SAXON – “Fame is an illusion… We have got a fantastic following around the world”

by Loris Clerico

Italian version

Saxon are a Heavy Metal band from Barnsley, England, founded in 1976 by the members of the bands Son of a Bitch and Coast. Among the leading groups of the NWOBHM wave, Saxons won success with famous records like: “Wheels Of Steel“, “Strong Arm Of The Law“, “The Power And The Glory” and “Demin And Leather”. Unfortunately they had many dark years due to commercial failure and directional changes on the music proposed, so little appreciated by fans, which led them to live on “income” thanks to the success of the first records, but nothing and no one has ever stopped the “Saxon machine”. After a slight recovery in the studio during the recent years and the continuous playing on all the stages of the world, Biff and co. continue to spread and defend Heavy Metal in all its purity.
We have here Biff exclusively for you, who tells us about the new album “Inspirations” and the future of the band.
Enjoy and stay metal!


Hi Biff! Welcome on Metalpit, how are you? I hope everyone is fine!
We’re all good here, thank you!  Hope the same over there.

Given the actual global situation I guess you also had postponed concerts, promotional tours and projects. How are you dealing with this moment?
Yes, we had to postpone a few dates; I think we’ve turned into more of a recording band for the moment until we can tour again.

Let’s talk about this new album “Inspirations”, when and how did you record it?
We recorded it in November last year, at Brockfield Hall in York.  We recorded it live and instant with vintage gear like Marshall amps, etc. to keep true to how some of the bands we covered used to record back in the days.

In a past interview (year 2016), you said that Saxon didn’t plan to make a cover album, what led you to do the opposite and produce “Inspirations“?
It’s was a fun project to do and keep us busy during lockdown; the band hadn’t played together for a year, it was great to get all together again and keep active that way.

Can you tell me something about the song “Spin The Reel” ? Did you enjoy working with Jay Jay French and Eric Peterson?
I didn’t meet them actually… I wrote the song with Nibbs and did the vocal on it.

I really enjoyed “Thunderbolt“, do you think you’re going to play more songs for that record on your next tour?
We could… We played seven songs from the record on the Thunderbolt Tour, it was great.

This year “Denim and Leather” turns 40 years old! I am so happy, because this is one of my favourite records of all times! As soon as everything will be back to normal, will you tour to celebrate the anniversary? Have you got anything special on your mind, for instance like fireworks, flames or new stage effects?
We are still doing 40th Anniversary shows (SAXON’s 40th) in January 2022, we will be filming the shows, and Denim will be featured for sure.

Compared to other NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard and Motörhead you had less worldwide success; looking back, what would you change to become more successful and world famous?
Fame is an illusion… We have got a fantastic following around the world, why would we want more?  It’s all about peoples’ perception of fame.

In 2019 you released the live record “The Eagle Has Landed 40“, I think it’s very nice, I love Saxon more and more for the way you play your songs live, not everybody after so many years can still play this good. How important is for you to keep releasing a live albums in these days?
It’s good to release live albums in between years.  It’s great to hear a band progressing musically and you can hear this on a live album.

Being a band with a long career you’ve lived the music and its changes at full speed. According to you how can a dated band like Saxon win the new generations? Thanks to music videos, new themes maybe or high quality music or…What else?
Thanks to the quality of the albums and the music.  I think as a band we’ve released some great albums recently and this always helps to capture new fans.

In the 1983 you came at the “Sanremo Music Festival”, it was a great festival. Do you remember something about that?
It was a TV Show I remember.  We had a big album out at the time, “Power and the Glory” and they asked us to play just the same as any TV Show like Top of The Pops in the UK

And regarding Sanremo, at the beginning of the 80s you were a special guest at the festival, on that occasion you met a very important Italian Heavy Metal band: Vanexa.
I don’t remember meeting the guys to be honest, but I remember partying with Frida from ABBA.

In Italy there are rumors that your song “Never Surrender” sounds very similar to a demo of theirs (not yet protected) that they gifted you in friendship to propose themselves as supporters for your future tours, what can you say about it?
Sorry but I can’t really say… Do they have the demo still?  Let’s have a listen some time…

Mandatory question: Eddie Van Halen. How much impact did Eddie and his music have on Saxon?
I think he had an influx on everybody in Rock.

Do you have some band you want to recommend to our readers? Any kind of music is good, from AOR to Death Metal.
Not really… I think people are more aware of new bands in their countries more than me to be honest, and everyone has their own taste, what to like and what not.

Do you think there will be other genre of music to influence metal like NWOBHM did in the past?
There are so many bands and artists experimenting and creating all the time, so I’m sure some new bands will come along that will go big.

Finish this interview the way you prefer and thank you very much for your words and time. As a young fan of your music and live shows, I hope to see you live as soon as possible!! Ciao!
Hi to all readers and fans and thank you all for the support.  We’re looking forward to the end of this “pandemic war” so we can come over to tour!!

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