The Heavy Thunder Of Uriah Heep Strikes SoCal

URIAH HEEP play The Coach House Apr. 19: press photo

URIAH HEEP play The Coach House Apr. 19: press photo

As one of the founders of the ‘eavy metal sound, Uriah Heep has paved a road filled with experimentation, progressive ideas, and rich sounds that has garnered them love and praise since their inception in 1969.

For those who are not aware, their name comes from a character in the novel “David Copperfield”. And the origin of their formation went a little like this: “How did the band start? It got started by us playing our instruments,” laughs co-founder/lead guitarist, Mick Box.
“How does any band start? You start in a band, and you form, and change members until you find a combination that you like. And we found that in 1970 and improved on that by about 1972. And that was the one that would be termed the band that had the most success at the time. So, we came out with Heep, Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Zeppelin all at the same time.”

That was over forty years ago and is a testament to their staying power to still be going strong today. According to Box, “We still have the same passion and energy for what we do, mate. Music is our life. And we are lucky enough to have had songs that stood the test of time, that people still like hearing in the live arena, which allows us to tour in 61 countries. It’s marvelous, something that is your job to travel around the world like that, it could be no better. We never forget how lucky we are.”

Having such a long and intense history, it could be hard to narrow a single standout moment. Yet for Box, there is one highlight: “I think of the standout moments it would be that we were the first western rock band to play in Russia, in December 1987. We were invited over there by glasnost; and we went over there and played to 180,000 people. Just a marvelous experience considering what you were taught in school about Russians. We had no idea how big we were over there through our music, which they could only get access through the black market.”

Every band typically has songs that they like to play.

“We leave that to the fans, Box said. “I mean, generally fans let you know exactly what their favorites are. They usually range from “Gypsy” to “July Morning” to “Easy Living” to “Lady in Black” and the list goes on. We let the fans do the choosing, cuz you know, we are playing for the fans, not ourselves.”

There is also a long history of fans giving the band some pretty strange things over the years. Box relates one such occurrence.

“We did a five-week tour of Russia, and the first show was in Yekaterinburg. Someone said there was a guy outside who wants to give you a present and of course I said to give me a few minutes and I will go out and meet him. He actually made – you know the beautiful churches that are all over Russia – well he makes the bells. He’s the actual bell maker. And he gave me a bell with my name on it. Which was very, very heavy and huge. And I had to carry it around for five weeks. It was a hard thing to lug about.

“I think mostly we have been pioneers of the entire industry, by being the first, through our success that everyone else could follow. And now, of course, Russia is on every band’s tour and the European market. Being the first to do something like that, and being pioneers is quite something.”

This love of progressivism and constantly moving forwards is a defining feature of Uriah Heep as a band.

“In January, we recorded a new album called Living the Dream with a great producer by the name of Jay Ruston, that’s getting released in September on Frontier Records,” revealed Box. “And of course, we start a world tour again starting then. Then we’ll do great European things and it’ll go on forever again,” states Box.

Touring is well-known as a grueling ordeal, so how does a band like Uriah Heep get through it over and over again?

“What you do is you look out for your health,” Box explained. “It’s as simple as that. Nobody wants to see someone out on stage drunk or drugged up or anything, you know.

“So, we look after our health. You’re only as good as your last show as far as we are concerned. We give it 110% every time we are on that stage. And to do that, you have to look after yourself. Health first is the answer. We can do an eight-hour day before we hit the stage, and to do that you have to be on top of the game.”

Witness the sound and the glory of Uriah Heep when they hit The Coach House on Apr 19!

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