SAXON's BIFF BYFORD: 'You Couldn't Go And See VAN HALEN And Not Like Them'
December 20, 2020
SAXON frontman Biff Byford has commented on the passing of Eddie Van Halen, saying that "you couldn't go and see VAN HALEN and not like them."
Byford discussed his appreciation for the groundbreaking musician in a new interview with Canada's The Metal Voice.
Speaking about Eddie's death, Biff said: "Terrible news, really. He went through [a cancer battle] once, and then we thought he was cured. And then it came back again.
"I saw VAN HALEN a few times," he continued. "First time I saw them was at the Rainbow in — it must have been 1978, '79, [on their] first album. I think they just toured with [BLACK] SABBATH, and then they came back a did a one-off show at the Rainbow in London, and I saw that. And then I saw them again on the  tour in Manchester.
"I loved the band," Biff added. "They were total good-time rock/metal, definitely. You couldn't really go and see VAN HALEN and not like them, actually."
Biff went on to say that SAXON was contemplating covering a VAN HALEN track on its upcoming covers album, "Inspirations", which is due on March 19, 2021 via Silver Lining Music.
"We did consider a VAN HALEN song," he said. "I wanted to do 'Runnin' With The Devil'. I love that [song]. But you've gotta be careful.
"I suppose [VAN HALEN's music] did influence the [SAXON] guitarists in a way, because that style — when people saw Eddie play in that style — particularly Paul [Quinn] started [incorporating hammer-ons].
"We are signed up to do another album, actually. So they do have an option. We could do a massively heavy version Of 'Running With The Devil' — it would be great. [We could] make it more like a SABBATH version of 'Running With The Devil'."
"Inspirations" is an 11-track effort containing some of the classic rock songs that influenced Byford and the rest of SAXON, including THE ROLLING STONES' "Paint It Black", THE BEATLES' "Paperback Writer", Jimi Hendrix's "Stone Free", MOTÖRHEAD's "Bomber", AC/DC's "Problem Child", BLACK SABBATH's "Evil Woman" and DEEP PURPLE's "Speed King".
Eddie died on October 6 at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Following his death, fans left flowers at his childhood home on Las Lunas Street in Pasadena, California. Additional flowers, candles and fan mementos were placed on Allen Avenue where Eddie and his brother, VAN HALEN drummer Alex, scratched their band's name into the wet cement of a sidewalk when they were teenagers.
VAN HALEN was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Eddie Van Halen No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
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