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Michael Frederick Box (born 9 June 1947 in Walthamstow, East London, England), better known by his stage name Mick Box.
He is the lead guitarist of British rock group Uriah Heep and is the only member from the band's founding in 1969 who is still active with the group. A large part of the initial success of the band, he is often overshadowed by David Byron and Ken Hensley. His early work stands out on the album Salisbury with complex and powerful wah solos.
He currently resides in North London with his wife Sheila and their son Romeo.
In 1965 Mick Box formed The Stalkers as a Beat Band. Until 1967 the band had this lineup: Mick Box - Guitar, Ricky Hurd - Bass, Roger Penlington - Drums The lead vocalis has gone and Penlington sugested his cousin, David Byron (real name Garrick) to become the frontman. In 1968 Mck Box and David Byron wished to turn professional and evolved The Stalkers into Spice. With a few line-up changing, among them Barry Green (Bass) and Nigel Pegrum (Drums), Spice touches the summer of 1968. Pegrum left for Gnidrolog and Spice finally settled on Box, Byron, Roy Sharland (organ), Paul Newton (Bass, ex-The Gods) and Alex Napier (Drums). Sharland joined Arthur Brown and subsequently founded Fuzzy Duck, releasing one album. With Gerry Bron as a Guardian Angel, Spice signed to his Hit Records Productions company, resulting in the single 'What About The Music / In Love', in the same year on the United Artist label. Newton only appeared on the b side of this single, 'In Love', becouse he was recruited in mid session.
Spice were regulars on the club circuit and in early 1969 secured a prestigious residency at London's Marquee club. At this stage in the band's development many cover versions bolstered the live set, and both Box and Byron covered successful Pop songs of the day for Avenue Records. Sice also recorded demo tapes under another name, The Play. Undergoing an identity crisis, the band began recording their debut album as Spice, but initial recordings were shelved and by the time the album was completed Spice had evolved into Uriah Heep. Two songs were recorded with Colin Wood on organ - 'Come Away Melinda' (Hellerman /Minkoff) and 'Wake Up (Set Your Sights)' (Box /Byron).
With the addition of ex-The Gods and Toe Fat guitarist Ken Hensley to replace Colin Wood, the band adopted the new name. Uriah Heep name has sugested by Gerry Bron, from the character in Charles Dickens novel 'David Copperfield', 1969 beeing hundredth anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens. From the signature phrase of the Dickens character Uriah Heep ('very 'umble'), the first album Uriah Heep was entitled 'Very 'Eavy... Very 'Umble...'.
The line-up was Box (Guitar), Byron (Lead Vocal), Newton (Bass) and Hensley (Organ). On the Drums was Nigel Olsson (former Spencer Davis Group, Plastic Penny and Elton John).
After the first album Nigel Olsson quit to rejoin the Elton John band and was replaced by Keith Baker (ex-Bakerloo). The second album was 'Salisbury'.
On the third album 'Look At Yourself' Baker is replaced by Ian Clarke (ex-Cressida). This album featuring Manfred Mann - moog on 'July Morning' and Teddy Osei/Mack Tontoh/Loughty Amao (Osibisa) - percussion on final 'Look At Yourself'.
In November 1971 Paul Newton quit and he is replaced by Mark Clarke (ex-Collosseum and Tempest). Soon his place is took by New Zealander Gary Thain (ex-The New Nadir, Keef Hartley Band and Miller Anderson Band). In he same time on the Drums is recruted Lee Kerslake (ex-Toe Fat, where he performed together Ken Hensley).
Here is the point where Uriah Heep starts to have a huge success and the band has found its identity, becoming a hard name in the world. In May 1972 is released 'Demons And Wizards' and in November the same year is released 'The Magician's Birthday', both certified Gold by the RIAA.
In 1973 is released 'Sweet Freedom' and in 1974 'Wonderworld', which is the last album with Gary Thain. During his last tour with Uriah Heep, Thain suffered an electric shock at the Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas on 15 September 1974 and was seriously injured. Gary's health never fully recovered and in February of 1975 he had to leave the band. He was found dead on December 8 1975, in his flat at Norwood Green at the young age of 27, due to heroin overdose. His position filled by John Wetton (ex-King Crimson, Roxy Music and Family).
With John Wetton on Bass Uriah Heep releases two albums, 'Return To Fantasy' and ' High And Mighty'. In September 1976 David Byron ... left the band and in the same time John Wetton is replaced by Trevor Bolder (ex-David Bowie) on Bass. During this time vocalist David Coverdale (ex-Deep Purple) actually rehearsed with Uriah Heep, before he in turn asked Box and Kerslake to help kick start his own Whitesnake project. So, the new frontman become John Lawton (ex-Lucifer's Friend and Les Humphries Singers).
With John Lawton and Trevor Bolder onboard, Uriah Heep released three albums - 'Firefly', 'Innocent Victim' and 'Falln Angel'. After the last one John Lawton and Lee Kerslake quit! Now Uriah Heep once more had to find new recruits included drummer Chris Slade (ex-Manfred Mann), filling the gap left by Kerslake and former vocalist John Sloman (ex-Lone Star and Pulsar). The band actually auditioned Pete Goalby for the vocalist position but favoured Sloman, who was being billed at the time by many as the new Robert Plant.
The frictions that had caused Kerslake's departure would unfortunately resurface. In the middle of recording 'Conquest' in 1980 Ken Hensley left the band, apparently unable to reconcile himself with Sloman's vocal, Hensley went on to release his third solo album, 'Free Spirit', on Bronze Records in 1981. He would also create a fresh act titled Shotgun which featured Denny Ball on bass, guitarist Derek Marshall (ex-Kinks), keyboard player Ian Gibbons and Silverhead drummer Pete Thompson. Shotgun put in one gig at London's Marquee (to which all of Uriah Heep turned up!) before folding. Hensley then joined American Southern Rockers Blackfoot.
Hensley's position was taken in November 1980 by Canadian Greg Dechart, who had worked together with Sloman in the act Pulsar. Sloman, seeing the writing on the wall from both fans and critics, departed in early 1981 and was to hook up with the Gary Moore band. Sloman was also involved in ex-Tygers Of Pan Tang guitarist John Sykes project Badlands with Whitesnake bassist Neil Murray although this project faltered as Sykes was drafted into Thin Lizzy. Chris Slade joined Gary Numan and much later AC/DC. And Dechart joined Mike And The Mechanics.
At this point Uriah Heep was apparently at the end of the line. Mick Box and Trevor Bolder went to David Byron to ask him to join the band. The offer was declined. Bolder joined Wishbone Ash for Two Barrels Burning (1982).
After auditioned John Verity (former Argent), in 1981 Uriah Heep start again with Mick Box and Lee Kerslake, with a new frontman Peter Goalby (ex-Trapeze) Vocals, Bob Daisley (ex-Rainbow and Widowmaker) Bass and John Sinclair (ex-Heavy Metal Kids) Keyboards. In this formula Uriah Heep released Abominog (April 1982) and Head First (May 1983). Bod Daisley rejoined Ozzy Osbourne and Trevor Bolder returns where is his place. The nezt album will be Equator, with the lineup Mick Box/Guitars, Peter Goalby/Lead Vocals, John Sinclair/Keyboards, Trevor Bolder/Bass and Lee Kerslake/Drums.
Peter Goalby suffered from vocal problems which culminated in his voice collapsing during an Australian tour. He was at first replaced by American vocalist Steven 'Steff' Fontaine (ex-Joshua) for a series of American club dates before Uriah Heep drafted in former Praying Mantis and Grand Prix vocalist Bernie Shaw.
Since John Sinclair teamed up with Ozzy Osbourne, keyboard player Phil Lanzon (ex-Grand Prix) came to Uriah Heep and the new lineup becomed stable: Mick Box/Bernie Shaw/Phil Lanzon/Trevor Bolder/Lee Kerslake.
From 1986 untill 2007 was released three albums: 'Ragin Silence' 1989, 'Sea Of Light' 1995 and 'Sonic Origami' 1998.
What else? In January 2007 longstanding drummer Lee Kerslake bowing out due to health problems. In mid March 2007 the group announced the addition of drummer Russell Gilbrook to the group's ranks. In the new formula are released 'Wake The Sleeper' June 2008 and 'Celebration: 40 Years of Rock', both very well received by everyone.