by Dave Thompson
With a career that took him from the primal mid-’80s madness of Wolfsbane, through stints with Iron Maiden and Blaze, and on now to his own Blaze Bayley band, the erstwhile Bayley Cooke is one of the workhorses of modern metal — not a name that gets bandied around with the giants of the genre, the Ozzys and Lars-es and Tommys of the age; but one that will always draw an appreciative nod from anyone who’s not visiting from Mars.
Wolfsbane, after all, was one of those bands that everyone had an opinion on, a ferocious battering that gave an entire generation a metal act that owed nothing to the nonsense being foisted by the mainstream industry. Maiden — well, they’re just Maiden, and can really do no wrong, and both Blaze and Blaze Bayley have made the present century bearable when the rest of our heroes let us down.
His story follows that same inspiring curve. Written by current BB Band drummer Lawrence Paterson, it’s an enthralling saga, maybe filled with more disappointments and upsets than it ought to be, but it’s funny as hell. And compared to the memoirs that so many musicians are party to these days, Bayley is happy to discuss Those Moments When — because, at the end of the day, they’re as much a part of the career as any other.
Weighing in just a little shy of 400 pages, with a great discography and some killer photos, too, “At The End Of The Day” is one of the best metal biogs to have appeared in a long while, and one of the few that don’t leave you laughing at the stupidity of it all. Compared to Blaze Bayley, the rest are mere amateurs.
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