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Famous Firsts: Saxon

The firsts of Saxon's Biff Byford!

The legendary frontman of Saxon reveals his love of "the British AC/DC" Status Quo and why the band decided to kit out a single decker bus.

What was the first album that you ever bought? 

"I think it was either the first Zeppelin album (Led Zeppelin), or Status Quo – Dog Of Two Head. One of those two. I went off Status Quo for a while, through the In The Army Now days, but obviously now they've got it all going for them. The first Zeppelin album probably influenced me more as a musician, but I liked Quo because they had the same quality as AC/DC – simple riffs with great choruses. And you could jump up and down and headbang to them. To me they were a little bit like the British AC/DC, I suppose. "

What was the first single that you ever bought? 

"Bloody hell, I can't really remember to be honest. It must've been The Beatles, or someone like that. Maybe it was The Rolling Stones actually. Paint It Black, perhaps. It was so long ago ha ha. That was certainly one of the first guitar riffs I ever learnt to play. I can tell you the first guitar I ever bought – it was a Vox Stroller, which my dad bought for me. It was like a red Fender Stratocaster copy. I wish I still had that actually, it'd be worth a fortune now. 

There was a guy who used to live across the road from me when I was growing up, who played banjo, and he showed me how to play my first chords. But they were always on the first four strings, rather than the B or the E strings, because you haven't got them on a banjo. And then my best friend's brother played guitar in a Beach Boys-type band, and he taught me my first A, E and D chords. So I learnt the basics that way, and then I picked up the rest myself – self taught."

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