"Thunderbolt", the forthcoming album from British heavy metal legends SAXON, could include a special appearance by the band's longtime friend, late MOTÖRHEAD frontman Lemmy.
The follow-up to 2015's "Battering Ram", which is once again being recorded with British producer Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, EXODUS, TESTAMENT), will feature the song "They Played Rock And Roll", written about and dedicated to MOTÖRHEAD.
SAXON singer Biff Byford tells RockSverige about the track: "I started writing it right before Lemmy died, so he knew about it. [Imitates Lemmy's voice] 'It better be good.' We might have Lemmy's voice on it somewhere. We've talked with their manager and everybody's cool with it, so let's see how that goes."
Byford previously said that the song was called "They Played Rock And Roll' because "that's what Lemmy used to say every night [from the stage]." He added: "It's basically about early MOTÖRHEAD — '79/'80 MOTÖRHEAD, like around 'No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith', 'cause that's the tour we were on, that one. So, yeah, it's about the band, really, and their music."
According to Biff, "They Played Rock And Roll" will be musically similar to Lemmy and Co. He explained: "I asked Nibbs [Carter, SAXON bassist] to write me some music that was like MOTÖRHEAD, and he did. So it sounds very MOTÖRHEAD-ish, but not MOTÖRHEAD, if you know what I mean."
In the RockSverige interview, Biff revealed that SAXON has already recorded seven tracks for "Thunderbolt" and has written "four more in the last four days." As for a possible release date for the album, he said: "We should be finished by the end of September and then release it late January or early February. Late January would be good."
Regarding the "Thunderbolt" album title, Byford said: "'Thunderbolt' is about Greek gods, so I read up on Greek mythology. There's not really that much. Homer had some writings… I made most of it up, but it's based on Zeus and Poseidon and Hades, so it's got a bit of good and a bit of evil in it, so it's pretty cool. Obviously Zeus's sign was a thunderbolt and his sign was an eagle holding a lightning bolt."
When asked if "Thunderbolt" will be musically similar to "Battering Ram", Biff said: "It will be fantastic. Yeah, it will be on those lines. We're not gonna suddenly turn into FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH… which probably would be a good thing… we'd probably sell more albums… Nah, we're not gonna change midstream. We like what we do."
"Battering Ram" was released in North America via UDR Music. The effort featured Byford alongside Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt on guitar, Nibbs Carter on bass and Nigel Glockler on drums.
Due to demand following their hugely successful tour together in March and April, SAXON and UFO have announced more dates in the U.S., plus two in Canada, in September and October.