Oct 15, 2011

Saxon - Interview

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

SAXON

October 15, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland

Prior to Saxon's set I conducted an in-person interview with Biff Byford aboard the bands tour bus & Biff was super mellow, super nice & he gave me great responses to every question I asked...it's also noteworthy to point out that this was the last night of the bands US tour & they not only changed the set up a bit but they also replaced the water in the opening bands water bottle with Vodka as an end of tour prank!

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Rock N Roll Experience: What does the name Saxon mean?

Biff Byford: It's a European warrior & the original name was Anglo-Saxon but we didn't like the Anglo a bit so we used the Saxon

Rock N Roll Experience: When Metal started to die off in the 90's did you ever consider giving up music?

Biff Byford: Well, great things always go away & then come back...no, we had a rough time in the 90's trying to sort out what was happening & we had a few line up changes & that seemed to bring back alot of the chemistry that we had lost.

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Rock N Roll Experience: After doing music for all these year do you ever get sick of music?

Biff Byford: You never get sick of the music, once you're a musician it's in your blood, I mean I started playing guitar & bass guitar & flute in my early career so It wasn't till quite late that I took up singing & I could always sing backing vocals & things but I was more of a musician than a singer.

Rock N Roll Experience: What made you want to play music as a kid?

Biff Byford: Well, my Mother was a musician so I was surrounded by music & she played piano & the church organ so I was brought to a Methodist church & I was surrounded by hymns all the time with these huge sweeping choruses of hymns & so yeah, music was in my family but things like The Kinks really got me going, early Led Zeppelin & that late 60's stuff really got to me. I was married when I was quite young, I was married when I was 16 or 17 & that sorta stopped my aspirations, we didn't last, but yeah, music was always the driving force.

Rock N Roll Experience: Are you a religious person?

Biff Byford: I'm not sorta church religious but I am religious, I am quite respectful of it, we don't do alot of songs about the occult or the devil.

Rock N Roll Experience: What new bands do you like?

Biff Byford: We tend to like stuff in our own genre but I like all music whether it be AC/DC or Kings of Leon or Black Sabbath or The Killers...I like a song so yeah, I'm open to most things, we have to be fairly careful because we are quite good at what we do but we could branch out quite easily to different styles of music but we sorta stop & we play what we really love to play & what our fans want of course.

Rock N Roll Experience: Would you ever consider opening for a band like Poison on a package tour?

Biff Byford: We've been offered the hair band thing a couple of times but I don't know if that would be right, I mean obviously we'd have our fans in there but whether we could convert that many girls over to the metal thing is doubtful but yeah, we would consider it definitely & we obviously did tour with Motley Crue in the day, we toured on their first tour & it was pretty amazing on the "Shout at the Devil" tour which was an absolute eye opener but yeah, it was great fun. We'd like to do...we tried to get Metallica but that tour was just gone, Lacuna Coil & Volbeat got that (Editors note, Biff said Metallica when actually the tour was Megadeth) & we couldn't get on that one & we did try to get the Judas Priest one but Thin Lizzy got it so you know, we'll see...we'll keep trying definitley.

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Rock N Roll Experience: You mention the band Volbeat, are you a fan of their music?

Biff Byford: Yeah, we know Volbeat...yeah, they are pretty good. I think we would have been probably alright on that tour package with them as well.

Rock N Roll Experience: You mentioned touring with Motley Crue...can you tell me any good stories from that tour?

Biff Byford: You've read their book right? It's all true. It was absolutely 24 hour debauchery for us as well, it was a great period to be in a rock band with a penis (laughs), do you know what I'm saying? It was fantastic so yeah.

Rock N Roll Experience: While on the topic of Motley Crue, Tommy Lee is off doing his DJing shit & trying to act black...he's a rock drummer, not a DJ!

Biff Byford: Yeah, he's a rock drummer & he's a big star now or he was as soon as he walked on the first stage with Motley Crue so yeah, people do what they do don't they?

Rock N Roll Experience: but sadly Tommy Lee became a bigger star for who was sleeping with rather than his music.

Biff Byford: Yeah, yeah...he went through the Pam (Anderson) thing & all that & video tapes & all, but that's all part of being what he is I suppose, I mean everything is an industry really

Rock N Roll Experience: Did you ever watch the Pam Anderson/Tommy Lee video?

Biff Byford: I didn't watch the video, I'm probably one of the only people that didn't & I haven't really got any nasty Ozzy stories either because Ozzy supported us in Europe on his first tour for Blizzard of Ozz & I don't really have any nasty...he was great with us, he was fairly sober so Sharon once said to me that we were the only band that hasn't slagged him off, but yeah, I could talk some stories about Ozzy & make them up but actually he was great with us & we had a great time.

Rock N Roll Experience: You actually toured with Ozzy when he had Randy Rhoads in the band

Biff Byford: Yeah, we knew Randy Rhoads & he used to jam with us all the time & Rudy Sarzo, Sharon, & the keyboard player must have been....it might have been the guy who played on the album, but yeah.

Following the interview with Biff I went into the venue & Saxon took the stage a little after 8:30 PM & they had their show completed just after 10 PM.

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Kinda funny sidenote, the stage left amps had a balloon setting atop of it & it had a cartoon drawing of their guitarist on it!

Saxon's set was kick ass, they played just around 2 hours & the crowd was primarily older, there were very few females in attendance & what I enjoyed seeing from the back of the crowd was a slew o' older men late 50's & up who were rocking out with a band they apparently loved & it was clear that this was a night many older men were recapturing their youth by rocking out with Saxon!



Saxon's set list:

Hammer of the Gods

Heavy Metal Thunder

Never Surrender

Chasing the Bullet

Motorcycle Man

Back in '79

Eagle Has Landed

Batallions of Steel

Call To Arms

Rock N Roll Gipsy

Mists of Avalon

This Town Rocks

Doomsday

Denim & Leather

Princess of the Night

Crusaders

747 Strangers

Guitar solo

Power & Glory

Bass solo

Strong Arm

Wheels of Steel