Why Dream Theater’s James LaBrie turned down an Iron Maiden audition

Opera theater

Dream Theater frontman James LaBrie says he was invited to audition for Iron Maiden in 1992, but immediately declined the offer.

The British group was to replace Bruce Dickinson, who eventually left the following year. Blaze Bayley ended up taking the job, but not before LaBrie was approached by Iron Maiden director Rod Smallwood, who was already in talks to represent Dream Theater.

At the time, the prog-metal group was about to release their second album. Images and words, the first to introduce LaBrie.

“I was in a very weird situation,” he told Metal Voice in a new interview, available below. “We were looking for executives; we were getting ready to try to organize a tour and go out. And i remember [Smallwood] telling me – he’s taking me aside, and the rest of the Dream Theater guys were there too, playing darts, because we were looking for him for management.

“And he said, ‘I just want to throw something at you.’ And he also had his assistant with him. … They were like, ‘What do you think about being the lead singer of Iron Maiden?’ LaBrie said. “And I said, ‘What? what are we talking about here? I’m confused. Aren’t you here because you might start running Dream Theater? “

LaBrie continued, “I just said, ‘No. Certainly not. I’ll tell you the reasons why I’m not going to do it. One: Dream theater. That’s it. Period.”

But he had another reason: the experience of spending a year with his compatriots Coney Hatch after replacing their singer Carl Dixon. “Basically I felt like a glorified jukebox,” LaBrie said. “I joined the band, I was able to sing it all without a problem … but there was never that [sense of] ‘This is me, and this is what I created.’ It was about “Are you looking at me for who and what I am?” I do not think so. And I don’t think you will ever do it.

As a result, LaBrie said, the offer “came and went; as quickly as asked it was rejected. Smallwood’s response was “with all due respect,” he recalls, “and we’ve moved on.” LeBrie added that he and Dickinson – who returned to Maiden in 1999 – share “mutual respect” and have met on several occasions.

Watch James LaBrie in “The Metal Voice”

Iron Maiden albums ranked

Perhaps the most striking thing when ranking Iron Maiden’s albums is that they were successful despite the change of lead singer three times.


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