Singer Blaze Bayley discussed the “turmoil” of his time with Iron Maiden , saying it left band leader Steve Harris dealing with self-doubt.

Bayley was hired following Bruce Dickinson’s departure in 1993, and fronted the new wave of British heavy metal giants for five years until Dickinson’s return.

“It was a time of turmoil,” Bayley told Metal Hammer in a new interview. “In the U.K., the [press] at the time had it in for Maiden, well before Bruce left. It was, ‘Oh my God, haven’t Maiden died yet? Don’t you know grunge is here?’" He continued: "I remember one time, Steve asking, ‘Oh, what will they think about this idea? Will they slag me off because it’s something I always do?’ I said, ‘Steve, fuck ’em. You’re Iron Maiden! Do what you fucking want! It’s for the fans, not the journalists.’”

One of Bayley’s first songwriting credits with Maiden was 1995 single “Man on the Edge,” partly inspired by his own experience of leaving his home under the pretense of going to work, even though he’d lost the job. “[W]hen I was at school, it was common to have a paper round,” he said. “I signed up, but I got fired after a few months. I was scared of my stepfather at the time, so I’d still get up at 6:30 and leave the house. I’d wait for him to go to work before I returned.”

But he recalled the positive experience of writing the song with guitarist Janick Gers, saying: “When Janick and I took the bones of the idea to Steve and he thought it was good, that was incredible! In my eyes, he’s a giant… Someone I admired as a songwriter said, ‘That’s a good idea.’ Wow!”

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