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Mick Box – Guitars for Uriah Heep

Date: 5/14/19
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. Living the Dream is Uriah Heep’s 25 album. So many years after the debut, and so many songs, is it still easy to feel inspired to write new music? Better yet, to write songs that are as strong as your past, and as rocking?

MICK: We just let everything happen naturally and we do not overthink anything. We find that is the best way for the mighty Heep. We play concerts in 61 Countries around the world, so there is plenty of inspiration at every turn.

2. Do you maintain the classic Heep sound by using much of the same guitars and equipment from the 70s and 80s?

MICK: We do record as a band in the studio by all being in the same room at the same time, and this means that we are all on the same pulse and the feeling of the band shines through. We did set a template for the Heep sound back in the 70’s and that is the Hammond Organ, my Wah Wah guitar and we have five part harmonies that we use almost as another instrument. It has served us well over the years and continues to do so. On some tracks, we did not even use a click track and we just went for the feel.

3. Do the fans accept new songs as much as the old ones, or are they a tough sell live?

MICK: With our new album ‘Living the Dream’ the fans and media alike love it and say it is one of the best albums of our career, which is saying something as next year will be our 50th Anniversary. When we play on our own and we do our full set we include six tracks off of the new CD and the songs sit perfectly beside the classic tracks. To be honest in our eyes the new songs are soon to be classics anyway.

4. Many of your peers are in their late 60s, early 70s, and some have started to retire. In your early 70s, how much longer can you see the band playing live?

MICK: We still have the same passion for our music as we have always had, and this is the driving force that gives us the energy to continue and play up to 150 concerts a year. As long as we have our health we will continue to rock as after all we are……. living the dream!

5. With so many albums, if someone asked you recommendations for songs to check out that are mandatory Uriah Heep, what are the top 5 essentials?

MICK: I would possibly go for our “Celebration” album where we re-recorded a lot of the classic tracks. That would be a good start and calling card to discover what we are all about.

6. As a band who came up in the 70s at the formation of hard rock music, and the basic foundations for heavy metal, what 3 Uriah Heep albums from the 70s do you feel are the best, and why?

MICK: Demons and Wizards: This album caught everyone’s imagination and put us on to the world stage. We wrote mystical lyrics that seemed to connect to everyone in a big way. Also, we had a Roger Dean cover that for the first time the music and the cover were intrinsically linked. Abominog: This album saw us on an upward climb in the 80’s and it went Top 40 in the USA and we had a video that was played eight times a day on the then new MTV channel which was amazing. And Living the Dream: Purely because this album brings the mighty Heep up to date and shows that we can rock and write with the best of them.

7. What albums do you ignore when it comes to choices to play live? And why?

MICK: Probably the “Conquest” album as it was not a very comfortable time for the band overall.

8. Why is “Abominog” half cover songs?

MICK: It was only 4 out of 10 songs but this was pressure from the Record Company who insisted we record those songs or they would withdraw the contract. Our Producer Ashley Howe was pushing for those songs too, so it became impossible not to do them, but they are good songs just not ours.

9. Thoughts on the Judas Priest US tour so far? How long of a set does Uriah Heep get?

MICK: So far and it is still early days yet, it has been magnificent. The reactions we have been receiving have been fantastic. The Judas Priest band and crew have been wonderful and a pleasure to work with. We are given 1 hour so we decided as the JP audience is predominantly metal, we would leave our acoustic songs behind and rock out from the first note to the last. It has proved each night that it was the right thing to do.

10. Closing thoughts?

MICK: It is a complete joy to be playing on this JP tour, so we can play some of the new tunes off of our “Living the Dream” album and a bunch of classics too, plus we still have a chance to let loose on some solo’s which is always exciting. I would like to add a big thanks to the many fans we have, and I would like to extend a huge welcome to those people who have just become Heep fans through seeing us on this JP tour. ‘Appy days! Mick Box.

Official website: Official page: http://www.uriah-heep.com/


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