Phil Lanzon Biography
Phil Lanzon was born on March 23rd 1950. At the age of eight his mother arranged for piano lessons and three years later he got a taste for the stage. In 1966 he played covers of soul songs in his first band called THE LOOSE ENDS from south London. With this band he toured through Europe. There after he played with THE CATS PYJAMAS from 1968 until 1969. With this one a few singles were recorded. One of them was the cover version of BABY I LOVE YOU by THE RONETTES and an original called CAMERA MAN.
Lanzon married, started a family, and began to study harmony, counterpoint and composition at the Guildhall school of Music and Drama. He then got excited by the music of STYX and JOURNEY and with his newly gained expertise in composition saw the direction he would head towards. In 1977 he joined a new band: ROMANCE with NEIL CARTER, who later went with UFO and GARY MOORE. The band just exist a short time, but had recorded a demo of four good songs; one was penned by Lanzon; SHOW ME THE WAY TO ENGLAND. In 1978 he auditioned for a band called RAW DEAL that needed a singer. After he was invited to join, he auditioned the singers one by one until Bernie came in with his high range and that suited the band perfectly. This incarnation became PARIS. At the end of the seventies Lanzon was often asked as a session musician. That’s why he can be heard on the June 1980 recorded HOT CHOCOLATE HIT 'NO DOUBT ABOUT IT' and on the BUCKS-FIZZ Eurovision hit "MAKING YOUR MIND UP". Early 1980 Lanzon plays keyboards on the CRIS-SPEDDING-album I'M NOT LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.
PARIS became GRAND PRIX and Lanzon played keyboards and co-wrote on three albums. THE FIRST ALBUM was released in 1980 at RCA-records. The single WHICH WAY DID THE WIND BLOW was written by him and got a lot of coverage and exposed his writing talent. The line-up was BERNIE SHAW ( vocals) , MICHAEL O'DONOUGHUE ( guitar ) , RALPH HOOD ( bass ) , and ANDY BEIRNE ( drums ). The second album from 1982 THERE FOR NONE TO SEE sees ROBIN McAULEY replacing BERNIE SHAW. The third record SAMURAI is released in 1983 by CHRYSALIS RECORDS. The GRAND PRIX sound can be described as melodic hard rock with some clear Styx and Journey influences. After the third album GRAND PRIX called it a day due to a lack of managerial support.
In 1984 he replaced VIC EMERSON of SAD CAFÉ for a British tour. Lanzon appears on both STEVE GLEN - singles 'THATS ALRIGHT BY ME'/ 'JUST THE WAY WE ARE and 'DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN' / 'I'M ALRIGHT JACK. Lanzon is also to be heard on the album 'LOOK LEFT, LOOK RIGHT' by Steve Glen. In March 1985 Lanzon joined the band OPERATOR. His fellow band members were: ROBIN McAULEY (vocals), CHRIS GLEN (bass, before with SAHB and MSG), MICK O'DONOGHUE (guitar) and PHIL TAYLOR (drums; ex - MOTORHEAD). How promising this line up may have looked, it dissolved in may 1985.
In July 1985 Lanzon played Keyboards on 'BIG BANG' an album from the German band TARRACO, who recorded their album in Hamburg as in London. It's experimental disco with a lot of drum work by bandleader DICKY TARRACH (RATTLES). Lanzon composed two of the songs. In august 1985 Lanzon ended his work for TARRACO.
In September 1985 Lanzon joined THE SWEET. With him joins PAUL MARIO DAY, ex- WILDFIRE, as a new singer. With this new line up THE SWEET toured Australasia twice and recorded their live album 'LIVE AT THE MARQUEE’. At this time Mc NULTY bass, and both founder members ANDY SCOTT and MICK TUCKER formed the band. At the same time a live video was released at SOUND AND VISION. On this album Lanzon’s co-compositions: 'SHOT DOWN IN FLAMES', 'OVER MY HEAD’, and 'JUMP THE FENCE'
IN November 1985 LANZON played keyboards on PHIL TAYLOR'S NAUGHTY OL' SANTAS CHRISTMAS CLASSICS. (A rarity). O'DONOGHUE, GLEN and TAYLOR started GMT the same month, and recorded the mini LP 'WAR GAMES' at 'MAUSOLEUM' with a new guitarist MARCUS SCHLEICHER . This record was released on CD in 1991. All 5 songs are co-compositions of Lanzon. The song 'FALL IN LINE' was played by Lanzon. GMT folded. ROBIN McAULEY joined MSG; PHIL TAYLOR went to FRANKIE MILLER before he rejoined MOTORHEAD again.
In July, after the second tour of Australasia, 1986 Lanzon broke up with THE SWEET but just before Lanzon did a minor GERMAN tour with the band. The tour was called 'SATISFACTION GUARANTY’. Satisfaction is what SWEET guru MICHAEL MOTZKOU became that night. He was carrying a box of cola which Lanzon threw into the audience....just for fun. Michael showed him his middle finger and disappeared. A lot of talking was needed to clear the air. Lanzon has no recollection of the event but agrees it’s a good story.
Lanzon joins URIAH HEEP by replacing JOHN SINCLAIR. With Heep Lanzon goes on a US tour. At that point STEFF FONTAINE was singer for a few months. In February 1987 Lanzon was asked by ANDY SCOTT to play on the debut single of pub-rock band PADDY GOES TO HOLYHEAD. Lanzon had his hands free at the time, so he went into the LONDON BRIDGE STUDIO. They recorded the single 'THE GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME.’ The band's line up was: DANNY HYNES ( vocals) , ANDY SCOTT from THE SWEET, MAL McNULTY ( SWEET and ex- WEAPON), JEFF BROWN ( SWEET and ex - STATE TROOPER ) and the once WILDFIRE, WEAPON, and PRAYING MANTIS drummer BRUCE BISLAND. December of the same year Lanzon again went into the studio to record a cover of DELILAH.
In December 1987 HEEP play ten nights in the Olympic stadium in Moscow "LIVE IN MOSCOW" was recorded and released in 1988. For the first time with Heep Lanzon shows he's an important songwriter (and singer!!) with his song MR. MAJESTIC. The 1989 release of RAGING SILENCE is the first Uriah Heep studio album for Lanzon. From this album BAD BAD MAN is composed by Lanzon and the BOX/LANZON writing partnership begins to evolve. In 1991 the heavily criticized DIFFERENT WORLD released.
In 1994 Lanzon teamed up with fellow keyboardist Ian (Atila) Marshall to create two projects: First; a brand new techno/dance cover of GYPSY which did the rounds. On this maxi-CD four different versions of the song are recorded: 'LUCKY HEATHER MIX’, DJ CLUB MIX’,'' WEDGE MIX’, and RADIO MIX’. The track time of the last one is more then 23 minutes. Second; they were commissioned to write a hits cover version album featuring CATS doing the vocals. I mean, real furry critters. Bohemian Rhapsody is a must for all listeners of the curious. The album was cheesily entitled: MEEOW! THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC.
In 1995 the long awaited SEA OF LIGHT is released. At 8 of the 12 songs Lanzon did his job on the composition part. His own song MISTRESS OF ALL TIME belongs to the strongest pieces of the album. The main opinion is this album is the best of Uriah Heep ever since the Byron line up. Lanzon succeeded in bringing back the roaring Hammond organ sound. September 1998 SONIC ORIGAMI is released on the (UK) EAGLE RECORDS label. Lanzon is heavily involved in the composition work of BOX/LANZON. SEA OF LIGHT reflects the duo’s songwriter abilities. Lanzon’s song writing potential is best shown in 'BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, he was also heavily involved in the arrangements, and in the epos GOLDEN PALACE a deep going bombast symphonic rock song.
During a Scandinavian tour in Feb 1999 LANZON began to write short stories to kill wasted time on the road and self published STRANGE AND WONDERMUS STORIES, A re-print being arranged. Over the new decade he would go on to perfect one of those stories which he turned into a screenplay. He got it read by a Hollywood producer but as in most things Hollywood, nothing came of it, however, the story itself was to raise its head in novel form much later.
HEEP recorded the acclaimed ACOUSTICALLY DRIVEN in 2001. LANZON scored many of the arrangements for the string quartet. This was followed by touring and festivals which included the release of various HEEP DVD's. The long awaited release of WAKE THE SLEEPER, 2008, and consequently INTO THE WILD, 2011, and OUTSIDER 2014 saw LANZON'S song writing establishing itself again. Some say that TRAIL OF DIAMONDS was heading more towards the 'prog' side of HEEP.
Phil released his debut solo album on CD and vinyl IF YOU THINK IM CRAZY in 2017. It sold well and had rave reviews from all around the world. He introduced small orchestra and choir into his songs and used an array of different singers and musicians.
Lanzon is optimistic for the future of HEEP and that optimisism bled through into the latest HEEP offering LIVING THE DREAM which heralds a splash of METAL for the headbangers and some heavy prog amidst a plaintive ballad. All in all a very successful 25th studio album for Heep. The recent two month tour opening for Judas Priest has helped to re-open the U.S. and Canada market for the band so it’s onward and upward for the HEEP!
A second Lanzon solo album is available now entitled 48 SECONDS. He used a larger orchestra on this one and his love of movie soundtracks is evident on many of the tracks, not least the title track 48 SECONDS.
Phil is now a published author with his first novel CURSE OF THE MUDCHALK DEVIL which came out in April this year (2019) published by PEGASUS PUBLISHERS. It is the transcription of the earlier screenplay mentioned: It’s about a young girl who can see as well as hear music. She uses her gift to combat our biggest troublemaker. So Phil’s story made it to the major bookshops of the world at last. The screenplay is still sitting there waiting to be made into a movie... let’s see. His writing energies seem to be relentless.
PHIL LANZON lives in East Kent U.K. with his partner in life: PATINA. He has three children from his one and only marriage; nine grandchildren and two GREATgrandchildren - all wonderful and living in Hampshire.