Saxon is one of the original bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and they are about to release their 21st album, Battering Ram. Front man Biff Byford sat down to tell us about the album and current tour.
Shockwave Magazine: You’ve got Battering Ram coming out in October. How do you feel about the new record for Saxon?
Biff Byford: It’s a great record, actually. We’re playing the title track live and it’s the first song on the set now. It’s sounds great.
How did the writing process go, or after so many albums does the writing process come pretty naturally now?
Me and Nibbs (Carter, bassist) did a lot of the original writing for this album. It worked out quite good that the guitarist got a bit of a rest from writing on this one so much. So it worked out pretty good really, and then everybody chipped in when we took it to the studio. So it was a little bit different but not to different. It took a little bit longer with all the writing but it was great, and we had a great time.
With this being your 21st album, do you still get as excited for playing and touring as you always have?
Yeah, we do! We had our first show last night on the Motörhead tour in Riverside, California. It was great, great crowd and great sound.
What do you want the fans to get out of the new album, and what do you want them to feel from it?
We’re a pretty fucking unique band and the songs that we write — they have this unique flavor to them that’s only Saxon. People need to check it out because it’s definitely Saxon. We don’t like being predictable. We like to be on the edge sometimes. We have the song “Battering Ram,” which is a predictable metal song but with a Saxon style.
That’s how it should be. You want your fans to know that it’s a Saxon record but I can’t imagine you’d want to put the same product out album after album.
Yeah, we want to be relevant instead of trying to write the old hits over and over again. We always have an element of surprise on our albums and I’m sure people will be surprised by some of the stuff on there.
How long is this current stretch of tour going?
This one goes to about the 20th of September. We’re out with Motörhead and then after Indianapolis we go down to Atlanta and do a headlining tour with Armored Saint. So we’re pretty busy. After that we have a little time off and then we start another tour with Motörhead in Europe.
I can imagine that you and the Motörhead guys probably have a lot of history.
Yeah, a big history. We’ve known them for 36 — 37 years. We’re big mates.
What do you look to do during that little bit of time off in October before you go back to Europe for more shows?
Nothing much. Just hang around the house with the kids and the wife. Just have some good chill time.
For the tour in Europe will that be specifically with Motörhead for that whole tour?
Yeah it’s the Motörhead, Saxon, Girlschool package.
If you could design a tour right now Biff, who’s a band currently or in the past that you would want to tour with?
At the moment? I don’t really know actually. It’s always good to play to a big audience especially when you’ve got a new product out. The Foo Fighters could be good.
How much time are you currently planning to put in on the touring for Battering Ram?
The Battering Ram tour starts with Motörhead in November. So, we’ll be doing the Battering Ram tour all of the rest of this year and next year. We’ll be coming back to American for the Battering Ram tour next year definitely.
You have such a phenomenal history and to see another album coming out is great. The last few Saxon albums have just been so stellar and I hope you’ve been excited about everything going off now as you have in the past.
Yeah, it’s going off. The band’s going off at the right time and we’re really happy about that. A lot of our older fans are coming back and we’re picking up quite a bit of new fans as well so it’s been great.
Thank you so much Biff. I don’t want to take up to much of your day but I appreciate you taking this time to sit down and talk about what’s coming up for Saxon.
Catch Saxon on tour with Motörhead and Armored Saint. Battering Ram will be released on October 16th.
That’s great man. Keep the faith and we’ll see you soon.