In a new interview with Crash TV, former IRON MAIDEN singer Blaze Bayley was asked about the lyrical inspiration for the band's 1996 song "Virus", which was featured as a brand new track on the band's first-ever career retrospective, "Best Of The Beast". He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's the reaction that we had from the British press. They wanted IRON MAIDEN to fail, and they loved it that Bruce [Dickinson, vocals] left the band. And they really wanted IRON MAIDEN to fail. But the fans didn't want that, and the journalists were really fed up that they did not have the power to kill IRON MAIDEN because it's a band of the fans. So the lyrics are about the hatred of the journalists and the cynicism of the journalists and their attitudes and why that's poisonous — that they are the virus. Mentally, they keep feeding in these horrible things, and people start believing something is bad when they haven't even heard it for themselves; they don't even know about it. Because somebody tells them it's bad, they go, 'Oh, it must be bad then,' instead of looking for themselves. And that's the evil 'virus' that we talk about in those lyrics."
He continued: "What I've done is I have kept 'Virus' in my own setlist. So, at a Blaze Bayley concert, one of my old songs from MAIDEN is usually 'Virus'. And it's a slightly different version to what we did in IRON MAIDEN — it's the Blaze Bayley version. And it's also on my live album as well — a version of 'Virus'. And it's something that my fans enjoy, because we never played that live with IRON MAIDEN. And IRON MAIDEN haven't played it live since me. So I've really got it as my own song, in a way. And it's great to see people's faces. They go, 'Oh, I know this.' And then they go, 'Oh,' and then they remember. It's the first time they've ever hear it played live. And it's really fun. And the reaction that I get from my fans when I perform 'Virus' live, it's absolutely incredible. And on my live album, 'Live In Czech', it's a really, really cool version of it."
The 57-year-old Bayley, who was born in Birmingham, 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 he 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".
Since leaving IRON MAIDEN in 1999, Bayley has released a number of albums, including several under the moniker BLAZE and more than a handful under his own name. He also appeared on 2012's "Wolfsbane Saves The World", the first album of new material by WOLFSBANE since the group's self-titled 1994 effort.
Blaze released a new studio album, "War Within Me", on April 9. All songs were written and produced by Blaze and guitarist Christopher Appleton.