Blaze Bayley Recalls How Much The British Media Hated Iron Maiden

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During a recent interview with Crash TV, Iron Maiden’s former lead vocalist Blaze Bayley talked about the meaning of the lyrics behind the band’s iconic song ‘Virus,’ which he often thinks as his own, and recalled the hate that they received from the British press.

As you know, Blaze Bayley was hired as Iron Maiden’s lead vocalist in 1994 after Bruce Dickinson’s decision to leave the band. He released two studio albums with the band, The X Factor and Virtual XI, before Dickinson decided to reunite with Iron Maiden in 1999.

During a recent interview, Bayley talked about the band’s famous song ‘Virus‘ which was a single released by Iron Maiden in 1996. It didn’t appear in any of the band’s studio albums but was featured as a new track on the band’s debut career retrospective, the Best of the Beast, which was released in 1996.

In the interview, Bayley revealed the backstory that encouraged the band to write this song. Apparently, it was the reaction that Iron Maiden had from the British press. ‘They wanted Iron Maiden to fail‘ and the fact that Dickinson had left the band, hand risen the British press’ hopes that the band would soon dissolve. Thus, they used every means possible to ‘kill’ the band.

However, as Iron Maiden is a ‘band of the fans,’ they couldn’t achieve their aims. This atmosphere inspired the band members to write ‘Virus’ but they never played it live. However, Blaze holds the song so dear that he often sings it during his live concerts and fans really enjoy it as they’ve never heard Iron Maiden playing it.

Here’s what Blaze Bayley said during the interview:

“It’s the reaction that we had from the British press. They wanted Iron Maiden to fail, and they loved it that Bruce [Dickinson, vocals] left the band. And they really wanted Iron Maiden to fail. But the fans didn’t want that, and the journalists were really fed up that they did not have the power to kill Iron Maiden because it’s a band of the fans.

So the lyrics are about the hatred of the journalists and the cynicism of the journalists and their attitudes and why that’s poisonous – that they are the virus. Mentally, they keep feeding in these horrible things, and people start believing something is bad when they haven’t even heard it for themselves; they don’t even know about it. Because somebody tells them it’s bad, they go, ‘Oh, it must be bad then,’ instead of looking for themselves. And that’s the evil ‘virus’ that we talk about in those lyrics.”

He went on to say:

“What I’ve done is I have kept ‘Virus’ in my own setlist. So, at a Blaze Bayley concert, one of my old songs from Maiden is usually ‘Virus’. And it’s a slightly different version to what we did in Iron Maiden – it’s the Blaze Bayley version. And it’s also on my live album as well – a version of ‘Virus’. And it’s something that my fans enjoy because we never played that live with Iron Maiden and Iron Maiden haven’t played it live since me.

So I’ve really got it as my own song, in a way. And it’s great to see people’s faces. They go, ‘Oh, I know this.’ And then they go, ‘Oh,’ and then they remember. It’s the first time they’ve ever heard it played live. And it’s really fun. And the reaction that I get from my fans when I perform ‘Virus’ live, it’s absolutely incredible. And on my live album, ‘Live In Czech’, it’s a really, really cool version of it.”

Click here for the source and you can watch the whole interview and listen to ‘Virus‘ from Bayley’s live album below.