Saxon frontman Biff Byford has criticised Boris Johnson’s government for its reluctance to engage with an imperilled music industry during the on-going coronavirus crisis, and says that he fears the worst for touring rock bands: “Somebody should make some fucking decisions,” he declares.
“It’s all well and good looking after ballet and theatre, I’m all for that [but] touring, and rock music specifically, is being ignored,” Byford insists in the new issue of Classic Rock magazine. “In lobbying terms, we just don’t have a big enough voice compared to the arts. The government forgets how much money music generates for this country.”
“What really annoys me is the lack of guidance… somebody should make some fucking decisions about touring bands. We are not earning anything, and haven’t done for two years now. That’s a long, long time… it’s a massive blow.”
“A lot of bands at our level - we pay lighting engineers, road crew and managers. Saxon are not a multi-platinum band, we have to work hard for our money,” he adds. “So we wait, and when it comes round, we must be ready to go.”
Beyond the continuing coronavirus pandemic which is forcing bands off the road on a daily basis, with Nine Inch Nails, Korn, Corey Taylor, The Cadillac Three, Mammoth WVH and Limp Bizkit among those affected, Byford also identifies new restrictions and regulations coming into affect post-Brexit as another body blow to groups on the touring circuit.
“Brexit makes things so much harder for a band like us,” he admits. “A lot of people voted with their hearts, and maybe now think they made a bad decision. If only the government had negotiated a better deal.”
You can read more from Saxon’s frontman in the new issue of Classic Rock, which is on-sale now. The issue features an in-depth insider look at the making of Metallica’s ‘Black Album’, plus features on David Crosby, Manic Street Preachers, Janis Joplin, Danko Jones and a posthumous tribute to ZZ Top legend Dusty Hill.