Saxon's Biff Byford: I liked Spinal Tap... but Bad News was better

Saxon's Biff Byford
Saxon's Biff Byford (Image credit: Silver Lining Music)

In September this year, Classic Rock magazine spoke with Biff Byford (opens in new tab) about his career as frontman of legendary UK rockers Saxon (opens in new tab).

In the interview, the subject of 1984’s spoof rockumentary Spinal Tap came up, which famously saw actor Harry Shearer base his character of Derek Smalls on then Saxon bassist Steve Dawson.

And although Biff said he enjoyed Spinal Tap, there’s another movie he prefers when it comes to a sideways look at the music business.

Biff said: “I thought the film was great. We went to a screening with a load of other bands, and some of them walked out. I’m not going to tell you which ones – some of them are my friends.

“As we watched, I could tell straight away that the bass player was based on Dawson. But for me, Spinal Tap was too American. I liked Bad News better. 

“It was that totally British thing and they absolutely nailed it. ‘I’m not getting back in the van until you say we’re heavy metal!’

“There’s more of every British band from the 80s in Bad News. I try to watch it at least twice a year, it’s so fucking brilliant.”

Biff was also asked what he was most proud of in his life, to which he replied: ”I’m proud of my children from both marriages, and I’m proud of what the band has achieved.

“As Lemmy (opens in new tab) used to say to me, ‘It’s hard for a rock band to seat relevant.’ And I remember back in the 90s when Motorhead (opens in new tab) had a serious down period, we would play clubs with them Germany to maybe 300 people. It was really sad.

“But Motorhead kept going and so did we. So I’m proud that after 40 years we’re still writing great songs that people want to hear.”

Biff is preparing to release his new solo album titled School Of Hard Knocks on February 21 through Silver Lining Records. He’s so far shared the title track (opens in new tab) and Welcome To The Show.

The vocalist will head out on tour across the UK in April for a run of 10 spoken word and music shows. And prior to that, Biff and his Saxon bandmates will play four concerts which were postponed earlier this year due to the singer’s heart surgery.

Biff Byford: School Of Hard Knocks (opens in new tab)

Biff Byford: School Of Hard Knocks (opens in new tab)
Saxon frontman Biff Byford is poised to release his first-ever solo album. It'll feature a selection of new material along with a couple of cover versions.

Biff Byford UK tour poster

Saxon rescheduled 2020 tour dates
Mar 07: Dusseldorf Mitsubishi Electric Halle, Germany, 
Mar 27: Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom, UK
Mar 28: London Eventim Apollo, UK
Mar 29: Manchester O2 Apollo, UK

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.