OLIVER DAWSON SAXON - "You Never Lose Sight Of What You Start With" Page 3
by Martin Popoff
With both Graham and Paul Quinn still knocking out earthy NWOBHM riffs to this day (Paul in the actual Saxon, with Biff), I asked Steve to sort of map out the difference between the two Saxon stringsmiths... "Well, Graham... he's always played a Gibson," replies Steve. "And as soon as he could afford, he bought one, and he still has the original one he bought now. It's the one with the JIMI HENDRIX picture on it, the SG. And in fact, we are endorsed by Vintage Guitars. They just made, and it will be on sale soon, a signature model of that guitar - they've reproduced it. And Paul was always... basically, in the early days, he always played a Fender Stratocaster. And I mean, he had other guitars, like Gibson Firebirds and Les Paul Juniors and stuff like that, but his main thing was the Stratocaster, but, it favoured him to do that spinning (laughs), because you could screw the strap locks into the back of the strap, and put the two together. That's what allowed him to spin it around. And obviously a Stratocaster is a more workman-like guitar; it can take more trouble. But he did try with his Firebird, doing that, and caught the headstock on his knee and snapped it straight off. He was spinning it around (laughs). In fact, that's on film somewhere, because he did it when we were filming a video."
In any event, start exploring Motorbiker, and you'll find cogent demonstration of the guys' undeniable adherence to that smart way of writing referred to earlier - essentially putting sturdiness of song first - all over the 12 tracks that make up this steely, gritty, sparks-spitting album of rock chestnuts... "Well, yes in the sense that, like I mentioned before, that we sound like we sound, because that's how we play. We're not brilliant musicians, by any shadow of a doubt, but, in the absence of not being able to be a virtuoso, you invent your own way of writing tunes, and that's what the Saxon sound was, and is on our new CD, Motorbiker. I mean, I'm a bass player. I've learned myself to play guitar, in order to write songs. I only ever wrote one song on the bass and that was 'Freeway Mad', and you can tell really, because it's just a basic riff. But in learning to play the guitar, because I wasn't very good at it, you develop your own way of doing things. And a lot of the times when I wrote a riff, I would play it to Graham and Paul, and they would transpose it to proper chords, if you know what I mean. And it didn't work. The sound wasn't the same, so they had to play my invention of chords to get it to sound the same. I mean, on one song in particular, 'Back On The Streets', on Innocence Is No Excuse, they couldn't get the idea of how to play the opening riff, but in answer to your question, you never lose sight of what you start with. It's always with you."