Saxon lirade på Sweden Rock Festival och vi passade på att ta pulsen på allas vår favorit-Biff. Vi pratade om antikviteter, nostalgi och kommande albumet “Thunderbolt”.
“Thunderbolt” is a bout 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´ sign was a thunderbolt and his sign was an eagle holding a lightning bolt.
What can you say about the new album?
It´s called “Thunderbolt”.
Working with Andy Sneap again?
Yes. We´ve already done seven tracks and we just wrote four more tracks in the last four days. We should be finished by the end of September and then release it late January or early February. Late January would be good.
Will it continue on the path of “Battering ram”?
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.
Any song titles?
There´s one called “They played rock and roll”, which is obviously about Motörhead, early Motörhead. It was the first tour we did. I started writing it right before Lemmy died so he knew about it. (mimics Lemmy) “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. “Thunderbolt” is a bout 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´ sign was a thunderbolt and his sign was an eagle holding a lightning bolt.
Growing up, could you name some albums that really had an impact on you?
Montrose´s first album was a bible for us. “Close to the edge” by Yes. I like that a lot. Obviously the first Led Zeppelin album. That was a big one. Free. There are so many great albums around the late 60´s. There´s probably thousands of albums we listened to. Small Faces with Steve Marriot we liked. We liked that sort of stuff but we liked prog rock as well. When the Sex Pistols came out, that was a big album that we used to listen to all the time. The early Thin Lizzy stuff was great.
Did you ever meet Ronnie Montrose?
No, I don´t think anybody ever met Ronnie Montrose. I met Sammy Hagar once in passing, “Hi!”. It was a “Hi!” “Hi!” thing. I don´t think he knew who I was. I don´t think I knew who I was. (laughs)
Have you ever met someone you got star struck by?
Yeah, we were pretty star struck with Ritchie Blackmore until he pissed us off. Everybody we played with in the early days we were pretty awestruck with. We played with Nazareth on our very first tour and we loved Nazareth and had all their early albums. Blackmore was up there because we loved Deep Purple. We didn´t play with many big bands. We went from supporting to headlining pretty quickly. Blackmore threw us off the tour in England, because we went down a little bit too well I think or maybe we fancied his girlfriend, I don´t know? We played three shows and then we turned to book Wembley and their drummer said “Ritchie´s put somebody else on. You´re not playing.” We were pretty pissed off. We toured with them in America later on and we didn´t say anything to him until he said something to us.
Do you remember the first album you bought?
Not an album, but a single and it was The Kinks “You really got me” or something like that. Maybe an early Beatles one?
Do you have a favorite album that you tend to come back to all the time?
Yeah, I like “Highway to hell” (1979). I was doing something with the same promotor and I heard one of those tracks off the album on acetate. I think it´s the best AC/DC album, for me. I like “Back in black” as well, but that one just captured a moment.
Do you ever get nostalgic?
Nah, not really. I like history, but I don´t really crave the 80´s again. I´m a bit of… going forward and not backward. I do collect antiques and things and I´ve got some old guitars, but it´s not really for nostalgia. It´s more for owning something that was made in a different era.
What´s the latest antique you bought?
A grandfather clock. It´s not working but we´re gonna try and get it working. It´s about 200 years old. I found a man who owns an auction house and he´s always telling me of things. It was in the auction and it didn´t sell. I made him an offer for 75 pounds, not thinking that they would accept it and then a couple of days later I got a phone call saying they went for it. I went and got it and put it on the top of my Volvo. That´s a great picture. (laughs)
Have you ever bought something cheap to later find it was actually worth a lot more?
Not really, no. Not of any sort of massive value. I bought an electric guitar at an auction for 200 pounds and it turned out it was worth about 3000 pounds. I bought a 1983 Japanese Stratocaster off a guy who was a bit of a nutcase collector. He bought it new. I went to look at it and it was a really nice guitar. They stopped making it. It´s an American neck and it´s pretty rare actually. I don´t know how much it´s worth, but my son plays it in his band, so it´s getting a bit trashed now.
What can you teach your son about the business?
Don´t sign contracts without having them looked at. They´re 19 and they´re like a 21st century rock band. It´s grungy but rock. It´s a bit 70´s but modern.
Do you remember what you bought with your first major paycheck?
A house. It wasn´t a very big house, but still…
How long have you lived in the house you live in now?
About two years. We live in a big old house. I like it. It´s a thousand years old. You can´t buy houses like that, you have to lease them off the heritage, which I quite like.
Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen
Foto: Therés Stephansdotter Björk, Björn olsson