Saxon’s Biff Byford launches lyric video for solo track Welcome To The Show

Biff Byford
Biff Byford (Image credit: Silver Lining Music)

Saxon frontman Biff Byford has revealed that his first ever solo album will be out in February – and marked the news by releasing a lyric video for the track Welcome To The Show.

The vocalist revealed the existence of the record when giving fans an update on his health after he had heart surgery in September (opens in new tab).

Now he’s revealed that the album School Of Hard Knocks will be out on February 21 through Silver Lining Records, and he’s also given some information about the themes behind the record.

Byford says: “I’m singing about my past of course and about things I like, but mostly I wanted it to reflect me, my personality and my life. Song-wise it’s more diverse and not just focused on heavy metal. I wanted it to be a slice of the music I like, from metal, to rock‘n’roll. 

“I’m a guy who’s just as happy listening to Metallica (opens in new tab) or Judy Garland, because as long as it’s great and entertains me, then what more do I need?”

School Of Hard Knocks will also include a cover of Simon & Garfunkel (opens in new tab)’s Scarborough Fair, which features Opeth (opens in new tab)’s Fredrik Åkesson. And the prog vibe doesn’t end there.

Byford explains: “One of my favourite is The Pit And Pendulum, which is quite prog metal and I love that. I’m a big prog rock fan and was a huge fan of Yes (opens in new tab) back in the day – and being a musician-bass-player myself, the musicianship in bands like that really caught me.

“There’s a version of Throw Down The Sword by Wishbone Ash (opens in new tab), and the reason I did that was because it was the first song I ever heard that was anything to do with history in the sense of battles and war.

“That was really the thing which started me on the road to writing historically-driven songs.”

Byford and Åkesson are joined in the core group by bassist Gus Macricostas and drummer Christian Lundqvist, while special guests include Motorhead (opens in new tab) ex Phil Campbell, Rhapsody Of Fire’s Alex Holzwart, Voices’ Nick Barker, Dave Kemp from Wayward Sons and his Saxon bandmate Nibbs Carter.

Byford says he's planning a “words and music tour” in small venues in support of School Of Hard Knocks next year and adds: “The first part will be me in conversation with the audience about anything really, from heart attacks to sex, drugs, rock‘n’roll, old times, new times, friends, enemies and whatever anyone wants to chat about.

“Then bringing out a band and playing some new songs, covers and maybe end with a Saxon song or two. 

“I’m still working out the details, but it’s a show I’ve wanted to do for a long time and one which I don’t think has been done in hard rock before. It’ll be something different and a lot of fun.” 

Album pre-orders will begin from tomorrow (October 25). Find the cover art and tracklist below.

Saxon were forced to postpone the remaining dates on their Castles & Eagles tour as a result of Byford’s heart surgery, with the shows rescheduled to take place throughout March next year.

Girlschool will join Saxon as special guests.

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.

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 looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.