Uriah Heep are an English rock band formed in London in 1969. They have had the same lineup since 2013: lead and rhythm guitarist Mick Box, keyboardist Phil Lanzon, lead vocalist Bernie Shaw, drummer Russell Gilbrook and bassist Davey Rimmer.
URIAH HEEP thrive on drama! That was what one particular scribe said of Heep some time back when reflecting on the history of a band who’ve not just survived twenty years of rock and roll history but have been instrumental in writing part of that very history. Since the band’s inception back in 1970, through the blizzardous, hazy but not so lazy Seventies, and on throughout the adventurous, globe-trotting Eighties Uriah Heep have played their part, climbing new mountains, scaling new peaks and exploring unknown territories, not just literally (though they’ve done that as well) but metaphorically, as every successive year has opened up another chapter of events that makes the group’s biography more than just a story of a rock ‘n’ roll band; ultimately it’s a tale of triumph and tragedy, success and failure, challenge and achievement (not to mention a few laughs) over the course of twenty years.
In Heep’s case the seed was sown back in 1967, when most were still recovering from their post-World Cup victory celebrations and Jimi Hendrix was about to show the world exactly what the guitar was made for. Mick Box, a young lad of twenty who liked his soccer but loved his music more, clutched his guitar along with his ambitions and dreams, and formed a local Walthamstow band by the name of The Stalkers, a semi-pro outfit playing on the local circuit.
In June 2008, Uriah Heep released the first studio album in almost 10 years, Wake The Sleeper, heralded an exciting new phase for the band, taking their classic sound right into the future. Joining the band was new drummer Russell Gilbrook and the album sees Uriah Heep back to their very best and the band celebrated the 40th Anniversary with an aptly titled re-recordings album called Celebration. The extensive tour that followed saw the band playing up to 250 shows a year to nearly 150,000 people, opening new Eastern European, Australian, Japanese and American tour and playing 53 different countries in total.
Capitalising on the success of the tour, the band began a series of Official Bootlegs capturing some of their most enjoyable concerts around the world, in Sweden, Budapest and Japan. In January 2011, the band returned to the studio once again to record “Into The Wild” which began with a strong start in Germany at #32 and the band once again returned to the road for a worldwide tour.
2013 was truly a year of mixed fortunes for the band. Whilst their performance at Download Festival was hailed by all as a highlight of the weekend, sadly Bassist Trevor Bolder died on 21 May. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer but had been aiming to recover in order to perform the Download show. Sadly that was not to be. He was 62 years old and his passing was marked by all of the major music titles and most national newspapers.