Former Iron Maiden vocalist, Blaze Bayley, has revealed that Iron Maiden “were at war with grunge” in the 90s. Bayley’s attributed the popularity of grunge in the era to why one of their live concerts absolutely tanked.
Looking back on his 1994-1999 tenure in Iron Maiden, Bayley told Crowcast that the genre of grunge music was “trying to kill them”.
“When I was in Maiden, we were at war with grunge, man. Grunge was trying to kill us. The U.K. press – they thought the sun shone out of various bands’ bottoms, and they wanted Maiden to die,” he shared.
The mid to late 90’s saw grunge music shoot to the mainstream, with bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden dominating the Billboard charts. Bayley said that this shift in pace was the reason Iron Maiden had an “awful” gig.
“We went into the heartland of death – we played Seattle at the height of grunge, man, and it was one of the most awful gigs I’ve ever done.
“There were these people looking at us like we were some kind of dinosaur, and they were going, ‘Why aren’t they dead yet?’
“And then you’ve got a few rows at the front going, ‘Maiden! Yes!’ It’s just unbelievable. And that’s the war that we had with [1995’s] ‘The X Factor’ and [1998’s] ‘Virtual XI.’
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Bayley says he can put his finger on exactly why Grunge music is Iron Maiden’s nemesis. He attributes the success of the genre to the fact that Grunge was “cool” and says that he is not.
“I’m sorry, but grunge, it was fashionable. And the best thing about what I do is it’s not fashionable.
“I’m always unpopular, and that’s why I’ve lasted so long. I’m tiny, but if I was gonna be really popular, I would be up, then gone.
“‘Have you heard of Blaze Bayley?’ ‘Yeah, isn’t he that artist that’s really small, a cult figure?’ ‘Yeah.’ And they’ve been saying that for 25 years, the same thing.
“So because of that, I haven’t disappeared. If everybody liked me, it would be the kiss of death for my career.”
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