Jay Nanda of the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner recently conducted an interview with vocalist Biff Byford of British heavy metal legends SAXON. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: "Call To Arms" is your 19th record, which is an incredible number nowadays. What makes it different than some of the others?
Biff: We sort of changed our style a little bit on the recording of this one. I brought in a friend of mine (to co-produce with Byford), Toby Jepson from LITTLE ANGELS who's doing the DIO DISCIPLES tour in America. He's a huge fan of early SAXON. We wanted to bring back the early spirit of SAXON. It worked really well. I think the album captured the rawness of SAXON and is really in-your-face.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: The digipack has a 1980 Castle Donington performance. For us Americans who have never been to one of those festivals in England, how would you describe those types of shows back then?
Biff: We found autographed tapes in somebody's attic. I think it was Nigel Glockler's attic. We listened to them all, and one of them was Castle Donington. There have been quite a few bootlegs of that one, but this is the actual recording from the mobile. It hadn't been played for 30 years until we heard it. It's really crisp; the cymbals are crashing. It was the first really big festival, and we were riding the "Wheels Of Steel" album, which went platinum in the U.K. It was absolutely fantastic because everybody in the audience had gotten the album. We were underdogs. RAINBOW was headlining. It was a special time. It was the dawning of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal JUDAS PRIEST, SCORPIONS, RIOT, RAINBOW, SAXON all played that day. It was a great day, actually. It was a one-day festival, not people camping in their tents like they do now. It's called the Download festival now, and we might be playing it next year.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: Are you content with the public perception of SAXON's place within the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and your influence upon so many bands and fans?
Biff: The last two years, it has been getting quite a lot of attention. Bands like METALLICA are citing us as influences. And I think it's good with bands like PANTERA and DOWN, FOO FIGHTERS. Must be a lot of bands MACHINE HEAD, MEGADETH. They've all said SAXON is an influence.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: How quickly did you realize the anthemic impact of "Denim And Leather"?
Biff: We didn't really think obviously when I wrote the lyrics, I didn't think it would capture so many people's imaginations. I think it was one of the first songs a band wrote about their audience. So it created the situation where it could connect. Rock stars and celebrities didn't mention their fans much, and we broke the mold. "Denim And Leather" really summed up the feeling of the ages for a lot of people. We just connected to those people, and they just dug it.
Read the entire interview from San Antonio Metal Music Examiner.