MICK UNDERWOOD - Page, Plant, Jones... Underwood?
by Martin Popoff
Ah what could have been, but consummate UK drum legend Mick Underwood good-naturedly doesn't dwell on it, and rightly he shouldn't (more on that later - read on!). Even though the bands he's been part of haven't scaled the mountains of Zeppelin, his career spans an astounding 45-odd years and some incredible (yet many, obviously under-rated) albums, with the likes of Strapps, Quatermass, and especially Gillan, who, in this writer's opinion, is one of the great unsung bands of all time - and Mick was drummer on the whole catalogue save the obscure, Japan-only debut.
The bloody remarkable six Gillan albums... that's, in fact, why I wanted to ring Mick up: to congratulate him on his explosive work on those, and to get some stories on two of them - Glory Road and Future Shock - that I'm writing up chapters on for my Ye Olde Metal book series (see www.martinpopoff.com - three out so far), as it slowly but steadily moves into the '80s.
But Mick's fortunately not put to pasture and there are some things you ought to know. First off, he's got an amazing, fact- and fun-filled website. Given the man's huge and rich and productive career, something this scholarly was most definitely required to sort it all out. Check it out at www.mickunderwood.com - you'll understand why he's got to be remembered in the pantheon of hard rock drummers.
There's also new music he's been working on...
"Yes, I'd like to mention Raw Glory, the new band that I've got," begins the cheery legend. "There's a link to it from my site. It's a three-piece, if you like. The guitarist is a chap called Cosmo, who used to play with the Heavy Metal Kids. Superb guitarist; he plays really ancient old Les Paul guitars and he sounds absolutely wonderful. And the bass player you probably won't know, a guy named Johnny Heywood, who plays bass and sings and is great on both - great singer, fine bass player. And we're doing some recording and some gigs, and I'm enjoying it immensely. There are a few links to music on it (six tracks actually - see www.rawglory.co.uk). Some of the stuff is covers and some of it is originals. You can't get work in this country at the moment unless you do covers. So we're concentrating on covers at the moment, from a working point of view, but we do have quite a few original ones as well. We've done half an album of original stuff - we're writing to finish an album with all original stuff."
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