Back when I was 25 – young, rich and stupid – I never expected to make it to 40. Because I thought 40 was old.”
On the cusp of turning 70, Ken Hensley chortled heartily into the phone during a conversation from his home in Spain last week. It’s a laugh of achievement at having survived the wealth, drugs and fame of his youth as co-founder of 1970s British hard rock veterans Uriah Heep. And it’s a laugh of gratitude, thinking about what could have been.
“I’m one of the lucky ones, and I’ve never stopped being thankful for it. I’m very conscious of the fact that so many of my contemporaries didn’t make it,” said the lanky, long-haired keyboardist/guitarist in a voice that recalled a more lucid Ozzy Osbourne. “When I look back how I lived in the early 1970s, it’s a wonder I survived.”