From Suzi Quatro to Saxon’s Biff Byford, rock’s pioneers have been making music for more than 40 years. Here they talk about leather jumpsuits – performing when you’re in your 60s – and the enduring appeal of a nice biscuit.
The Halifax-born ‘adopted Geordie’ is in good company among pioneering singers rocking on towards their 70s. Ozzy Osborne is 66 AC/DC’s Brian Johnston and Alice Cooper are both 67 and Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan turns 70 this week. Motörhead’s Lemmy reaches the same milestone in December with no discernible dip in packed-out houses. As Saxon frontman Biff Byford (64) puts it: ‘The rock retirement age is 106. What else are we supposed to do? Sit in wicker chairs?’
‘If you don’t act old you don’t feel it’ agrees 67-year-old Bob Catley – a genial Brummie who still fronts the formerly arena-filling and still popular progressive hard rockers Magnum. ‘I’m Eighteen – to quote Alice Cooper – till I die’.