Q&A - Song Writing Now vs. the 70s

The music you create now with your brother Michael vs the music you created in the past together, it’s a significant style change but I’ve noticed the earthy vibe is still the same. Was there an evolution, either personally or professionally that caused this shift into a more outward holistic version of yourselves or was this really what you wanted to produce all along? Thank you. -Cole G.

RF: Thanks, Cole.

You’re only referring to music that’s been released, which is the tip of a large iceberg.

We have hundreds of unreleased songs which span several genres, mixing styles and experimentation.

The “earthy vibe” you mention is the result of who and what Mike and I are: two guys who love the woods, mountains, ocean, and Nature in general. I think our deep caring for this place we all call home comes through in everything we do.

Our last album, ALL TOLD, reflects the styles we were working with at the time, and consequently the artists we chose to work with, which resulted in an eclectic-but-focused world perspective which reeks of originality.

I’m excited to see what everyone thinks of the new album, HEART OF THE BLUES!

Q&A - What is in the Heart archives video-wise? Was there ever talk of having Ann Wilson, or even the sisters do a solo album back in the late 1970s?

1.) What is in the Heart archives video-wise? Is all the pro-shot footage already out there on YouTube (i.e. The Second Ending, 4 songs from Cal Jam 2,various TV appearances, the Little Queen promo film, the Dog and Butterfly promo film and lastly the Dog and Butterfly show from the Capital Theater)? 

Was Texxas Jam filmed? How about the rest of the California Jam set? Are there any complete Little Queen tour shows out there?

2.) Mike Derosier did a recent Modern Drummer interview and he talked about the 40th anniversary of “Dog and Butterfly” – which of course is this year. He wasn’t completely thrilled with “Straight On” saying:

“I think we did a good, legitimate take on [dance/disco music],” the drummer says. “I do like that stuff, and [singer] Ann Wilson really liked that music. But at the same time I always felt a little cheesy and that we were jumping on a bandwagon. You have a certain amount of success, and you want to maintain that or expand on that, so you find yourself sometimes getting sucked into trends or fads. It was sort of like we were allowing ourselves to be drawn into that, instead of following our own path. You end up finding yourself being a follower. And that’s part of the reason I got sick of the band after a while. I never felt like we were progressing and trusting our chemistry as much as we should have.”

What’s your take on this? I hear glimpses of greatness throughout the early years of Heart. Yet the Wilson Sisters have always maintained that when they first heard the Beatles, they wanted to become them. At the same time they remain fans and didn’t often push the musical envelope in the same way that the Beatles, Joni Mitchell or Led Zeppelin did. “Mistral Wind” to me was a good indicator of how dynamic Heart could have become. Even “The Situation” after you left, to me showed some promise artistically, though it didn’t do well as a single.

3.) Was there ever talk of having Ann Wilson, or even the sisters do a solo album back in the late 1970s? That way Heart could have maintained their harder rock direction and the sisters could have gotten as esoteric as they wanted to. Annie Haslam of Renaissance did a fantastic solo LP in the late 1970s where she tackled jazz standards and all kinds of cool stuff (“Annie in Wonderland”.) It’s an amazing record.

Thanks in advance for your answers!

JG

RF: John, your questions and comments show insight… thanks.

1.)  The Heart video archives we have contain a LOT of footage no-one has seen. We’ll be using much of it as projected background for our live performances later this year. We’ll be announcing the new band and gigs soon. Nearest thing I’m aware of to early Heart… we have a great band!

Seems to me Texxas Jam was filmed, wish we had the footage!

2.)  That was part of the reason for me needing to leave the band, I always leaned toward innovative, not necessarily commercially-safe territory. 

To me, Drosh is correct in voicing the tendency for people to try to do “what works” for the sake of sales and popularity, which is, of course, contrary to pure art - that is, unless you define pure art as inclusive of the marketing machine.

3.)  Mike Fisher might be able to provide more insight into that reply… Mike?

Q&A - Hearing EVH for the first time

What was your reaction the very first time you heard Eddie Van Halen? I can still remember exactly where I was / what I was doing when I heard EVH for the first time. -Dana J.

RF: Great question.

I too remember clearly where we were: on the tour bus with Heart. Bro Mike had been telling us about this amazing new guitar player from LA. Then he played a (I think) cassette. Oh my god, we were all blown away! I knew we were hearing a star about to be born.

Not long after, they came to see us at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. We met and let them know how much we appreciated the band. They asked if they could come up and hang on stage left during our set. We said, “Sure, go ahead and get up there.” When our road manager saw what was going on, he wanted them off the stage. We told him we wouldn’t play unless they were there. They stayed and watched and Eddie and I became pretty good friends for a little while, exchanging gifts back and forth, hanging out together when they played Seattle. After awhile we didn’t stay in touch anymore.

Eddie was a pioneer and conquered greatness. Hats off to a hard working Dutch boy :-)

Q&A - How did Alias form?

Whose idea was it to form Alias and is there any chance of a reunion? -Chris C.

RF: Thanks for asking,  Chris.

Alias was the brainchild of Art Ford, Freddy Curci, and Steve DeMarchi, to the best of my knowledge.

There is zero chance of a reunion because Steve Fossen, Mike Derosier and I didn’t play on the album. Personally, I’m too busy to dilute my time and energy with an involvement in that camp.