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mozzymoz 04-12-2007 08:10 PM

Rational considered thoughts about the Channel 4 show
Well I've been reading threads on here and now on the Classic Rock site and I think there needs to be a reality check for some of the diehard fans out there - and I was around from the days BEFORE they were Saxon in case anyone thinks how do I know anything!

Sadly in the grand scheme of things in the music business from the time the band moved to EMI in the 80's they started their decline. They became small fish in a big pond at EMI and I think no one their really believed in them like say they did with Maiden. Couple this with some bad management through the years and poor decisions from them and you can see where the decline began.

Ironically within that period "Solid Ball Of Rock" was IMHO an excellent album that deserved to do far better than it did but by then they had already started the progressive shunt down the label ladder in the UK and with it press support, radio plugging etc all went with it as this costs money!

Since then the band have carved themselves a nice little niche in Germany and a couple of other European countries but they are nowhere near the level they used to be, and in an ideal world should be!

This program while part of an overall series about what Harvey Goldsmith can do for bands etc also would obviously touch on what he does because as far as rock promoting goes he is THE name in the UK - no one can deny this. If you haven’t heard of him then I’m sorry before you start dissing the guy he DOES know exactly what sells and why. As part of this he has an ear and the savvy to know when bands are performing at the top of their game or just plodding along i.e. resting on their laurels, being pedestrian however you want to describe it. The position Saxon find themselves in now is one of big fish in a small pond and that can and does make people complacent. Back in the 80’s they were big fish in a bigger pond and had to work harder to stay up there with their contemporaries. Couple this with being on a small label that is only pushing them to their core audience with a limited budget, a manager (sorry but the program might have been edited that way but) really looked out of his depth and from the looks of the program Biff seemed to steer things more than he did, this doesn’t bode well for them getting out of this deep furrow.

While Biff played the bad boy and talked back a lot to Harvey I’m sure that if he didn’t want to be involved in the program they wouldn’t have done it in the first place. Regardless even if they had only got 90 minutes of UK TV time it would have been a success. Plus people are talking about some of it being set up for TV – don’t you think that was too possibly?

As it was with only the show’s budget (I’m guessing the record label SPV in Germany wouldn’t put up money for UK promotion etc) he managed to get a press launch for the by then remixed single (that in itself cost money), got them to the Classic Rock awards where the band had NEVER been to rub shoulders with a who’s who in rock, not just bands either but all aspects. That in itself created huge opportunities which you grab with both hands. He got them radio interviews, press interviews, airplay on the single and on their back catalogue. Plus while the Sheffield Wednesday thing was a bit cringe worthy that in itself also got a lot of press, radio, etc and raised their profile too for the Sheffield gig – no publicity is bad publicity – hell ask Kate Moss!

The Sheffield gig at the City Hall was an event for the band as selling that many tickets for a provincial gig is rare nowadays. They don’t usually play in halls that size. Someone said elsewhere about playing gigs holding 800 sorry City Hall is bigger and more prestigious for them. Not Wembley Arena I know but it did mean a lot for the band. The argument about the football ground thing (staged? Who knows!) made for good drama for the build up to the gig and the band predictably went out and blew the roof off with all the adrenaline that having 1800+ people loving you and going mad generated in them. Harvey got brought on stage at the end and hopefully there will be something to come from what he said about Donnington in the summer too.

So all in all the program did achieve exactly what it set out to do. It did help to raise the profile of the band; hopefully the management will now grasp the opportunities presented to them on a platter and run with them. Something that was touched on but not fully explored was how predictable the band’s lyrics have become in the main. Sticking to tried and trusted metal themes and subjects seems to be the norm now. Back when WOS & Strong Arm came out something like Dallas 1pm, Strong Arm of The Law itself told stories and were much more out of the typical metal lyrical mould. Bringing this back more into their newer material might help. “If I Was You” goes down that path and is a good sign. Having Steve Strange available to work on tour booking and the like is a great opportunity that could pay off for them too. Get them onto a major rock tour and open for someone and play to a bigger audience, do a joint headlining tour with someone (but please be inventive and think outside the box – not Motorhead again!) – I know this costs money but *reality check for diehard fans* it ALL costs money! Sadly the way things are SPV probably won’t have the sort of money needed for this all to happen and the momentum gained from this program will all be lost again soon.

Let’s hope I’m wrong on the last part because after knowing the band since about 1977 I really do wish they were back where they were in 1980/81.

Sorry for a long first real post but I really think this needed to be said. Take a step back, take out your passion and see with fresh eyes. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but I think this is really more where things are than some around here would like to (or would be prepared to) acknowledge.

john dee 04-12-2007 09:16 PM

Well, it may have been a long first post, but you've made some very valid points which I have to agree with. I didn't want to get involved in the mud-slinging on the other thread; but I for one agree whole-heartedly with your opinions.

Scandinavian 101 04-12-2007 10:07 PM

That's what I said.........................

Only with better words........... LOL :p

mozzymoz 04-12-2007 10:10 PM

Thanks John. I read through all the (then!) 10 pages and saw some sensible posts but a lot of grandstanding and name calling. I then read the Classic Rock piece and the comments there and it spurred into writing the piece.

There are so many avenues open to promoting the band if they think outside the box. Things were mentioned in the other thread and it was asked why Harvey didn't do this or that - why doesn't Saxon's record label or management do that anyway - that is what they are for not Harvey Goldsmith! Do they have a myspace page? That is a great tool there for promoting music and the band's videos - why isn't that avenue being used it is free as well! Youtube is another one they could start an official Saxon channel! So many things that could be done yet not looked into. The nice shiny new website opens with no media on it to hear or to see - why??

Questions - more questions!!!

mozzymoz 04-12-2007 10:12 PM


Originally Posted by Scandinavian 101 (Post 1918)
That's what I said.........................

Only with better words........... LOL :p

Well maybe.... but it was more in depth too! :)

I think people's love for the band allows their glasses to be too rose tinted from what I've seen.

Philthy Phil 04-12-2007 10:13 PM

Valid points, astutely put! :)

midnightrider 04-12-2007 10:16 PM

There is a myspace page but it rarely updated.

mozzymoz 04-12-2007 10:18 PM

Aha ok - well another missed opportunity :(

OldWiseBloke 04-12-2007 10:19 PM

Blimey Moz, are you me?:D

Philthy Phil 04-12-2007 10:36 PM


Originally Posted by OldWiseBloke (Post 1926)
Blimey Moz, are you me?:D

Early onset senility creeping in I see..........

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