Uriah Heep interview with Mick Box
1. Mick, thank you very much for taking your time for an interview with It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine!
2. I want to talk about your childhood. What were some of the first influences on you as a young kid?
Musically guitarists like Django Rheinhardt, Barney Kessal, Tal Farlowe, then I moved on to Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochrane.
In 1967 you started your first band called The Stalkers which eventually transformed into Spice. The band recorded one single called What About the Music / In Love for United Artist. Can you share some of your memories with “Spice”?
We were just touring up and down the country in a van, and putting the gig money into the petrol tank, to get to the next show. We were playing mostly Universities and clubs, and sleeping in the van, and as a band, we were seriously motivated and passionate about our career.
3. Later on you signed up for Vertigo Records, changed your name to Uriah Heep and started recording your first LP called …Very ‘eavy…Very ‘umble. At the time your sound was very unique, especially when compared with other bands of that era. What are your thoughts?
One of our major influences was a band called Vanilla Fudge, who used a Hammond Organ, searing guitars and high vibrato vocals. We kind of applied that to our original songs, and that became the template for Heep’s sound. We added harmony, as we had 5 vocalists and used this almost as another instrument, plus there was my Wah Wah guitar.
4. A year later you released two albums, Salisbury and Look at Yourself. You went more into progressive waters. What are some of the strongest memories from producing and recording these two albums, Mick?
It was a very creative time, and coming out of the 60’s where to get radio play, you were restricted to songs being 3 minutes long, we let the music develop to what is now known as progressive rock. There were no restrictions. It was a very exciting time indeed, where rules were broken.
5. After that you released Demons and Wizards and The Magician’s Birthday. Can you maybe tell us a few words about it before we go on with some concert stories? Which of the recorded albums is your personal favourite?
Sorry but I never travel that path, and I let the fans do the choosing of favourite albums. There have been however some landmarks, and Demons and Wizards would be one as this took us on to the world stage.
6. Well, you travelled the whole world back then while on tour. Can you take a trip down the memory lane once more and maybe share a few stories from your wild days?
They were wild and crazy days, and without us knowing we were writing the rock n’roll book along with, Purple, Zeppelin, Tull, Nazareth, and the rest of the 70’s bands. As for specific stories you will have to wait for the book to come out!
7. What gear did you guys used on the first albums?
I can only remember that I had a Black Gibson Les Paul guitar, put through a Marshall 100 watt stack, and a Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Wah.
8. This year you released a brand new album called Into the Wild. The album draws many parallels to some of the most legendary stuff you did, do you agree?
That is a comment I have heard a lot regards ITW. I guess it is inevitable to a degree, but it was not something we engineered or even thought about, while writing and recording it.
Can you share the concept behind the album and who took care about the recording and producing side?
There was no concept, just a bunch of songs that were brought to the table. Mike Paxman was the producer,and he was the one to suggest that we record as a band. He heard us in rehearsal, and said that it sounded so good in rehearsal, that was how he wanted to record us, playing as a band and not piecemeal. Mike is a great guy to be around, and quite inspirational. He is full of energy and ideas, and he managed to bring the best out of each person in the recording process.
9. You are going on the tour in December, right? What are some other future plans besides tour for you Mick?
Well we finish touring this year on a UK tour, which is really cool. We have been away from home almost 240 days this year, so the immediate future plans are to spend some quality time with my family, and have a great Xmas and New Year celebration with them. In part of January I will spend some time writing new songs, and coming up with ideas. We have another extensive run of dates in 2012, so I better get it done then, as it is hard to write fully on the road. These songs will be for a new CD, that we hope to record late 2012.
10. I’d like to thank you once again for taking the time and effort to answer my questions. Would you care to send a message to all of your fans and readers of It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine?”
This is a message to all of our fans and readers of Psychedelic Baby Magazine: Have a great festive season, and we hope to see you out on the road in 2012, somewhere, somehow, sometime! Keep on Rockin’ and of course ‘Appy days! Mick URIAH HEEP www.mick-box.net www.uriah-heep.com
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
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