Hall of famers Heart getting back to work
Heart singer Ann Wilson has a simple philosophy these days.
“At this point in our career, at this point in our creative life, there's no point at all in not doing exactly what we feel like doing,” she says.
Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson and their band Heart have certainly earned that privilege. The group has pretty much achieved everything a band could want out of a career.
The group has had huge success — selling more than 35 million albums and notching 21 Top 40 hit singles, headlining the biggest of arenas along the way. The Wilson sisters, in particular, have had a major impact on music, being among the first women to break into the rock scene, helping to open doors for several generations of female artists who have followed. Ann Wilson is universally hailed as one of rock's greatest female singers, while Nancy Wilson has shown that, as a guitarist, a woman can hold her own with most any other guitarist around.
The impact of the Wilson sisters and Heart was confirmed earlier this year when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To say the least, Ann Wilson was blown away by the Hall of Fame recognition.
“If you're thinking of rock as an institution, it is definitely the highest honor,” she said. “You can't go any higher than that. It's like getting an Oscar. So, it was just an amazing feeling. I'm still processing it. … I'm honored. It's very amazing.”
Now, Wilson and Heart are getting back to work — but doing something that very much meets the criteria of being fun.
The band is touring this summer with drummer Jason Bonham, son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, who is bringing out his Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience show to open the evening. They'll all be at First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown on July 21.
To close the shows, Bonham will join Heart to play an extended encore of Led Zeppelin songs.
Heart has often played Led Zeppelin songs in concert, and the Wilson sisters consider the British rock legends one of their biggest influences.
“They were teachers for us,” Ann Wilson says. “I mean, we had a few different artists that we really listened to deeply and learned from. Paul Simon was another one. The Beatles was another one. But I think the thing about Zeppelin that was really, really special to us was the acoustic, the rock inside of the acoustic.”
The tour with Bonham figures to be another high point in what has been a busy, rewarding — and yes, fun — past couple of years for Heart.
The period has seen the group release a forward-looking studio album, “Fanatic.” The album combined strong songs with creative sonics. Heart also released a career-spanning box set, “Strange Euphoria,” which was populated with a generous number of demos, rare live cuts and unreleased tunes spanning the band's career.
Then there was an autobiography on the Wilson sisters and Heart, called “Kicking and Dreaming,” which was published last fall.
Wilson says she and Nancy didn't hold back in telling their story, which chronicled the various highs and lows of Heart's career, the band's music and the challenges that came with being among the first women to front, write music and play instruments in a hard-rocking band, as well as the private lives lived along the way.
“We decided pretty early on there was really no point in doing it if we were just going to do a big, covered-up whitewash,” she says. “So, we told our story as openly and honestly as we can, having living children and everything. And so it's a pretty interesting story.”
Heart performs with Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience at 7:30 p.m. July 21 at First Niagara Pavilion. Tickets are $21 to $160.50. Details: 800-745-3000 or www.livenation.com
Alan Sculley is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.