Editor’s Note: It’s certainly not every day that you get to sit down and discuss the amazing work and career with one of the legendary vocalists in classic metal history in Biff Byford of Saxon. The conversation consisted of it sounding like two old friends were sitting down over coffee and discussing memories and their upcoming release entitled “Thunderbolt”, which is to be released worldwide this Friday, February 2nd. Saxon will be celebrating that release by providing direct support for Judas Priest on their upcoming tour! Fans can find Saxon at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: February 2nd, you are releasing “Thunderbolt”, can you tell us about what fans can expect from it?
Biff: *laughs*, It’s our 22nd studio album, it’s a collection of songs, there’s really no concept behind the album, with every song there is really no connection with lyrics really, “Thunderbolt”, which is also the title track is about the Greek Gods battle known as the Battle of the Titans, it’s all good stirring stuff.
Madness To Creation: What is your favorite Greek mythology story or favorite song that you wrote on the record?
Biff: Just “Thunderbolt”, since it’s about the Greek gods.
Madness To Creation: What stood out to you when you wrote the track?
Biff: It’s a good subject really, Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon, all them guys, I read books about them and learned about them, I love learning about Greek mythology, so I thought it would be good to write a song about them really.
Madness To Creation: What other books do you like to read in your spare time?
Biff: Everything. I read all sorts of books, thrillers, historic books, I’ll read anything really when I’m in an airport, and when I have down time, I like to pick up a good book and read it.
Madness To Creation: Speaking of touring, Saxon is going to be sharing the stage with Judas Priest coming up. Tell us about your friendship with Judas Priest and what fans can expect from this upcoming tour.
Biff: The very first tour that we did with Judas Priest was in 1980. It was our second tour that we ever did in Europe and our first tour was with Motorhead in 1979, the second tour was with Judas Priest on the “British Steel” album, and we were on the “Wheels of Steel” album, and we were chasing each other up and down on the charts in the U.K. and in Europe, it was a very great time for Saxon in that period. We’re going to finish shows together, we’ve done festivals together, but we haven’t really done a full tour like this together for quite some time, so I think it’s going to be a great package for the fans.
Madness To Creation: You also have another song released in tribute to Motorhead entitled “They Played Rock And Roll”. Could you give us some insight on that song and what the lives of Fast Eddie and Lemmy meant to you?
Biff: The song is really poignant now. We started writing the song quite a long time ago, and we wanted it to be the second single off of the “Thunderbolt” album, so I asked the fans on Facebook if they thought we should release it as a single and video, and everybody said, “yeah, you should release it”. We have released the video for it as of the 22nd of January, and people can download the cut.
Madness To Creation: You guys were pioneers in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. What advice do you have for aspiring bands?
Biff: I would say that you would have to use the Saxon saying “never surrender” really, you have to keep on going and try to come up with something that is yours and use your influences but don’t copy anybody, and be yourself, and hopefully people will like your music, it’s all about the people liking your music. You could be the best band in the world, but if people don’t like your music, then it’s not going to work. Play as much as you can live, play for free, play for money, get anything that you can. Put yourself on YouTube, put your demos on SoundCloud, just get out there!
Madness To Creation: What are some of your favorite British bands of all time and right now?
Biff: Well some of my favorite British bands when we were just starting would be Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and UFO influenced our music, early Judas Priest influenced us, a lot of the early punk bands influenced us such as The Sex Pistols, a lot of the great things as we know it that make up rock music. There’s blues music that we used to like such as John Lee Hooker, Howling Wolf, basically we are old school with a modern twist.
Madness To Creation: Is there any band from today that you get into?
Biff: I think there’s lots of British bands that are trying to make headway, we met a couple of young guys from England, and they started to play riff-oriented rock music.
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add in regards to “Thunderbolt”?
Biff: It’s the year of the “Thunderbolt” really, we’re touring all year from February until December on this album around the world, and keep the faith, and we’re coming around to a town near you, and we’ll see you soon.
In support of “Thunderbolt”, Saxon will be embarking on a headlining European run with special guests Diamond Head and Rock Goddess. Check out the tour dates below!
Fri February 23 – UK, Cardiff University
Sat February 24 – UK, Cambridge Corn Exchange
Sun February 25 – UK, Hull City Hall
Tue February 27– Holland, Tilburg 013
Wed February 28 – Germany, Saarbruecken Garage
Thu March 1 – Germany, Hannover Capitol
Fri March 2 – Germany, Frankfurt Batschkapp
Sat March 3 – Germany, Dresden Schlachthof
After the headlining European run, Saxon and Black Star Riders will be providing direct support for Judas Priest on their North American tour. Check out tour dates below!
3-13-18 in Wilkes-Barre, PA at Mohegan Sun Arena
3-15-18 in Youngstown, OH at Covelli Centre
3-17-18 in Uniondale, NY at Nassau Coliseum
3-18-18 in Washington, DC at Anthem
3-20-18 in Newark, NN at Prudential Center
3-22-18 in Uncasville, CT at Mohegan Sun Arena
3-25-18 in Ottawa, Can at The Arena – Td Place
3-27-18 in London, Can at Budweiser Gardens
3-28-18 in Oshawa, Can at Tribute Communications Centre
3-31-18 in Detroit, MI at Dtroit Masonic Temple
4-03-18 in Milwaukee, WI at Riverside Theater
4-05-18 in Green Bay, WI at Resch Center
4-06-18 in Hammond, IN at The Horshoe Casino
4-08-18 in Bloomington, IL at Grossinger Motors Arena
4-10-18 in Casper, WY at Casper Events Center
4-11-18 in Loveland, CO at Budweiser Events Center
4-15-18 in Kent, WA at Snoware Center
4-17-18 in Portland, OR at Veterans Memorial Coliseum
4-19-18 in San Francisco, CA at The Warfield
4-22-18 in Los Angeles, CA at Microsoft Theater
4-24-18 in Phoenix, AZ at Comerica Theater
4-26-18 in Tulsa, OK at Bok Center
4-28-18 in Dallas, TX at Bomb Factory
4-29-18 in Sugar Land,TX at Smart Financial Center
5-01-18 in San Antonio, TX at Freeman Coliseum
Go to Saxon’s Facebook page, click on events, for tickets and further information!