Dream Theater frontman James LaBrie joined an interview with The Metal Voice in which he revealed whether Iron Maiden tried to hire him as Bruce Dickinson‘s replacement.
Back in 1982, Iron Maiden hired Bruce Dickinson as lead singer to replace Paul Di’Anno. With Dickinson, they released ‘The Number Of The Beast’ which became a turning point for the band since the album was a huge commercial success. During his first tenure in Maiden, Dickinson contributed to numerous albums in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Although things were going pretty well for the band, Dickinson decided to leave in 1993 to focus on his solo career. Back in those days, Iron Maiden began to look for a musician to replace Dickinson. After some time, they recruited former Wolfsbane singer Blaze Bayley in 1994.
In an interview by The Metal Voice, Dream Theater singer James LaBrie was asked if Iron Maiden approached him to replace Bruce Dickinson back in those days. LaBrie confirmed this claims and added that Iron Maiden’s manager Rod Smallwood offered him the singer position at the time they were thinking about hiring him as Dream Theater’s manager.
Following that, LaBrie revealed the details of what really happened that time. He said that he refused the offer as he needs to focus on Dream Theater and wants to create music of his own. James then added that he and Dickinson respect each other and replacing such a great singer was something he wouldn’t like to do.
James LaBrie told The Metal Voice whether Iron Maiden asked him to replace Bruce Dickinson:
“Yeah, sure. Absolutely there was. Because at the time, we were being looked at to be managed by Iron Maiden’s management. And so, Maiden’s manager Rod Smallwood, at the time, we were playing darts, and he took me aside and he said, ‘What do you think about this?’
LaBrie then gave the details of what happened that day and said:
“You’ve gotta remember — I was in a very bizarre situation. Dream Theater, we had already recorded 1992’s ‘Images And Words’, we were looking for a management, we were getting ready to try and set up a tour and get out there. I remember him taking me aside, and the rest of the guys in Dream Theater were there too, playing darts because we were looking at him for management. He said, ‘I just wanna throw something at you.’
He had his assistant with him too at the time, and they were both standing there. They were going, ‘What do you think about being the singer with Iron Maiden?’ And I said, ‘What? What are we talking about here? I’m confused. Are you not here for the reason that you might start managing Dream Theater? Or are you here to get me to become…?’ And I had already recorded the Dream Theater album. Can you imagine how bizarre that was?’
Anyways, so I just said, ‘No. No way. You know what? I’m gonna tell you the reasons why I’m not going to do this.’ And they said, ‘What’s that?’ And I said, ‘One: Dream Theater. That’s it. Period.’ And I said, ‘But if I need to go any further with this, way back when I was 22 years old, I sang for a band called Coney Hatch for a year. And I walked in as the replacement for another singer named Carl Dixon,’ and I said, ‘and basically what I felt like was a glorified jukebox.’
Then, I said, ‘Because I came into the band, I was able to sing all that stuff no problem but there was never that ‘This is me. And this is what I created.’ It was about, ‘Are you looking at me for who and what I am?’ I don’t think so. And I don’t think you ever will.
Bruce and I have mutual respect for one another. We’ve met several times. We’ve done several shows. I remember doing the BBC show with him. And there was that mutual respect between the two of us. And I remember just thinking, ‘I’m not gonna get out there and be singing Maiden every night, even though I think they’re a great band, and Bruce is a great singer. No, thank you.’
And the offer came and went. As fast as it was asked, it was dismissed. They went, ‘All respect. Totally get it. No problem.’ Boom. And we moved on.”
You can watch the full interview below.