Saxon besökte nyligen Stockholm tillsammans med Doro och vi fick åter möjligheten att sitta ned med en av de stora, Biff Byford. Vi snackade lite om Lemmy, om Saxons mest kommersiella album “Innocence is no excuse”, om ett eventuellt nytt album samt det där med hälsa:
You can be pretty fit, but inside you have fucking no idea what´s happening, unless you´re living in a MRI scanner, you know what I´m saying? And even then something can come at you and fucking… whatever.
Tell me about the Lemmy 500 in Ljungbyhed?
Somebody put that together, some sponsorship guys and I think Mikkey´s (Dee) got something to do with it. Should be real fun and it´s basically our last show before the end of summer, before we start the tour properly. Should be good fun. A different audience.
Are you playing Motörhead songs?
Yeah, I think we´re gonna do three Motörhead tracks.
There are a lot of talents and musicians leaving us these days, like Lemmy, Bowie, Prince, Scott Weiland and Jimmy Bain. Does that make you think about your own mortality?
The thing is though that you just have to go with it, don´t you? You don´t fucking know, so you just have to do your thing and not let it get to you.
Doro said that she wants to keep going, just like Lemmy. Do you look at it the same way?
I don´t really think about it too much, to tell you the truth. It´s a bit like Lemmy you know. The tour we were on was their greatest tour, so I think Lemmy got to where he wanted to be anyway, so I think really he was gonna quit back touring and just do the odd festivals and make albums. I think that´s what it was gonna be, so he wasn´t really gonna stop, he was just gonna quit back a bit. When you reach such an iconic status as Lemmy had…
Do you see yourself cutting down and doing odd festivals here and there?
I don´t know. We´re a band whereas Lemmy was Lemmy, not taking from anyone that´s been in the band or was in the band. Fast Eddie (Clarke) was the only original member until he left. We´re touring with them (Fastway) but unfortunately they´re not doing Sweden, but they´re doing the UK with us. I don´t really know really. I think we´re gonna do one more album and then we´ll see how it goes. What I´m saying is that you can be pretty fit, but inside you have fucking no idea what´s happening, unless you´re living in a MRI scanner, you know what I´m saying? And even then something can come at you and fucking… whatever. I spend a lot of time with my son´s band now and they´re about to start kicking off and nobody knows who he is. He wanted to really pay his dues first, but they´re not a metal band. They´re hard rock/indie but a unique combination. They´ll be around soon, so maybe all of our fans can go see them?
Do you give him good advice?
I try to, but it´s hard because he wants to do his own thing.
What´s your fondest memory of Lemmy?
We did our first tour with them in England in 1979. He was a great guy. He was a bit of a hellraiser in them days, but he was always a really friendly guy. If you could get through the wall of security and talk to him, then he was really great. I remember him very fondly and I miss his presence. I talked to him all the time.
A totally different thing. “Innocence is no excuse” (1985) is one of my Saxon favorite albums even though you´re not really…
“Innocence is no excuse”
Yeah, that was a big album in Sweden. It was a big album in Scandinavia, it was. It was our sort of commercial album and from that album we went a bit more heavier again. It´s a great album, don´t get me wrong. I think the track listing is all wrong. I think that it could be a bit more heavier, but there´s some great tracks on it, like “Broken heroes” and “Back on the streets” is a fucking brilliant three and a half minute rock song. It´s not metal obviously, but there are some great songs on it. I think on the next tour I´d like to do something like “Back on the streets”. That would be cool. (sings intro) It´s an exercise in two chords and what you can do with two chords. We´ve started writing for the new album.
You´re keeping busy.
Well, we haven´t really played live since January and that was a secret gig.
A new album sometime next year then?
Yeah, sometime next year, sometime in autumn, hopefully. If we can get our shit together.
Was “Innocence is no excuse” a successful tour?
It was our most successful tour all around Europe and even in America it was successful.
Was it an attempt to get into America?
Not really from us. I think we were being influenced by different styles of music then. I suppose we went more towards our “747” style of playing, rather than our sort of “Heavy metal thunder” style. We´ve always had an affair with both melody and in your face. I think maybe “Innocence is no excuse” was more our sort of melodic song writing. I like that album because I got to sing great melodies. For me it was a great album and I loved it.
I saw you in Lund 1985, my first show ever, and I remember the guitar tech coming out strumming the guitar and it was so loud.
(laughs) It had all the big hits from “Wheels of stel” (1980) and “Power and the glory” (1983).
When you´re at home on a Saturday night, what kinda music do you listen to? Metal?
Not really. As I said, I spend a lot of time with my son and we have a studio at home. I listen to the rock programmes like Planet Rock and Radio 1. I listen to all sorts of stuff. My real rock is the 70´s. It was a good period for rock and metal and prog rock and all sorts of rock.
Do you buy a lot of records?
No, I´m like you, I get them given to me. (laughs) No, I don´t buy a lot. I do download a few albums every now and then, but not a lot. Somebody gave me the Ghost album and it´s a good album. I like it. They´re song based. It´s a little bit like classic, proggy rock.
Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen
Foto: Therés Stephansdotter Björk