Biff Byford - Toby and the Whole Truth artwork
Toby and the Whole Truth

Biff Byford - Toby and the Whole Truth

  • S1E2
  • 52:35
  • May 2nd 2020

This week’s guest is non-other than legendary hard rock Yorkshire vocalist Biff Byford.

I’ve been a lifelong fan of Saxon, and indeed the first single I ever bought was ‘Wheels of Steel’ after watching them perform it on Top of the Pops. Years later, Little Angels opened for Saxon in Europe and then much later in 2007, in Tokyo Japan, I had the absolute pleasure of spending an evening with Biff talking about music when Fastway appeared on the same bill as Saxon at the ‘Loud park’ festival. That encounter was the first of many that has led to a very valued friendship. 

Biff has, throughout his incredible career, remained a resilient and tenacious character, determination has been at the forefront of everything he has attempted in life, and Saxon are testament to that approach. Now in their 40th year and celebrating that fact, the band go from strength to strength and the reason is quite simple, Biff is at the helm and he is as focused and as determined as ever. 

In this interview Biff reveals much about his past and the route to success, as well as his usual erudite views on the business of rock n roll, so put on the kettle brew yourself a cup of Yorkshire tea and listen to a master of the craft. 

Toby and the Whole Truth


My name is Toby Jepson and I have spent over 30 years working as a musician at an international level.

I’ve written and produced hit records, toured the world umpteen times, hung out with and befriended outrageously successful people, recorded at some of the world’s most amazing studios, stayed in some of the world best hotels and dined at the finest restaurants, as well as survived on one kebab a week whilst making the back of a transit van in the winter my home. I’ve made a life in the hardest game there is and for what reward?

Often very little.

Who are we? The rock stars? What does that even mean?

I’ve long thought that the music business, with all its perceived glory, debauchery, wealth, privilege, stardom fame etc etc, has been badly misrepresented; the reality is so very different, so much harder and demanding than you could ever know at the beginning of the dream.

Why is this? Yes, It’s certainly the media at large that are to blame for the perception as they love to ramp up the bad behaviour of ‘rock stars’ and attach drama to every aspect of their lives; it’s good column inches and sells newspapers - we know this - but it’s SO much more than that. It takes a certain character, a certain focus, a dogged determination and a willingness to never quit to really succeed - often at the expense of personal relationships and your own mental health.

So, who are we? These so called ‘rock stars’? And who are the people that surround us? The managers, agents, merchandisers, road managers, record label bosses and music producers? What’s their story? How does all this fit together?

My question is: What do the musicians and the key workers themselves think of themselves? and what does the successful working musician really feel about his or her music and the journey they have experienced to get there? What’s the motivation behind the glittery curtain and how, in the face of overwhelming odds, do you keep going?

In my new series of podcasts - TOBY AND THE WHOLE TRUTH - I seek to uncover the reality of what it means to live and work as a successful person in the real music business. I’ve interviewed characters from every sector of this crazy yet obsessively addictive world to try uncover what it really takes to reach beyond the dream, step out of the garage and bedroom to escape the ‘normal’ world and become a success against the odds in the most competitive business there is.

Successes, failures, mental health battles, dreams verses reality, relationship struggles, excess, boredom and the mediocrity of a world hidden from view are all tackled in this compelling series of conversations between two working music business professionals.

Think you know the truth about a life existing in the world of ‘rock no roll’?

Think again.

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