Interviewed by Mark Balogh
Date: June 2009
Mark Balogh: Thanks Biff for taking the time to talk with us here at Rockeyez. Congrats on the new record "Into The Labyrinth" and also on finally getting back to the USA for some touring. How has it been getting back to playing shows for fans in the US?
Biff Byford: We always love to play in the States and the recent gigs were great; a lot of new fans as well as original fans.
Mark Balogh: You’ll be doing the Rocklahoma festival this year in Pryor, OK. How did that come about and what do you think about performing there?
Biff Byford: I think our agent and manager have been working hard to get us on some great festivals and the promoters are having a "heavier" day this year and we come under both classic and metal genres.
Mark Balogh: A lot of fans are calling the new record a return to classic SAXON. Tell us a little about the new record "Into The Labyrinth".
Biff Byford: Well it is a special CD; it is a mixture of our influences and modern styles. We do have some quite bluesy songs and some heavy stuff; I think we are quite unique in this mixing up different styles but making them work together.
Mark Balogh: Why did you decide to re-record the track "Coming Home" for the new record?
Biff Byford: We are experimenting with making an unplugged orchestral album (and) this song is one of them.
Mark Balogh: What are some of your personal favorites from the new record? And are there any songs you and the band enjoys playing live on the current tour?
Biff Byford: "Valley of the Kings" would be my current fave.
Mark Balogh: It’s the band’s 30th Anniversary in 2009. Did you think it would last this long and during all this time is there any standout moments in your career that you look back on?
Biff Byford: We never expected to even get a record contract. I still expect a phone call saying there’s been some mistake!
Mark Balogh: Anything special planned for the 30th Anniversary of the band?
Biff Byford: There will be some special things.
Mark Balogh: SAXON is doing something pretty special for their gig at the Wacken Open Air Festival (in Germany) this year. Can you tell us a little bit about this special show and what the bands’ plans are?
Biff Byford: Yes, we are doing a one off show at the Wacken. (We are doing) 18 songs; one from each album.
Mark Balogh: With having been around since 1979, SAXON can be counted as an influence to many metal bands. Who are some of your influences from both a musical and vocal standpoint?
Biff Byford: Well, we were huge fans of some US bands like Mountain, Black Oak Arkansas and many others.
Mark Balogh: With a band like Anvil having recently found a rekindled interest due to the documentary film "The Story of Anvil" do you think SAXON could benefit from metal fans going back and discovering other (severely) underrated bands of the genre?
Biff Byford: I think there is lots of interest in the 80’s if the music is good and they have at least one original member. Why not?
Mark Balogh: The band recently played their first show in NYC in many years at BB Kings Club in Times Square. I was at the show and it was excellent. How’d the band feel about this performance and coming to play in NYC?
Biff Byford: We thought the show was great; don’t forget when a show is special it’s as much to do with the audience as the band.
Mark Balogh: Thanks for talking with us here at Rockeyez Biff. I look forward to seeing the band again at Rocklahoma in a couple weeks. Are there any messages you’d like to send out to the US fans before you go?
Biff Byford: Yeah. Welcome to the labyrinth! Thanks.