SAXON vocalist Biff Byford recently spoke with Rodrigo Altaf of Sonic Perspectives. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On SAXON's latest album, "Thunderbolt":
Biff: "It's a very strong album, definitely. It's obviously getting stronger as time goes on, because more people get it. It's a great album – it's doing really well, and I think it ticks all the boxes for all our fans, really. It didn't take very long to record it. It took quite a long time to write it. It takes a while to come up with these ideas that are special. I like to spend time trying different things and different ideas, so we spend quite a bit of time writing."
On how, after 22 albums, the group keeps things fresh:
Biff: "There's always something to write about in the world. You just have to have an imagination and go with it."
On whether the group plans to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their debut album:
Biff: "We're going to do some special shows in 2019. We'd like to do maybe two in England, two or three in Europe, maybe one in America, maybe one in South America. We're talking to people now about putting something together."
On the hardest thing the band has had to overcome:
Biff: "In the '90s, it was hard. There was a lot of apathy around. People couldn't be bothered [with us], the new bands on the planet taking all the limelight. I think it was a hard period for the classic British metal acts like MOTÖRHEAD, JUDAS PRIEST, SAXON, [IRON] MAIDEN. It wasn't a great time, but we came through it. We all learned lessons, and we streamlined the outfit and moved on."
On the band's 1980s output:
Biff: "Some of the albums [had] a little bit softer edges. I suppose basically, record companies, management, band were just trying to move with the times a little bit. That's what happens when you have a long career — you have ups and downs."
On working with Elton John:
Biff: "I didn't really see him very much, actually. He was a friend of our producer's. We asked him to play on 'Party 'til You Puke'. I saw him record the track, but I didn't really get to see him that much. It was a bit of a laugh. We wanted him to record on a really outrageous rock n' roll song. It was good fun."
On the longevity of SAXON and their peers:
Biff: "I think there's been some great albums over the last five, six years. I think bands like SAXON, MAIDEN, PRIEST, MOTÖRHEAD up to when Lemmy died, we were releasing quite good records, especially SAXON. I think people are interested in the '80s thing again, so it brings back a lot of older fans, and a lot of younger fans get into it. The music's still relevant. That's the most important thing. I think for a metal fan, 'Thunderbolt' is very relevant. I think that's what keeps the interest alive."
On how he keeps his voice in shape:
Biff: "There is no secret, really. Just be dedicated. I'm pretty driven, so I look after my voice when we're touring. I'm lucky. We'll see how long it lasts, and take it day by day. I try to stay fit, exercising and things, but there's not much you can do with your voice — not abuse it; obviously, don't smoke as much; get some rest when you're touring."
On the direction of his upcoming solo album:
Biff: "I'm writing a few songs with different people. It's going to be quite a diverse album, a bit like the last SAXON one, I suppose, but probably a bit more rock n' roll, a bit more mid-tempo. It's coming together quite well. It's a new thing, to be out there on my own. People will either like or not. We'll just have to see, won't we?"
On SAXON's future plans:
Biff: "We'll be recording the new album some time in 2019, definitely. We don't have to have too much commitment to timings. We're an established band — we can pretty much do what we want. If we feel like writing, then we write. If we don't feel like writing, then we don't write. Simple as that."
SAXON has announced a string of U.S. tour dates, following the incredibly successful tour with JUDAS PRIEST earlier this year and prior to the band's appearance on the 2019 Monsters Of Rock cruise out of Florida.
Byford and guitarist Paul Quinn are the sole remaining original members in the group's current lineup, which issued its 22nd LP, "Thunderbolt", earlier this year.
Originally from South Yorkshire, England, SAXON has gone on to sell about 23 million albums and has produced such classic songs as "Denim And Leather", "Princess Of The Night", "Wheels Of Steel" and "Power And Glory".
In addition to Byford and Quinn, SAXON's current lineup includes bassist Nibbs Carter, guitarist Doug Scarratt and drummer Nigel Glockler.