Ken Hensley (ex-Uriah Heep) interviewed by Glenn Milligan between 28th & 29th August, 2007.
Find out what Ken has to say about his new album 'Blood On The Highway' and life in and around Rock 'n' Roll!!
(All Live Pix by Kai Schwarz)
Why did you
decide to write, record and release the concept album ‘Blood on
Would you say you based it on one particular
person, various people or is it basically a general picture of life
for some in the music business?
How has the basic storyline changed if at all
from the original storyboard, and did you find you had to take out already
written songs when you had altered the story as well as adding new ones?
How did you go about getting all the musicians
and vocalists together and how did you originally meet them and when?
Glenn and I had talked for a long time about doing something together so this gave us the perfect excuse! My touring band “Live Fire” are all from Norway so I had met and jammed with Jorn Lande quite often. I knew John Lawton had the perfect voice for his song and when I was searching for a female voice for the “relationship” song, I was introduced to Eve by a friend in Switzerland where she now lives.
What cool times did you have in the studio with
the vocalists and musicians
Where did the style of the cover come from with
the hands, heart and the road as well as the way it opens up?
I was playing the Dobro in the control when the intro was in playback and we just looked at each other and said….now go do that in the studio!
What would you say
are your favourite songs on the album and for what reasons?
would you say came easy and why?
First, I had the concept to work with and I had chosen the general topics I wanted to illustrate, so the subject matter was clear.
Second, the place I live in Spain is very remote and very tranquil so the “noise of the world” doesn’t interfere with the creative process at all.
would you say were harder to write and why?
to people who pushed it too far and lost their lives for their love
and lifestyle in rock ‘n’ roll, who would you want to bring
back and show them the right way of living or if you would have had
the chance, save from the dangers?
When I was young I didn’t listen very carefully to advice and I ignored a lot of it but I think young people are like that so I doubt that I could influence them too much at that age. If they are as old as me and have survived it all then they will probably know better!
I do worry that the young
artists doing it now are setting such a terrible example for their fans
and youngsters who, in some cases, try to emulate them closely.
say are the main dangers of the music business and what bullsh*t have
you been told in the past that led you to believe would be beneficial
to you but just lined someone elses pockets or got themselves further
up the ladder?
The dangers are physical and financial. If you don’t take care of yourself, you might kill yourself and if you don’t have good career and financial management, you might end up after 30 years without a penny. It has happened to a lot of people from my era which is why Monica and I have set up “Musicians In Need” as a component of our foundation, Esperanza Street. (www.esperanzastreet.org)
That’s one thing I would definitely change if I were to go back in time.
say is the best way to describe ‘a life in the music business’
and what would you say are the best things to avoid and for what reasons?
you say the music business could be improved these days to fit both
the needs of the artist and the record company?
(from a musical point of view) would you say influenced the style of
the album and what was it about them that you liked that purposely fit
the narrative and vibe for the various sections of ‘Blood On The
Highway’ as a whole?
reason did you purposely use Uriah Heep’s ‘Easy Livin’
in parts of the album – was it to be contrasting as it isn’t
an ‘Easy Kind of Living’ or were there other personal reasons
– if so, what?
Easy Living just jogs along in the background of the pub scenes.
the reception from other members of ‘Uriah Heep’ past and
present for using ‘Easy Livin’ and calling it ‘Doom’
(scene 1) &‘Doom’ (scene 2)?
plans to tour the album and will the same artists be taking part on
vocals or have you got others to take there place - if so who?
plans for dates in the UK in the future - if so, where and when?
your favourite parts of the USA when you were based there and why?
you decide to settle in Spain after living for so long in the USA?
Monica is Spanish, the weather is great most of the time, I love olive oil and garlic and I am only 2 ½ hours flight from my brothers and sister.
How did you
come to working with Blackfoot and what were your favourite times as
It was really difficult to fit my playing into their style but I enjoyed working with Rick Medlocke a lot.
it like working with Blackie Lawless of WASP and how did it come to
I was invited to the release party and that was where I heard the lyrics for the first time. I hated it!!
did you like working on the most and why??
get to work with an ex-WASP buddy mine, Stet Howland and did you hang
out much with any of the band members – care to tell of any cool
stuff you got up to?
do you have any great road stories from your career so far that ain’t
been told (or told too much) that are worth telling – care to
been your favourite groupie exploits that you are able to tell?
been your favourite tours both as a solo artist and as a member of particular
I am still waiting for my favourite solo tour and I’ll let you know when and if it ever happens!
and albums have been your favourites that you have been part of
With Heep my favourites are “Demons & Wizards” because the band was cruising on such a high at the time and we were so “connected” and “High & Mighty” because of the songs and the fun we had making it without Gerry being around. Like naughty school kids really.
Now my favourite is “Blood On The Highway”.
you been most proud of so far in your career and also as a person
A big thankyou
for taking the time out to answer all of the questions.
Rock 'n' Roll !!
big thankyou to William James @ Glass Onyon Promotions for setting it