Posts Tagged ‘sexy’

What’s Wrong With Being Saxony?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Being from Yorkshire (which automatically makes any band hilarious), having a singer called Biff Byford AND being straight ahead, meat and potatoes metal (purportedly the inspiration for a lot of Spinal Tap, fact fans) always made Saxon seem ridiculous. But I heard Denim and Leather recently and it’s absolutely ace.

The riff is – for want of a better word – sexy (I never thought I’d use the word sexy and Saxon in the same paragraph, unless it was to say “they aren’t”) – a damn sight sexier than anything else in NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal). Some bands just have a sexy quality about them. Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Judas Priest don’t, whereas Zeppelin, Aerosmith, The Black Crowes do. The Scorpions are the antithesis of sexy. I guess if you hung onto a groove, rather than just played really hard and fast (missus) you kept a bit of the roll in rock & roll. Even a lot of the hair metal bands, whose songs were 99.8% explicitly *about* sex, weren’t really that sexy. Saxon are of course, resolutely not sexy, but Denim & Leather kinda is.

Wheels of Steel!

Saxon, yesterday

But more interesting than the stripperiffic sound of that record, are the lyrics. It’s a heavy metal song *about* heavy metal fans, and for all people talk about “people’s bands” I’ve very rarely heard this sort of thing. Maiden had this grass roots live audience who always bought their picture discs and got them in the charts, but they never actually addressed the fans like this. “Did you listen to the radio every Friday night?” – he’s talking about Tommy Vance, and his long running Friday Night Rock Show on BBC Radio 1! And all that stuff about hanging out in record shops, reading the music papers (Sounds no doubt) and buying tickets. It seems a very egalitarian, working class, *humble* thing to do.

I’ve never really delved into their oeuvre, but they also have And The Bands Played On, which is about the first Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donnington. It could’ve been a less campy version of Eric Burden’s Monterey, but seems to also be addressing the audience. Even Strangers In The Night, which in another band’s hands could be “look how cool we are we’re rock stars and we’re on a plane” (for instance, all of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s songs seem to be about being in Lynyrd Skynyrd), seems to be saying “fucking Hell, you’ll never guess what happened to us, let us tell you about it so we’ll all sort of kinda be part of it”. Maybe I’m reaching a bit with that last one.

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