Transcribing significant portions of this interview proved challenging due to audio and accent, and so you'll find what I could manage below. Personally, I would suggest simply listening to the audio.
Sacrifice: Well, I wanted it to be a pounding album, sort of an assault on your senses, really. Got not balance on this album, just full-on from the word 'go'. I just wanted the guys to play Gibsons and Marshalls and just give it their best shot, really, and go back and try and figure out what we had then that we could bring to the party again now. On a couple of songs, we did that, really.
On regrets: I think you can always look back, can't you? You can always look back and say, 'I wish I hadn't married her', either. There are a few things you can go back and look at. There were a few albums that were a bit, as we say in England, dodgy, but they always had a couple of great songs on them. So I suppose we kept in there because we always had some great songs.
Producing and mixing Sacrifice: I think because we're a well-known band worldwide, we can get really great people to work with us, so I think that helps. You know, Andy Sneap mixed the album. He's quite current and has done a lot of big albums for people. I suppose that gives us a modern edge. I think when you've been together so long, people want to work with you, which is always great.
I wanted to produce it myself this time and bring a bit of a flavor of that to the album. I've known Andy for some time, and we wanted to do some work together. So he got some spare time, really. So he wanted to work with us, and he loves our music anyway. He's not just doing hardcore bands. It did work out perfectly.
We went for a more powerful sound just by recording things very well and playing things really loud, which is what we're good at. His input into the album is making it sound great.
Recording technologies: We've always been making albums, so we've sort of adapted ourselves through the digital revolution. And we're able to swing backwards and forwards from analog to digital and into any sort of technology. Some things are better the old way. Some things are better the new way.
Balancing old and new sounds: It's quite hard to mix the retro with the modern, that's quite a hard trick that we do. We obviously have Paul Quinn, who's been in the band forever. And we have Douglas, who has been in the band since 1995, so I suppose Doug brings a different style of guitar playing to the band. So it's great, really. It's worked out really well, the chemistry.
Working with Tobias Sammet on Avantasia's The Mystery of Time: He did ask me on the first one, but I couldn't do it, but I think Alice Cooper did my bits on that one. Or I didn't do the bits, and he did them. They weren't particularly my bits. This one, he asked me, and I was available. So he came to England, and we did them in the studio there. We're mates, anyway, he sang a couple times on stage with us. We're quite good friends. He's obviously a huge Saxon fan.
I was singing about a black orchid, I think. I think that was the point. It's a rock opera, so it's very difficult, unless you sit down and hear it all, it's very difficult to get an angle on it, if you know what I mean. So I was just singing lines, really, that he wanted me to sing. It sounded great, though. We were there for a day, but I think we drank wine for most of the day, and then I sang for maybe three or four hours.
Future Saxon releases: I could see us doing a concept album. I don't think it could be an opera about one particular thing or person.
Solo album? I'm thinking about it. I might do something after this year when we finish touring. We'll see how it goes.
Playing with Metallica back in 2011: It's good, it's really good. We're big mates, so it's nice to go and sing with your friends. I sang in Paris with them, in France, and then obviously I flew over for their 30th anniversary. So it's nice, it's really nice of them to come out and say we influenced them. That's great, and they're a great band as well.
Metallica in the 90s: All bands that have had huge albums at some point in their career, the ones after that can always be a bit overcriticized. You had The Black Album, which was massive, and then to come up with something as good as that is nearly impossible. We had the same trouble in the 80s, to come up with something better than Denim and Leather or Power & The Glory. It's very hard. They're so big, those songs.