Jordan Strauss, Invision LOS ANGELES (AP) - Rush fans can relax. The band is…
- Posted on Jul 25th 2012 3:00PM by Robert Ham
Now, Ann and Nancy Wilson are celebrating their long legacy via Strange Euphoria, a three-CD set of songs chosen by the sisters that highlights not only their successes and deep album cuts, but also sprinkles in demo versions, live tracks and solo material.
Spinner was able to catch up with Nancy Wilson at her California home to talk about this new box set, the influence that Heart has had on other female artists and how the band is faring in the Spotify age.
How hard or easy was it to choose the tracks to include in this collection?
It was a lot to choose from. It was easy to select a lot of cool and unusual things but hard to pare it down. It was really fun to do though! There are still some additional things out there that we'd like to get out at some point. This is what our fans deserve because they've been super loyal to us for an awfully long time.
The notes for the songs -- especially the early tracks -- emphasize a really spiritual quality to the band. How important was that to the band early on?
We've always been really spiritual. When we write songs, we're always reaching for something that's a little bigger than just relationship moments or boy/girl stuff. We're looking for human stuff. We started doing that from the very beginning. That's what we grew out of: Musicians like Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell and the Beatles. A lot of poetry going on.
It also seemed like interest in the band was pretty huge right from the start. Was that a hard transition to make?
I'd been working solo, acoustically, in coffee shops for a couple of years, sitting in with the band and putting my toe in the water a little bit. When I actually joined the band, it was quite a wake up call. Hot, sweaty clubs where people are dancing. Most of all, it was so loud on stage! I could not hear a thing. Monitors blaring and guitars and drums blaring. The hardest part to adjust to was how to hear myself on stage.
Some of your biggest successes came in the '80s with songs that you and Ann didn't write. As great as I'm sure that was, was there also a bittersweet feeling about it not coming by way of your songs?
Oh definitely. We were kind of deflated by that. The style had really changed. The fashion had really changed. The mind-expansion inspiration of the late '60s into the '70s was sort of done. It was time to do the big bombastic hair thing and put on bombastic costumes. Then the drug of choice was a more ego-driven thing: Cocaine. We were trying to find a way to fit in for most of that decade. So when the Seattle scene exploded, it was, like, "Yes!" It felt like rock again.
Listening to this whole set, it sounded like you were able to really do whatever you felt like in your later albums: Adding dance beats or more folk elements. Is gratifying to be in that place now?
Yeah. It's an interesting thing. It was good to be going over things from the arc of our whole career, especially as we were recording a new album at the same time [Fanatic, to be released in October]. Hearing all the stuff and thinking about what did or didn't fit in at the time. We took the cue from that box set and realized if you're worried about what everybody else is doing, you're in trouble. Just do what you want to do.
Do you get any sense of what an influence Heart has been for other female musicians?
We do, because so many female musicians comment on it to us, to basically say, "Thanks." Thanks for getting out there and doing it so I can feel brave about doing it too. We gave a lot of courage to a lot of girls. Women have very different sacrifices to make if they're going to make any kind of career. A lot of women don't go there.
There's been a lot of discussion online recently about people stealing music and the cost and impact that has on musicians. How have you experienced that?
Well, you have to work three times harder and get paid about three times less. It's frustrating, but it's the sign of the times. You can't be an old codger. You have to go with what's happening in the culture and make the best of it and do your best work no matter what the rewards for it are. It's the job we know how to do, and that we're fulfilled in doing. To try and get a regular job now? I don't know. I'm pretty handy around the house. Maybe do other kinds of art. Or babysitting!