Just prior to the Christmas holidays I had a chance to speak with Biff Byford, lead singer of the legendary metal band Saxon. The group has now been making music and touring the world for more than 30 years and were part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) movement that took the world by storm in the late 70s and early 80s. Saxon’s latest CD, Unplugged and Strung Up, is a collection of stripped down, rerecorded classics with some interesting twists. Here is what Byford had to say.
After a more than 30 years in the music business did you find it difficult narrowing down your song choices for Unplugged and Strung Up?
Byford: Well, I chose the songs I thought would be interesting and would sound great. Pretty simple.
Now that Unplugged and Strung Up has been released, are you satisfied with the way the songs turned out?
Byford: Yes, I like the album. I think it is unique, it hasn’t been done before with a mix of styles like this.
Check out the song “Frozen Rainbow”
Where did the inspiration to strip down these songs and reinvent them come from?
Byford: I just thought about what songs I would like to hear redone in general, and here we are.
Do you have any plans to tour with these versions of the songs, and say perhaps, an orchestra or something along those lines?
Byford: We do have some plans to maybe do a big festival with something special. Stay tuned!
Do you have a favorite remix on this release?
Byford: I like “Just Let Me Rock”. The original is a bit radio friendly. The new version is “rockier”.
In the past you have produced many of your own records. I know you worked with Andy Sneap, but did you produce or have a hand in producing this one as well?
Byford: I produced this album.
The early response to Unplugged and Strung Up has been fantastic, have you considered or would you consider reworking more songs from your catalogue in the future?
Byford: I don’t know! It’s not in our current plans to do any more.
What is next on the agenda for Saxon?
Byford: The touring starts again after Christmas so we will be busy all year! We have started writing some new stuff, so we’ll see….
Check out the ‘Unplugged and Strung Up’ EPK