Tag Archives: uriah heep

URIAH HEEP’s Russell Gilbrook: Chaos & Colour Interview

Russell Gilbrook joined URIAH HEEP in 2007, and made an immediate impact with his drumming performance on Wake The Sleeper. Coming up to fifteen years since the release of that first album, Heep’s brand new album is titled Chaos & Colour, and Russell Gilbrook has not only given the band a strong boost of once again, but has also contributed 4 songs to the new album! Along with longtime friend and guitarist Simon J. Pinto, Russell also co-wrote the band’s newest single “Hurricane”. In this interview Russell answers my questions pertaining to the amazing new Uriah Heep album, his writing contributions, and more. Enjoy the read, and check out the new Heep album, as well as the links below.

You’ve contributed 4 excellent tracks to the new Uriah Heep album, co-written with Simon Pinto. First, can you tell me a bit about Simon and how you came to work & write with him? 

I’ve known Simon for around 30 years and played in quite a lot of bands with him. He really understands my approach to drumming and rock music in general. He’s a great player and  I knew the chemistry would work between us when it came to a writing process.

How did you and Simon write together — who came up with musical ideas, lyrics, etc…? 

We got together and I gave him all my ideas of feels, grooves, chord progressions etc.. and he did his own research and familiarized himself with the Heep back catalogue and we slowly built up the songs from those initial ideas. 

We wanted to write songs that had a storytelling element and wanted the music to help tell these stories.

Was there an abundance of songs to choose from for Chaos & Colour, more so than previous albums? How was it all cut down (producer’s choice?) And was there anything put to tape that wasn’t included? 

Because of the lockdown situation, everyone was able to put down a lot of ideas. We had a lot of time on our hands. All those ideas were brought to the table during our two weeks of pre-production and we picked what we felt were the strongest ideas for the next album. Our producer, Jay Ruston, also had a say on which ideas he would like on the album.

The 11 songs were agreed and recorded in Chapel Studios over the three-week period.

Are there any plans to work on / record your songs that didn’t make the album in the future or with another project (solo or with Simon)? 

Yes! All ideas that didn’t go on this record are saved and may be used for either a future Heep record or another project somewhere down the line.

Hurricane sounds like it will be a great live track. I know it might be a ways off, but have you guys discussed what songs from Chaos & Colour you’re probably going to include in the live show? 

Well, we have no idea at this time what will make the live set but I’d definitely love to see it in there. What tends to happen is when we rehearse for touring the Chaos & Colour album, we’ll try out various songs from the album to see which ones we think will fit well with existing Heep songs.

You’ll Never Be Alone is an epic piece! Can you talk share a bit of what influenced this song lyrically and musically?

The story is about a child’s dream where fairies are luring and kidnapping children but this one particular child realizes that there is a problem and alerts the parents who then come to find the lost children and take them from the fairies’ grasp and when it seems like all the children are safe and well, the initial verse structure repeats, suggesting that it is a recurring dream and the fairies are up to their usual tricks. If you close your eyes and focus on the music, it really accentuates the story in a dramatic and magical way. It was really important for us to match the lyrics with the music, making it such an epic track!

Can you give me a bit of insight into Hail The Sunrise (a great catchy chorus), and Fly Like An Eagle (just an awesome hypnotic, progressive sort of song)?

Hail The Sunrise is going back to ancient times of how people erected these sacred formations and the blood, sweat and tears and long journeys that went into the process of moving the stone from one place to another, all for what they believed in. The dedication and devotion that ensured the formations at places such as Stonehenge, Gurung Padang and Gobekli Tepe stood through the ages is astounding and difficult to even comprehend! We wanted the chorus to be quite anthemic to represent the elation these people must have felt when these structures were completed and in use.

Fly Like an Eagle… On the surface it’s about meditation but it also touches on the indigenous cultural tradition of ‘Vision Quest’ – A spiritual journey to receive knowledge from the spirit world. The song was written to be uplifting journey for the listener, so hopefully, everyone gets those feelings from it.

Of the other tracks on the album from with Davey or Mick & Phil – what are a few of your favorites? 

Save Me Tonight by Davey and Jeff Scott Soto is a killer, high energy track! We had no doubt Dave would bring something like this to the table after ‘Grazed By Heaven’. I also really enjoy Silver Sunlight by Phil and Mick. The dynamic changes within that song and the big melodic chorus are exactly what Heep fans love, but all in all, I think every track on the album has it’s strengths and the album has something to offer everyone.

There’s that cool little exchange between you w/ Mick and Davey, back and forth on “Freedom To Be Free”. A pretty intense instrumental section. Can you recall a bit about that song and section came together? 

The song was written by Mick and Phil and we agreed that it would be great to have Davey do a bass solo in there. We played a musical phrase and Davey basically answered it. What that tends to do within a song is give it a bit of a cool musical expression to add a bit of interest. It’s the proggy part of Heep coming out, I suppose!

How did you approach this album playing-wise — anything different?

As a band, no, nothing different really. The song ideas determine ways to play and in the pre-production weeks, we try out a range of different approaches for the playing and find which works best. For me personally, the way I tackle the songs is pretty organic – When I hear the first demos I can already hear what the song needs and as I come from a session background and have played a load of different music styles I tend to have quite a few ideas on the spot and as a result, the drum parts come together pretty easily.

Prior to the release of this album you played on the White Spirit album. Can you tell me a bit about this project? How you got involved and all? Any plans to perform with the band live or on anything in the future?

Actually, Dave Ling (Classic Rock journalist) recommended me to Cliff Evans (Guitar) and Mick Tucker (Guitar) as they were looking for a drummer for the project. They sent over the rough demos and said that I was free to do my own thing on it. Unfortunately, due to the Heep schedule, adding in other touring responsibilities is quite difficult, however, I never say never if there is a gap in the Heep dates, I’ll be out there playing! I’m very happy with the outcome of the album and the songs are really good! It’s a great album, with awesome artists collaborating on it. I’d recommend people go check it out if they haven’t yet.

You’ve been in Heep now for 15 years. Have you ever sat and gone through the band’s Entire catalogue? And do you have a few favorite albums,  and/or a few favorite tracks that might be considered ‘deep cuts’ or hidden gems in the Heep repertoire? 

I wouldn’t quite say I’ve sat and gone through every album! Haha, but when we have rehearsal time to put together a new set, we tend to go back in the archives and find tracks which the band hasn’t played for a while, such as ‘Love Machine’, ‘Shadows of Grief’, ‘Wiseman’ and ‘Against the Odds’. As for albums that I love, ‘Wake The Sleeper’ is special to me because it’s the first album I played on, just a few weeks after joining the band and ‘Look At Yourself’ is such a Great early album for Heep that has the fantastic ‘July Morning’ and title track. Special mention goes to ‘Chaos & Colour’, of course as It’s my first contributions to the writing.

What sorts of music do you listen to at home (in car or at the gym)? Anything new you’ve been into lately?  btw – Do you still buy albums – physical copies or mainly download or stream?

I like a varied amount of music – My car playlist is a bit of a joke actually! Haha

My car favourites go from the likes of Saxon and Judas Priest to Billy Joel and Oscar Peterson.

I’m really enjoying the new Ozzy album ‘Patient Number 9’ at the moment – I’m listening to it a lot in the car.

To be honest, I mainly stream because I only really get to listen to music in the car or in the tour bus. Unfortunately, streaming is the easiest way to access music in these cases.

Can you give me Russell Gilbrook’s Top 10 (favorite) Albums from your youth? 

I struggle to name my top ten favourite albums from my youth! I have too many, but I can list 10 albums that I really like in general?

  1. Billy Cobham – Spectrum
  2. Buddy Rich – The Driver
  3. Deep Purple – Live in Japan
  4. Chuck Mangione – Children of Sanchez
  5. Iommi – Iommi
  6. Heaven And Hell – The Devil You Know
  7. Billy Joel – 52nd Street
  8. Whitesnake – Whitesnake (1987)
  9. Rainbow – Rising
  10. Scorpions – Love At First Sting

LINKS:

http://www.uriah-heep.com

https://www.facebook.com/uriahheepofficial

https://www.youtube.com/@UriahHeepOfficialVideo/featured

https://www.facebook.com/russellgilbrookdrummer

http://sl-music.net/en/

Simon J. Pinto – Musician

https://white-spirit.co.uk/

KJ, 01/’23

URIAH HEEP – release new single days ahead of 25th studio album

URIAH HEEP has a new single out from Chaos & Colour, which is to be released on the 27. The rocker “Hurricane” was written by (drummer) Russell Gilbrook, along with friend & guitarist Simon J. Pinto, who has played with Les Binks (Les Binks’ Priesthood), and also worked with Adam Wakeman, Brian May, and Sam Smith among others. “Hurricane” is an outstanding heavy rocker and sounds like it should make an excellent fit in to the band’s live show.

The anthemic and epic “Hurricane” carries an underlying historical and mythological theme. Co-writer and drummer Russell Gilbrook explains: “Simon (Pinto) and I wrote the song about how our ancestors looked at storms and how these can be interpreted as being messages from the Gods… Their power is awesome and a great inspiration for a rocking track!”

Founding member Mick Box comments: “Music and lyrics are of paramount importance to me… I used to hate those ‘80s MTV million dollar videos as they created such a visual image that all calls to imagination were lost because you didn’t have to think. I think the power of music and lyrics are that they do certain things to certain people.”

Chaos & Colour is an album which bristles with explosive classic rock guitars, supreme harmonies, and Heep’s famously generous keyboard foundation. “One Nation, One Sun” is a journey of soaring balladic contemplation, “Fly Like An Eagle” takes the listener on a journey of meditation, whilst “Closer To Your Dreams” is a battle cry for all rockers to get out there and do it, with Shaw imploring that “So many have tried but slipped away/Now it’s time for you to have your say.” During the entire album, Bernie Shaw’s timeless vocals sit expertly beside the band’s phenomenal artistry (Mick Box – guitar, Phil Lanzon – keyboard, Russell Gilbrook – drums, Dave Rimmer – bass), rounding out exceptional performances throughout.

Links:

http://www.uriah-heep.com

https://www.facebook.com/uriahheepofficial

https://lnk.to/ChaosandColour

http://www.simonpinto.com

SAXON to release More Inspirations album covers Alice Cooper, Nazareth, Uriah Heep, among others

I’m not a big fan of covers albums, but I eventually picked up Saxon’s Inspirations from 2021, and thought it was a fine addition to the band’s catalogue, and they’re following it up with a ‘part 2’, simply titled More Inspirations (hmm, will part 3 be called ‘Even More…’ ?) Anyway, the first single sounds great, a cover of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s “The Faith Healer”, and I’m looking forward to hearing many of the titles included on it, such as Heep’s “Gypsy”, Alice Cooper’s “From The Inside”, ZZ Top’s “Chevrolet”, and Rainbow’s “Man On The Silver Mountain.” *Check out a full track listing below, the first video, and all the links and order info below! As well, read the press info for more details.

British Heavy Metal legends Saxon unveil the first single “The Faith Healer”, from the upcoming More Inspirations – set for release on March 24th via Silver Lining Music. Following the release of Inspirations in 2021, More Inspirations is the second ‘deep dish’ serving of the influences which have fed the mighty Saxon’s immensely successful 40+ year career. The first single is an astonishing take on The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s “The Faith Healer”. 

Frontman Biff Byford comments “We used to see The Sensational Alex Harvey band play this back in the day, they started the set with it, such a fantastic song and fantastic band… big influence!” Listen To/Watch “The Faith Healer”, the “making of” video directed by Jay Shredder.

Whether getting feral with The Animal’s “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place”, letting loose a high-octane take on Alice Cooper’s “From The Inside”, or laying down a ferocious tribute to KISS’ “Detroit Rock City”, More Inspirations is a joyous trip into the sounds which galvanized the Barnsley boys and continue to get spun on home stereos and tour buses.

Produced by vocalist/co-founder Biff Byford, with Seb Byford helping record the music alongside mixing engineer Jacky Lehmann.  More Inspirations also includes enthusiastic takes on Alice Cooper, Rainbow, ZZ Top and Cream, as well as a thunderous  “Razamanaz” by Nazareth, a tasty take on The Who’s “Substitute”, and a thick groove take on Uriah Heep’s “Gypsy”. Whether this is your first dance with such classic songs, or you’ve come to see where Saxon were born, More Inspirations delivers the goods and then some.  Following the success of the Seize the World Tour 2022, Saxon will be back on the road in March 2023 for a string of European dates, with special guest’s German metal titans RAGE. For a full list of confirmed dates, tickets, and additional information visit this this location.

More Inspirations will be available on 12” Black Vinyl, CD Digipak, digital formats and special D2C bundles; to pre-order go to this location.

Track Listing:

1. We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place

2. The Faith Healer

3. From the Inside

4. Chevrolet

5. Substitute

6. Gypsy

7. Man On the Silver Mountain

8. Detroit Rock City

9. Razamanaz

10. Tales of Brave Ulysses

SAXON:

BIFF BYFORD – Vocals 

PAUL QUINN – Guitar

NIGEL GLOCKLER – Drums 

DOUG SCARRATT – Guitar

NIBBS CARTER – Bass 

URIAH HEEP – Chaos & Colour (a review)

A new Uriah Heep album is something I look forward to, and after the last few years this is most welcome! Now, there is no song titled “Chaos & Colour”, and I am sure I’ll be saying those 2 words in the wrong order at some point. There is an explanation of the title tho from guitarist/founding member Mick Box – “The album title reflects that we were in chaotic times with being locked down, tours being cancelled, businesses folding, and all the chaos that was thrown into the world,… and as far as I could see it, the only colour people had was through music. It helped so many people get through those difficult years, using that strength and power which music has, to make those bad times not quite so bad.” And the cover art, it’s colorful, created (again) by Paul Tippett (whos’ credits also include Black Star Riders, It Bites, and Europe).

So, at this point in the band’s career (having turned 50 in 2020, and recently touring their 50th anniversary), some may expect a break. But, instead Heep have recorded and will release their 25th studio album at the end of the month. And Chaos & Colour will be worth the wait to Heep fans, especially those who were happy with 2018’s Living The Dream. That record was very good, the first 4 tracks on that alone had me hooked on first listen. Chaos & Colour is 9 tracks (vinyl), and 11 – if you get the CD! The new album keeps up with some standout Heep-heavy rockers, and adds more variety with progressive tracks, ballads, and a couple of excellent lengthier numbers., all produced (again) by Canadian Jay Ruston.

Overall, Chaos & Colour is more consistently strong song-wise, kicking off with the first single “Save Me Tonight”. It’s another collaboration between bass player Davey Rimmer and Jeff Scott Soto. At 3 and a half minutes, it’s a full-on energetic rocking opener with all that’s expected in a Heep rocker — heavy guitar and Hammond organ, harmonies, a memorable chorus.. The first 5 tracks are rockers, “Silver Sunlight” & “Hail The Sunrise” are both good, but (for me) it is “Age Of Changes” (one of many from Mick Box & Phil Lanzon) and “Hurricane” (one of four from Russell Gilbrook & Simon Pinto) that stand out, and are early favorites. “Age Of Reason” is a classic Heep styled melodic rocker that lyrically reflects on a first love/past relationship, I’ve played this one (and the next) more than anything else here, and I’m already putting this one alongside the best Shaw-era tunes (see “Between Two Worlds”, “Take Away My Soul”, ” One Minute”). I was surprised to see this was one of the ‘CD only’ tracks! “Hurricane” is more of a thundering rocker, that sounds like it will make a great live song. Side one (LP) ends with the soaring ballad “One Nation, One Sun”, a feel-good number that slowly builds throughout. It is one of 3 tracks that clock in over 7 and a half minutes, all of which longtime Heep fans will dig.

Side 2 (of the LP) is the more progressive half, it opens with the glorious “Golden Light”; this one is highlighted by Mick’s guitar performance throughout this one. “You’ll Never Be Alone” is a story based epic about a child’s magical dream that involves magical places, lurking danger, and rescues. And musically it plays out very fitting with a heavy intro, soft piano, build up, going through a few changes; racing to the edge and then simply dropping back in to piano, starting over as a new dream. Progressive rockers “Golden Light” (love Mick’s guitar melody throughout this one), and the more hypnotic “Fly Like An Eagle” (Phil Lanzon’s keyboards weave throughout this one and it’s an outstanding vocal from Bernie) are both excellent, with both tracks offering something new and are fairly heavy. Now, the LP closes with the eight-minute + heavy prog-rocker “Freedom To Be Free”, it’s full on Hammond & guitar, but also has a few surprises fans will dig, as the song progresses (and I will leave it at that!) The last track is (CD only) “Closer To Your Dreams”, a shorter rock track that is reminiscent of “Easy Livin'” and “Everything In LIfe”, a fitting end to a great ride. I think Heep fans will enjoy Chaos & Colour more so, as it journeys a bit further than the band’s previous 4 albums in sound and song. Now, when’s the tour start!?

Tracklist:

Save Me Tonight
Silver Sunlight
Hail the Sunrise
Age of Changes (CD only)
Hurricane
One Nation, One Sun
Golden Light
You’ll Never Be Alone
Fly Like an Eagle
Freedom to Be Free
Closer to Your Dreams (CD only)
Save Me Tonight (Demo; Deluxe CD only)

LINKS:

Website: www.uriah-heep.com

Facebook: facebook.com/uriahheepofficial

Instagram: instagram.com/uriahheepofficial/

YouTube: youtube.com/UriahHeepOfficial

Spotify: spotify.com/uriahheep

Twitter: twitter.com/uriah_heep

http://sl-music.net/en/component/content/article/60-news-silver-lining/1022-uriah-heep-announce-release-of-new-album-chaos-and-colour

URIAH HEEP’s The Magician’s Birthday

Well, Heep’s The Magician’s Birthday turned 50 in November! (Yes, I’m late on this) It was released a mere 6 months after the band’s hugely successful Demons And Wizards. Demons would become the band’s biggest album – a worldwide success that featured the hit single “Easy Livin”, and propelled the band in to being a headlining act around the world, particularly in North America. Back then record company mentality was to strike while the iron was hot, so it was not as crazy as it sounds today for a band to be hurried into record another album so soon to capitalize on success. The Magician’s Birthday is a classic Heep album, and for many maybe the band’s best (or one of). The album would make a great pairing to Demons And Wizards with it’s Roger Dean artwork, and fantasy themes in various songs. It did however, (IMO) sound a bit rushed, lacking in the grander production of it’s predecessor. The Magician’s Birthday was originally conceived as a concept album of songs Ken Hensley was coming up with based on a short story he was writing, and never finished. The story according to details in a Circus magazine feature were about “a magician who throws a bizarrely supernatural party to celebrate his 500th birthday… the magician would invite his rivals to a party, throw a huge feast where an orchestra of orchids would provide the entertainment, then end it all with a spectacular show of the spells and tricks he’d learned in nearly half a millennium on earth.” The article goes on to tell how the rest of the band didn’t share Hensley’s vision for a concept album at the time – “They were afraid that a total concept LP would come across like an opera, and stir up bitter comparisons to Tommy. So they kept five songs Hensley had composed about the spell-bound feast, but added ‘Spider Woman’ and ‘Rain’…” Ken Hensley stated over the years that the record’s release date was moved up and there was no time to finish it properly. In a 1973 interview with Geoff Brown, he stated – “I think there were some great songs on the album and I think there would’ve been even better songs had we had another two or three weeks to go through all the material. The time allotted was slotted in between tours and things didn’t go well for us in the early stages like they normally do. …Having mixed the last track we left the studio at 7:30 am and 4 and a half hours later we were on a plane to the States. That shows the sort of screws that we were on.”

Ken Hensley, in a 2016 interview with Jeb Wright recalled – “I was writing a short story called The Magician´s Birthday and the title track was the core song from which all the others spread out to paint the complete picture. It would have been so cool, but they took away my time and I consider this album to be less than 60% of what it could have been. Very disappointing.”

The Magician’s Birthday however, would go on to be one of the band’s most successful, with almost all songs from it returning to the live show over the decades. Side one opens with the organ and build up intro to “Sunrise”, a classic Heep heavy near ballad, with those high end Heep harmonies coming in early on, and certainly one of David Byron’s most passionate vocals. The song would be the tour opener, and thus opener for Heep’s historic Live album. Mick Box once told Metal Hammer – “We used vocals on this one is a very different way. It’s like a car starting up almost. We used very heavy vibrato and really played on it. We weren’t quite sure about the song at first, but once we recorded it – it sounded really great.”

The next track, “Spider Woman” was a short upbeat rock tune highlighted by slide guitar, followed by “Blind Eye”, another good guitar based tune (and B-side in North America). “Spider Woman”, co-written by Box / Byron / Kerslake & Thain was issued as a single in many parts of Europe, and was a hit in Germany (#14). And although it was a short and somewhat catchy tune, I don’t know that it was the right choice to represent the album as a single, in comparison to a number of other songs here. I am also quite certain it is the lone track from The Magician’s Birthday never to be played live. “Blind Eye” was brought back for the band’s Acoustically Driven live recording (and Electrically Driven), featuring Ian Anderson on flute. This first side (or whole album) featured less heavy keyboards, and I think less heavy guitars. And this approach, as with the previous 2 mentioned tracks IMO suggest things were hurried and less produced than the previous album. “Echoes In The Dark” is a dark atmospheric number, one of my favorites here, and an under mentioned gem in Heep’s ’70s catalogue; again highlighted by Byron’s vocal and Hensley’s slide guitar. It would’ve been part of Hensley’s original concept, and was brought back for the band’s Acoustically Driven show decades later. The first side ends with one of the band’s most loved ballads, “Rain”, which is a short piano tune, written by Hensley and interestingly also appeared on his solo album Proud Words On A Dusty Shelf, which came out a few months later. Although I like this album, this first side did not capture my attention as the first side of Demons And Wizards had. I think just less cohesive and lacks a greater Heep epic (there’s no “Circle Of Hands” here folks!). But I am sure there will a Heep fan out there who disagrees with me (!?). Side two, for me, is better.

Side two opens with “Sweet Lorraine”, penned by Box, Byron & Thain. It would be the single in North America, and closest thing to a follow up to “Easy Livin”, though it wasn’t a huge success, reaching #91 in the US, but predicted to be a top 40 by Canada’s Cash Box – Sweet Lorraine (3:10) (WB Music, ASCAP-Box, Byron, Thain) Following their surcess with “Easy Livin,” Uriah Heep pull new single from their “Magician’s Birthday” album with plenty of surprises in store for listen- ers. Group should continue with their top 40 success. Flip: “Blind Eye” (3:33) (WB Music, ASCAP-Hensley)

“Sweet Lorraine” wasn’t as heavy as “Easy Livin”, but it is as memorable IMO, and is highlighted by Hensley’s lengthy moog solo. I can’t help but wish the guitar riff in the intro was higher in the mix (or as high as) the moog synths. “Sweet Lorraine” would become a constant high point in the band’s set list throughout the ’70s, and recently returned to the band’s set for their 50th Anniversary tour. Given the number of fine cover versions of “Sunrise” and (more so) “Rain”, I am surprised there are very few covers of “Sweet Lorraine”, no major ones, particularly given the song’s popularity in the US.

Next up is the acoustic ballad “Tales”, another underrated classic in the Heep catalogue and a favorite of many fans from this album. One of the 3 tracks originally to be part of Ken Hensley’s concept idea, with some of his finest words – “And there you sit, tomorrow’s child – So full of love, so full of life – But you must rise to meet the day – Lest you become another tale.” “Tales” was also brought back for the band’s 50th Anniversary show, as well as being included in Hensley’s solo shows. A shame Heep’s label’s never pushed more than 1 single per album (at least in North America), as “Tales” would’ve been an excellent choice.

The album is brought to a close with the 10 and a half minute title track. Penned by Hensley and co-credited to Box and Kerslake, as the high point of the song is the guitar vs drum duel that is featured in the song. It was done in 1 take. Kerslake also plays a homemade kazoo in this one. In a 2014 interview Kerslake recalled – “I said to Gerry Bron, this is going to be good – it’s going to be a fight between the white wizard and the black wizard, ya know good and evil. And he said “that’s a good idea, have a run through it”, and I said “I’ll tell ya what Gerry – just roll the tape because the intensity that me and Mick play it – this is going to be a one-off or nothing”. and we just played it so on, it was unbelievable; it was just so tight! we were laughing and smiling at each other in the studio, and I went “you’ve got no chance Gerry!”. and he said “I don’t need one.” that was brilliant, and that was it! So they put that right in the song, it was an integral part of the song, so Ken said “right, you wrote that with me. So me, you and Mick. …done- agreed!” This song has also been brought back to the band’s live show on a number of tours over the last couple of decades.

Aside from the classic Roger Dean artwork, The Magician’s Birthday came in a gatefold sleeve, with band pics taken at the Buxton Festival, UK, by Fin Costello. It would also be the last Heep studio album to feature liner notes from Ken Hensley! (Tho he would add liner notes to the 1974 Downunda compilation for Australian & New Zealand). Later remastered and expanded versions of The Magician’s Birthday would also include such outtake as the excellent Gary Thain penned “Crystal Ball” and a band take of “Proud Words”, which would wind up at the title song to Ken Hensley’s solo album (Proud Words On A Dusty Shelf). The band received a Gold record award for the album in the US, where it reached #31, and placed higher in Canada and the UK, and particularly Finland where it was #1, and few other countries where it was top 10 (Norway, Germany, Denmark, Australia).

The band would move on from the fantasy themes (for the most part), as well as the Roger Dean album covers, and the lengthy epic closing tracks, and following Live…January 1973, would move from Mercury to the larger Warner Bros label in North America.

Links:

http://www.uriah-heep.com

https://www.facebook.com/uriahheepofficial

https://www.superseventies.com/spuriahheep2.html

http://www.progarchives.com/album.asp?id=5898

https://classicrockrevisited.com/show_interview.php?id=1152

New KEN HENSLEY Anthology includes 4 solo albums from 1999 onward

There’s another Ken Hensley release coming which will offer 4 of his albums from 1999 to 2005. This is the period Ken decided to return to recording music and performing live, as well as moving out of the US. Past & Present (Songs In Times) – A Ken Hensley Anthology 1972-2021 follows recent CD box sets The Bronze Years : 1973-1981, and Tales of Live Fire & Other Mysteries. The 4 albums included in full are A Glimpse Of Glory (1999), Running Blind (2001), The Last Dance (2003), and Cold Autumn Sunday (2005). All these CDs are welcomed as a few of them have become pricier and/or harder to find over the years. For whatever reason there is the omission of 2004’s The Wizards Diary, Volume One – which was Ken’s retakes of a number of Uriah Heep classics that he wrote. But for those 4 CDs alone, this package will be worth it to most fans. The first and last CDs here are not necessary IMO, but presumably included to make this a career spanning anthology package. CD one titled ‘Solo‘, consists of a ‘best of’ from Hensley’s Bronze era solo albums, as well as a half dozen Heep gems from Demons And Wizards and The Magician’s Birthday (and not the predictable hits). CD six is titled ‘Collaborations‘ , and includes tracks from Faster (2011, w/ LIve Fire) right through to a pair from Ken’s last album My Book Of Answers. Absent are some of Ken’s real collaborations and guest appearances with some acts (notably the Toni Rowland album Ken produced and played on in 2007); these would’ve been nice gems to add. Also excluded not included here or elsewhere (yet) is Ken’s 1994 CD of unreleased songs & rarities From Time To Time, or any of Ken’s live collaborations with John Lawton, John Wetton or his guest appearances with Uriah Heep. But hopefully some of these will be included on something further down the line.

Check out the full track listing and Pre-order here: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/ken-hensley-past-and-present-songs-in-time-1970-2021-6cd-box-set/

Links:

http://www.ken-hensley.com

https://www.facebook.com/officialkenhensley

https://www.facebook.com/groups/60658447768

URIAH HEEP – Announce 25th studio album Chaos & Colour, release new single

Uriah Heep have released the first single & video from their forthcoming 25th studio album – Chaos & Colour – to be released in January of the new year! Details, ordering links, track-listing below.

November 8, 2022 – British hard rock legends and progenitors Uriah Heep announce the release of their 25th studio album, Chaos & Colour, set for release January 27th, 2023 via Silver Lining Music. Pre-orders available from November 8th on this site https://lnk.to/ChaosandColour

“Save Me Tonight” is another powerful melodic rock track which we have chosen to be the first single as well as the opening track of the album,” says Mick Box, Uriah Heep’s venerable and effervescent founding member, “it is made for rock radio and will surely be included on our new set list in 2023.”

Chaos & Colour is an album which bristles with explosive classic rock guitars, supreme harmonies, and Heep’s famously generous keyboard foundation. It is, unsurprisingly, an album that found its extra thrust during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was as bizarre for Uriah Heep as it was for humanity in general. “The album title reflects that we were in chaotic times with being locked down, tours being cancelled, businesses folding, and all the chaos that was thrown into the world,” explains Box, “and as far as I could see it, the only colour people had was through music. It helped so many people get through those difficult years, using that strength and power which music has, to make those bad times not quite so bad.” There were still the looming spectre of protocols and rules to follow in the middle of 2021, as the world tried to find its feet. Heep slowly found their way into Chapel Studios in London during the summer of 2021 as restrictions were tentatively lifted, working once again with Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Corey Taylor, Black Star Riders). “Jay was completely on board with what we are trying to achieve in the studio,” says Box. “We’re a band that has a fantastic heritage and to carry on that tradition it was vitally important that the band recorded in the studio all playing at the same time. Jay understood that and he pulled out the best of us as a band, as well as individual players, while getting us some amazing sounds.” Led by Box, it is no surprise that themes of light, love and, ultimately, positivity are constant through the album eleven tracks. “One Nation, One Sun” is a journey of soaring balladic contemplation, “Fly Like An Eagle” takes the listener on a journey of meditation, whilst “Closer To Your Dreams” is a battle cry for all rockers to get out there and do it, with Shaw imploring that “So many have tried but slipped away/Now it’s time for you to have your say.” During the entire album, Bernie Shaw’s timeless vocals sit expertly beside the band’s phenomenal artistry (Mick Box – guitar, Phil Lanzon – keyboard, Russell Gilbrook – drums, Dave Rimmer – bass), rounding out exceptional performances throughout. Produced by Jay Ruston, and engineered by Pieter Rietkerk, Chaos & Colour is a superb album of quality hard rock from the pioneers of the genre who continue to create top class material. Old fans will be reinvigorated whilst new fans will surely find Chaos & Colour an exceptional discovery.

Following the intense disruption to live music caused by the pandemic, the band are ecstatic to be back on the road and continue to bring their live show across Europe this winter. For a full list of confirmed dates, tickets, and additional information visit this this location – http://www.uriah-heep.com/2020Site/Index.html

Tour Dates:

12 November – Nürnberg, Germany – Löwensaal*

14 November – Vilnius, Lithuania – Compensa Concert Hall

15 November – Tallinn, Estonia – Alexela Concert Hall

17 November – Helsinki, Finland – Helsinki Ice Hall

19 November – Turku, Finland – Konserttitalo

20 November – Oulu, Finland – Madetojan Sali

22 November – Umeå, Sweden – Idun

23 November – Stockholm, Sweden – Göta Lejon

24 November – Oslo, Norway – Sentrum Scene

26 November – Kristiansand, Norway – Kilden Performing Arts Centre

27 November – Stavanger, Norway – Stavanger Kuppelhallen

28 November – Bergen, Norway – USF Verftet

29 November – Trondheim, Norway – Olavshallen

1 December – Sundsvall, Sweden – Tonhallen

2 December – Gothenburg, Sweden – Gothenburg Studios

3 December – Randers, Denmark – Vaerket Teatre & Musikhus

4 December – Copenhagen, Denmark – Docken Koncerter

5 December – Malmö, Sweden – Slagthuset Teater

7 December – Stuttgart, Germany – Liederhalle*

8 December – Dresden, Germany – Culture Palace*

9 December – Suhl, Germany – Congress Centrum Suhl*

10 December – Prague, Czech Republic – Forum Karlin

11 December – Budapest, Hungary – Hungexpo Hall C

13 December – Sofia, Bulgaria – National Palace of Culture, Hall 1

14 December – Thessaloníki, Greece*

15 December – Athens, Greece* (*Celebrating 50 years of Uriah Heep)

Chaos & Colour will be available to pre-order from November 8, in Black and Coloured Vinyl configurations, as a standard CD Digipak, a Deluxe CD packaged in a hardcover book with Uriah Heep’s Chaos & Colour signature patch and in digital formats.

“Save Me Tonight” is the first single from the upcoming album Chaos & Colour. Available to pre-order from November 9th here: https://lnk.to/ChaosandColour, Out via Silver Lining Music on January 27th, 2023.

Music video by Natalia Jonderko Śmiechowicz – N.STATION Animation & Design Studio.

The buoyant, blistering single “Save Me Tonight”, feels at once like a cry for lost love and an expression of COVID era pain. “I think that’s the beauty of a good lyric,” smiles founding member Mick Box. “A good lyric means that you can interpret it in many ways, and it’s so important to me when writing a lyric that it has those avenues to go in.” enthuses Box.

The single was written by bass guitarist Dave Rimmer and Jeff Scott Soto, who has been the vocalist for the likes of Journey and Yngwie Malmsteen. “’Save Me Tonight’ comes from a place of frustration and helplessness living through these unprecedented past couple of years but hanging on to this raging hope that we would all meet again! Once again, collaborating with Jeff Scott Soto has been a natural and very creative experience and the perfect platform for me to express these feelings and to carry on the Heep legacy.” Rimmer comments.

Chaos & Colour Track List:

Save Me Tonight / Silver Sunlight / Hail The Sunrise / Age Of Changes* / Hurricane / One Nation, One Sun / Golden Light / You’ll Never Be Alone / Fly Like An Eagle / Freedom To Be Free / Closer To Your Dreams* / Save Me Tonight (demo)**

*CD and Digital only

**Deluxe CD only

URIAH HEEP:

Mick Box – Lead Guitar / Vocals

Phil Lanzon – Keyboards / Vocals

Bernie Shaw – Lead Vocals

Dave Rimmer – Bass Guitar / Vocals

Russell Gilbrook – Drums & Percussion

Produced by Jay Ruston

Engineered by Pieter Rietkerk

Recorded at Chapel Studios, UK

Mixed by Jay Ruston at TRS West, Sherman Oaks, California

Additional Engineering by John Douglas

Mastered by Paul Logus

John Sloman – releases single from forthcoming solo retrospective

John Sloman has a new video out. It’s “Blind”, on Red Steel Music. The track has been produced by John & Robert Corich, and remastered by Bella Corich, who adds a livelier sound to an already excellent song from 2016. “Blind” will be featured on John’s forthcoming retrospective double album The Missing Link. Art for the single also by Callum Fernandes-Clarke.

John Sloman recently posted – “This is the new video for the soon to be released single (Blind) taken from the retrospective album ‘The Missing Link’ which will be released in a couple of months. The video is brilliantly directed by Callum Fernandes-Clarke who directed all three of my previous videos. Blind originally featured on the album ‘Don’t Try This At Home’.”

Further, the track was recently featured on Classic Rock’s Louder Sound ‘Tracks Of The Week‘. You can check that out And vote for “Blind” there!

https://www.loudersound.com/features/tracks-of-the-week-new-music-from-mammoth-wvh-the-answer-and-more?fbclid=IwAR2hMgUBWOGPaKEP1ur1i5eQGbC2SKDK8JZQNfWWNQpGIMmTOeegZKVUZzM

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/johnslomanofficial

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063893479263

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdQuOmEMTgnnZ0P00QYn8fA/featured

John Sloman – Lost On Planet Artifice (book review)

I’ll admit I don’t read a lot of books…in full, but rock bios are always of interest, and this one penned by Welsh musician John Sloman definitely is of interest. Sloman has had a lengthy roller-coaster ride of a career in the music business, having once fronted Lone Star (featuring Paul Chapman, pre UFO) and then Uriah Heep, and going on to tour with Gary Moore, Paul Young, and has recorded a number of solo albums (his latest Two Rivers, having just recently come out!). Lost On Planet Artifice takes us through John’s journey growing up in Grangetown, Cardiff (Wales) – his childhood, his intro to music, girls, his first band,… I do not usually read a book beginning to end, but more so pick out chapters and bits I want to know about first, then go back and forth, so picking up this 400+ page monster I went right to the Heep content to start! It goes without saying that this book should be a must-read for any Heep fan, and in particular those that either brushed over John’s 18 months in the band or lay the blame of the band’s demise in 1980/81 squarely with him. John finally gets to tell his version of events after decades of being dumped on by former band members, misguided fans, and unknowing journalists. So some stories may be a bit shocking, but worth the read. John has a natural knack for writing, and relaying recollections and events, as well as a pretty detailed memory.

Beyond the Heep era, John’s career would come across even more painful periods, such as the details of his time with Gary Moore, his solo album deal(s) and recording with Todd Rundgren. John’s story is a very brave and honest one, as he not only gets out all the things he’s bottled up over the years, but also talks about the depression and anxiety various situations and setbacks brought up, and how he dealt with them. Despite the ‘name’ and rock star tag, John’s story is. about his everyday struggles – as a musician trying to earn a living, as well as dealing with family and personal tragedies. Lost On Planet Artifice is Not one of those retrospective rock star books that simply recounts how great they once were! It also includes John’s insight into worldly issues, which some may take or leave (John’s well read on many topics, so I’m good with it). Throughout this you want to route for the guy that some big break or payday with finally go his way, as in later years John has threatened a few times to quit making music altogether, but he carries on, and anyone who’s heard his latest album Two Rivers, knows he still has plenty to offer. I think Two Rivers makes a great companion to his story here, so I’m guessing it won’t be his last! John seems a natural at writing as well, so hopefully there’ll be another book!? *There’s also a few pages of black & white photos, most of which have never been seen.

An excellent read and can be easily purchased for a good price on Amazon.

URIAH HEEP’s Stealin’: The covers

Released ahead of the Uriah Heep’s sixth album in September of 1973 (Sweet Freedom), “Stealin'” would become one of the band’s best known and most played classics. It is still one of the few Heep classics that gets fair play on classic rock radio and has been covered numerous times. But the single that started out strong would not become a huge hit single. The band had finally had a top 40 hit in the US with the single “Easy Livin” (from Demons & Wizards) in 1972, and a minor hit with “Sweet Lorraine”, later that same year, so another big single follow up was due and should’ve been with this track. The band signed a new record deal with Warner Brothers in North America (who had so many great acts), and “Stealin” was Heep’s first single for their new label.

However, the song’s lyrics based on the imagination of Ken Hensley included the line “I done the rancher’s daughter”. It was term ‘done’ that seemed to put a damper on the single, as many radio stations would choose to pull the song based on that line.

In an interview with Jeb Wright (ClassicRockRevisited.com), Hensley recalled: “I went to Gary´s flat in London…. We smoked a couple of joints and played a bit and I wrote ¨Stealin¨ from that moment. The story is purely imaginary as I didn´t know any ¨Rancher´s Daughters¨, or ¨Gypsy Queens.¨”

Hard to imagine such a line being remotely controversial nowadays, but in 1973 radio stations (perhaps more so in the US south) might’ve felt pressured in to passing on playing the song. That did not stop the song from becoming legendary though, as it is often regarded as one of the band’s most recognizable songs with it’s quiet bass start, joined by the Hammond organ, David Byron’s distinctive and clear vocal, convincingly delivering the tale of a man on the run, and then the band kicking in with Mick Box’s guitar, Lee Kerslake’s powerful drumming, the band’s harmonies…and it all builds up to a classic Mick Box solo, and the band coming back in with more energy to the end.

Though the band still plays a great rendition of this to this day (I love the John Lawton-fronted version from Live in Europe 1979) and there are plenty of excellent cover versions — nothing comes close to the original production. In Canada the single made it to #65 on the Cash Box chart, while in the US it merely cracked Billboard’s Top 100 at #91. In Norway, however, the song reached #9!

Below is a list of cover versions of the Heep classic. I’ve included those that have been released commercially, and not the numerous live versions found on youtube (OK, i did slip 1 in at the end!). Enjoy.

Karma (1973)

This must be the first cover of Stealin’, recorded and released in 1973 by Finnish band Karma. They translated the words to Finnish and released it on their debut album for CBS! The song was also issued a single, with a (translated) cover of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” on the B-side!

Panorama (1986)

An interesting pop version by this Italian group. The 12″ single also came with an instrumental version (hmm).

Zoid (1988)

Released by this LA band in ’88. It was the band’s only other release following their lone album in ’87, on Third Orbit Records. Interestingly, the band featured keyboardist Lou Segreti, who went on to record an album with the band Bloodline (1994) – which also included Joe Bonamassa. This is an interesting extended version of the song (with a lengthier mid section, minus guitar). The 12″ single included both a long and short version of the song. The band’s producer had been Matt Forger, who worked on a number of Michael Jackson albums.

EZ Access (1990)

Detroit hard who rock band who released this lone album 10 track album titled One Track Mind, on U.S.A. Records – and on cassette only, in 1990. “Stealin” was the only cover-version included. The band recorded a follow up album, but it was never released. Both albums can be found on youtube.

Satrox (1992)

Swiss band who released this cover on their 2nd (of 2 albums) titled Energy. Pretty 80s ‘metal’ sounding. Interesting that there is a few Heep connections on this albums – Daniel Boone (David Byron) on backing vocals, Derek Holt (who recorded with Gary Moberly… see Heep’s Equator!) also on backing vocals, and produced by Mark Dearnley (who was an assist. engineer on at least 1 Heep album in the late 70s).

Night Crawler (1996)

Night Crawler, from Minneapolis, released their debut album World Of Make Believe in 1996, which included their version of “Stealin'”. It’s a good version (and hard-rock/aor album). The band’s follow up (and last) album was 2001’s Second Nature – which included a cover of “July Morning”! The band’s drummer Billy Thayer is the brother of Kiss guitarist Tommy Thayer.

http://www.travellersintime.com/UniversalWheels/kc0402.html

Men Without Shame (1995)

This band from Saskatchewan originally released this track on their debut 4-track CD, which also included covers of songs by Nazareth, April Wine, and Nick Gilder. The band released one album: Triple-Ply, from 1997, which was largely covers, along with a few originals.

Native Son (2000)

Originally included on the 2000 2Cd tribute album Heepsteria on Red Steel Music. (The band also did a cover of the unreleased John Lawton era track “That’s How I Am”). Native Son had previously released 3 albums… not sure after this.

Nightingale (2003)

This was recorded for the 2003 Heep tribute album A Return To Fantasy. Nightingale was a Swedish prog/metal act, featuring singer Dan Swano . Many years ago I’d corresponded with this guy, and he sent me a CD of a couple of Heep covers he did way back. He also did a cover of “Gypsy” as part of Odyssey for their 2010 album Reinventing The Past.

Tesla (2007)

Included as part of Tesla’s 2007 ‘covers’ album Reel To Reel. An interesting collection. The band made it big in the ’80s with hits like “Little Suzi”, “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)”, and their 1990 cover of “Signs” (originally by Canada’s Five-Man Electrical Band).

Out There (2015)

A very interesting version, as it features Stephen (Steff) Fontaine – who briefly fronted Heep in 1986. As he never recorded anything with Heep, I’ve included it here. Out There is an Arizona band (where Fontaine was originally from), and this came from their 2015 album Out There Again, which Fontaine sang all the vocals on. Out There Again is a pretty decent album with a couple of other covers as well.

https://outsiderrock.ca/2015/07/24/out-there-again-with-kirk-krein/

Other versions noted:

Jason Kane – Jason Kane (of JK & The Jive) recorded a version acoustically, on his own (not totally sure of the yearbut about 2014). This version is excellent, and can only be found on Youtube, as he made a video for it. A shame it’s not been included on any actual release as it’s the most interesting cover to be heard.

Grenzgang (1994) – Austrian band who released a few albums did this cover for a compilation titled Metal Freak Sampler – Cover Me, on CCP Records.

Talas (2001) – Buffalo based band that features Billy Sheehan, included “Stealin” as part of their encore many times. This can be found on Youtube, as it was included in the band’s set at the Buffalo Guitar Festival concert (also on dvd). I would love to hear an archival live release from the band with their version included.

09/’22