Blaze Bayley It is a well-known name in the environment for its famous past. We often forget that there aren’t just those. On the contrary. his usual career has been going on for a very long time. Perhaps being out of the beam of the limelight has brought him back into greater contact than what for him is the essence of music. In this interview he talks about his latest album, what it means to be a musician today and much more.
Let’s start right away with your last job. Why the choice of a live album?
What makes Damaged Strange Different and live stand out as a Blaze Bayley live alum, is the emotion. We have made great recordings of our live performances in the past. They were well planned and we did great performances, This time however, nothing was planned. We just said to the sound engineers at each venue. ”Can you do multi track recordings on you mixing desk?” A lot of them had that facility and they could fit everything on a USB stick. Its amazing how far technology has come since I first recorded with The Rolling Stones mobile studio at the Marquee Club in London with Wolfsbane for our Massive Noise Injection album.
So all the performances that were captured were relaxed and natural, because we never thought too much about a live album. At the end of that part of the tour, Chris Appleton spent a lot of time listening to all the recordings and doing rough mixes. Then he got in touch with me and said that he thought there was some songs that were really nice. I listened and I agreed so we decided to go ahead and turn those songs into a live album.
In the studio new songs are born but on tour those songs begin to live and take on a new life and meaning because of the audience reaction. That gives the emotional connection between us onstage performing my fans. At a Blaze Bayley concert my fans are part of the performance and they give each song so much more meaning than the original studio version. The songs from War Within Me have a new bigger and dramatic vibe than we could ever capture in the studio. I desperately wanted people to hear and feel that vibe.
I’m so proud of my new live album, it means so much more than I expected it to. I was close to death a few months ago. To have a record that is emphatically live and shows me at my best vocally is a good feeling. This could easily have been the last record I ever released. That means it will always be a very special record for me. Chris Appleton has done a magnificent job of mixing everything and allowing the vibe of a Blaze Bayley concert to shine through.
In the age of the internet, is it still necessary to release live records?
Great question. People like to collect things from their favourite artist. My fans like to collect and own my recordings. But for many artists they don’t need that and streaming is enough for their fans.
From your experience, how and how much has the way of performing changed?
Not much has changed. Just little things. In ear monitors and a lot more bands have things recorded and play that at the live concert. Lights are not as hot because of LED. Equipment can be smaller but still sound good.
At a Blaze Bayley concert nothing is recorded music. Everything is 100% live.
So for me personally nothing has changed. I have a mic and I sing my songs with all my passion and skill for my fans at each concert.
Have public expectations changed?
Yes . I think people expect big video screens at smaller concerts and people have phones and record on phones more than watch the concert.
Your career spans several decades. You have had the opportunity to work with many musicians.What’s the biggest difference you’ve found between seasoned professionals and new recruits?
New recruits seem to practice more
How important is playing live today?
For me it is everything. I need to see my fans and perform for them. They are my blood. I’m slowly recovering from a quadruple heart bypass. It was a huge surgery and its normal to take months to recover. Slowly I’m getting my strength back. Starting to sing again and do some interviews. My fans have been incredible. They have supported me and it has been amazing to have so much support. My physiotherapy is going well so far and I expect to be back onstage in October. It has been weird to have time off and go out to see bands instead of doing my own shows but it has been fun. I got to see KISS and my friends in Iron Maiden twice on their UK tour. I’ve also been to Download Festival and saw Metallica and Disturbed and paid a visit to S.O.S. Festival. That side of things has been good. The first 7 weeks I had to be very careful and there was a lot of pain but I always had in mind that I wanted to get back onstage and sing for my fans again. That was a big motivation.
The biggest difficulty of playing live today?
High fuel costs and hotels.
Many artists say that viewers from the concert lineups expect above all the workhorses. Is it the
same for you too?
Sorry I don’t understand that question. Im just happy to play concerts with my band and have the opportunity to play my songs live.
Don’t you find both a limit for both the public and the artists?
Sorry I don’t understand what limit you are talking about.
I love what I do. Im very lucky to be able to make a living as professional singer supported by my fans.
It’s not easy to stay on the scene, especially being able to always find new ways of expression.
There is no secret. I just write about what is in my heart and try to find the truth about existence . Share my pain and my hope.
Which concert do you remember most fondly?
Tamworth art centre 1984. My first proper concert with wolfsbane. We wrote a song about it called smoke and red light.
A funny anecdote that happened during a tour?
A man asked me to sign a live crab
How has your approach to composition changed?
Its changed a lot. I consider many more aspects of the music now , not just the lyric melody and arrangement. Now I also consider how I will record the song and what makes sense for the studio and live how will it be different. What frequency and sounds I should avoid that create problems and detract from the meaning and message. When I started all I thought about was singing loud live. Now I consider the whole process
Is music today too social and less substance?
I think its just the same as ever. Normally most innovation is from younger people sick of old people.
The music really worth listening to has to be hunted down like a wild animal . Or it is a secret that you have to find on your own. Not every great songwriter is famous or has a record contract.
Often many complain about the lack of generational change. What do you think it depends on?
Difficulty of generational communication or inability to adapt to a world that is changing faster and
Adapt or die. It has always been the same. But be original and do your own thing.
Any advice to a band that wants to start playing today?
Be friends with the people in your band . Do what feels right. Be honest with each other. Write about what you know and what you feel. Learn to record your self well. Don’t try to sound like established bands. Make your own sound and your own way of writing
A question you’ve never been asked but always wanted to be asked?
Which Ducati is my favourite
A greeting and a recommendation to our readers.
Thank you all for believing in me and supporting me. I am completely independent. Your support makes it possible for me to live my dream. Thank you all so much.
When I return to Italia it is a free meet and greet for every fan.