Ann Wilson Of Heart Interview
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and the legendary voice of Heart, Ann Wilson, will be making a solo appearance at the Packard Music Hall in Warren on Saturday, June 17th. Ann is currently out supporting her second solo EP titled Focus, which was released last year.
We recently spoke with Ms. Wilson to discuss her career, her upcoming appearance in Warren and to see what the future might hold.
Greg Drugan: Hi Ann! Thanks for taking some time with me today. How has the tour been going so far?
AW: Fantastic! We are all very happy.
GD: I know your fans are excited to see you here in Warren in a couple of weeks. Was it a conscious decision to play some cities that you haven’t played in a while?
AW: Yeah, sure it was. With this band, it was an evolution process for me. As an artist, I wanted to get out of the big, huge places and go and have a more intimate connection with people.
GD: Looking back on your career a little bit: I was at the Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in ‘95. I thought you and Nancy stole the show with your incredible cover of “Battle of Evermore.” How did decide to choose that song and were you nervous playing in front of all of those legendary artists?
AW: Thank you. No, I don’t think we were nervous at all. We chose that song because we had it in our set at that time.
GD: Cleveland has always been a big supporter of Heart. Do you have any specific memories of playing in Cleveland and do you have and good Swingo’s stories?
AW: Yeah, the first time we ever played (in Cleveland) we stayed at Swingo’s. A couple of guys in our band were pretty unruly in the restaurant and we got banned from that restaurant! (laughs) But as time went along, that kinda lapsed and they were used to rock bands by then. Yeah, we played in Cleveland many, many, many, many times.
GD: Speaking of Cleveland, it took Heart a while to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It seems like they are finally putting in some artists who are long overdue; who would you like to see get inducted in the coming years?
AW: Yeah! How about Alice in Chains, I would like to see them in there.
GD: Good choice. You have had a storied career, being a strong female lead singer in a rock and roll band. If they were to make a movie about your career, which actress would you like to see play your role?
AW: Hmmm. Wow, that’s a good question. It would have to be somebody who could handle drama! (laughs) I think Elizabeth Taylor.
GD: That would be an excellent choice. In your career, you have had the opportunity to work with a variety of artists. Is there anyone out there that you would like to collaborate or tour with?
AW: Well, I’ve always loved Lucinda Williams. I think it would be great to sing some songs with her. I wouldn’t mind doing a duet with Jeff Beck or Cat Stevens.
GD: Those would all be great! Who were some artists that influenced you growing up?
AW: Don’t forget that I was brought up in the ‘60s and the '70s. So the people that influenced me were Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Moody Blues, Elton John and Motown artists. So that is where I got my inspiration early on.
GD: Is there a Heart song that has never been performed live?
AW: Oh no, there are many, many Heart songs that have never reached the stage. There are only a few that have, really. Some of the ones that never made it live are some of my favorites. The deep album cuts are songs that are a little more experimental and creative. But yeah, there are lots and lots!
GD: Are there any plans to release any new material, perhaps a full length album of Ann Wilson?
AW: Well, there are no plans right now for a full length album. But I would like to release another EP and that will probably be out in the winter I think.
GD: Awesome. Now would that be basically cover songs, or would there be some originals too?
AW: It will be a five song EP with four originals and one cover.
GD: Well, that will be something to look forward to at Christmas time.
GD: What can fans expect from this show, how is it different from previous tours?
AW: Well, the main difference is that it's not a Heart show. It’s my solo show. There are only three or four Heart songs that have been re-imagined. There are several songs that have been written over the last year and a half by me and Craig Bartock, our guitarist. There are a number of really cool, surprising covers. We have a full video program for each song so it's a total experience both musically and visually. We're getting really amazing reviews and tremendous crowd reaction. It's gone way past my expectations.
GD: What does the future hold for you?
AW: Well, I’m pretty much going to be on tour for the rest of the year. I really don’t have any plans set for touring beyond this year. Right now, we're seeing what unfolds and being in the moment!
GD: Well, I’m really looking forward to the show. The Packard Music Hall is a very nice venue that has a more intimate feel. Everyone here in northeastern Ohio is looking forward to seeing you on June 17th. It’s been a pleasure talking with you.
AW: Alright! Thank you very much!
Interview was conducted by Greg Drugan