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  MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS

URIAH HEEP INTERVIEW WITH BERNIE SHAW TALKING ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM 'OUTSIDER'


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Uriah Heep have just released their 24th studio album, 'Outsider', which is out now on Frontiers Records. MetalTalk's Mark Taylor chatted to singer Bernie Shaw and he had Heeps to say.

Hi Bernie, what can we read into the album title 'Outsider'?

"Well, even though there is a song on the album called 'The Outsider' it had nothing to do with the thought of what we wanted for an album title. Uriah Heep has been going now for 44 years and you do get classified as many different guises and some are dinosaurs of rock or you're en vogue or you're not en vogue and it's seemed to us as we felt that we are neither and even though we have sold a lot of records we are still treated as the outsider so it seemed quite appropriate for right now."

Article continues below...

   


How happy are you with the album yourself?

"We've come up with a true Heep rock album. We did not enter the studio trying to reinvent the wheel, we're way too long in the tooth for that. We know the chemistry of the band, we know what the fans expect from a Heep album and that's a good melodic rock song, lots of wailing wah wah guitar, a grungy Hammond organ and a good dose of harmony vocals and that's what we have come up with."

You have shot a promo video for 'One Minute'; it's one of the most commercial songs you have done with the band.

"Yes, except for the Argent cover of 'Hold Your Head Up'. It's a got a very cool groove to it. It's very catchy as having a tendency to being catchy can be."

Did the writing of that song come quickly?

"Mick Box and Phil Lanzon do all of the writing, and that was definitely one of the fastest songs that came with ease... With this album we went into the studio with a lot of ideas but only a few finished songs because we had a very busy two years of live work. Mick and Phil would be up burning the candle at both ends, at night time writing, then up early for a good breakfast, then into the studio, press the button and start work on the backing tracks, and we were knocking out a couple of tracks a day with all the full backing tracks because we record in one room... You had all five members in the studio together sweating and having a laugh. None of this, doing it on email or in different countries."

Do you think it's important to be all there together when it comes to recording?

"Well i think that if you want to get that continuity and that feel down, that's it's five guys having a laugh, five guys in a room playing their hearts out. You can't do that via a computer... It sounds all too disjointed to me, if you want a real album, then get real musicians all playing real instruments in one room."



This is the first album to feature bass player Davey Rimmer, who came into the band after we sadly lost Trevor Bolder last year. How has Davey bonded with the band and what did Heep get out of working with him?

"I think we got a fantastic performance out of him. When he first joined the band Davey was learning all the classic songs of old, copying and doing his renditions of Trevor's bass lines which are very melodic and like a liquid running form of bass. Trevor played with his fingers and was a real solid player.

"Trevor never really got the recognition that he deserved, one of the best bass players this country has ever produced, but he wasn't one for blowing his own horn so he went kind of unnoticed, except from other bass players.

"Davey Rimmer has always been a David Bowie and Trevor Bolder fan and to be stepping up to the plate in the studio he came up with his own lines but they're right in the pocket. That's what Trevor would've played and we felt that and he really did contribute his 'bit' to the album. It's seeped in Trevor's memories but it's Davey Rimmer solidly song by song."

You released 'Sonic Origami' in 1998 and then there was a ten year gap before 'Wake The Sleeper' which is the first of four studio albums you've made since then. How have Uriah Heep become so prolific since then considering that you're constantly touring your backsides off around the world?

"We have been, the live arena is where we flourish and where we really feel the most comfortable but with the state of the music business over the last two decades you can't even compare it to what it was and what it is now, and that's why 'Wake The Sleeper' took so long as it did to record, because we couldn't find a home.

"We sign a record deal, then two months down the line, that person who signed you went off to work with somebody else, and the person who took their place didn't like you and would'nt be one of 'their' priority bands and you get moved around like a piece of meat, so we thought forget it, we just do our bootlegs and have fun with the 'Magician's Birthday' gigs and that was good enough for us.

"Finally Frontiers approached us and that's where 'Wake The Sleeper' came in... Now we have a stable home, none of the creative juices are going to waste, Mick and Phil are quite prolific song writers now they have a place for all of their ideas and not just sitting on a tape recorder or a computer waiting to go somewhere. With Frontiers we now have a happy home."

uriah heep

You have now been in the band for 28 years now. I believe that Mick Box first saw you singing for Stratus at the Marquee Club back in 1984. What were your first impressions of meeting Mick?

"The guy's an icon, even though I hadn't met him before I knew the music of Uriah Heep. I even used to sing their songs back in Canada in a band called Cold Sweat, but to have him knocking on my dressing room door and there was this rock star in front of me grinning like a Cheshire Cat was quite daunting, but to find out he was just a normal guy with a really cool job was even better. There was no ego and all he had to say was positive things and a positive outlook for the band he wanted to put together and carry on with the Heep name."

No disrespect to your former bands of Grand Prix, Praying Mantis and Stratus, but to go into a band like Uriah Heep which were a worldwide household name must have been very daunting for you?

"Absolutely. You know, it's funny, I'm the fifth singer that the band have had in their history, but some fans still will only think that David Bryon as the singer for Uriah Heep, so I was always compared to David even though there was also John Lawton, John Sloman, Peter Goalby and five minutes of Steff Fontaine...

"For fans that compared me with David, that's fine, but David was a fantastic singer. In the studio nobody could touch him, a charismatic front man extraordinaire, but his time with the band came to a close and unfortunately he passed away due to his excesses. I didn't push him out, but I was asked to join the band by Mick and I vowed to Mick that he will only ever get 100% out of me because I don't know how to do anything else except give 100%."

Let's talk about your first shows you did with Uriah Heep back in 1987. After a tour of Germany you were invited to play behind the Iron Curtain in Russia. People forget now, but it was a different time and we didn't really know what it was like on the other side. What was that experience like?

"Absolutely amazing. It was scary. We didn't know what we were heading into. We had experiences of playing in a band that had played in the Eastern Bloc before so we knew about the Communism and the red tape and the pitfalls of playing in such a regime, but to actually go into Russia, Mother Russia! and to play in front of 186,000 Soviet people including 300 armed soldiers every night for ten nights, that was scary! But the adrenaline rush was like wahoo, off the Richter scale, you can't buy drugs like that, and I had only been in the band five minutes!"

You recently did some special shows in Germany with just yourself and Mick Box along with Alice Cooper, Joe Lynn Turner, Kim Wilde and Midge Ure in the Rock Meets Classic Tour. How was that for you?

"That was fabulous. Me and Mick have never been invited to do anything so off the cuff and left of the centre with a 50 piece orchestra and a ten piece rock band. Everyone got to do four songs each. We were second billing from the top, one below Alice and we went down an absolute storm which still kind of shocks us because it was just Mick and I doing what we do best. But there was between 3-7,000 people there every night, 22 shows and it was an actual barnstormer."

These type of shows are very popular in Germany, but we don't get them anywhere else yet.

"Well, the shows were in Germany plus there was some shows in Austria, Switzerland and one show in France and everybody from the bus drivers to the caterers to the wardrobe people were great. There were no egos from the artists, everyone was like a diamond, we all got on like one big family and we just went from town to town and knocked 'em dead every night.

"Alice was fabulous. At the end of every show for the finale everyone was on stage for 'School's Out' and Alice Cooper would either come up and hit me with his cane or kick Mick in the pants. Alice was always in character."

Did Kim Wilde surprise you? I saw her myself in concert recently at the Shepherds Bush Empire and she is a formidable singer and performer.

"She has got such a great rock voice, you think of her music from the 80s and her commercial stuff she did but the girl has has got a serious rock voice and she can sit down and drink with the rest of the boys. On nights off we'll go off to a wine bar and have a nice dinner together and she would talk about her Dad and her family, a very famous family and a really cool girl."

uriah heep

I would imagine Midge Ure has got a few stories to share, because some people forget he was in Thin Lizzy for a little while?

"A lovely, lovely guy. We shared the dressing room many times as he was on his own... Funnily enough I had just finished reading his biography and for every page I turned I thought 'I've already heard this story' because we would be sitting backstage conversing for hours and hours."

So when you played in Vienna, did Midge Ure perform his Ultravox hit 'Vienna'?

"Yes he did, he sang 'Vienna' in Vienna and the place went absolutely nuts. The boy has got a serious set of pipes on him. People forget that it was the New Romantic age, but Ultravox were a rock band at heart."

You only came back from Brazil last month with Uriah Heep. Did you feel that the country has got the World Cup Fever at the moment?

"I gotta admit, in certain areas it is, but we actually found that Brazil for a football mad country has got a lot of poverty and there's a lot of animosity going on about how the money was being misspent. It should be being spent on schools and infrastructure rather than new football fields.

"I did eight concerts in ten days in Brazil and I spent time travelling through eleven different airports and each one was being refurbished, millions of dollars being spent, and I gotta admit in talking with local people like taxi drivers, hotel people, the general consensus is that the money should be spent on the people and not on this one big party... It's going to be good but the people's heart is not really into it."

Iron Maiden have their 'Trooper' beer and Status Quo now have their 'Piledriver' but in Brazil. I noticed that on your website someone knocked up some Uriah Heep beer.

"They did indeed, two different beers, a weiss beer and a Belgian 6% Pilsner beer. Under duress I did have to try it and it's not bad. I didn't realise Quo have done their own Piledriver beer. It's funny that that have called it Piledriver because that's the the little pre show tipple that I invented of the same name. Dave Ling knows all about what one of those is."

Funnily enough I was with Dave Ling that night in your dressing room at the Giants Of Rock Festival earlier this year and yes, we were indeed introduced to the Piledriver.

"Ha-Ha, he was left with a hangover from Hell. It's copious amounts of vodka with a touch of the vitamin C and some tonic water. It's the composition that makes it so special. You can't go overboard on any of the ingredients, you got to have the right measures of all three and many a greater man than Dave Ling has ended up under the table."

With that parting shot, Mark Taylor went off to the bar.

Uriah Heep's 'Outsider' is out now on Frontiers Records.




13.6.14


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2016 is the year of 'All You Can Eat' Thunder with an expansive box set and arena dates...

vardis terry horbury TERRY HORBURY FROM VARDIS PASSES AWAY AGED 65
Terry Horbury died after a short illness and will be hugely missed for both his talent and personality...

ramblin man BLACK STONE CHERRY ANNOUNCED AS SUNDAY HEADLINERS FOR RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR
Black Stone Cherry, The Graveltones and Airbourne are among the next batch of acts joining Whitesnake, Uriah Heep and Hawkind for 2016...

scott ian anthrax SCOTT IAN FROM ANTHRAX DISCUSSES WHY THE BAND FELT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO COMPLETE THEIR UK AND EU TOUR AFTER THE RECENT ATTACKS IN PARIS
Watch the video right here...

delta deep DELTA DEEP FEATURING DEF LEPPARD'S PHIL COLLEN ANNOUNCE EXCLUSIVE UK SHOWS ON 20TH & 21ST DECEMBER
Don't miss this chance to see the remarkable quartet...

acdc AC/DC ANNOUNCE 2016 AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
The "Rock Or Bust" tour continues its onslaught on the world...

ricky warwick RICKY WARWICK PREMIERES VIDEO FOR 'THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS STREET'
The track is the first to be revealed from his two new solo albums to be released in 2016...

lacuna coil LACUNA COIL REVEAL FIRST DETAILS FOR NEW ALBUM
'Delirium' is being recorded in Milan and will be released in 2016...

off yer rocka OFF YER ROCKA RECORDINGS HITS THE ROAD IN STYLE WITH A SHOWCASE TOUR OF THE UK
Each date will feature three talented bands from the label...

grand slam PHIL LYNOTT'S SONGS TO BE RE-RECORDED IN NEW GRAND SLAM PROJECT FEATURING MARK STANWAY & LAURENCE ARCHER
"This new band will be able to play all of the Grand Slam classic songs to their full potential and will re-record the songs giving them the justice they always deserved..."

babymetal BABYMETAL ANNOUNCE BRAND NEW STUDIO ALBUM FOR 2016 TO BE RELEASED ON APRIL 1st
The album is released the day before Babymetal's biggest ever UK show at Wembley Arena...

treatment THE TREATMENT ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM 'GENERATION ME'
The album celebrates a raft of spectacular big sounding rock songs bursting with hi-octane rock energy...

korpiklaani moonsorrow KORPIKLAANI ANNOUNCE CO-HEADLINE TOUR WITH MOONSORROW
Get ready for an unforgettable show from two powerhouses of the Finnish Folk Metal scene...

reckless love RECKLESS LOVE ANNOUNCE A EUROPEAN TOUR FOR 2016
Reckless Love will be joined by special guests Santa Cruz for the 25 date outing...

tony iommi IRON MAIDEN ANNOUNCE THREE JULY DATES IN SPAIN
Iron Maiden will play Viveiro, Madrid and Barcelona...

tony iommi 'AN AUDIENCE WITH TONY IOMMI' WILL TAKE PLACE ON SATURDAY 19 MARCH 2016
Tickets for the exclusive Birmingham event go on-sale 11th December...

sabaton SABATON TO RELEASE 'HEROES ON TOUR' LIVE DVD/CD PACKAGE ON MARCH 4TH 2016
Sabaton will also tour the UK in a co-headline slot with Alestorm in the spring...

ramblin man WHITESNAKE TO HEADLINE RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR
The first batch of bands is announced today and in addition to the legendary Whitesnake features Europe, Hawkwind and more...

heart HEART ANNOUNCE RARE UK TOUR
Ann and Nancy Wilson bring Heart to the UK for only the second time in 25 years, including a performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra...

dirkschneider DIRKSCHNEIDER ANNOUNCE UK DATES WITH SPECIAL GUESTS ANVIL
The tour closes the chapter on Accept as Udo Dirkschneider performs the songs for the last time...

rodney matthews ionawr IONAWR – AN EXHIBITION OF RODNEY MATTHEWS' ART OPENS IN JANUARY 2016
The spectacular exhibition ecompasses Matthews' artistic career as both a science fiction and fantasy artist ...

purson PURSON ANNOUNCE UK TOUR AND ALBUM RELEASE DATE
The album 'Desire's Magic Theatre' draws inspiration from the rock operas of the late sixties and early seventies...

graham bonnet GRAHAM BONNET ANNOUNCES UK TOUR
The ex-Rainbow frontman headlines sixteen dates including a special homecoming show...

manowar MANOWAR UNVEIL STAGE DESIGNS FOR "GODS AND KINGS WORLD TOUR 2016" PLUS NEW MUSIC VIDEOS
It'll be like the set of an epic movie. Or better yet, for the length of our concert you will be living in ancient Rome, Greece and Valhalla..."

weapon uk WEAPON UK ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR 2016
The eight date headline tour will take place in February and March...

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