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DREAM THEATER's James LaBrie Turned Down An Audition For IRON MAIDEN In 1993

"You've gotta remember — I was in a very bizarre situation."

dream theater james labrie

Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson quit the band in 1993 and would not return again until 1999. Dickson would be replaced by Blaze Bayley in 1994, but there was another contender – Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie. According to LaBrie in an interview with The Metal Voice, Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood tries to recruit LaBrie over a game of darts. LaBrie ultimately denied the invite to audition due to his commitment to Dream Theater.

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"Yeah, sure. Absolutely there was. Because at the time, we were being looked at to be managed by Iron Maiden's management. And so, Rod Smallwood, at the time, we were playing darts, and he took me aside and he said, 'What do you think about…?'

"You've gotta remember — I was in a very bizarre situation. Dream Theater, we had already recorded Images And Words, we were looking for management, we were getting ready to try and set up a tour and get out there. And I remember him saying to me — he takes me aside, and the rest of the guys in Dream Theater were there too, playing darts, because we were looking at him for management. And he says, 'I just wanna throw something at you.' And he had his assistant with him too — Merck — at the time. And they were both standing there. They were going, 'What do you think about being the singer with Iron Maiden?' And I said, 'What? What are we talking about here? I'm confused. Are you not here for the reason that you might start managing Dream Theater? Or are you here to get me to become…?' And I had already recorded the album. Can you imagine how bizarre that was?'

"Anyways, so I just said, 'No. No way. You know what? I'm gonna tell you the reasons why I'm not going to do this.' And they said, 'What's that?' And I said, 'One: Dream Theater. That's it. Period.' And I said, 'But if I need to go any further with this, way back when I was 22 years old, I sang for a band called Coney Hatch for a year. And I walked [in as the replacement for] another singer Carl Dixon,' and I said, 'and basically what I felt like was a glorified jukebox.' And I said, 'Because I came into the band, I was able to sing all that stuff no problem — no problem — but there was never that 'This is me. And this is what I created.' It was about, 'Are you looking at me for who and what I am?' I don't think so. And I don't think you ever will.

"Bruce and I have mutual respect for one another. We've met several times. We've done several shows. I remember doing the BBC show with him. And there was that mutual respect between the two of us. And I remember just thinking, 'I'm not gonna get out there and be singing Maiden every night — even though I think they're a great band, and Bruce is a great singer. No, thank you.' I need to create something that I can say, 'No, this is what I created from the beginning.' And we all know, okay, I wasn't on the first album, When Dream And Day Unite."

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Iron Maiden has a LOT of music.