A good one with Heep, led by a still very young Mr. Makowski. Glad that he finally “discovered” Heep in this one. One of the very best bands to discover if you are looking for great bands from the 70s.
Heep: silent phenomenon?
By Pete Makowski
It wasn`t until recently that I discovered exactly how popular Uriah Heep are. The extent of their success has spread all over the world and they seem to be getting bigger all the time. They could be classed as one of yer silent phenomenons.
Last week there was a reception for the band`s new album “Wonderworld” and the members were all present. I got to the place a bit too early and found the band`s organist Ken Hensley sitting at a table indulging in a bevy or two.
The record player was consistently playing Uriah Heep music and later a video tape of the band`s Shepperton performance was shown as the place began to fill out with press people and various music people. A few words with Hensley revealed that he has a new solo album in the can which was originally going to be called “Wonderworld”.
“I`ve already got the songs written but I haven`t got the time to complete recording”, he said. Eventually we got to talking about the disadvantages of living next to an airport when I was signalled to get ready for my interview with Messrs Mick Box and Lee Kerslake – two extremely amiable guys.
The band recorded the new album in Munich, basically due to tax reasons, but they also found that the studio was compatible for all their needs. I asked Mick how he felt about the album.
“We`re very pleased with it, because it was a strange studio. What I like about it is that we did a couple of the numbers spontaneously in the studio. I like that `cause when we go on stage we have one go with each song and it`s great if you can do that in the studio `cause you get the right feel.”
There was a time when Uriah Heep were categorised in the same vein as Sabbath – bringing out albums like “Demon And Wizzards” and “Magicians Birthday”. “We thought our way out of that one”, explained Mick. “We never created any of that, there were just a few songs put together that fell into that category.
If “Wonderworld” was originally intended to appear on Hensley`s solo album how come it ended up on Heep`s record? “`Wonderworld` was a song that Kenny had saved for his solo album but the policy we have with the band is that anybody can do a solo album, and other people are, but it musn`t detract from anything you write for the band. So anyone can do what they want but the priority at all times must be Uriah Heep. And we tried out Kenny`s song and found that it suited us.”
As soon as Mick mentioned solo album I immediately decided to pursue the subject. Okay boss, whose a gonna make a solo album, eh? “We`re all in the process of doing one”, replied Mick. Dave is going to do a solo album but that will be totally different to anything that Uriah Heep have done.
“Uriah Heep as individuals are into different things. Some of us like funky music, there`s a few acoustic things that we`ve written. There`s some stuff that we`ve written that we`d like to use a chick singer on because that would be more appropriate. We`ve all got ideas in the back of our minds of what we`d like to do and who we`d like to feature.”
“Funny part about it”, interjected Lee, “is that they`re not name people. They`re just guys that we know as friends”.
“If you make a solo album it does become a drag if you start trading on the big names”, continued Mick. “I`d rather it sold one on my own name than if it sold a thousand because David Bowie was playing a sax solo on it or something like that.
“We`re all in the process of doing solo albums, it`s just a matter of slotting it in because Uriah Heep has the priority over everything. The solo albums are just so that each individual doesn`t feel 100 per cent stifled within the band.”
The band have been spending a lot of time in the US of lately so how has that affected them musically? “It changes you from a semi-pro band to a professional polished outfit”, said Lee. “If you tour in England”, continued Mick, “you do about three weeks at the most. If you do America you tour about two or three months. With that amount of time together you find out a lot of things outside of the music, if you can live together as a unit, `cause you go through so many ups and downs. You`re living in each other`s pockets all the time.”
“There`s no in betweens in the States”, said Lee, “it`s either you`re great or get off`.
Everything we`ve learnt in America we try to bring over here. You`ve got to think of the audience all the time. They`re the people that pushed you on, they bought your records and tickets. And to go on and cut your act down because the stage is too small is just not professional or good enough. We want the audience to get the best that we`ve got to offer.
“What groups have to realise is that audiences can`t be fooled any more, they`re not stupid. I mean they know exactly what we`re doing. They know what instruments we`re playing, they know how thick the skins on Lee`s drums are. I mean one night my wah wah pedal broke and one guy wrote up and asked if it was the batteries. I thought `how the fuck did he know that?`.”
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bryan Ferry, Captain Beefheart, Jim Capaldi, Lee Jackson, Genesis, Byzantium, Denny Cordell, Ronnie Lane, Blue, Nutz, Arthur Brown, Harry Chapin, Groundhogs.
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