Q&A – Heart’s Sex Appeal

Hi Roger,

Thanks for taking questions. It’s really cool of you to allow fans the opportunity to share their connection to Heart’s music with a creator of it.

I hope I can articulate my question. It’s a little heady. Some background on my thought process: Until about three months ago, I hadn’t thought about the 70’s since the 70’s. But through some crazy mid life funk, I’m obsessively drawn to my musical formations right now. I’ve been not just listening to, but studying bands that shaped me musically with a renewed passion, trying to understand why I connect so deeply. In the past couple of months, I’ve been totally obsessed in quick secession with: Jimmy Page’s riffs (and face), George Harrison’s spiritual lyrics, Elton John’s spin on Americana, The Eagles harmonies, and everything about Exile on Main Street. So, this week seems to be Heart’s turn. Dream Boat Annie was my first album. I was 9 years old. My connection is still crazy strong, but unlike the other bands, I can’t quite understand the power of that music.

The obvious answer would be that it’s a female rock band. But that’s not it. It became a female rock band later, which is all fine and good. But that early incarnation of Heart was something even more unique. It was somehow the very essence of sexuality. Not the act of sex, nothing slutty or vulgar. On the contrary, where much of society at that time was representing the male/female relationship as an opportunity to be as selfish as you want, like the cat calls in a Charlie perfume ad, there was a true respect for the beauty and hardship of relationships in the Heart music. There was feminism in there, but it wasn’t pissed, there was a pounding male backbone, but it wasn’t objectifying or belittling. It was supportive. I just watched a video of you and Nancy playing the introduction to Love Alive. It is musical porn. You seem to become one through your instruments.

My question part (I know, finally) is: does this make any sense? Have others observed this massive musical interpretation of Adam and Eve? If so, do you understand it? Did you understand it as it was happening? Why was 1976 the cultural time for this to occur? It’s never been recaptured in a global or even national musical group since. Maybe we’re all too jaded now. Maybe we realize it’s a pipe dream. Maybe the reality of relationship is what destroyed your band as much as the fantasy created it?

Sincerely, Lisa S.

Roger:
Lisa,

Thanks so much for your words and question, you are obviously a deep-thinking and insightful person.

This deep connection you refer to – sexually based – is an almost invisible, but absolutely necessary element that is part of the fabric of life. All plants, animals, and insects rely on this playfulness for their being. The Wilson sisters were both very “sexy,” in that they, like the Fisher brothers, were very gifted with the life force. That is part of what our union radiated with, and it was powerful enough to have people like you take notice.

The fact that that force was united with lyrics that reflected things that matter, in an intelligent manner, was what set Heart apart from so many other groups. There are a lot of people in this world, and all respond to different kinds of music. Heart appeals on many levels, so it enjoys longevity and appreciation on a very deep level.

Sexually-charged! Definitely! Thanks for feeling, hearing, and seeing us, Lisa.

You asked if we understood it as it was happening. I can only answer for myself: I knew I was consciously charging the music with energy, and I knew the chemistry between Nance and I was absolutely fantastic, but I didn’t know how rare it would turn out to be in hindsight, 40 years later. What we brought to the world was a rare and beautiful thing. Sylvan Song was composed originally by me – an attempt to win Nance’s Heart while learning how to play mandolin. When she added her part, the duet was very sweet, delightfully stirring, profoundly inspiring!

The band Heart had to split up when it did. Details that make that make sense will be in bro Mike’s and my autobiography, Bros.

Rog – May 4, 2015

Q&A – Front Cover of Little Queen Album

Ashley P.: ‘Little Queen’ is one of several Classic Rock Albums that I have framed and on my wall. On the front cover, in the background on the left – is Roger on one knee, under the white horse’s head? Just curious. Hard to tell.”
Rog:
Yes, that’s me on one knee. What a fun photo session in Elysian Park in Los Angeles.

Q&A – Thoughts On Direction Of Heart’s Music

Tracey H.: This is my second question. It just came to me today. I can tell you are a positive and upbeat person and doubt you would down anyone else. I am curious, though, as to how you liked the direction Heart’s music went into after you and your brother left the band. Do you think there would have been songs like Alone, These Dreams, and What About Love, etc. had the two of you remained involved with Heart?
Thanks,

Tracey H.

 

Roger: Another excellent question Tracey, thank you.

“how you liked the direction Heart’s music went into after you and your brother left the band”

I was baffled. I couldn’t believe they could take such a great riff that I had contributed to the song Bebe Le Strange, and lose its intensity and energy the way they did. Then they went on to abandon their own songwriting in favor of songwriting that was, in my opinion, below them. It was obvious why they made those decisions, and understandable – but not forgivable, from an artistic sense. They lost a lot of followers at that point, and had to scramble dig up a “winning hand” again. To me, it was sad, but I always supported them publicly, encouraging people to buy their latest albums.

Any major fork in the road like what was taken when Mike and I left Heart would yield completely different outcomes. It’s not up to me to speculate whether those songs would have happened or not. I do believe that Heart’s popularity wouldn’t have plummeted, but only increased had we not left, but that makes me sound arrogant.

I think the specific chemistry of Ann and Nance and my composing, catalyzed by Mike Fisher’s insight, vision, and high standard of quality, would have yielded amazing music. I believe we would have broken new ground in music. I believe we could have been hugely successful – way beyond anything Heart ever achieved. I know… easy for me to say 🙂

The proof of that statement could be in the response to Mike’s and my new album. We’ll have to watch and see how it’s received, because it IS groundbreaking.

Rog
4.22.2015