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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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Patti Russo made her name as Meat Loaf's female lead vocalist between 1993 and 2013 and tonight she sets out on a set of April and May UK dates...

skyclad MARTIN WALKYIER GOES SKYCLAD ANNOUNCED AS BEERMAGEDDON SATURDAY NIGHT HEADLINER
"Once again we will witness Skyclad in it's true glory, as intended from conception, the Skyclad that impacted Metal like no incarnation since..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN CATALOGUE NOW MASTERED FOR ITUNES
"I honestly feel that there is a massive improvement in the quality of these classic albums..."

skid row JOHNNY SOLINGER LEAVES SKID ROW; REPLACEMENT NAMED ALREADY
"We had a lot of great times together and created a lot of great music. We wish him nothing but the best."

sos festival SOS FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES SIX MORE BANDS
Skarlett Riot, The Raven Age, 13 Stars, Heartbreak Remedy, Liz Owen & Charlotte Hackett are added to the loaded bill this July...

ginger GINGER WILDHEART ANNOUNCES "SONGS & WORDS TOUR" APRIL/MAY 2015
"This is a tale of redemption, self discovery and, ultimately, battling the odds and winning on my own terms..."

megadeth ANGRA GUITARIST KIKO LOUREIRO JOINS MEGADETH
He will be Megadeth's tenth guitarist in the band's thirty year history and he replaces the departed Chris Broderick...

odium CANADA'S ODIUM ISSUE STUDIO UPDATE AND OFFER FREE SONG DOWNLOAD
As the album comes together in the studio, Odium have no plans to slow down on the live performance front...

videscape VIDESCAPE IS THE NEW WAY FOR MUSICIANS TO MAKE MORE MONEY FROM VIDEOS AND AUDIO
VidEscape is perhaps not a site many musicians and bands are familiar with but all that could change in the coming months...

van halen VAN HALEN SHUT DOWN HOLLYWOOD BLVD FOR SPECIAL JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE PERFORMANCE
The band performed a forty five minute set to fans who were given free tickets to attend the outdoor event...

status quo STATUS QUO TO ROCK ROCHESTER CASTLE FOR A RECORD FIFTH TIME
The Quo will perform at the picturesque Norman castle grounds on Wednesday July 15th with support from Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel...

skarlett riot SKARLETT RIOT ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
Dubbed the 'We Will Rise' Tour to promote their new EP, 'We Are The Brave', the band will be joined on the trek by The Raven Age...

whitesnake BREAKING NEWS: DEF LEPPARD/WHITESNAKE/BLACK STAR RIDERS ANNOUNCE DECEMBER UK TOUR
Tickets go on sale at 10.00am on 1st April from Live Nation UK with pre-sale and VIP ticketing information coming soon...

doro DORO CONFIRMED FOR ROCK IN RIO AND ANNOUNCES HUGE EUROPEAN TOUR
"This is amazing and a dream coming true. I think that we might also play my hymn 'All We Are'."...

wasp W.A.S.P. SIGN TO NAPALM RECORDS WITH NEW ALBUM SET FOR RELEASE THIS AUGUST
Almost six years have passed since the world saw a new studio album from Metal icons W.A.S.P...

evil scarecrow EVIL SCARECROW SET OFF FOR 'ROAD TO DOWNLOAD' TOUR
Grab the chance to catch the Nottingham maestros of Metal around the UK before their appearance at Download...

bruce dickinson IRON MAIDEN ISSUE BRUCE DICKINSON HEALTH UPDATE AS NEW PHOTOS OF BRUCE EMERGE
Things are looking very positive concerning the Bruce Dickinson cancer situation...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN TO RECEIVE O2 SILVER CLEF AWARD
The iconic band have won the Outstanding Contribution To UK Music category...

the darkness THE DARKNESS REVEAL FIRST SINGLE 'OPEN FIRE'
The single and the forthcoming album 'Last Of Our Kind' promise an explosion of rock following the band's break ...

thunder THUNDER APPEAR ON WEEKEND WOGAN BBC RADIO SHOW
Thunder's new album 'Wonder Days' went straight into the Top Ten of the UK album charts and they have just completed a highly successful UK tour...

aj pero BANDMATES AND STARS PAY TRIBUTE TO TWISTED SISTER AND ADRENALINE MOB DRUMMER AJ PERO
Pero was on tour with Adrenaline Mob when members of that band were unable to rouse him on their bus on Friday morning...

red dragon cartel RED DRAGON CARTEL NAME MICHAEL THOMAS BECK IN LEAD VOCALIST CHANGE UP
Darren James Smith is out, and a new era begins. The saga continues...

walls of jericho WALLS OF JERICHO ARE ENTERING THE STUDIO
The band will start work shortly on their first full length album since 2008...

beyond forgotton shores DORMANT INFERNO & DIONYSUS ANNOUNCE SPLIT RELEASE 'BEYOND FORGOTTEN SHORES'
India's Transcending Obscurity label produces a Doom Metal double...

icon I.C.O.N SIGN TO METALBOX RECORDINGS
With a follow up album to 'New Born Lie' on the way and an extensive touring schedule, 2015 sees I.C.O.N in full flow...

soldierfield SOLDIERFIELD RELEASE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR 'THE ONLY WAR'
The video is from the latest acclaimed release 'Catharsis'...

serpentine SERPENTINE ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF THEIR ALBUM 'CIRCLE OF KNIVES'
The new studio album contains ten brand new songs from the melodic rock quintet...

rival sons RIVAL SONS HAVE RECORDED EXCLUSIVE RECORD STORE DAY TRACKS
The limited edition 7" contains two previously unreleased songs...

styx STYX RELEASE 'LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS'
The definitive live show is available on DVD, CD, Blu-ray and digital formats...

electric wizard ELECTRIC WIZARD CONFIRM FULL SUPPORTING CAST FOR HEADLINE SHOW AT THE ROUNDHOUSE IN LONDON
The Cosmic Dead, Purson and Moss are added to the May 15th bill...

mike porcaro MIKE PORCARO OF TOTO DEAD AT 59
The rock world was shook again on Sunday morning, March 15th 2015...

sick of it all SICK OF IT ALL LAUNCH NEW VIDEO FOR 'GET BRONX'
"This video serves to show people across the world that as gritty and unpretentious as hardcore music is, it still translates to the big stage and doesn't need a tiny, intimate atmosphere to work..."

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT LAUNCHES 'THE WHEEL'S TURNING' LYRIC VIDEO
"In contrast to the primal and gothic nature of much of the album, 'The Wheel's Turning' has a fun and nostalgic vibe..."

corbitt WARBEAST'S BRUCE CORBITT ISSUES UPDATE FOLLOWING HIS HEART SCARE
Bruce has been undergoing tests and has an important message to share...

enter shikari ENTER SHIKARI ANNOUNCE INTIMATE DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL WARM-UP SHOW
Catch the band at Bristol in June before their slot headlining Download's second stage...

tony iommi TONY IOMMI, NAPALM DEATH AND LAMB OF GOD APPEAL TO INDONESIAN PRESIDENT FOR BALI NINE DUO CLEMENCY
All artists are hopeful that their words will be persuasive and encourage President Widodo to grant clemency...

serpentyne MEDIEVAL FOLK ROCKERS SERPENTYNE UNLEASH NEW VIDEO FOR 'VALKYRIES'
Over the last few years their live show has become quite the spectacle...

tank TANK REVEAL ALBUM ARTWORK FOR 'VALLEY OF TEARS'
"He's injected so much new energy and inspiration into the band since joining us in 2013..."

mike portnoy MIKE PORTNOY IN MEGA "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM" MOMENT AFTER HAVING TO WAIT AT HOSPITAL
However well intended, the post comes across as though he is expecting to jump the queue due to his "status"...

armored saint ARMORED SAINT TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM THIS SUMMER
"There's everything from classic Armored Saint rocker songs to epic songs and we all dug deep deliver something special..."

david gilmour DAVID GILMOUR ANNOUNCES 2015 SHOWS
The dates will coincide with the release of his as yet untitled fourth solo studio album...


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