There is some time left to the URIAH HEEP’s concert in Warsaw. We decided to warm up an atmosphere a litlle bit. In our interview with Mick Box we asked about latest album, concerts and music industry…
It’s been a while since you released your latest album.
What are the opinions on this release?
Are you happy with the reactions to your new songs at the concerts?
We are very happy with the reaction to the new songs thus far in the live arena. It has been very positive. It has been great that we could give the fans the Heep CD that they were all waiting for. The media have all loved it so far and the reviews worldwide have been stunning.
„Wake The Sleeper” is full of rock energy. What is the story this album is telling?
We wanted to record a rock CD that represented the passion and energy that we still have for our music. It is full of rock songs that have memorable melodies and hopefully strong lyrical content. From the first 30 seconds you can hear and feel this passion and energy.
While making the album, did you intend to record heavy music? What does the recording process look like?
We recorded this as a band all in one room and this was inspired by our producer Mike Paxman who heard the songs in the rehearsal room and wanted that power on the CD. It sounds so much better recording as a band than doing it piecemeal.
It’s been 10 years since you released „Wake The Sleeper” after „Sonic Origami”. What was the reason for this long break?
Our last CD Sonic Origami was loved by the fans, press and the record company. However when we put an 18 month world tour together the record company did not support it in the markets we toured as they had promised and we said then that we would not give them another CD. It is heartbreaking to put your life and soul into something and have it ruined like that. It took a while to get out of the contract and then the record industry went into free fall with the internet explosion. First they attacked the internet and took Napstar to court but they found out there were millions of free downloads and it was impossible to police. They then had to embrace the internet and in doing so the record industry could never be the same again. Companies folded up, disappeared, amalgamated and there were plenty of firings and not many hiring’s. With the industry in this fragile state we could not find a new recording home. Eventually when the dust settled, Sanctuary Records UK who owns our back catalogue decided to offer us a contact to make a new CD. We thought that this was a good idea and we recorded a CD which they loved and we could not wait for the fans to hear. However such is the state of the business before it could be released Universal bought out Sanctuary. We then had a 1 year nail biting time to find out if Universal were ever going to release it. When they heard the CD they loved it and wanted to release it so it was a huge sigh of relief and we are very happy with them thus far.
you’ve cancelled a few concerts in Former Soviet Republics. As far as I
know it’s an organizer of this event who is to blame here. Have you
ever had any problems of this kind, or maybe you are usually satisfied
with concert organization?
This was an unusual situation and luckily it does not happen often. I am most disappointed for the Russian fans and my heart goes out to them. It became impossible for these shows to happen and I was personally devastated as were the rest of the band.
What are your memories from your previous visits to Poland?
We have always been welcomed by the Polish people so we have nothing but good to say. They love our music and it is a joy to be playing there again.
Which tracks do you play during this tour? Probably the set includes mainly the tracks from the latest release but does it feature any older tracks?
We are very proud of our history so the set will have all of the classic hits alongside some of the new music from Wake the Sleeper.
Do you prefer playing at large festivals or in clubs?
They both have their moments. As long as there is an audience I am happy.
Do you plan to release a concert DVD from this tour?
I am sure one will surface somewhere down the line.
Uriah Heep has been releasing hard rock and prog rock albums for years… Right now your style is much harder, does it mean that you’re no longer into fairytale themes? or maybe it’s a natural course of things?
We are on the rock trail right now but we can never say never about anything. We just let things take their natural course.
Usually, musicians point the latest album as the best one. It’s not my intention to criticize „Wake Up The Sleeper” but in your case, I think that the choice wouldn’t be so simple with so many great albums, long list of brilliant tracks and band’s long history.
Which albums do you find the best in your discography?
That is something I let the fans decide as I am too close to them all. Demons and Wizards and WTS would be right up there.
Can you name any album you like the least?
Fallen Angel / Conquest / Different World
What music do you listen to on regular basis? What are the albums you’ve recently bought?
Recently bought: Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Slipknot, The Answer, Joe Satriani, John 5, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, The Last Shadow Puppets, Opeth, Journey, Black Stone Cherry.
Listen to on regular basis: Neil Young, Crowded House, The Finn Brothers, Jeff Beck, The Tea Party, Joe Walsh, Free, Van Halen, Graham Nash, Beatles, Django Rheinhardt.
Some young bands want to improve their market standing by selling music files. What does it look like from the perspective of old-hands in this business?
To tell you the truth, I think that without a CD and a booklet something special about the music just disappears…
That really disappeared with Vinyl really. Yes anything tactile is slowly going away which is a shame. The artwork is all part of the package where you can read the lyrics and find more information about the band. That is why Wake the Sleeper is released on CD and Vinyl.
See you at a concert in Warsaw
Wish you all the best and please write a few words to Rock Area’s readers
To all of Rock Area’s readers who bought our Wake the Sleeper CD we thank you for your support. We hope to see you all at the concert for a good honest rock show of classic and new songs. ‘Appy days! Mick Box
Questions: Piotr Spyra & Arek Cieślak
Translation: Gosia Michalska