IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris spoke to SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation" about the band's current setlist, which includes two Blaze Bayley-era songs,. Asked why was it important to the band to still play those songs even though Bruce Dickinson has been back in the band for so many years, Harris responded: "We're doing 'The Clansman', which is from [1998's] 'Virtual XI' [album], and we're doing 'Sign Of The Cross', which is from [1995's] 'The X Factor'. We've done 'em before, anyway, with Bruce; he really likes those songs, so he was really happy to do 'em. And I'm not gonna complain, 'cause I'm happy with doing 'em songs. But I think it just mixes the set up a bit. I know that those albums are not as well known as some of the other albums, especially over here [in the U.S.], but they're really good songs, and live, I think, they come into their own. So, yeah, it makes for an interesting set."
Pressed about whether he still stands behind the material that MAIDEN wrote and recorded while Bayley was in the band, Harris said: "Oh, definitely. I said at the time that I thought a lot of people would, in the future, get into those albums a lot more and maybe understand 'em a bit more and give 'em more of a chance. And that's what's happening — loads of people are really enjoying those albums more now. I think there's some really, really good songs on both those albums, and they stand out to me as most of our other albums. But it's like anything — I think you need to hear the stuff a few times, and I think a lot of people couldn't get past the fact that we had a different singer, and it was one of those things. But it was well received more in the rest of the world, really; the U.S. was a little bit more awkward. But I think a lot more people are finding that they're giving it a second chance, if you like, and actually really enjoying 'em."
Dickinson told the "Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon" podcast that he never had any issues singing the Bayley-era MAIDEN material. "Life's too short to go around chucking your ego around like that — it's childish, it's stupid," he explained. "And, actually, some of those songs kind of worked [with my voice], some of them didn't, but you know what? They were all songs which a lot of IRON MAIDEN fans bought, and some of them, in particular 'The Clansman' and 'Sign Of The Cross', I think we really nailed those songs and I thought it was great material. Blaze's voice, obviously, was quite different than mine — it was a slightly lower register — and, actually, I wasn't complaining, 'cause I could use this kind of lower baritone tone and get quite kind of robust on it all. And I really enjoyed singing those songs."
Dickinson went on to say that he "had the utmost respect for Blaze, because he stepped into a situation that was extremely difficult for him. Because, manifestly, his voice was so different to mine and yet he had to try and sing some of those [older IRON MAIDEN] songs. He was in a difficult place. And he was a very, very nice guy, and still is a very nice guy, and I have a huge amount of respect for him."
Dickinson told the "Do You Know Jack?" radio show that he "was surprised" Blaze was chosen to replace him in IRON MAIDEN. "I was delighted for Blaze, but there was a whole bunch of other really good singers out there," he said. "I thought 'Wow, they could have picked somebody with a voice that could do what my voice did.' But they picked Blaze. Obviously, they picked somebody different, but that came with its own set of challenges. I just wondered whether anybody in the management was really giving anybody any serious words of truth on how hard this could be."
IRON MAIDEN kicked off the 33-city North American leg of its "Legacy Of The Beast" tour on July 18 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
MAIDEN's current set includes a Spitfire buzzing the stage during the opening number, "Aces High". The plane is a 90-percent-sized replica of an actual Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb registration number AA 853 from 302 Squadron that saw active duty in 1941.
Support on the North American leg of the "Legacy Of The Beast" tour comes from THE RAVEN AGE. Additionally, FOZZY will be guests for the Banc Of California Stadium show in Los Angeles.
MAIDEN's 2019 North, South and Central America trek comprises 44 shows in six countries, which, combined with the band's 2018 European dates, means that by the end of this tour, the group will have taken the "Legacy Of The Beast" show to over one and three quarter of a million fans around the globe.