Saxon founding guitarist Paul Quinn to retire from touring

Paul Quinn performs onstage with Saxon
(Image credit: Sergione Infuso - Corbis / Getty)

British heavy metal veterans Saxon have announced that guitarist Paul Quinn will step down from live duties following the completion of their European tour.

“After much soul searching, our great friend and fellow warrior Paul Quinn has decided to step back from touring with Saxon,” reads a statement from the band.

“After many years on the road, with the subsequent stress and tiredness that accompany long tour schedules, Paul doesn’t want his performance to suffer and let his fellow bandmates and fans down.

“Paul will continue to record with the band and may play select special shows in the future. Saxon stand by Paul's decision and will keep you all informed regarding our next journey.”

As a result of Quinn’s decision, the band have said they will be forced to cancel their South American dates next month and their appearances on the Monsters Of Rock cruise in late April “to give time to re-group.” However, they still plan to honor all of their existing summer festival appearances.

Quinn co-founded the band in 1975, alongside vocalist Biff Byford. The two musicians have been the only constants in the band’s line-up since then. Quinn’s retirement leaves Byford as their sole remaining original touring member.

At present, the metal stalwarts have not announced a replacement for Quinn. Meanwhile, in a now-deleted Facebook post, the guitarist explained his reasons and said he intended to play with his side project The Cards.

“You need to know I will miss you and my Saxon co-workers for the great times on and off stage,” wrote Quinn. “So with regret I will leave while I can still hold my head high and not worry about my fingers or brain forgetting riffs, keys or stumbling over licks, as they do occasionally.

“I am not taking this lightly, and I want to do Saxon proud, whilst continuing to love and play music with The Cards and other projects.”

Keep an eye on Saxon’s Facebook page for further updates on their line-up and touring plans.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar,, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.