SAXON Frontman Slams Former Members Over Name Lawsuit

December 23, 2002

SAXON frontman Biff Byford has addressed the ongoing legal battle over the band's name with fellow original members Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson via a lengthy statement posted on the group's official web site.

The statement reads as follows:

"Hi, I hope everyone is well!

"I have been reading the message board with interest just lately and it seems as though the recent press release from [OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON] has pissed you all off, so I thought I would write and fill in a few gaps (it could take awhile, so bear with me).

"As you may know or may not know, OLIVER DAMSON [sic] tried to register the name SAXON in 1996. They were successful but they did not tell us, they kept it secret. We did not find out until over two years later, and we immediately launched an appeal at the trademark registry. We said that they had registered the name to try and cause as much grief as possible and that they were ripping off the fans by passing themselves off as SAXON (us). You the fans have given us lots of proof of what they have been up to. They said they registered the name on behalf of all the original members and the registrar went for it!!! So, the situation at the moment is we should all own the name, which, in our opinion, is wrong (and judging by your e-mails, so do you). We have lodged an appeal at the high court to try and overturn this decision. We feel this sets a serious precedent in the music industry, you could have people popping up all over registering their name. Think of all the bands over the last 20 years, all the lineup changes, it would be a fucking nightmare, so we think the registrar was wrong. We would like a high court judge to have a look at this case, which is happening sometime in January (I said it would be long it takes much longer to tell the truth than a pack of lies).

"That's it for the moment on the name SAXON, but always remember, there are many battles in a war, it is sometimes good to let the other side feel cocky but do not forget, we have pulled the band back from the brink in 1994 with the help of our fans to a point where we are again taken seriously, which brings me to the point of clearing up a few misconceptions about SAXON (look, I know I am going on a bit but there is so much bullshit being put out its about time we said something). We do not mind them using OLIVE JEWSON SAXON [sic], they can call themselves HAM AND EGGS SAXON, it wont make any difference (actually, most people think they are a SAXON tribute band),the problem is when they advertise their shows it only says SAXON, so everybody assumes its us (they even used the 'Metalhead' artwork on some adds) when we get in touch with the promoter, they make some feeble excuse and change it to OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON, but by that time its usually too late for many fans. If they really cared they would print on the ticket that anybody who wants their money back will be refunded.

"They were members of SAXON, that is true, and we did write some great songs, but the word DID seems to pass them by. We cannot live in the past bleating on about how big we used to be, nobody wants to hear this over and over again. As you all know, we love to play the old songs. That's why we play for 3 fucking hours sometimes, but you have to write good new songs as well. When we write songs, we all write together. We do everything together, it's a bit like being married, sometimes it goes pear shaped. If you can't work it out, you split up, the magic is gone.

"Somebody asked why are they doing this… [It's] because it's the only way they can stay in the game, its what gives them the juice. They spend all their time trying to fuck us up harping on about how they wrote this and what they did. In actual fact, they never wrote any lyrics or melodies, they were part of a band that were around at a very special time. Some fantastic songs were written between 1980 and 1986, just think how many there were: MAIDEN'666', PRIEST'Living After Midnight', RAINBOW'Since You've Been Gone', MOTÖRHEAD, WHITESNAKE, AC/DC (I could go on all night)!.

"Paul and I are proud to have been part of a great piece of musical history, and now once again there is a fantastic feeling to play British Rock. [OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON] are still in the eighties in their heads. They think that nothing we have done since they left to be relevant, the sad people ('Killing Ground' has sold over 100,000 CDs and is still selling well. I think that's pretty relevant!). They think that they are so important that we could just get back together and thousands of people would flock out to see us. Thousands of people already come to see us, that's what this trademark thing is all about. They are SCARED OF BEING FORGOTTEN. They only have a future if there is a reunion. They think they will be famous again and everybody will forget what they have been saying and doing and the fans will forgive them and pigs might fly — they have gone too far.

"It's not easy to continue writing good songs year after year. Where are their new songs? It would be much easier for them to have a reunion or keep releasing bootleg cassettes. If they are such creative people, then where are the albums? There should have been at least 4. We have never stopped them playing shows as OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON and they have every right to play the songs they co-wrote but what they do not realize is by trying to destroy everything that was done after them they are destroying the SAXON they claim to love. The fans cannot have two SAXONs. Paul and myself have carried the lineage of SAXON from the Seventies to present day with no breaks. We have spent half our lives writing and performing, giving to our fans. They say, let the fans decide. Well, Mr Oliver and Disown [sic], they already have, READ THE WEB SITES."

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