Uriah Heep: Mick Box on Judas Priest and Why ‘Metal is the Music of the People’

2019-06-05

Uriah Heep – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Richard Stow

Mick Box from Uriah Heep talks with Anne Erickson about the band’s U.S. tour with Judas Priest and much more in this in-depth interview

Uriah Heep and Judas Priest are currently touring North America together, performing to thousands of metal fans each night. For Uriah Heep, the shows come following the release of the band’s 25th studio album, the triumphant “Living the Dream.” The English heavy metal outfit is performing tracks from the new album on tour, as well as classics that dig far back into their catalog.

Box spoke with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink about the current Judas Priest tour, getting inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History, the state of metal music around the world and more. Read the full interview below, and listen to the interview via Apple Podcasts here and with the player below.

Check out Audio Ink’s interview with Judas Priest bass player Ian Hill — in which he exclusively talks about wanting to get together with Iron Maiden before the two bands call it quits — here.

Anne Erickson: Mick, thanks so much for making the time to do this interview. Uriah Heep is on tour with Judas Priest right now. What have these shows been like?

Mick Box: Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I think the bottom line is that you’ve got Priest with their new album “Firepower,” which people say is one of the best of their career. Then, you’ve got Uriah Heep with “Living the Dream,” our new album. So, you’ve got two bands at the top of their game on stage every night. Put that together with nearly 100 years of British rock and metal on one night, and it’s quite exciting. It’s going very well for us, too. You know, Priest’s audiences can be quite stubborn, because they’re there to see Priest, obviously. We’re getting wonderful reactions and winning over fans. It’s brilliant. They’re firing on all cylinders, so it’s a great show.

What do you most admire about Rob Halford and the guys of Judas Priest?

The same as people admire about us, really. We’re nearly coming up to our 50th anniversary, like them, and I think that’s a wonderful thing. But, what I admire is that their music has endured, and that’s the most important thing. Over the years, they’ve had, like Uriah Heep, songs that have stood the test of time.

Congratulations on your latest album, “Living the Dream.” You guys are 25 records in. What’s the secret to coming up with new material decade after decade?

I think with the passion we have for our music, it’s very simple. We let things happen naturally. So, we don’t start with a plan, saying, “We need to write an album like this.” We just write things naturally, and once the band gets hold of it, it becomes Uriah Heep very quickly. We tour in 61 countries, so there’s enough around the world to inspire us to be creative.

Congratulations on being inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History by writer Martin Popoff. How does it feel to receive the honor?

We’re actually delighted that we’re being recognized for that. It’s a great accolade to have and an honor to be recognized that way.

You guys have toured the U.S. so much over the decades. We’re going through a rough political time right now, and a lot of Americans are divided. Do you sense a difference when you come play shows here, or does it seem like business as usual?

I think that’s what we’re there for. We come out on stage, and we hope that whatever time we’re all on that stage, that people escape their daily lives and have a great time. I think that’s all it should be.

When you’re out there touring and making music, how do you feel the state of heavy metal is today? Do you feel heavy metal is in a good place?

I think it’s in a very, very good place. It’s the music of the people. Classic hard rock, heavy metal— it’s the music of the people, and it’s what they want to hear, and that’s why it continues to endure. Record sales, although they’re much smaller than they were years ago, because it’s a totally different situation, they’re still doing good business.

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