Dream Theater frontman James LaBrie talked during a recent interview with Peter Orullian in Breaking Absolutes and revealed that it was tough for Blaze Bayley to replace Bruce Dickinson.

Bruce Dickinson became Iron Maiden’s lead singer after Paul Di’Anno’s departure. Dickinson made his debut with Iron Maiden in their album ‘The Number of the Beast,’ which gained great commercial success. He contributed to six more albums in the later years until he decided to focus on his solo career.

When Dickinson was asked why he left Iron Maiden during one of his previous interviews, the musician said he wanted to step out of his comfort zone. He wanted to grow as a singer and do something different. He also stated that he had no plans when he left the band but noted it turned out to be an enlightening process for him. After Dickinson left the band, Iron Maiden replaced him with Blaze Bayley following numerous auditions.

During his recent interview, James LaBrie explained why he declined to attend an audition when Dickinson left. LaBrie revealed that he was already singing in Dream Theater, and it didn’t seem appropriate to quit the band like that. LaBrie didn’t make any negative comments about Blaze Bayley but just made it clear that Dickinson made a perfect match with Iron Maiden.

Here is what LaBrie said about Dickinson:

“The crazy thing is – in the years to come, I met Bruce Dickinson, we did a show with them. I don’t know how many people are aware of this, but back in June of ’92, the album came out, we did about five shows to kind of warm-up, and we actually backed up Iron Maiden at The Ritz in New York.

And they were just about to start, it was almost a warm-up gig for them, they were about to start the tour ‘Fear of the Dark.’ So we went on and we did it. And Bruce was amazing, he came on stage after we had performed in New York, and he said, ‘Give it up for these guys, Dream Theater! That’s something. These guys are really kicking it!’

And he recognized it then. And then, a few years later, here we are, on his BBC show – because Bruce hosted a BBC show for quite some time – and he and I talked. And obviously, we talked about voice and all that stuff. And then, as time kept going on, we kept doing big shows with Iron Maiden throughout Europe, the big festivals, we were on the same bill.”

He continued by saying:

“Then, eventually, we did a whole North American tour in 2009 with them, so we got to know one another quite well, and we had that mutual respect for one another. I remember him saying, ‘You kind of remind me of like a ’70s classic singer, rock singer. Like Ian Gillan and all that stuff.’ And I go, ‘I’ll take that! Thank you! Not a problem!’

It was cool. But Bruce was always meant to be the singer of Iron Maiden, 100%. And let’s not take away from Blaze, but it was Bruce, just leave it there, period.”

You can watch the full interview below.