From page 12 of Classic Rock Magazine June 2011
If you want to piss ’em off, call them a nostalgia act. If you want Christmas cards, get them a gig in China.
In a career that saw them begin as contemporaries of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep have sold more than 30 million records. While those first three have always enjoyed greater celebrity and acclaim than the latter, in Europe Heep have, oddly, been revered for years by members of the extreme metal underground.
This is your third studio album in about three years. Why so many records in such a short time? It’s more a case of why we stopped for so long after the Sonic Origami album in 1998. That’s when the music industry collapsed, as the internet became ever more important. Record labels had no clue what to do. So there was no point in a band like us putting out a new album. Now things appear to have settled down.
Do you have to be careful not to just fill up an album with clichés?
Of course. When you’ve been around as long as us, there’s a danger that you’ll just rehash your past. But we’re fully aware of that problem, and will always scrap any songs that repeat what we’ve done before.
On the new album, Mike Paxman is again the producer. Is he now effectively the sixth member of Heep? Very much so. His enthusiasm and energy is quite incredible. He’s such an inspiration to work with. This is the third album we’ve done with him, and it’s fair to say that he knows us and we know him. But he still gets the best out of the music.
What do you hope to achieve saleswise with a new studio album? We’re not daft enough to believe that Into The Wild will suddenly sell a million copies. For us the most important thing is that by making new music we avoid merely being a nostalgia act. Writing and recording these songs keeps us fresh and vital. There are too many older bands around now who are just peddling nostalgia. They come across as passionless and wasting their time.
How much of the new material will you play live?
We’ll play up to seven of the new songs. But, of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll suddenly drop any of the classics that are currently in there. All of which means you can expect us to be playing a very long set.
You’ve played in so many different countries down the years. Where is there left for you to take Heep? In all we’ve played in 53 countries to date, but I’d love to play in China. I’m not sure how many bands have ever played there, but I’d relish the opportunity to go out there and see what the country’s all about, and how it supports rock music.
You’ve influenced vast numbers of underground metal heroes. Does that still surprise you?
It never fails to surprise me that we’ve had so many European bands who name us as one of their biggest inspirations. For me, it’s one of the biggest compliments you can get. But it’s not something we can ever take for granted. When this is all over – hopefully not for a while – it’ll be great to know we’ve got a connection to the younger generations of rockers. MD Into The Wild is out now on Frontiers.