Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
I have been a HUGE Saxon fan since Wheels of Steel came out and the band blew me away when I got a chance to see them live at the old Lamour's in Brooklyn, NY on the Innocence Is No Excuse tour many moons ago. Please pick up the bands new release and here is an interview I did over the phone with Biff and it was a pleasure and honor to be talking to him and thanks to Alex over at SPV for setting this up for me:
MC: I know Saxon has been around a long time with line up changes and stuff.
Biff how do you stay motivated when so many other bands have packed it in?
BIFF: I think the fun days with the band keep it going and we are songwriters and we just like to keep it going. The love the of the music and the fans as well.
MC: The material for the new record, is it still easy to come up with songs
when you put new records out?
BIFF: It is never easy. It is never easy to come up with guitar riffs and melodies, hard work actually. There is good chemistry in the band and we all want the same thing.
MC: With all this new technology going on, like when Wheels of Steel and Denim
and Leather came out there was no internet, MTV wasn't even out yet. I know
you have a website so does that make it easy for you guys to keep in contact
with your fan base and post videos of the band and stuff?
BIFF: We are quite into the internet thing. We have put quite a few things up on You Tube and we have just launched a new My Space site and I think it is good for a band like Saxon that clips of the band are on You Tube where they can go check us out.
MC: Have you gone on You Tube and seen where fans have posted some of your
old videos and stuff on there?
BIFF: I haven't seen a lot of the MTV videos, but there is quite a bit of stuff up there, videos of the band and they are worth watching.
MC: Do you anything special with your voice to keep it from going sour and
stuff like that?
BIFF: I don't really do much. I just leave it alone and the really bad thing is if you get a cold it always goes to your throat.
MC: Is there any place that you would like to play as a band that your haven't
BIFF: We actually have never played New Zealand and I would like to play there. We would like to get to America with this new album and play some shows there.
MC: Your band is sort has a cult following over here in the US. What do you
think has been the reason for the band not making it to that next level yet?
BIFF: I don't think there is any one reason, I think there is many reasons. I think when we first went to America in the 80's, when we were one of the first bands to tour there in that wave of NWOBHM, the record company, the band, management problems. I don't think the team was right for the American assault. We do go to America a few times and "The Power and the Glory" was our biggest selling album he did almost half a million and we were on the verge of breaking big, but it isn't all about selling platinum albums is it? It is about playing great concerts and meeting great people.
MC: With you having so many records out how hard is it putting together a set
list. Do you put together different set lists for different places that you
play? Like when you come here to the US to play, will you put different songs
in your set list over here?
BIFF: Yes a song like "This Town Rocks" was a hit over in America. We would play that and we don't play that too much over in Europe. "Power and the Glory" and "Crusader" songs seem to be very popular in America.
MC: What was it like for you guys going out and playing the Castle Donnington
festival for the 1st time. That must have been amazing?
BIFF: It was a great feeling. It was our first concert since "Wheels of Steel" whet big. It was a great moment for us. We played Castle Donnington last year and we had a fantastic show there as well. The band went full circle again.
MC: Do you still get nervous at all before you go up onstage or do you just
go up there and let it all loose?
BIFF: I think for really big shows you can get a little nervous. These days it is about the equipment staying on the whole gig and things like that. I think if you didn't get nervous, it wouldn't be natural.
MC: Has there ever been a time when you have got caught up in the moment and
forgot the lyrics to a song up onstage?
BIFF: There is a couple songs that you have say been playing for 30 years and sometimes you get a blackout on the lyrics and you are singing the song and you say "oh I can't remember what coming next" (we both laugh), but usually your brain goes into automatic and you remember it. So yeah sometimes you forget. Sometimes you think you forgot the lyrics before you start, but actually once the song starts your OK.
MC: Now the songs for the new record. How does the song writing come together?
Is a band effort or is it like you and a couple of the other band members?
BIFF: The band guitarist will come up with some of the ideas, but it is pretty much a team effort, but I wouldn't say it is a usual team effort. We are all involved in some way. It is definitely a band effort.
MC: Out of all the records Saxon has put out is there is there a special one
or 2 records that has a little bit more part of your heart that the others?
BIFF: To tell you the truth, the past 10 years, all the albums we have made for me have been pretty cool. From Metalhead to the new one. I think the new one is pretty special and we have come to this point in our career where are fans are still there and we are get hundreds and thousands of new fans as well. I think this album is a bit of a special album in a special point of this whole heavy metal genre thing again.
MC: Over the years have you noticed at the concerts that you play that you
get a nice mix of the long old time fans and younger fans that might be seeing
the band for the 1st or 2nd time?
BIFF: I can't say anything about America because we haven't been over there for a few years now, but over in Europe it's mixed. There is fans that have been there all the time, some fans that have been there before and are coming around again and there is some young fans out there getting into the music, wearing the denim and leather and getting into the whole rock n roll thing which is great.
MC: Now as far as touring plans for the new record, do you have anything finalized
BIFF: We delayed the album until January so the plans are to tour Europe and the UK and then we are open after that. There is nothing we would like to do more than to do a tour of the states if it promoted properly and to get all the old fans out to see us as well as some of the new fans. We have one festival confirmed in July.
MC: Is there any older songs you might play on this next tour that you have
done in awhile cause when I got the Eagle Has Landed III I noticed you did some
old stuff on there that you hadn't done in awhile?
BIFF: We always play 2 or 3 songs that we haven't played in awhile. Obviously we tour Europe a lot and we don't people to see the same set list every year cause then it just gets boring. We just and mix in up a bit. We will probably be playing 5 or 6 songs off the new album and we will try and play 2 or 3 songs we haven't done in awhile. We might play "Machine Gun", which is a track of one of our early albums.
MC: As far as the states go, if you tour over here would go out as a headliner
or would you want to open for a bigger band?
BIFF: We would obviously love to do a package as they are seeming to get a bit more trendy again. Being a good live band it is a double edged sword as a lot of people don't want us on their package tour as it is not always great to be great live. (laughs). We are trying to work on that getting a package together and that would be great. We will have to promise not to play too good. (laughs again).
MC: Biff now when you go into the studio to record are you there by yourself
or is the band in there with you?
BIFF: It is usually just me and the guitarist that are left. Nigel will do his drums and then leave as well as Nick the bass player. The studio is pretty much me and the guitarist.
MC: As far as the lyrics go how does that go?
BIFF: You just have to get in the zone really. As soon as we start writing an album I put myself in that position and then I am supposed to come up with ideas. For me it is better that I don't think about song titles and lyrics till we are ready to write the album and then I have much more
and many ideas. When we sit down to write the album I will sit down and write down some ideas.
MC: How long do you see the band staying together for just as long as you guys
enjoy making records and touring, etc?
BIFF: We really don't think about things like that. We just take things day by day.
MC: Biff I am out of questions and I appreciate your time and I am a huge Saxon
fan and I hope to see you get over to the states to promote this new record.
BIFF: It was nice talking to you and hopefully people will buy the new album.