About Steve Dawson
Bassist Steve Dawson played an integral role in the success of British metallers Saxon, which began in 1972 as Son of a Bitch: he got the gigs, drove the van, and sent the demos. However, the band stayed unsigned until 1979, when Carrere Records issued Saxon.
Platinum success followed Wheels of Steel (1980), which also broke the band internationally. Dawson's no-frills writing style made itself felt on the title track, "747 Strangers in the Night," "Freeway Mad," and "Street Fighting Gang." He remained a strong contributor on Denim & Leather (1981), Strong Arm of the Law (1982), and Power & the Glory (1983), which is generally considered their finest album.
This Is Spinal Tap's wicked sendup of rock clichés brought Dawson's image into the pop-cultural arena, since he's acknowledged as inspiring the character of hapless, diminutive bassist Derek Smalls. Saxon's sound assumed a more commercial sheen on Crusader (1984) and Innocence Is No Excuse (1985), which also marked Dawson's last bow. The band fired him for unexplained reasons in June 1986.
Dawson quickly regrouped with guitarist Steve Johnson and former Saxon drummer Nigel Durham for a solo album that went unreleased, for legal reasons; Angel Air reissued their AOR- and hard rock-styled efforts in 2002 as Pandemonium Circus.
He and former Saxon guitarist Oliver Dawson also laid claim to their old band's name as Oliver Dawson Saxon, with the intent of recording an album for Angel Air. Vocalist Biff Byford also continued to front a version of the band; further flurries of court action didn't stop either lineup from going about its business. ~ Ralph Heibutzki