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Biography

During the 90's the future of Northern British Metal band SAXON became clouded with doubt as the band effectively split into two. Founder members guitarist Graham Oliver and bass player Steve Dawson reunited to forge SON OF A BITCH and recorded an album 'Victim You' fronted by THUNDERHEAD's Ted Bullett.

Vocalist Biff Byford forged ahead with SAXON but for a while both parties operated live simply as SAXON prompting the inevitable court case. The Oliver/Dawson incarnation of the band strengthened their case by recruiting Pete Gill, a veteran of MOTȪRHEAD and, of course, SAXON. To further confuse matters SAXON's 'Destiny' era drummer Nigel Durham, also to be found on the tribute circuit with ALCATRAZ, duly replaced Pete Gill in SON OF A BITCH but not before being asked to by Byford to replace Glockler in SAXON.

Even as late as early 1999 SAXON were being billed as performing in British clubs but this was in reality SON OF A BITCH. The dates were subsequently cancelled due to illness. Oliver disbanded SON OF A BITCH later that year to form a JIMI HENDRIX tribute band with his son on drums. However, by June the pair had teamed up with members of Chesterfield's STORMWATCH and WITCHFYNDE to create the LUTHAR BELTZ BAND for live gigs.

Oliver and Dawson came back to the fore in early 2000 announcing an operating title of OLIVER/ DAWSON SAXON. Joining them were drummer Nigel Durham, former SARACEN guitarist Haydn Conway and ex-HURRICANE, MADAM X, SHAME and SHY vocalist John 'Wardy' Ward. The band was invited to open shows on DIO's October 2002 UK dates. This tour witnessed a memorable event at the Portsmouth Pyramids show when Ronnie James Dio invited both Graham Oliver and John Ward onstage to aid with the DIO encore 'Rainbow in The Dark'. A live DVD, 'Rock Has Landed: It's Alive', emerged in November.Phoenix Music issued the album 'Re-Landed'.

A major setback came in late February 2003 when the High Court in London ruled in favour of Biff Byford over the legal rights to use the name SAXON. Undaunted, OLIVER / DAWSON SAXON set about recording new material for a projected three way split album entitled 'Second Wave', sharing CD space with fellow NWoBHMers TYGERS OF PAN TANG and GIRLSCHOOL on the Communiqué label. This trio also plotted a joint tour of the UK to promote the record. However, an original set of dates was scrapped and pushed back to September due to delays in recording.That same year Angel Air Records released the OLIVER / DAWSON SAXON album 'It's Alive'.

In April 2004 Wardy collaborated in another band project billed IRON HORSE along with a cast of veritable NWoBHM veterans comprising guitarists Alan Nyland of HANDSOME BEASTS and Baz Eardley from CHEVY, bassist Toby Pelham of V8 and CHEVY drummer Ted Duggan.

During 2005 Oliver joined TEMPEST. 2006 summer live work in Europe found GRAHAM OLIVER uniting with Blues Rock outfit TWIN DRAGONS, a union with Italian guitarist ANDREA BRAIDO, Nathaniel Peterson of SAVOY BROWN, ex-GILLAN bassist John McCoy and erstwhile SAXON colleague Pete Gill on drums. OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON readied a new album entitled 'Whippin' Boy'.

In October 2008 it was revealed Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson were in the process of writing a book entitled 'Saxon Drugs And Rock And Roll: The Real Spinal Tap', due out in 2009. The foreword was announced as being written by Harry Shearer, the actor who apparently based his Derek Smalls character in "This Is Spinal Tap" movie on Steve Dawson.

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