British metal legends SAXON have posted a new interview with vocalist Biff Byford on their official Facebook page. Some excerpts can be read below.
The Mighty Z from Capital Chaos TV chats with legendary SAXON singer Biff Byford when they recently visited the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, California:
‘Sacrifice’ live in San Francisco:
‘This Town Rocks’ live in San Francisco:
On September 24th SAXON hit Waterloo, Iowa on their current North American tour. The clip below features an interview conducted by 1013MusicReviews.com on the day:
Saxon have produced a series of alternative takes on classic favourites to herald a worthy new entry to the Saxonian Institute of Metal. There is always feral beauty in a raging beast… and with Unplugged And Strung Up, Saxon’s selection of unique, fresh and adventurous interpretations of material previously heard only with raw heavy metal thunder, the point is triumphantly underscored.
Unplugged And Strung Up reveals layers and pieces previously dormant in many of the 14 classic Saxon songs chosen for this makeover, thanks to some ear-catching new arrangements and mixes. Recorded, mixed and mastered with Andy Sneap in Derbyshire, UK earlier this year, Biff Byford and co re-evaluated, re-worked and re-energized the towering likes of ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ and ‘Crusader’ by introducing orchestral dynamics to offer added dimension. ‘Frozen Rainbow’ from the band’s 1979 debut, gets a stunning acoustic reprisal which transports it into a power ballad to be proud of, whilst ‘Red Star Falling’ soars and sweeps the emotions with it’s orchestrally-arranged dovetail.
As if this reinvention wasn’t enough, Saxon superfans and collectors can purchase a digipak version of the release which will include 2002’s storming set of full-volume, pedal-to-the-metal re-recorded hits Heavy Metal Thunder. Featuring staple Saxon stormers such as ‘Motorcycle Man’, ‘Strong Arm Of The Law’ and ‘Dallas 1PM’ it is a quintessential part of any collection.
Due for release on November 18th, Unplugged And Strung Up features the following tracklisting:
‘Stallions Of The Highway’ (remix)
‘Crusader’ (orchestral version)
‘The Eagle Has Landed’ (orchestral version)
‘Red Star Falling’ (orchestral version)
‘Broken Heroes’ (orchestral version)
‘Call To Arms’ (orchestral version)
‘Forever Free’ (re-recorded version)
‘Just Let Me Rock’ (re-recorded version)
‘Frozen Rainbow’ (acoustic version)
‘Iron Wheels’ (live acoustic version)
‘Requiem’ (acoustic version)
‘Coming Home’ (acoustic version)
Heavy Metal Thunder tracklisting:
‘Heavy Metal Thunder’
‘Strong Arm Of The Law’
‘Power & The Glory’
‘And The Bands Played On’
‘Princess Of The Night’
‘Wheels Of Steel’
‘747 (Strangers In The Night)’
‘Denim & Leather’
‘Backs To The Wall’
The standard single CD of Unplugged And Strung Up will come in a jewel case, and a double-vinyl gatefold sleeve version of the release will also be available. The digipack will be a two-disc version of the release featuring the bonus disc Heavy Metal Thunder, and there will be a digital release of the same.
By Mark Gromen
Hard to believe this is the same outfit that headlines German festivals to 60,000 or more, as BB Kings can’t even hold a thousand and there was ample room on Friday the 13th of September. Never matters how many people are there, SAXON give their all (as witnessed by the sweaty troupe that exited the stage, nearly 90 minutes later). It was, however, by their own standards a rather “short” show, just fifteen songs, including ‘Princess Of The Night’ encore and four tracks off the new Sacrifice CD.
Second night of a rather expansive North American tour, the opening strains of ‘Sacrifice’ greeted the band’s entrance, Biff Byford in military waistcoat that belied the heated, intimate club gig. No photo pit/barricade to keep the punters at bay, as the boisterous pressed right up against the stage. another newbie, ‘Wheels Of Terror’, preceded the sing-along ‘Power And The Glory’. Throughout the evening, Byford, part teacher/part preacher taught the multi-generational gathering about when certain songs were released and baptizing the faithful, dousing them with bottled water. While Byford paces from side to side, the guitar tandem of Doug Scarratt and the perpetually hunched over, bandanna and eyeglass wearing Paul Quinn are almost statuesque. ‘Heavy Metal Thunder’ saw bassist Nibbs Carter, easily the most animated member of the band, wildly pinwheeling his hair.
The evening’s setlist was chosen by a fan, via Facebook. ‘Made In Belfast’ was followed by a call for requests. Cue numerous titles being shouted simultaneously, the graying frontman entertaining a few, before ultimately settling on ‘Crusader’, the majority of the lyrics being sung by the fans. Continuing his reference material, the always light-hearted Byford said, “This one was from…could have been ’94 or ’95. Who gives a shit?” Not the usual intro to ‘Dogs Of War’, sees Carter, legs splayed wide as the crowd claps along to the easy parts. Scarratt began the speedy ‘Motorcycle Man’, punctuated by Byford’s piercing whistles, when he wasn’t splashing water on those down front. ‘Rock N Roll Gypsy’ is rarely heard outside Europe. The North American debut of a moody ‘Guardians Of The Tomb’ was next, followed by the touching ‘Dallas 1PM’.
Byford mentioned the hot & sticky setting, saying “It’s heavy metal. It’s not supposed to be comfortable.” The singer turned the mic stand around, towards the singing crowd, then walked it away ‘747 (Strangers In The Night)’ is all the more poignant, given our location. “Glad to see fans from the 80s,” commented Biff. “Sure there are some unborn babies in the room too!” ‘Denim & Leather’ saw Byford demand some headbanging, as the senior citizen led by example, the rest of the band joining in, with synchronized movements. For the chorus, he thrust the mic into the audience. Prior to the set closing ‘Wheels Of Steel’, Byford’s hand cupped his ear, chants of “Saxon,” reached the lanky frontman, The singer offered, “We go to Canada tomorrow.” Cue chorus of boos. “There’s nothing wrong with Canada,” he countered. “We’d take you with us, but we’d never get across the border!”.
Only Quinn, Byford and drummer Nigel Glockler were initially onstage to start the ‘Princess Of The Night’ encore, truly the final song of the evening. Long live SAXON, something special.
More photos from New York City can be seen here.
Check out fan-filmed footage of ‘Crusader’ below:
Legendary Rock Interviews recently caught up with SAXON frontman Biff Byford. An excerpt from the interview is available below:
LRI: A Call To Arms was a really nice return to form and really rallied the fanbase, including here in the States. Was it hard to set out to top that with Sacrifice?
Biff: “Yeah, it was actually. A Call To Arms was a great album, a great collection of songs but I wanted to come at Sacrifice from a little bit of a different angle. I wanted it to be a little heavier and more from the heart rather than the head so, yeah it was a task but there’s certainly a lot of passion in these songs. I worked quite hard with our guitarist on the choruses and melodies and the twin guitar parts. I think because I was producing the album I was in a little bit more control and felt I could take the band into more of a live direction. We really worked on the songs in terms of how they sound when we’re playing as opposed to just working on them to make them sound good in the studio.”
LRI: It’s a solid long player, old school metal album from start to finish and it’s sequenced exceptionally well. I put on ‘Procession’ and had no idea what to expect and then was just about blown out of my seat by the title track .
Biff: (laughs) Yeah, the sequencing was important to me, I knew I wanted ‘Sacrifice’ to be right there at the beginning of the album because it’s such a solid, heavy riff and song. I made a list of songs and (co-producer/mixer) Andy Sneap made a list of songs we thought were ready and we took a look at each other’s list and it was the same (laughs) so obviously we were on the same page which was pretty cool.”
Go to this location for the complete interview.
Saxon recently announced that their Sacrifice And Sin Tour 2013 will hit North America this fall with openers FOZZY and HALCYON WAY. Confirmed dates are as listed below.
12 – The Emporium – Patchogue, NY
13 – BB Kings – New York, NY
14 – Corona Theater – Montreal, QC
15 – The Phoenix – Toronto, ON
17 – Reverb – Redding, PA
18 – Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH
19 – McGutty’s – Dayton, OH
20 – Machine Shop – Flint, MI
21 – Majoe’s – Joilet, IL
22 – The Rave Basement – Milwaukee, WI
26 – House of Blues – Dallas, TX
27 – Backstage Live – San Antonio, TX
28 – House of Blues – Houston, TX
1 – Club Red – Tempe, AZ
2 – Gastamp – Long Beach, CA
3 – Ramona Mainstage – Ramona, CA
4 – House of Blues – Los Angeles, CA
5 – M15 – Corona, CA
6 – DNA Lounge – San Francisco
8 – Studio Seven – Seattle, WA
9 – Mt. Tabor – Portland, WA
10 – The Venue – Vancouver, BC
Legendary UK metallers SAXON has had to cancel their show at VAGOS OPEN AIR due to an injury to Biff Byford. The band posted:
“At the present the severity of Biff’s injuries are unknown and doctors have advised him strongly not to perform.
Saxon is extremely sad at disappointing the fans in Portugal and hope they can come back soon.
Please wish Biff to get well !
Keep the Faith
* Metal Shock Finland staff and readers wish Biff a fast recovery!
Video footage of British heavy metal legends SAXON playing the James Bond theme during soundcheck on June 28 in Osnabrück, Germany can be seen below.
SAXON‘s new album “Sacrifice”, was released on March 1 in Europe (except in the U.K., where it was made available on March 4) and March 26 in North America through UDR. Taking a sharper, reinvigorated approach to the production, on this, their 20th album, SAXON have produced 10 of their strongest, heaviest and most inspired songs for many-a-year, and a more than worthy successor to their last album “A Call To Arms”. The album was recorded at LS Studios in Yorkshire and was produced by Byford, with Andy Sneap mixing and engineering by Jacky Lehmann. It fairly bristles with muscular metallic intent, Paul Quinn‘s and Doug Scarratt‘s guitar work the best it’s ever been, while Biff‘s vocals sound fresher and livelier. The songwriting too harks back to a classic era in SAXON‘s history, with the likes of “Warriors Of The Road”, “Wheels Of Terror” and “Stand Up And Fight” evoking the halcyon days of yore with a contemporary twist, the classic SAXON sound absorbing the snarl, ferocity and attitude of contemporary bands (and fans) such as MEGADETH, as evidenced by the crunching title cut, “Sacrifice”.
The “Sacrifice” cover artwork was created by longtime SAXON artist Paul Raymond Gregory.
British metal icon Biff Byford managed to shock Greece’s Rock Pages during a recent interview expressing his doubts about whether SAXON are going to release another album after this year’s Sacrifice.
An excerpt follows:
Biff Byford: “I don’t know if we are making another SAXON album… we’ll see how that goes. I might do a solo project next year maybe, or a different project maybe, I don’t know. I’d like to write an album that is more like ‘747’, ‘Wheels Of Steel’, ‘And The Bands Played On’… I might do that next. Not next year, maybe the year after…”
Rockpages.gr: So, you mean that this might be the last SAXON album?
Biff Byford: “I don’t think this is the last SAXON album, I think that we are allowed to a bit of a break up on this tour. We will be touring all year so we’ll see how it goes after the tour…”
Rockpages.gr: I’m asking you this because I heard you saying that on a French webTV interview…
Biff Byford: “Well, nobody can tell really, doesn’t he? It depends on the band. All the band has to be into it, yeah? All the band has to be committed and passionate about the project, you know, some people might not want to make a new album again next year, they might want to have a rest… I don’t rest, that’s the thing! Me and Lemmy are full on all the time!”
The entire interview will be online soon!
Legendary NWOBHM frontrunners, SAXON will release their new studio album “Sacrifice” on 25th February.
Nuclear Blast has issued as follows:
After Biff Byford (Saxon), Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween, Unisonic), Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, ex-Vengeance), Bruce Kulick (Grand Funk Railroad, ex-KISS, ex-Meat Loaf) and the German Filmorchestra Babelsberg another participent can now be announced: It’s Pretty Maids vocalist Ronnie Atkins who will sing a role on the new AVANTASIA Metal Opera “The Mystery Of Time” (out in March 2013).
Tobias comments: “I have been a huge Pretty Maids fan since I was a teenager. I already asked Ronnie to be on the Metal Opera in 1999, but he was busy back then. Last year I saw Pretty Maids live, and they were a steam train on stage, unbelievable. After the show we met and Ronnie was a great guy. Finally after 13 years, I am really proud to have him on the new Avantasia album. And his kick-ass performance leaves no doubt: It was a great decision to ask him!”
Watch the new clip with sound snippets at: http://www.tobiassammet.com
THE MYSTERY WORLD TOUR 2013
13.04.2013 (CH) Pratteln – Z7
14.04.2013 (CH) Pratteln – Z7
16.04.2013 (I) Milan – Alcatraz
18.04.2013 (D) Ludwigsburg – MPH Arena
19.04.2013 (D) Kaufbeuren – All – Karthalle
20.04.2013 (D) Fulda – Esperanto Halle
22.04.2013 (D) Berlin – Tempodrom
23.04.2013 (D) Hamburg – tba
25.04.2013 (D) Oberhausen – Turbinenhalle
26.04.2013 (D) Lichtenfels – Stadthalle