In January 2007, Uriah
Heep announced that veteran drummer Lee Kerslake was leaving the band
due to health problems.
"Uriah Heep regret to announce that, due to
ongoing health problems, longstanding drummer Lee Kerslake is to leave
the band with immediate effect.
During 2006, when Uriah Heep toured in some twenty territories ranging
from Indonesia, India and Thailand through to Brazil, Peru, Russia and
Bulgaria, concluding with a six week Acoustic Tour through Europe, Lee
found the rigors of constant touring increasingly stressful and will now
take the opportunity over the next few months to embark on a stringent
campaign in order to resolve his health issues.
Comments Heep lead guitarist and founder member Mick Box: "All the band
are fully behind Lee in his efforts to become fully match fit again.
For me, it is particularly devastating to lose not only someone who I
have worked with for some thirty five years, but also one of my closest
and oldest friends who I love like a brother. It is, however, in the
best interests of both Lee and the band that a change is made now. This
is an important time in the history of the band - We have just signed a
new worldwide recording contract with Sanctuary Records and are about to
commence recording our first new studio album in almost a decade and it
is vital that there is consistency between both the recording and the
forthcoming eighteen month long world tour to coincide with the album?s
release in September".
The band will now start actively auditioning potential drummers and we
will keep you informed as events unfold."
On March 14, 2007 this announcement was posted at
"URIAH HEEP are delighted to announce that
the drummer RUSSELL GILBROOK has joined the band. He replaces LEE
KERSLAKE who left the band in January due to health reasons.
Russell is regarded as one of the UK?s finest drummers and clinician?s
and has demonstrated specialist drum clinics all over Europe. He has
worked with such diverse artists as Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Van
Morrison, John Farnham, Alan Price, Chris Barber and Lonnie Donnigan
On April 14th 2007 Russell Gilbrook appeared
with the band at his first gig,in Vuokatti, Finland
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.
If the history of
Heep proves anything though, it is that the band will endure. Dave
Rimmer, who had been standing in for Trevor, will continue as
bassist and with the band’s diary for the foreseeable future as full
as ever, the whole band will be busy. Rehearsals have started for
the recording sessions of a new album, to be released through
Frontiers, and the material is sounding amazing.
Uriah Heep – still
“Very ’eavy, very humble”. Still essential.
Talk to Mick Box (and
if you get the opportunity then do so, because he'll certainly talk back)
and he'll reflect back on the history of Heep with a glint in his eye and
a smile on his face (after selling millions of records he's entitled to),
and like any seasoned traveller who's just returned from a momentous
journey he'll, along with Lee Kerslake, Trevor Bolder and indeed, Ken
Hensley, recall the highs and lows, ups and downs, with genuine affection.
And you know what? They won't have regretted a single minute of it.
They've had their share of 'appy days alright, but they're not over yet,
that's for sure.