During a recent interview with The Metal Voice, Dream Theater singer James LaBrie revealed that he almost got to audition for Iron Maiden after Bruce Dickinson left the band in 1993. However, he ultimately declined the offer.
LaBrie said the following when asked if there was a discussion about him trying out for Iron Maiden:
“Yeah, sure. Absolutely there was. Because at the time, we were being looked at to be managed by IRON MAIDEN’s management. And so, [MAIDEN’s manager] 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 [1992’s] ‘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 [DREAM THEATER] 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 [named] 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 [DREAM THEATER] album, ‘When Dream And Day Unite’.
And [the offer to audition for MAIDEN] came and went. As fast as it was asked, it was dismissed. And they went, ‘All respect. Totally get it. No problem.’ Boom. And we moved on.”