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by Martin Popoff
"I wanted a Denim And Leather revisited thing, really," says Biff. "It's a very similar drumbeat, obviously different guitar riff. I just wanted to write a song that connected the audience then and the audience now, lyrically. If you listen to the lyrics, that's what I'm singing about. You're looking at three generations, four generations of fans. So yeah, it's obviously written with more of a European audience in mind, because they are obviously much bigger and much younger. But I think it's relevant. A lot of people pick up on that song, actually. So yeah, we also invited the fan club down to sing on it, by mail and telephone, i.e. dial in by Internet."
"I write a lot of songs about soldiers," figures Biff, shifting gears while being asked about the cover art and attendant war theme of Call To Arms. "Maybe I was a soldier in another life before, I don't know. But it keeps coming to me. But I read a book called Letters From The Front, and it's just letters that were found on bodies, or guys sent home to their wives, or wives sent to them, French and English soldiers - quite moving - which is what inspired the lyrics for Call To Arms. So the song is set in the First World War, but it could be set in Afghanistan or anywhere, really. It seems we keep returning to that theme a lot. Yeah, I like it. I used to collect stuff, but not anymore. But I'm quite a historian when it comes to all things war. Lemmy used to collect, and I collected, and I gave him a few things that German fans gave me. Daggers and crosses and such."
Continuing the triumphant-for-metal theme of Back In 79 and Saxon in general, really, Call To Arms comes elegantly digipak-packaged with a second CD, labeled Live At Donington 1980.
"Because people won't forget it, obviously the memories are there all the time," says Biff of that magical day in metal's history. "It was the first outdoor festival we played. We were like the new kids on the block on that festival. Rainbow, Priest, Scorpions, I suppose April Wine were sort of on their first big gig as well, and Riot. But there was really only us and Maiden and Def Leppard that hadn't had any real radio or TV success. So when we had walked on stage, I think we had done 200,000 records of Wheels Of Steel, so it was a bit... it was fantastic. I think a lot of people were quite shocked at how big we were, actually. So it was a great day, and we found this old tape in the manager's attic. There are bootleg versions of it around, but you can tell the bootleg versions, because they have one extra song, on the cassette. But this is the one from the Rolling Stones Mobile, which hadn't been heard for 30 years. So when we played it, it took us back, definitely."
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