Former Iron Maiden singer Blaze Bayley has heaped praise upon Bruce Dickinson for being supportive of him when he was in the band.
Speaking to EMP España, Blaze shot down the notion that there was ever bad blood between himself and the then ex-vocalist Bruce during his five-year tenure with the heavy metal legends.
In fact, Blaze says that Bruce went out of his way to support him and has continued to do so since he was kicked out of the band in 1999.
"Bruce and I have been friends before Iron Maiden and Bruce was very supportive of me when I was in Iron Maiden and after Iron Maiden," Blaze said.
"When he had his own radio show, he helped me and played my music on his show. And my newest video, for 'Escape Velocity', was actually filmed at his aircraft simulator. So, he has helped me a great deal."
Bruce Dickinson in 1998 © PA Images
Reflecting upon his dismissal from Iron Maiden after two studio albums in 1999, Blaze also says that Iron Maiden were not wholly responsible for the decision.
"The main reason that I was leaving Iron Maiden is because of EMI and the business. That’s what I believe,” Blaze said.
“At the time, Black Sabbath had the reunion with Ozzy, Deep Purple had the original line-up with Ian Gillan reunion and CD sales worldwide were going down. And I think the record company put a lot of pressure on the band to have a reunion.
“So, for me, it was a horrible time, but it is still a time I think of very fondly. And Steve Harris was really like a mentor to me and taught me so much about song writing. So those values and the things that he taught me are things that I put into my own work now."
Blaze Bayley © PA Images
Elsewhere in his extremely magnanimous interview, Blaze said that he understood why fans didn’t like him when he replaced Bruce.
"I think for all of us, if we fall in love with a band and we fall in love with a voice, it’s very difficult to make an adjustment to a new voice," Blaze said.
"And for me, I had incredible support from thousands of fans all over the world. But there are some fans that hated me, hated my voice and they still do. And that's okay, because it's not for everyone.
"My style is very different to Bruce, and when they chose me to replace Bruce I was very surprised because my voice is so different. But it is the most incredible job. As a heavy metal singer, it's perhaps the number one job that you can have to be the singer of Iron Maiden.”
Blaze released two studio albums with Iron Maiden - 1995's 'The X Factor' and 1998's 'Virtual XI'. He kicks off a month-long North American tour at Sellersville Theater in Pennsylvania tonight (Wed 9th August).