British heavy metal vocalist Blaze Bayley, who fronted IRON MAIDEN more than 20 years ago, has confirmed to Stavros Vlahos, editor of the Soundcheck Network music magazine, that he has begun compiling ideas for the follow-up to his latest solo studio album, 2021’s “War Within Me”.
“I’m always trying to catch things on my dictaphone,” he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). Now it’s only one thing — it’s the phone; it’s the messages and the recording device, whereas before you had to have a little tape recorder and a notebook. I’m always trying to catch things. And I’m starting work now on piecing some ideas together that should be a new studio album next year. And we hope that it will be good.
“The problem that I have is if I make a good album that my fans really like, that’s a lot of pressure. For the next album, they [say], ‘Oh, you’ve got to try and beat it.’ I don’t wanna try to beat the ‘War Within Me’ album. For me, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. And if I could get close to being as good as that. I’ll be very, very happy.
“A lot of my fans, going back to my early records after MAIDEN, say that the ‘War Within Me’ album is the best album I’ve ever done,” Blaze added. “So that’s a lot of pressure when it comes to doing a new album. And I try not to think about it. I try to use my heart and my gut and go, ‘Does this feel good? Is it coming from the right place? Does it feel good?’ And then just gently start to piece things together.”
Elaborating on how he goes about composing songs, Bayley said: “My songwriting now is more of put something together, leave it, listen to it then with fresh [ears], have some distance. And I think that works for me right now at this point in my career. But I’m very lucky to have so much dedicated, loyal supporters.
“I’m a tiny underground artist in the world,” he continued. “People think I’m really famous because of my time with IRON MAIDEN. I was a very small part of IRON MAIDEN. And those albums, at the time, they did well in certain countries. My albums did well in Greece and in Sweden and Brazil, but in other places they didn’t do very well, the ones with me. Fans didn’t really like the change. A lot of people from that era still hate Blaze Bayley, they hate what I did, they have those two albums that I was on. That’s fine by me. I like the fact that I’ve done something that is strong enough for someone to have such a big, forceful emotional reaction to it. But I do think some of the people that hate me have actually never listened to what I do.”
Bayley fronted IRON MAIDEN from 1994 until 1999. The two MAIDEN albums he appeared on, “The X Factor” and “Virtual XI”, sold considerably less than the band’s prior releases and were their lowest-charting titles in the group’s home country since 1981’s “Killers”.
Since leaving IRON MAIDEN in 1999, Bayley has released a number of albums, including several under the moniker BLAZE and more than a handful under his own name. He also appeared on 2012’s “Wolfsbane Saves The World”, the first album of new material by WOLFSBANE since the group’s self-titled 1994 effort, and a follow-up LP, 2022’s “Genius”.