July 26th, 2013 By Amy Harris | Music | Posted In: Live Stream, Interview, Music News, Music History

Q&A with Ann Wilson of Heart

Freshly-inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers play Riverbend Saturday

heart d3a1179Heart (Photo: Amy Harris)

Heart introduced a fresh, rebellious sound in the early 1970s when a particular voice was truly needed. That timeless voice belonged to singer Ann Wilson. In a time when the female frontwoman was just gaining steam, Heart found their identity in theirs. To this day Wilson embodies the band’s sound and message. She helped make it possible for generations of others to find their voice in Rock & Roll.

The band's legacy was celebrated on a grand scale this year when Ann, her sister, guitarist Nancy Wilson, and the rest of the Heart family were inducted into the 2013 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the likes of fellow legendary groups Rush and Public Enemy. 

CityBeat had the privilege of speaking with the legendary vocalist in advance of Heart's performance Saturday at Riverbend Music Center. Audiences can anticipate hearing classics like “Barracuda” and "Crazy on You," as well as fresh music off of the 2012 album Fanatic, which nicely continues the Heart legacy. Don’t miss the finale with Jason Bonham (opening the show with his Led Zeppelin tribute) joining them on stage. 

CityBeat: What was the highlight of your Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction this year?

Ann Wilson: The highlight of my (RRHOF) induction this year was standing beside Nancy at the podium. That was a feeling of great pride I will never forget.

CB: What is the most number of days you have gone without playing music?

AW: I have gone months sometimes without playing a guitar, but never a day goes by where I don't sing.

CB: What does your ideal day look like these days?

AW: Sleep in late, have a great pilates/yoga workout, hang out with my kids and their kids, cook dinner, meditate, sleep with my dog nearby.

CB: If you could trade places with someone for a month who would it be and why?

AW: I guess I couldn't do that.

I don't envy anyone else that much!

CB: You have seen music recording formats change from vinyl and 8-track to cassette, CD and MP3 through the years. Do you feel like music sounds better or worse with the use of technology?

AW: Music definitely sounds worse to my ears because of digital technology. There is a hard, brittle sound to it. Analog music sounded warmer and deeper, though maybe not as " perfect." Auto-Tune makes me crazy because it removes all individuality from a person's voice. Everyone ends up sounding anonymous. The imperfections are where the soul is, I say leave them in. Leave in the humanity.

CB: How did the latest tour come about with Jason Bonham? Any favorite tour stories from the current tour?

AW: Many people saw the Kennedy Center Honors show on TV or YouTube and loved the tribute to Led Zeppelin. The management was listening and everyone agreed it would be a beautiful idea. We've only done two weeks so far, and it's been amazing. No train wrecks yet!

CB: Do you journal or take photos over the years with special tour memories. How do you document your stories and memories?

AW: We record every night and have photographers on sight. Occasionally I will blog, but I am usually pretty wound up after a show. Maybe this will be the year I take up a journal. A person can't count on their memory forever!!

CB: Does it ever get tough being on the road with family? How have you handled it for so many years?

AW: Yes, the road is rough. Traveling and performing together takes a lot out of you and sometimes things do get emotional. We are lucky to have each other for support. I don't know how I would have made it all these years without Nancy's love, strength and sense of humor!

CB: Are you working on new music while on the road?

AW: My head is full of new songs at the moment.

CB: What can fans looks forward to when the tour hits Cincinnati?

AW: The show in Cincinnati will open with Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, Next will be the heart show, after which there will be a finale consisting of about 30 minutes of Zeppelin songs with Jason Bonham and (Bonham's guitarist) Tony Catania joining in.

07.27.2013 at 06:57 Reply

I can't believe that i am Finally going to see  Heart in Dallas.. and to think i will hear my all time fave song' Whole lotta love with Bonham!!!! i am more excited about this concert than any i have Ever been tu!!!


07.27.2013 at 08:56 Reply

would love to know when your next concert on t.v.



07.28.2013 at 01:31 Reply

Notice how Ann didn't say that she was proud of standing next to Howard, Steve, Mike or Roger at the RARHOF induction? The ensemble that MADE Heart was it was. And how dare they not include Mark Andes and Denny Carmassi in the induction? They were a pivotal part of this group. Ann Wilson makes me NOT want to love Heart. Recent interviews, she bashes their 80s material. If I were an executive at Capitol Records, I would cut off your royalties for these comments. This era is part of your brand. I am embarrassed FOR you. 


08.20.2013 at 01:59

Ann Wilson said on several occasions that Mark Andes and Denny Carmassi should have been there and that she tried to get the HOF to include them.  Don't blame that on her.  

As far as Steve, Mike, and Roger go Ann and they don't get along.  It was Ann's call to let them play at the HOF, and she very easily could have told them to pound sand.  Neither you nor I know what all went on back then so neither  of us have the right to criticize her personal feelings toward them.  Besides, the original band had passed it's best days by the time their last album came around, and if it wasn't for the band(s) since then (and Ann's voice) none of them would have been inducted to the HOF.

Mark and Andy would be first people to tell you that Ann went to bat for them, so your anger is very misdirected.


08.20.2013 at 02:01

Mark and Denny...typing too fast.


07.28.2013 at 05:58 Reply

Saw Heart with Jason Bonham last night in Cincinnati and they tore it up! Definitely one of the best concerts ive ever been to. The Zeppelin Experience encore was amazing!


08.20.2013 at 02:03 Reply

Heard played Dallas last week in front of 15k at the Gexa (formerly Starplex) and sounded great.  Ann's voice is without a doubt one of the best in rock history.

Jason Bonham's band was great as well.  Good show.