Best known for their hits Barracuda, Crazy on You and Magic Man — the sister duo that created the band Heart, is coming to Penticton to play the South Okanagan Events Centre.
California born, Seattle bred sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson are behind some of rock’s most iconic hits and will be kicking off the Canadian dates for their Fanatic tour in Penticton on March 9. Nancy’s guitar and Ann’s wail are practically part of the national archive, indelible elements of American pop culture. In their nearly 40 years as a band the Wilson sisters have been lauded as sex symbols, idealized as feminist icons, and worshiped by critics and fans alike, selling over 35 million albums worldwide and thrilling audiences with their raucous live show.
In 2010 the band returned to the Billboard Top 10 with the release of Red Velvet Car and a Top 5 DVD Night at Sky Church. The subsequent tour, which was incredibly successful in Canada, reinvigorated the sisters’ taste for live performance and life on the road, but as they looked forward to recording another record, something seemed to be in the way: their past.
For years, friends and colleagues had been asking the sisters to do a book about Heart and it just didn’t feel right.
“They always came to us with a real lascivious tabloid-y type idea,” Ann said, in a press release. “You know — think of the ugliness and the dirtiness — but that’s so one dimensional. We’ve had moments of failure and vulnerability and humiliation, sure, but ours is also the story of women who are being told there are rules to follow and just won’t do it.”
In the wake of the success of Red Velvet Car it felt like it was finally time to tell the true story of Heart’s past as a means of embracing Heart’s future. So the sisters decided to collaborate with veteran music journalist and Seattle rock scene expert Charles R. Cross, who also wrote the definitive Nirvana biography, Heavier Than Heaven as well as Roomful of Mirrors, a biography of Jimi Hendrix.
“We figured if anyone can get the true rock and roll story of it all it’s going to be him,” Ann said.
Heart’s first ever biography, Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock and Roll, is in stores now. The Wilson sisters had fully exorcized the past and now it was time to think about the future. Oct. 2 will mark the release of a brand new studio album for the sisters of rock, titled Fanatic.
“We did it every possible way,” Nancy remembers. “We had many nights together on the tour bus. Then, when I was in LA and Ann was in Seattle, we were each emailing each other lyrics ideas and (producer) Ben Mink groove ideas.”
The threesome eventually congregated in the sisters’ hometown outside of Seattle and had a series of what Nancy calls songwriting “pow wows.” When it came time to record, the band’s approach was organic, very much in keeping with their roots as a true performance-oriented rock band.
“These days things are formulated digitally or layered or looped and assembled but this is live groove,” Nancy explains. “It was our mission to go in there and capture the energy as it magically happens without too much over-thinking or repetition, just letting it escape.”
Honouring your past while believing in the beauty and power of what’s to come has always been central to Heart’s ethos — it’s reflected in the brashness and defiant emotion of their signature sound. No one should be surprised that at this point in their career, the desire to make emotional, rebellious music has only intensified.
“When you’re at our experience level, you know what you want and you go for it,” Nancy said. “You’re not going to test it out for five or ten years, you’re going to get in the car and drive.”
In addition to the tour dates, Ann and Nancy Wilson will make an appearance at Canadian Music Week on March 22 for a special in-depth interview and intimate acoustic performance: “Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll: Celebrity Interview with Ann and Nancy Wilson.”
Tickets for Heart 2013 Fanatic tour at the South Okanagan Events Centre are $40, $59.50, $69.50 and $77.50. Tickets can be purchased at www.ValleyFirstTix.com, by telephone at 1-877-SOEC-TIX (763-2849) or in person at the Valley First Box Office (at the SOEC) and Wine Country Visitor Centre on Friday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. For more information on Heart, visit www.heart-music.com.