HELLOWEEN singer Michael Kiske has shot down the rumor that he was approached to join IRON MAIDEN as the replacement for Bruce Dickinson.
When Dickinson left IRON MAIDEN in 1992, many heavy metal fans felt that Kiske seemed the best fit to fill his shoes. But the job instead went to WOLFSBANE vocalist Blaze Bayley, an odd choice considering that Blaze's singing voice is quite clearly a baritone in contrast to Bruce's tenor/alto range.
Kiske discussed his hypothetical pairing with MAIDEN during a recent interview with "The Neil Jones Rock Show" on TotalRock. Asked if he ever got a call to audition for the MAIDEN singer job, Kiske said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I even heard it on TV. On German TV, it was a heavy metal show on a channel, and there was a good-looking lady who said, 'Well, everybody knows that Michael Kiske is the new singer of IRON MAIDEN.' But I didn't know about it.
"[The rumor] probably came about because Dickinson was no longer in the band," Michael continued. "I was no longer in HELLOWEEN [at the time], so I was sort of available. Maybe that's where the idea came [from]."
Had he been asked to join IRON MAIDEN, Kiske told "The Neil Jones Rock Show", "I don't think I would have done it — even though I am a MAIDEN fan; always been. MAIDEN was, together with [JUDAS] PRIEST, these two were my main bands when I got into this type of music. I think I was 14 or something. METALLICA later on… [I was listening to their debut album] 'Kill 'Em All'. I was one of the first fans. We even had a tape of the demo of that album that was circulating through Europe. It was something different; they sounded different, and the energy was very different. And later on, it was QUEENSRŸCHE. Anything with Ronnie [James] Dio, anything where he laid vocals on, I loved. His solo stuff, just as much. That was my main thing.
"But to join a band like IRON MAIDEN, I would not recommend it," Kiske added. "Because, c'mon on — it doesn't work; it just doesn't work. So I don't think I would have done it anyway. It was a good choice that [Bruce] came back later.
"When Bruce joined IRON MAIDEN, it was the early years. They made two records [with Paul Di'Anno] which were successful, but he was the next step. Dickinson was the reason why I cared about IRON MAIDEN. It was his voice. I heard 'Run To The Hills' on the radio, and I was, like, 'What's that?'"
Earlier this month, Kiske told Loudwire that he struggled to understand MAIDEN's musical direction once Bayley had joined the group.
"I don't want to hurt Blaze, I don't know him, but he was not Bruce Dickinson," Michael said. "I actually listened to [IRON MAIDEN's 'The X Factor' album] with [guitarist] Adrian Smith [who exited IRON MAIDEN in 1989] in my apartment when we were both fooling around with my first solo record ['Instant Clarity']. We couldn't understand what we were hearing. The whole spirit of the album was very weird."
Bayley recorded two studio albums with IRON MAIDEN — 1995's "The X Factor" 1998's and "Virtual XI" — before Dickinson returned to the group. The MAIDEN albums Blaze appeared on sold considerably less than the band's prior releases and were their lowest-charting titles in the group's home country since 1981's "Killers".
Kiske and the rest of the reunited expanded classic lineup of HELLOWEEN released its new album on June 18 via Nuclear Blast Records. The "Pumpkins United" lineup also features returning guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen alongside singer Andi Deris, guitarists Michael Weikath and Sascha Gerstner, bassist Markus Grosskopf and drummer Daniel Löble.
Kiske's entire interview with "The Neil Jones Rock Show" can be heard on TotalRock.