by unknown German musicians Daniel Schild and Christian Ammann respectively. With the new lineup, Blaze began to work on a fourth studio album for a release in 2007, but in January that year it was announced the entire line-up had to separate from Bayley due to serious financial matters. Following the lineup change, Bayley opted to rename the band under his name, Blaze Bayley.

Blaze Bayley Band (2007–2011)

In February 2007, Blaze Bayley Band (also known as BBB) added guitarists Nicolas Bermudez and Rich Newport, bassist Dave Bermudez, and drummer Rico Banderra and recorded the live DVD album Alive in Poland , released later that year. Bayley announced that Rich Newport had left the band to pursue a "career" as a guitar teacher later on that year, and Jay Walsh would replace him onstage for the remainder of the tour. Jay was made a full member of the band in November 2007. Bayley also announced the addition of drummer Lawrence Paterson, formerly of British metal bands Chokehold and Shadowkeep at the same time.

In July 2008, Blaze Bayley Band (BBB) released their debut studio album, The Man Who Would Not Die . The album also contained the band's first single, "Robot", despite only being available digitally. It is sometimes regarded as a mini-compilation as it includes many bonus tracks. In September Debbie Hatlands, Blaze's wife and manager of the band, died of a stroke after some weeks of recovery. [12] The singer and the band, although distraught by the loss, bravely continue to perform in honour of her love and committed work. The band recorded another DVD live at Z7, The Night That Will Not Die , which was released in March 2009. Blaze Bayley announced that the band had started recording for their new album on 28 September 2009. A contest was run on the band's forum: the first two people who correctly guessed the title of the new album would receive a free signed copy. The title was revealed to be Promise and Terror a few days later.

The second album Promise and Terror was released on 1 February 2010. Professional reviews have generally been very positive about the album. The album was produced by Jason Edwards.

On 6 February 2010 BBB started their 2010 world tour in Dudley UK. They spent the next months playing the UK, France, Italy, Germany before leaving for the South American leg of the tour. They then returned to Europe later in the year.

In May 2010 Lawrence Paterson, the drummer for the band left due to unspecified personal and professional reasons. Paterson was also the author of the book "At The End of the Day", a biography of the Blaze Bayley Band. Also their manager, Anna, announced her departure from the band. She claimed that the band's idea of where to go next and hers were not in the same direction.

Following the departure of Lawrence Paterson the Blaze Bayley Band engaged Italian drummer Claudio Tirincanti to continue the Promise and Terror tour. On 10 July 2010 Blaze Blayley claimed live on stage that his current album was his best-selling as a solo-artist shedding some light on the recent changes in his line-up and management.

The BBB embarked on a short European tour in early 2011 and were supposed to follow that up in May 2011 with more dates in the UK. But surprisingly, on 29 March via his official channels, Blaze Bayley stated that he had to part ways with the band due to both health and financial reasons. Later emerged that a great problem has been the fact that the Bermudez brothers were frequently due to be bought flights back home to Colombia to renew their visas. The matter was heavy not only from the financial and bureaucratical point of view, but also musically: the BBB had often to find last minute substitutes, in the likes of Luke and Chris Appleton from the band Fury Uk or Dave Andrews that later will enter in the live band of the singer.

Blaze Bayley (2011–2013)

On 31 March 2011, Blaze announced that he would continue as a solo performer working with different musicians.

Alongside the reunion and new recordings of Wolfsbane, Bayley has played a two-week acoustic solo tour in the UK in September 2011 with fellow Wolfsbane guitarist Jase Edwards plus a few unplugged gigs in Italy with Andrea Neri on guitar. Footage of the acoustic shows with Jase Edwards can be seen on the Official Blaze Bayley YouTube Page. [13]

In 2011 Blaze presents the first new song with the renewed line-up, called "Black Country". In February 2012 Bayley toured Russia with Paul Di'Anno, starting a partnership between the two ex Iron Maiden singers who hit the road as "Blaze VS Paul" and "Double Trouble Tour" in 2012 and 2013.

The singer hit the stages of some summer festivals and after that has been travelling to the USA in October/November 2011 for his first full US Headline tour since his days with Iron Maiden, supported by North-American musicians of the Canadian band Man the Destroyer plus American guitarist/producer Rick Plester, of international fame, who will work with Bayley in the future.

On 26 December 2011 in a personal Christmas message on his website Blaze announced that his new album The King of Metal would be released on 8 March 2012. On the same day Blaze officially announced the first two legs of the King of Metal world tour on the official Blaze Bayley Facebook Page. [14] The King of Metal album is recorded between Italy and Holland, mixed by Tony Newton at Steve Harris home studio, Rick Plester in the Usa and Raoul Soentken in The Netherlands.

New line-up consists of 3 Italians (the confirmed drummer Claudio Tirincanti, bassist Lehmann, guitarist Andrea Neri) and Dutch youngster Thomas Zwijsen, a talented classic guitarist who became a cult-musician on YouTube for his acoustic arrangements of Iron Maiden's classics. Zwijsen co-wrote most of the music of the new Bayley's cd. The same line-up recorded the album and backed Blaze Bayley in the King of Metal European Tour, which counted more than 60 gigs.

The busy schedule of 2012 has seen also an acoustic tour with Zwijsen (July), some appearances with Czech band Seven, a few gigs with Wolfsbane (October), a second co-headlining tour with Paul Di'Anno in Eastern Europe, Australia and New Zealand (November), and the prosecution of the successful unplugged tour that will touch also Brazil and Europe, with Zwijsen on classical guitar and Dutch violinist Anne Bakker. [15]

In 2013 the intense acoustic experience becomes also an official release in the catalogue of the singer: in partnership with Thomas Zwijsen, Blaze in fact released and EP ("Russian Holiday") of classically arranged tunes, working with Yellowdog Creative Project Management for the release. The artwork of the album was created by Akirant.es.

Blaze then hits the USA for a special tour with an all-star band named The Foundry, with guitarist Rick Plester (Black Symphony), bass player John Moyer (Adrenaline Mob, Disturbed, Queensrÿche) and Scorpions drummer James Kottak, plus vocalist Shawn Austin. Later in the year the singer reached Canada for some acoustic gigs and then toured again with Di'Anno in Finland, Russia and Ukraine.

Initial partnership with Absolva (2013–2016)

Blaze Bayley announced "Soundtracks of my life", a double-CD best of, as a tribute to his 30th anniversary as a singer, released November 2013, and followed by an extensive world tour the following year. The album presents also two new tracks: "Hatred" and "Eating Children", written and performed by Blaze Bayley and Rick Plester. For both songs two promotional videoclips have been shot.

After a first leg of the tour in South America, the singer presents the new live band for European gigs. They are the musicians of Manchester-based band Absolva: Chris Appleton (guitars, already seen live with Bayley), Dan Bate (bass, then temporarily replaced by Luke Appleton, brother of Chris and member world known act Iced Earth, and then again new Absolva permanent bass player Karl Schramm) and Martin McNee (drums). [16]

With the Absolva line-up Blaze records the DVD "Live in Prague" which contains a full show of the "Soundtracks of my life" European Tour plus bonuses. In Slovakia and Germany, with other musicians, Bayley then celebrates his 20th anniversary of joining Iron Maiden with a small tour with an exclusive set focused on songs of his period in the band with Steve Harris. Then the singer hits Canada and USA, the latter again under the moniker The Foundry with Plester, Moyer and Twisted Sister's drummer A.J. Pero and occasionally Bobby Jarzombek behind the kit. In 2015 he tours South America under the moniker "Metal Singers" together with vocalists Udo Dirkschneider, Ripper Owens and Mike Vescera.

Infinite Entanglement triology (2016–2020)

Blaze Bayley - Santiago, Chile 2016 Blaze Bayley - Santiago, Chile 2016.jpg
Blaze Bayley - Santiago, Chile 2016

In March 2016, with new management - Mark Appleton (of independent record label Rocksector Records) - a new album 'Infinite Entanglement' was released, followed by an extensive European Tour with the Absolva line-up. The new album was a concept inspired by sci-fi themes like Blaze's early solo releases 'Silicon Messiah' & 'Tenth Dimension'. 'Infinite Entanglement' was written and recorded by Bayley & the musicians from Absolva, as well as writing contributor Michelle Sciarrotta. The record also featured backing vocal contributions from Luke Appleton of Iced Earth, Jo Robinson & Mel Adams of Aonia, & Liz Owen, nylon acoustic guitar from Thomas Zwijsen, violin from Anne Bakker, as well as voice actors Bayley himself, Aine Brewer, Rob Toogood & Michelle Sciarrotta. The European touring for 2016 was completed by a performance at Huskvarna Rock & Art festival in Sweden, including the choir & voice actors, & filmed for a possible future release. During 2016 Bayley also toured Latin America and Canada with different musicians, followed by North America with Geoff Tate & Tim 'Ripper' Owens under the band name Trinity, a short-lived collaboration organised by Geoff Tate's management.

In June 2016 Bayley was onstage as guest vocalist with Disturbed at Download Festival, England performing The Who's Baba O'Riley.

'Endure and Survive', the second album in the 'Infinite Entanglement' trilogy, was released in March 2017, co-written between Bayley, Chris Appleton & Michelle Sciarrotta, the album continues the sci-fi story & again features the same backing vocal/choir contributions as its predecessor, plus instrumental contributions from Thomas Zwijsen on nylon acoustic guitar & Anne Bakker on violin, as well as Uli Jon Roth's keyboard player Corvin Bahn who plays accordion. The voice actors also return to help continue the story. The official video for promotional singles of the album, "Escape Velocity" was filmed at Iron Maiden lead singer, Bruce Dickinson aircraft maintenance business and flight simulator, Cardiff Aviation Ltd.

The concluding part of the trilogy, 'The Redemption of William Black', was released in March 2018, co-written predominantly by the Bayley/Appleton partnership.

During these years the touring and recording band is cemented from the ranks of Absolva - Chris Appleton (guitar & backing vocals), Martin McNee (drums), Karl Schramm (bass & backing vocals). World Tours have accompanied each full metal release.

In November 2018 a second classical acoustic album 'December Wind' was released featuring guest guitarist Thomas Zwijsen.

In March 2019 a double live album and DVD, 'Live in France', was released, as recorded at the famous Chez Paulette venue, near Nancy, France.

2019 marked the 25th anniversary of Blaze Bayley joining Iron Maiden & to help celebrate this, a series of festival appearances occurred featuring a setlist selected exclusively from his 2 studio albums with Maiden - X-Factor & Virtual XI. For these performances, Luke Appleton of Iced Earth & Absolva is drafted in as second guitarist. The most prominent of these performances was at Sweden Rock Festival & Rock the Coast (Spain).

In April 2020 a double live album and DVD, 'Live in Czech', was released, as recorded at the venue Melodka, Brno, Czech Republic.

What seems to have emerged in recent years is an appreciation of Bayley as an independent artist dedicated and connected with his audience. Dennis Dirkzwager at Scene Point Blank said "This man lives to be on stage and it comes through. This amazing live presence also seeps into your home when playing the Live In France and the just released Live In Czech records." [17]

War Within Me (2020–present)

On 15 December 2020, it was announced on Blaze Bayley's website and social media that pre-order had started for Blaze's new studio album titled 'War Within Me'. [18] This will be the first full length Blaze Bayley Full Metal studio album outside the 'Infinite Entanglement' Trilogy for almost 10 years. Blaze Bayley has continued to work with the British Heavy Metal musicians from 'Absolva'. All songs written, recorded & produced by 'Christopher Appleton' & 'Blaze Bayley'. Mastered by 'Ade Emsley'. Artwork by 'Akirant Illustration'. The album was released digitally on 9 April 2021, and soon the physical version was released. [19]

Blaze Bayley musicians

Main band

Discography

As B L A Z E:

As Blaze Bayley Band:

As Blaze Bayley:

Live albums

With Iron Maiden:

Audio/video samples

Personal life

On 14 February 2007, Bayley married Debbie Hartland, his long-time girlfriend, on the island of Gran Canaria. [28] On 6 July 2008, Hartland suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was hospitalised. [29] She died on 27 September 2008, after having suffered a stroke two days before. [30]

Bayley got engaged on Christmas Day 2010 to his girlfriend Eline. [31] In September 2011, he became father of Alice.[ citation needed ] He and Eline got married in August 2013 but divorced three years later.[ citation needed ]

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