Promotional pictures here
With Trevor Bolder then
coming back into the fold. "After two years with Wishbone Ash I
still felt like an outsider", he says. Though the band were still
generating momentum in most markets, they were losing ground in America.
A couple of months were
spent over there still, in support of Rush ("who owed us a few
favours"), Judas Priest ("who treated us like shit!") and
Def Leppard, whose vocalist Joe Elliot remembers that tour vividly.
"They were the best band that we've ever toured with either as a
headline or support, because there was no ego, no pretentious kind of
stuff. They were good in as much that we learnt a lot from them, they
always gave good advice without saying, 'Listen, son', with that smarmy,
And Mick Box has got to
be one of the funniest, most genuine men I've ever met." Gerry Bron
had by now relinquished management (agent Neil Warnock was now looking
after them in Europe, with Blue Oyster Cult's management team of Sandy
Pearlman and Steve Schenck handling affairs in the US) and with Howe now
producing that left just Bronze Records as the link between Heep and
their former Godfather. Ultimately, even that liaison was to finish,
with Bronze being crippled by massive debts.
The company finally
went into liquidation in June 1983, severing a relationship that had
lasted over thirteen years and a collapse that "cost Heep a lot of
money" according to Box. It was from this point in time that Heep
started to put some serious miles on the clock in terms of heavy duty
touring. And not content with the usual established markets, now they
started to expand their horizons by visiting such obscure territories
(in terms of heavy metal) as India, Malaysia and Indonesia. "We
started to go much further afield because the offers were coming
in." Box says.
"And if you're
gonna do Australia and New Zealand it makes sense to do those other
places as well on route." And with every new venture, there's
another amusing tale. "It was in India where some drug-crazed
Indian jumped up on stage and bit into Pete's back, and he wouldn't let
go! A load of police jumped on stage and they're beating this guy to
death with riot sticks and still he continued to hang on. Pete still has
the scar to this day."
"I also remember
one show in Bombay (following a major festival performance in San Diego
with Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Eddie Money) being literally in the
middle of a field, and our lightshow consisted of something like four
lightbulbs each side! A reporter asked me about our effects and I said,
'Yeah, on and off!'"
The ensuing period saw
Heep adopt the role of global warriors, even venturing into the Eastern
Block in early '84, before hitting the recording studio for the
recording of Equator
"We were spending
so much time on the road though," reflects Goalby, "that I
felt there was no time to do anything. I felt there wasn't enough time
spent preparing on the new record." New manager Harry Maloney had
lined up a worldwide deal with CBS's Portrait label, and on paper it
could not have looked any rosier.
This time producer Tony
Platt was brought in, though on reflection, it's probably fair to say
that Platt's unique style of production was not quite suitable for Heep.
EQUATOR is certainly not a bad album; on the contrary songs such as
'Poor Little Rich Girl' and 'Heartache City' have strength of character
while 'Rockarama', though sounding a little deliberate, proved Heep
could still rock out.
All in all it was a
solid piece of product that had the potential to do extremely well.
"CBS just did a terrible job getting it into the shops." says
Box. "We were going out and playing, doing really good business but
you couldn't buy the bloody record!" The band's relentless touring
schedule, however, began to take its toll, particularly on Pete Goalby,
whose voice was suffering.
into Gary Moore while in Hamburg and he said I sounded terrible, asking
if I'd lost my voice. I said no but we'd just played sixteen dates back
to back. He told me I should sack my manager!" Goalby's voice
finally went while in the middle of an Australian tour and so, somewhat
disillusioned by the apparent lack of support from CBS, the endless
touring and having so little time to write, Goalby made his decision to
say au revoir. "I loved and believed in Uriah Heep but it kicked
the shit out of me in the end," he says.