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Biff Byford reflects on why Saxon didn't conquer America like Iron Maiden

Saxon's Biff Byford © Getty

Biff Byford has explained why he believes Saxon didn’t make a big breakthrough in America in the 80s like fellow British bands Iron Maiden and Def Leppard.

Saxon, of course, were one of the biggest and greatest metal acts in Europe in the 1980s, denting the charts with blockbuster albums like ‘Wheels of Steel’, ‘Denim & Leather’ and live opus ‘The Eagle has Landed’, and playing a series of extensive sold out tours.

Although their numerous US tours were well-received – including an extensive six-week trek with Saxon aficionados Mötley Crüe - Saxon ultimately failed to mirror their European success Stateside.

Speaking in Issue 15 of Planet Rock magazine, Biff Byford was asked why it never truly happened for Saxon in America in metal’s heyday in the 1980s.

Biff replied: “We could have broken really big. We did well, but we didn’t make the breakthrough that Def Leppard or Iron Maiden did.

“There was always some mess up with the records, and there were forces at work that weren’t exactly helpful.

“We didn’t have a great team around us at that point, and it was a very money-orientated time as opposed to a music or career-orientated time.

“Unlike Maiden and Leppard, we had no Rod Smallwood or Peter Mensch behind us to kick us up the arse when we needed it.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Biff said that, four decades into their distinguished career, Saxon are in a great place right now.

“We’ve had a lot of luck over the last few years, but we’ve worked for that too," Biff said. "Our manager Adam Parsons – and in fact our manager before him, too, Thomas Jensen – were very focused on the band and had a conscious plan to build our profile again.

“We’re excited about these 40th anniversary shows, being back in those big rooms, and it’s actually good fun for us again, because we’re doing different things, rather than grinding ourselves into the ground on the same circuit every year.”

Planet Rock Magazine: Issue 15 cover

You can read the full wide-ranging Planet Rock Interview with Biff Byford in Issue 15 of Planet Rock Magazine, which is on sale now. 

Saxon’s 40th Anniversary Castles & Eagles Tour takes in the following shows:

OCTOBER 2019
Glasgow Braehead Arena – Fri 18th
London Eventim Apollo Hammersmith – Sat 19th
Manchester O2 Apollo - Sun 20th

>> Click here to buy tickets <<

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