Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with URIAH HEEP guitarist Mick Box. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On writing songs for new album "Outsider":
"They came together really quickly, actually. Phil Lanzon [keyboards] and I wrote all of the songs. We had a couple of little ideas when we went into the studio, but most of them were formulated in the studio. Phil and myself are very in tune with each other lyrically and musically. We always have a number of ideas, so we can work very quickly together. This was exceptional though, to come out with an album like 'Outsider' on that sort of schedule.
"At the start of the day, what we used to do is just play through some ideas, find what captures everyone's imagination, and then Phil and I would write the song. We'd then rehearse it, record it, and then we'd play it live. Then we'd have the backing track down, and then Phil and I would go away and work on the lyrics, and then work on another song, and then come in the next day and do the same process. We kind of did 11 tracks in ten days, so it was very fast, but that was all of the backing tracks. Then we went on tour to Turkey and the U.K., and came back in to finish off the vocals and any overdubs that were required, and solos. That was it. It was all very quick — clean and simple.
"I don't think we've ever spent longer than three months making an album, and that's writing, recording, and mixing — pre-production, everything. This time around though, we did it in under a month. It's worked very well for us. We just go in there, play live, and capture the band all on one pulse. I think that's the way you get the right amount of excitement out of each track, and I think it shows in the grooves."
On the passing of bassist Trevor Bolder:
"It was dreadful. It couldn't have been a worse time for the band, because he was such a big part of what we do. He was a world-class bass player, a world-class singer, a world-class writer, and a world-class friend. It was an immense wrench for us and it was dreadfully sad, but while he was ill, Dave Rimmer — who is now our bass player — stepped in for Trevor on the basis that Trevor was coming back, of course. Unfortunately, that wasn't to be, and so Dave's there almost on Trevor's blessing. He used to play in a tribute / covers band in Camden Town, London, and Russ [Gilbrook], our drummer, used to go down to jam with him occasionally. Dave came along, and he fitted the criteria perfectly. He's a great bass player, and he's got a great image. He fitted into the chemistry of the band very well, because you can always get another great player to come into the band but they always come with baggage, which is not always the baggage that you want them to come with — if you know what I mean. Dave came in, though. He was a fan of the band — he loved to be there. He's playing great, looking great and he's got the same sort of sense of humour as us, so he kind of fits into all of the criteria. Plus it's with Trevor's blessing, so it couldn't be any better than that. We're not looking anywhere else, because we've got the right guy. Trevor would want us to continue working, and so we will. By doing so, we keep the legacy of all of the great work that he's done over the years alive."
On the possibility of an autobiography:
"I keep starting one, mate, but I keep getting bored talking about myself. I'm just writing it all myself, and then will eventually give it to a publisher. Then they'll get an editor involved, and it'll sort of generally grow from there. No, there are many, many stories. I'll tell you what I want to do. I've read a lot of autobiographies, and I find that I get very bored with them — where they all get involved with drugs, and then they find God, and then everything's forgiven. I find that's terrible, because in their drug life they've crushed so many other people's lives on the way, and yet that's not even mentioned. I find those very boring books, so if I write a book at all, it'll be about the fun, the touring, and the things that happened in that regard. It'll be more light-hearted than a lot of the others that are around today. Now that's not me knocking 'em, because that's their thing to do — to get it off of their chest, or whatever — but it's not my ideal. So yeah, I will write one, but it's just trying to find the right angle, because you know what? When you get in touch with the publishers, the first thing they want is all of the drama. They want all of that stuff written about, because to them it sells books. To be honest, there's a lot of stuff that I don't even want my family to know. There's a lot of stuff that — if written — you could see in law courts. [laughs] You've just gotta find a balance there where readers experience a lot of fun and a good read, but the book doesn't hit on those areas."
Read the entire interview at Metal Forces.