Jeffrey Easton of Metal Exiles recently conducted an interview with guitarist Mick Box of legendary progressive rock veterans URIAH HEEP. An excerpt from the chat follows below.Metal Exiles: There has not been a URIAH HEEP recording since 1998's "Sonic Oragami". Why a 10-year absence of new material? Mick Box: After "Sonic Oragami" and an 18-month tour where the record company did not support us out on the road, and how they said they would we said we would never give them another CD. They really did mess with our lives so once the lawyers had gained us a release, the Internet explosion happened. First, the record industry attacked the Internet and took Napster to court, but they soon found out there were a million Napsters and it was impossible to police. Then they had to reinvent themselves and embrace the Internet and the record industry would never be the same again. Record companies disappeared, became smaller and amalgamated. There were lots of firings and very little hirings. With the industry in that fragile state, we could not find a home to record in so we did what we do best and toured the world. We played in 53 countries so we kept very busy. We released DVDs which we had never done before. We released a 30th anniversary box set, and we did, for the first time, acoustic shows with guests like Ian Anderson from JETHRO TULL. Both released on DVD and CD. Finally, Sanctuary Records UK, who own our back catalogue, said they wanted us to record a new CD. We did just that and delivered to them "Wake The Sleeper", which they loved. The release date was set and boom they were taken over by Universal. We had to wait another year before the CD was released but the reaction has been super positive from fans and media alike so there is a good end to the story. Metal Exiles: The new record is called "Wake The Sleeper". Where did the title come from and what does it mean? Mick: There is a saying "wake a sleeping giant." We thought after a 10-year hiatus that this applied to us in the new recording sense so we shortened it to "Wake The Sleeper". Metal Exiles: The new material is superb. Where did it come from and where do you continue to find inspiration from? Mick: We tour in 53 countries so we are never short on inspiration. The song "What Kind Of God" was inspired by the book "Bury Your Heart At Wounded Knee". "Ghosts Of The Ocean" inspired by women pirates. "Overload" is about the computer generation and "Tears Of The World" by what we are doing to Mother Earth and the tears of the world are still falling. Metal Exiles: It seems some of the songs surround the war theme. What drives you to pen such material? Mick: It seems to be something that is always happening in our world no matter what. As human beings we do not appear to learn very well. Read the entire interview at Metal Exiles. Video footage of URIAH HEEP's October 12, 2008 concert in Munich, Germany can be viewed below (courtesy of "eblinternational").
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