In a new interview with Greg Prato of AllMusic, Biff Byford was asked if he was surprised by SAXON guitarist Paul Quinn's recent decision to "step back from touring". The SAXON frontman responded: "No. He's been talking about it for four or five years now. There's a lot of pressure touring at the level we're touring at. A lot of times on buses. I think he's playing now better than he's ever played in his life, actually. But I just think he thinks from a fitness level — so he made the decision. But we weren't really surprised because we have talked about it quite a few times in the past."
As a result of Quinn's decision, SAXON canceled its April 2023 South American tour as well as the appearance at the Monsters Of Rock cruise.
When Paul's departure was first announced on March 10, SAXON said in a statement: "After much soul searching our great friend and fellow warrior Paul Quinn has decided to step back from touring with SAXON. After many years on the road, with the subsequent stress and tiredness that accompany long tour schedules, Paul doesn't want his performance to suffer and let his fellow band mates and fans down. Paul will continue to record with the band and may play select special shows in the future.
"SAXON stand by Paul's decision and will keep you all informed regarding our next journey.
"The current run of March shows in Europe will continue as is but the band will be cancelling their April dates in South America and the MOR Cruise to give time to re-group. These territories will be re-booked as soon as time permits. All summer festivals will continue as booked."
Quinn alluded to his decision on March 9 in a since-deleted Facebook post. He wrote: "You need to know I will miss you & my SAXON co-workers for the great times on and off stage, so with regret I will leave while I can still hold my head high and not worry about my fingers or brain forgetting riffs, keys or stumbling over licks, as they do occasionally. I am not taking this lightly, and I want to do SAXON proud, whilst continuing to love and play music with THE CARDS and other projects."
THE CARDS is a classic rock trio which Quinn founded in 2016 with DORO/U.D.O. alumnus Harrison Young, and VANDENBERG drummer Koen Herfst. They are currently poised to release their second album this year.
Four years ago, the now-71-year-old Quinn reflected on over four decades of being in the group in an interview with HeadBangers LifeStyle. He said: "Lots of road miles and air miles. It feels great to be relevant still. We always have a blast and I think the audience know that we are one of them. We are one of those party bands that they like. That always helped to get the message across, and Biff shouting at them occasionally. We've always had good members and good songwriters. The present band is included, and we’ve made some good stuff together, I think."
SAXON's new album, "More Inspirations", will arrive on March 24 via Silver Lining Music. Following the release of "Inspirations" in 2021, "More Inspirations" is the second "deep dish" serving of the influences which have fed SAXON's immensely successful 40-plus-year career.
Produced by Biff, with Seb Byford helping record the music alongside mixing engineer Jacky Lehmann, "More Inspirations" includes takes on RAINBOW, ZZ TOP and CREAM, as well as "Razamanaz" by NAZARETH, THE WHO's "Substitute", and URIAH HEEP's "Gypsy".
Byford and Quinn are the sole remaining original members in SAXON's current lineup.
Originally from South Yorkshire, England, SAXON has gone on to sell about 23 million albums and has produced such classic songs as "Denim And Leather", "Princess Of The Night", "Wheels Of Steel" and "Power And Glory".