The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Uriah Heep’s Maltese connection

Monday, 25 July 2016, 14:26 Last update: about 6 years ago

Ace keyboardist Philip Lanzon should not just be associated with Uriah Heep. In his career, which spans six decades, he has played sessions with artistes from different genres, toured the world some three or four times and has contributed considerably to the music scene, albeit in a very low profile way. He is also another talent of Maltese descent who has been quite under-rated locally, notwithstanding his diverse connections and contributions.

In the lead-up to the Uriah Heep concert next Friday, Eric Montfort caught up with an ever-busy Philip Lanzon for some comments about his unique musical experience.


You have played with Hot Chocolate and also Chris Spedding among other talents. What are your experiences working with the late Errol Brown and Chris Spedding?

I was booked as a session player with Hot Chocolate on the song No doubt about it and Chris Spedding so I didn't meet Errol or Chris.


Like yourself, experienced drummer Tony Carr also played with such bands. He is still alive thank God and lives in Eastbourne. Have you ever crossed paths?

I haven't come across Tony Carr yet, though I know Eastbourne well.


You have also played in the pub rock scene, back in the 1970s, with bands like Paddy Goes To Holyhead, among others. This scene spawned the likes of Ace, Squeeze, Nick Lowe and others. How influential do you think pub rock has been in the UK scene?

The pub rock scene in the UK was essential at the time for musicians cutting their teeth in the industry. Sadly, there was a lot of "pay-to-play" in those days but it didn't matter, when you're hungry you just want to play.


Which is your most satisfying work with Uriah Heep?

Seeing happy faces at all the concerts and writing new songs. I'm looking forward to a rockin' good night in Valletta on the 29th.


What are the most important factors in your opinion behind Uriah Heep's endurance?

The secret of Heep's endurance is most certainly a good song and the passion of playing live. We mix both old and new songs together in our set list and both get the same reaction which is also very rewarding.


The album 'Outsider' saw you collaborate once more with Mick Box as songwriters. Can you describe the songwriting collaboration and how you go along as songwriters?

Mick and I have been writing ever since I joined back in 1986. It's a partnership that just simply works. We bring together all the ideas at my place and sift through them pulling out the ideas that most fit Uriah Heep.


What will be your next project?

A new Uriah Heep album that we are writing now for a release in the new year. Outside of Uriah Heep I have written a novel that is being considered by Bloomsbury book publishers. My fingers are crossed!


How can you describe your Maltese connections? From which town or village in Malta does your family come from?

My father was born in Sliema and my other relatives are in various parts of the island, some in Sliema, some in San Gwann, Paceville and Santa Venera. Check out my website

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