‘Appy Days! The Mick Box Column (No. 2)
In his second column for the Classic Rock website, the legendary Uriah Heep guitarist gets involved in a ‘chariddy’ event; does a zillion interviews to promote Heep’s new Celebration CD; meets TV’s queen of mean, Anne Robinson (who turns out to be a Heep fan herself!); and recalls sharing a bubble bath with ex-Kiss drummer Peter Criss. Or something like that. Come inside for more… Click here to read Mick’s previous columns.
This week started with an invite to the Sunflower Jam Cancer Charity dinner at the Porchester Halls near Paddington, London, courtesy of Promoter Steve Forster. I went with our manager Martin Darvill, and we had a great night. A number of artists kindly donated their time and played on stage, including Ian Paice (Deep Purple), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Micky Moody (ex-Whitesnake), Jerry Brown (Tina Turner), Margo Buchanan (Pink Floyd), Nick Fyffe (Jamiroquai), Murray Gould (Elton John), Don Airey (Deep Purple) and Suggs from Madness.
The sum of £5,100 was raised for an autographed guitar, auctioned by Planet Rock Radio. It included my signature and those of many other musicians, which was fantastic. Loads of other stuff was auctioned, and a lot of money was raised for a worthy cause. It was nice to catch up with radio DJ David Jensen, and we swapped some stories from the old days when he was with Radio Luxembourg. It was also nice to catch up with Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy); I had not seen him since we toured together late last year in Germany. Anyway, a good night was had by all, and all for a worthy cause. It does not get much better than that.
Our new CD, Celebration, has just been released, so I have been knee-deep in all sorts of interviews around the world. It is always a good feeling that we can generate this sort of interest worldwide with new product. I have done countless telephone and radio interviews, so it really has been quite a busy week.
There is always an air of excitement around new product when it gets released, and I love it. On the release date it is finally out of our hands, and you wait to see how it is received. With a little bit of unashamed self promotion, if you would like any more news on Heep you can find it on www.uriah-heep.com – or if you would like to visit my own site it is www.mick-box.net
This week I have been on the BBC Watchdog show with Martin Turner (Wishbone Ash), talking to Anne Robinson about cancelled festivals. It was nice to learn that she used to have a picture of us up on her bedroom wall. Still it bugs me no end that music fans are not getting their money returned with these cancellations. My appearance was prompted by the cancellation of Memories Of Woodstock Festival in August. As far as that was concerned, to be honest the writing was on the wall when, on the advertising, the promoter had spelt our name Uriah Heap instead of Uriah Heep, and he avoided any use of any of the bands’ trademark logos. Plus the bill was constantly changing from week to week. That said, I am furious that the fans are out of pocket when these shows go belly up.
Bought the new Cheap Trick CD The Latest and it is great. It is very much pop-rock with Beatlesque touches. In fact, on the Beatles front they actually outdo Oasis on track 12 Closer, The Ballad Of Burt And Linda. I do like the way the guitarist Rick Nielsen plays counter melodies to the vocal melodies on a lot of their songs, and this is very much a part of their sound.
I will be interested to hear the new Kiss CD, Sonic Boom. Funnily enough when we were pretty big in the USA back in the ’70s we had Kiss as a support band and it was a lot of fun. We toured East Coast to West Coast, and all points in between, and it really broke them. Needless to say later on after that they became huge, and we ended up supporting them, but they were always gentlemen, and there was always a great respect between both bands. It was easy to see that success was just around the corner for them, as nobody was doing things on the scale they were, and with Gene (Simmons) and Paul (Stanley) at the helm, they were seriously focused on getting success.
I used to love arriving at airports with Kiss, and the local press would all be there trying to take pictures of them, without their make up on, and they used to hide behind scarves, hats and bodyguards built like the Manhattan skyline. They were ushered into limousines and away on the toes, as the saying goes, to their hotel. We did have some terrific parties back then! Legendary stuff!
I was just talking with Trevor Bolder (Uriah Heep’s bassist) on the telephone. He reminded me of a story when Kiss had just come back to the hotel from a photo session, where they’d dressed up like women, much like a spoof on the Rolling Stones’ famous session. Afterwards in the hotel, there was a party in their accountant’s room, with Kiss and some of the crew, Trevor and Lee (Kerslake, former Heep drummer).
There was an incredible amount of food delivered to the room, and in the middle of this culinary array of food, was a huge display bowl of jumbo prawns on ice. In the centre of the jumbo prawns was a huge bowl of tomato ketchup, with a big plastic tomato on top. After a few drinks, when merriment coupled with devilment started to kick in, Lee decided to hit the plastic tomato with all his might, and the ketchup splattered all over the room covering the room. At first it shocked everyone, then the food fight from hell broke out, causing in the end $2,000 worth of damage. Lee always knew how to break the ice (not to mention the tomato) at parties.
There was also a time when we were all staying in a Holiday Inn Dome hotel, where everything is pretty much on one level. There was a swimming pool and a jacuzzi, and (Kiss drummer) Peter Criss went to his room, came back and poured his shampoo into the jacuzzi and it filled with bubbles. It did not stop there – the whole swimming pool was covered, and the entire play area of the hotel. It looked incredible, with bubbles from floor to ceiling. That was just the beginning of a very long party night.
I went to the opening night of Mott The Hoople’s run of shows at the Hammersmith Apollo last Thursday (October 1). I was lucky enough to be invited by Mark Mansell and his wife Diana. Mark is a partner in the law firm that my wife Sheila works in. It was the first time I had been there in ages, and we took our seats in the balcony. The welcome as Mott hit the stage was brilliant, and you felt that you were watching Rock Royalty such was the warm response. It was a British band getting a wonderful reaction from a predominantly British audience, and it made you proud to be British. Goosebumps aplenty.
They were superb, and really delivered. It was a wonderful night, and yes I bought the T-shirt and programme to show my support. The encores were fully deserved, and it was nice to see my old mate Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) guest on stage too, towards the end. I was buzzing by the time I left, and I had that wonderful guitar part of All The Young Dudes and the song All The Way From Memphis ringing in my head all the way home. A truly wonderful night.
Well that’s all for now. Thanks for taking the time to read the above, and I hope to see you next week.
Tags: Beatles, Bruce Dickinson, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Def Leppard, Don Airey, Gene Simmons, Ian Paice, Iron Maiden, Joe Elliott, Kiss, Lee Kerslake, Martin Turner, Mick Box, Micky Moody, Mott The Hoople, paul Stanley, Pink Floyd, Rick Nielsen, Scott Gorham, The Mick Box Column, Thin Lizzy, Trevor Bolder, Uruah Heep, Whitesnake, Wishbone Ash]