Simon Neil nearly quit Biffy Clyro because he forgot how to be Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro

Simon Neil
(Image credit: Andrew Benge/Redferns)

Simon Neil revealed that coming back from lockdown had been such a struggle for him that he nearly quit Biffy Clyro.

The vocalist realised that if he abandoned their recent US tour, he probably wouldn’t ever perform again – and support from his bandmates along with a confidante got him through the moment.

Neil told Kerrang: “I couldn’t get my head into being Simon from Biffy. We anticipated it was going to be hard but the last two years have changed everyone in ways you can’t immediately see.

“I was close to just leaving [the tour] but realised if I didn’t get over that hurdle then, I might never be able to get back on a stage. That might sound melodramatic but it’s how I felt and it’s a conversation I had with the boys. 

“When I did, they said, ‘Okay, we can go home,’ but I immediately thought: ‘I’ll never leave the fucking house again.’” Instead he made contact with “a guy” he relies on for support. “He reminded me that this is who I am and this is what I do, and not to create a hurdle that wasn’t there before.

“He also reminded me that if I wasn’t able to do [the tour], it would be a lot harder to go back out again. It was about accepting that challenge and remembering I’m happiest onstage and making music with my friends. What else would I want to do? There’s nothing I’d rather do!”

Neil reflected that all three members of the band “grew up at the same time” when it came to changing their approach to festival performances. In younger years they partied as hard as the audience, but eventually realised they needed to focus on delivering quality shows.

“Back in the day, when we’d play for 25 minutes and be finished by 2pm, we’d take drugs and be giving ourselves mullets,” Neil said. “We’d crash by 6pm and wake up during One by Metallica.

“Thankfully we were able to get that partying out of our system before the gigs really mattered. You have to discover it for yourself. If someone else tells you to stop then you’re going to have an issue with it, but I feel like we all grew up at the same time.”

Drummer Ben Johnston made another point: “The music’s too difficult to play fucked-up!” he said, to which Neil responded: “It makes me anxious just thinking about it.”

Biffy Clyro are currently touring the European festival circuit.

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.