Getting to the Heart of Heart

Heart is a legendary rock band that was formed in the 1970s and was a staple of American Rock N Roll in the 1980’s and 90’s. Their unique sound comes from the strong vocals of the Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy. They reached their pinnacle with three top five albums between 1985-1990 (Heart, Bad Animals, and Brigade). Over this time they had two number one singles and seven in the top 15. The more impressive feature may be their lasting power. The band released their 13th studio album last year Red Velvet Car which debuted at No. 10 on the album charts. —-

CityBeat had been trying to touch base by email with Nancy Wilson for an interview for a few weeks since the last show at Riverbend was postponed due to Joe Elliot’s father’s illness. We later found out that Nancy had fallen down and fractured her wrist so we had some delayed response and the Cincinnati audience will see her in a splint this week. Heart will kick off the next leg of their tour on July 27th at Riverbend Music Center with Def Leppard. You can see Nancy’s sense of humor in her blog post about the injury below in her own words.

We finally did catch up with Nancy and were able to get a quick update on the tour and some of her advice for up and coming female rock stars.

CityBeat: What is your favorite live performance moment ever?
Nancy: I don’t have a favorite live performance because new thrills keep arising at shows, but standing on stage with Neil Young was right up there.

CB: Many people may not know that you also have composed the music for many famous films. What was the process to compose songs for the movie "Almost Famous?" How is it different than writing music for live personal performance?
NW: In score music, there are no lyrics. Dialogue of the film is like song lyrics and the music to support the scene almost transparently stays out of the way. If you feel the music more than you hear it you know you’ve done your job right. This is the opposite of rock song writing.

CB: One of my favorite Heart albums growing up was "Desire Walks On." Are there any favorites for you from that album that you could share a personal story behind it?
NW: The title song of “Desire Walks On” was one of the most unbeatable demos. We tried in the studio but could not top the 8 track cassette that I had engineered in the songwriting session. Earlier this year we entered it into our live show and it has now taken its place in the hall of most excellent live rarities.

CB: You have collaborated with artists and icons from all genres of music. Is there anyone that you have not worked with that you would like to collaborate with in the future?
NW: Tom Petty!!

CB: I'm sure you have played many, many times in Cincinnati...any special or scandalous times or stories that you can share from your time here?
NW: We are pretty unscandalous in general. Having a really good dinner is pretty much on the top of our wish list.

CB: Do you still enjoy touring after all these years on the road?
NW: Being on stage, Yes. The rest of it…travel…not so much.

CB: You famously moved to Canada as a band so members could avoid the Vietnam draft and have always been politically conscious as a band and individuals? Do the current political situations and current wars influence your music or the band in any way today?
NW: It influence us as song writers most of all. We feel like we are fighting a war for peace using our guitars as weapons.

CB: Female hard rock singers and band members are still fairly uncommon but some are starting to some on the scene (Lzzy Hale-Halestorm, Emma-Sick Puppies). What advice would you give them today?
NW: Beware of the image-makers and pitch correction. Become adept at your craft so you can do it with or without pro-tools.

CB: Any regrets?
NW: None

CB: What can we expect from the show next week in Cincinnati?
NW: A completely authentic transcendent rock experience.

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