James Labrie 2019

In a new interview with Breaking Absolutes, DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie talked about his decision to turn down an audition for IRON MAIDEN in 1993 when Bruce Dickinson left the band.

“Well, there are two main points here. The first point is: I was already in DREAM THEATER, we had already recorded the [1992] album Images and Words, and to me, it was not appropriate,” he said. “This was a band that I had 100% belief in that if we play the cards right, we’re going to experience longevity in this career that you can come and go within three to five years.

“That seems to be what the average is for most bands out there, which is really unfortunate. But that being said, I was already in DREAM THEATER, we were about to release the Images and Words, and to me, it was just bizarre, it didn’t make sense.

He continued: “But the other point was, and this was one of the main points I made to Rod [Smallwood, IRON MAIDEN manager] and Mark, was, ‘You know what, guys? I’ve been down that road before.’ And as amazing as IRON MAIDEN is, I was in a band in Canada back in the mid-’80s, and they had already had three albums out. And the band was called CONEY HATCH. I went in and started singing for them, started recording new songs. But when I was out, live, to me, in the back of my head, I was like, ‘OK, I’m having a great time, I’m out here on stage, there are lots of people in front of me, and I’m doing what I love to do — sing.’

“So there was that part but the other part to me was — I’m always going to be imitating who this guy is, and that was Carl Dixon, the original singer. And I said, ‘I’m a glorified jukebox hero, that’s what I am.’ So I said, ‘No, I want to create my own.’ And I knew DREAM THEATER was a force to be reckoned with musically, it was almost ineffable.

“That was my reason, I saw something here where I was going to be known as the singer. Neil Peart came in for RUSH on the second album, I came in for DREAM THEATER on the second album,” he added. “People aren’t thinking too much about [original drummer] John Rutsey from RUSH, or they’re not thinking too much about Charlie Dominici, even though these guys deserve respect. So that was the reason, basically, I wanted to create my own.”