They say that reputation counts. And it does. It colors people’s perceptions, for sure. Sometimes though it gets in the way of what’s important, what’s more interesting. Having a reputation as, ‘The Nicest Guy In Rock’, can distract attention from not only what Mick Box has achieved with Uriah Heep, but also his status as one of rock’s finest guitarists, songwriters and performers. For throughout his ‘Appy Days with the band, whilst he may not shout it himself from the roof tops, he has been the driving force that has kept the band that he founded as powerful, active and relevant as they still are.
XS ROCK: So give me an idea of what’s it like to play with a band with such a great history like Uriah Heep?
Mick: It has been an amazing journey thus far that just continues to grow and grow, even after 48 years. We are heading to our 50th Anniversary which is something to be proud of. We play concerts in 61 Countries and continue to release new albums and I still have the same passion for our music as I had when we first started. Certainly, in England without knowing it we were writing the book for UK Classic Rock along with Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Jethro Tull. It was an incredibly creative era and the music has certainly stood the test of time.
XS ROCK: So how long have you been in the band?
Mick: 48 years and counting!
XS ROCK: What is your music background outside of your current band?
Mick: My whole professional music career has been in Uriah Heep. Prior to that I was in a professional band called ‘Spice’ that morphed into ‘Uriah Heep.’
XS ROCK: What image do you think the music of Uriah Heep conveys?
Mick: That is hard to say but I am told by some of the fans that the positivity in our music and lyrics has helped them through difficult times in their lives, which is just wonderful.
XS ROCK: What are your personal current music career goals?
Mick: To keep playing, keep writing, keep touring and keep keeping on!
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Studio work and recording or playing for a live audience?
Mick: They are both rewarding but to be honest most musicians spend a lot of the time on the road before they hit the studio, and there is nothing like playing live shows and communicating through your music.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Mick: To be true to yourself and to keep the creative juices flowing.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Mick: Thousands but you will have to wait for the book.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Mick: In the USA a guy brought his Dad’s ashes in an Urn and sat right in front of the stage. We met him after the show and he said that his Dad was a huge ‘Uriah Heep’ fan but he died before he got to see us, so his son brought him along in the Urn.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Mick: 100% and thank goodness they are. My family are my foundation in life and they keep me grounded.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Try and nurture some individuality that makes you stand out from the pack.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Mick: All of them! We have a blast on every song, but it is good to play new songs off the latest album too.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist originally inspired you to perform? Why?
Mick: ‘Johnny Kid and the Pirates’ as they had a great song called ‘Shakin’ All Over’ with a killer riff in it.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for Uriah Heep, who would be on the bill?
Mick: Jeff Beck, Vanilla Fudge & Uriah Heep
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Mick: We were the first western rock band to play in Moscow Russia. We were invited by Glasnost in December 1987 and we played to 180,000 people. We were pioneers in a way because through our success it allowed others to follow and it is now part of every bands touring schedule.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Mick: Carparelli S4 signature Guitars, Engl Amps (Artist Edition & Invader 2) and Speakers, Taylor Acoustic, Hofner Acoustic, RightOn guitar straps, Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Wah, Boss Chorus and a TC Electronic Tuner
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current rock music scene?
Mick: It is healthy and rocking!
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Mick: I love dogs. I have an English Setter called ‘Iggy.’
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Mick: Just a huge thank you for their support over the years that allows us to keep on ‘Living the Dream.’
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
Mick: My pleasure and ‘Appy days!
Uriah Heep is:
- Additional photo credits to Andrea Obergfel