By Paul Newton
As a founder member of British rock band Uriah Heep, I have unexpectedly found myself in
recent years becoming involved in many Heep-related events and in the process have met many
of their fans, both old and new. During conversations with these folk where I shared some of my memories and anecdotes I have frequently been told, 'Paul, you should write a book' and my reply has always been 'but I'm not a writer'.
When we went into a second lock-down at the beginning of 2021 I began to contemplate writing a book, a project to occupy me and a challenge but the question was could I do it… what could I write about that may possibly make an interesting read. I did not want to write a book purely about my Heep days for two reasons. Firstly, my tenure with the band was relatively short considering that Heep is now in its fiftieth year with original guitarist Mick Box still at he helm, and secondly, the fact that numerous books on the subject have already been written so what else could I realistically add?
I pondered the idea long and hard and eventually came up with an idea. Why not a fictional tale about a boy growing up and joining a rock band? I started jotting down ideas and themes until it came to me: I would write a story based on my own life and some of the experiences, events and women that I had encountered, but a fictional story that would allow me the freedom to expand or exaggerate. I could alter names and dates to make the whole thing more readable and entertaining.
And so I began to put pen to paper… well, fingers to keyboard and after a few false starts, it began to flow. I found myself absorbed in the work, my memory taking me back through time to places, people and events that had shaped my life with my imagination working overtime. The research for necessary facts proved to be fascinating and I would regularly wake up in the middle of the night as a thought entered my mind which I would then frantically scribble down in the notebook that was constantly nearby before the moment was lost. If nothing else this work has brought me hours of pleasure… and confusion at times.
Most of the characters in the story are based on real people, people I know, have known, or just encountered, with the central character, Paul Watson, being an alter-ego of myself. The majority of the events and occurrences are factual, although there will be occasions where you, the reader, will think, 'No, that can't possibly be true… that could not possibly have happened.'
The thing that has given me the most concern is the date and time format I have used where I go back and forth through the years, but that was how I thought I could maintain the reader's interest and create links to my own observations and views on the world we live in, rather than everything just being in strict chronological order… but again, I don't know, only you, the reader can answer that one.
So to those many people who over the years who have said, 'Paul, you should write a book',
well, here it is.