Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with SAXON vocalist Biff Byford. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On touring with MOTÖRHEAD through the years, and GIRLSCHOOL supporting on SAXON's U.K. tour:
"My first tour ever was with MOTÖRHEAD in 1979 on their 'Bomber' tour. We had a bit of a following at the time, but not a lot, no. No, not much of a following. It was the tour before they recorded 'No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith' [June 1981]. The 'Bomber' tour was massive, though. They were huge; MOTÖRHEAD were huge before we even started writing our first album [SAXON, May 1979], really.
"So yeah, it was a great tour for us, definitely. That's a lasting memory, and we've been friends with the MOTÖRHEAD boys — all of the MOTÖRHEAD incarnations over the years — really well. I think MOTÖRHEAD were probably our biggest friends in the rock 'n' roll world, and obviously GIRLSCHOOL were around at the same time really. They more or less started the same time as we did. So yeah, we have good memories of them touring and partying."
On Lemmy tribute track "They Played Rock And Roll":
"It's a song about that tour, the 1979 tour, basically. I asked Nibbs [Carter, bass] to write a song that was similar in style to MOTÖRHEAD, which he did. He wrote the guitar riffs and everything, and I put lyrics to it that I had already written. So, it was a pretty easy song for us to do."
On not every band being suited for MOTÖRHEAD's audience:
"MOTÖRHEAD loved us because of that; they loved us because of our music. It's quite similar, actually; me and Lemmy both wrote historic lyrics, and we both wrote rock 'n' roll lyrics. I don't think our music was massively similar – not the latest stuff anyway — but some of their early stuff is quite close to our stuff. They influenced us quite a lot. 'Heavy Metal Thunder', '20,000 Ft' and things like that [both from September 1980's 'Strong Arm Of The Law'] are quite MOTÖRHEAD-ish. They're not the same, but it's the same sort of punky aggression that MOTÖRHEAD had."
On writing tracks for SAXON's next studio album, slated for summer 2017 release:
"We're writing and recording at the moment. We've done a few backing tracks already. We've got about ten or 12 backing tracks. We're still writing, really. I'm in the studio at the moment actually, writing a new song. Yeah, we're working on the new album, and we'll do a bit of recording next week and rehearsing. Then I think we'll go back in again in February and take it from there, and see if we can get it finished. We're off to America in March with UFO. So yeah, we should have time to finish it really."
On the sound of the forthcoming record:
"I don't see us suddenly turning into U2."
Read the entire interview at Metal Forces.