Category Archives: 2012 Shows

All of our great music interviews from 2012.  You can find our entire collection of shows here.

Show #177 – Ann Wilson of Heart (1/10/13)

Icon Fetch talks with Ann Wilson of Heart about the amazing year that saw she and her sister render a stunning performance of “Stairway to Heaven” that brought down the house during the Led Zeppelin tribute at the Kennedy Center Honors.  She tells us how Robert Plant reacted to her rendition, and why she was so excited to do that particular song.  She also touches on how surprised she and Nancy were at being 2013 inductees into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.  We also run through the flurry of activity from the band that saw them release a career-spanning box set, Strange Euphoria (review); their memoir, Kicking and Dreaming (review); and a blistering new studio album, Fanatic (review). Wilson also reveals plans for 2013, which include a spotlight on their album Dog & Butterfly, celebrating its 35th anniversary.

Here’s the transcript of the interview:

2012 has hands-down, been the year for Heart.  The past 12 months flurry of activity saw the band release a career-spanning boxset, a revealing memoir, and a stellar new album.  They also received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, paid tribute to their heroes Led Zeppelin at the Kennedy Center Honors, and topped it all off as 2013 Inductees into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.  Whew – what a year!  From Heart, we welcome, Ann Wilson.  How are you Ann?

Ann Wilson: I’m fine, how are you?

Icon Fetch: Good good.  You’ve had a dizzying year – seems like a career’s worth of stuff and you’ve crammed it all into 2012.

AW: Yeah, it’s amazing how much stuff you can do when you don’t sleep (laughs).  When you forget about sleep for a year.

IF: Right – did you and Nancy sit down with your astrologist?  What was special about 2012?

AW: (Laughs). I don’t know.  I think it was because we had our album, Fanatic, ready to go by June.  By mid-summer / early fall we had all this stuff ready, and it just hit all at once.   So we went out and supported it.  That’s pretty much all there was to it.

IF:  The latest news, Heart is 2013 Rock n‘ Roll Hall of Fame Inductees.  Now, you’ve been eligible for awhile, so I’m wondering – is there a part of you that was wondering if this was ever going to happen?

AW: Oh yeah.  We didn’t feel that we were the right type to be inducted.  We didn’t fit the profile.  So we just went “oh well, maybe that’s not for us.”  But then, here it goes.  Y’know, it takes awhile sometimes.  It’s a giant voting body, and everyone has to figure out what vote they want.  It takes a few nominations for people, sometimes, to make it.

IF:  You and Nancy are musicians, but I get the feeling that you are fans as well.  So, to be included in with so many of your heroes in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame – I’m sure that’s a huge honor.

AW: Oh yes, it’s a real big honor.  It’s beyond belief really, if I’m going to be honest.  When I get up there to accept that thing, and I look out and see the faces of these people who inspired me, I’m sure it’s going to be a very moving, emotional moment.

IF:  I imagine the book, Kicking and Dreaming, came first.  Going back and reliving all this and trying to remember things.  I would think that would be an emotional roller coaster?

AW:  Definitely. Writing a book about your own life is almost like going into therapy (laughs).  If you’re being honest about the book, and you’re talking about not only the wonderful stuff, but the really hard stuff as well.  Then, it’s kind of like therapy, at times.  It’s just really kind of cool when it’s all done to look back through it and recognize yourself in all these different eras.

IF: You and Nancy both co-wrote the book.  Were there instances where you had a difference of opinion on how things happened?  Or maybe one of you didn’t remember something at all?

AW: There’s a couple places where we each remember things differently.  But, the important stuff we really remember the way it happened.  Little things like – we were in such and such a town, when we were really in a different little town. Some things like that we didn’t remember the same thing.  Not the important stuff though.

IF:  There’s a defining moment in the book where you and Nancy see the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.  It was a defining moment for a lot of people.  You’re not the same after that.  But, what was interesting is your reaction was different from your girl friends at school.

AW:  That’s right, there was something different inside me and Nancy at that time that wasn’t going to be satisfied with just waiting around for a guy in a band to be his girlfriend.  It was just too fun and exciting to actually grab a hold of those guitars, and make music.

IF:  Now, you’ve got the box set out as well – Strange Euphoria – three discs, one DVD.  You and Nancy helped put this thing together.  So, going back through and listening to some of these old tapes that I imagine you haven’t heard since you recorded them.  Again, that had to be an emotional roller coaster.  Like hearing the demo to “Magic Man.”

AW:  One thing for me that was good about listening to the old demos was it made me remember how I used to sing a song.  And, maybe I could sing it more like it was originally written back then.  It’s been so many years that I’ve been singing a couple of these things like “Crazy on You,” “Barracuda,”  and “Magic Man.”  Sometimes, as years go along, you begin to change a little bit from how it’s written.  It’s cool to hear the original way and come back to it.

IF:  Right.  You have some great stories in the box set – you and Nancy wrote the liner notes – you give some stories behind the music.  Not a lot of people know that the line “come on home girl / mama cried on the phone.”  That’s really your mom – those are the words she actually said to you, and they’re in the song.

AW:  Yeah.  That’s right.  She was really worried about me being taken off at age 21 and  diving into the world of living with a man, and all that.  So, (laughs) that song is quite true – everything in there.

IF:  What’s interesting about the box set is that it shows different sides of you and Nancy.  Sides that were maybe there all along, but hidden underneath.  There’s comedy songs, even danceable numbers.  This is not stuff that we usually see on Heart albums.  Was that the goal of Strange Euphoria, to show a wider array of what you and Nancy were capable of?

AW:  Yeah, the lighter side.  Because, Nancy and I, and musicians we play with, are always cutting up and being crazy, wild and funny in the studio between takes.  But, the stuff that comes out on the radio or that people hear, usually has gone through this whole process of making it serious (laughs).  I don’t know why, exactly but…  It’s just fun to hear the other stuff too – the relaxing side.

IF:  You’ve unearthed a performance on the DVD that probably no one has ever seen.  This is a concert that goes way back, right?

AW: Yeah.  I think that’s one of the first concerts we ever did.  We were still pretty much a club band at that point.  I don’t even think we were really opening up for other people  yet on concert stage.  We were pretty much still a bar band, fulfilling the end of our bar gigs.  We got this one concert out there at Eastern Washington University.  We got to play in front of the student body.  You could tell we were nervous.  We were having fun, but we were pretty nervous and serious.

IF:  So, you do the book and the box set.  DId any of that “looking back” have any influence on Fanatic, the new record?

AW:  One song in particular, “Rock Deep (Vancouver)”  – that is truly looking back at going up there and living in Vancouver.  Living with Mike Fisher, starting up the band Heart, getting gigs up there, and what that was like.  That song is all about that.

IF:  The title track off your new album, Fanatic.  It’s a statement of purpose – it’s kind of like “don’t tell me the world’s all going to hell because I don’t want to hear it.  I wanna rock.”

AW:  Absolutely.  Yeah yeah, you nailed it (laughs).  That’s good.  It’s like don’t be lazy sit down and say “woe is me – we’re going to hell in a hand basket.”  No, there are things we can do.  You wanna dance?

IF: One more question about the new album –  “A Million Miles” is my favorite track.  There’s electronic beats, a mandolin – everything but the kitchen sink in there.

AW:  That song started out as a tip of the hat to the old folk song “500 Miles,” which was  a tip of the hat to “Ruben’s Train” – it just goes back and back.  We did all this research on this little melody that is an American folk song.  We just started giving it steroid shots and started pumping it up.  (Producer) Ben Mink has an incredible imagination for sounds.  So we took it as far as we could.  I like that one too – it’s a lot of fun.

IF:  Just recently – it aired on CBS – the Kennedy Center Honors.  Here you are, at the end of the Led Zeppelin tribute, with Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones staring down at you from the rafters, and you’re doing “Stairway to Heaven.”  Oh, by the way, here’s the President and First Lady here too.  No pressure, right?

AW:  (laughs) No pressure, no pressure at all.

IF:  Were you nervous as the curtain is going up?

AW:  Nervous yes, but mostly just really thrilled to get to do that.  Because, if there’s any Led Zeppelin song that I’d love to do, it’s “Stairway to Heaven.”  That may be the holiest of all their stuff – that’s up there with “Kashmir.”  To have that great stage band, the big huge production, and the gospel choir – that was just a perfect moment.  Nancy and I just felt so incredibly honored to be there.  It was an ecstatic moment.

IF:  And you got a chance to meet Led Zeppelin afterwards?

AW:  Yeah.  And, they were all really happy.  Robert Plant told me “I usually hate it when people do ‘Stairway to Heaven’ because they usually butcher it.  But, I really liked it tonight, so thank you.”  I thought that was so cool of him to tell me that.  Because, he didn’t have to.

IF:  With all the work you did in 2012, no one would fault you for taking the new year off.  What do you have planned for 2013?

AW:  We have this idea – we’re going to do our Dog & Butterfly album from top to bottom.  We’re going to do a show where we do two sets – one with Dog & Butterfly, and then take an intermission and come back and do more hits and other stuff.  So, our show is going to be different from anything we’ve ever done.  Since it’s the 35th anniversary of Dog & Butterfly, there’s a children’s book coming out this year.  Big things are going to come popping out at us that we don’t even know yet.  So, we intend to go out and do what we do – and that’s play.  But, be really open to big opportunities that come jumping out and saying “hi!”.

IF:  You’re playing shows in 2013 – if people want to stay on top of what’s going on – your website is www.heart-music.com.  You also have Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch.

AW:  Yes, and they can see us at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame on April 18th.

IF:  We’ll certainly be looking forward to that.  Well Ann, congratulations on a fantastic 2012 – here’s hoping 2013 is just as great.

AW:  Thank you very much.

Show #176- Gary US Bonds (12/21/12)

Gary US Bonds’ hit “Quarter to Three” still stands as one of the greatest party tunes of all time.  That song was one of many smash hits that he had in the early Sixties.  Now, Bonds serves up his first-ever holiday album, “Christmas is ON!,” featuring ten tracks – eight of which were written either by Bonds or members of his band.  We talk with the legendary singer about how he got in the holiday spirit while recording the album in the heat of the summer. We also talk about how the Beatles put American artists like him out of work in 1964, and how a chance meeting with Bruce Springsteen put him back on the charts.

Show #175 – Ken Scott pt. 1 (Beatles) (11/30/12)

Ken Scott has worked on some of the most important albums of all time.  He engineered Magical Mystery Tour and the White Album by the Beatles, was the producer & engineer for classic David Bowie albums like Hunky Dory & Ziggy Stardust, and worked on records by Elton John, Jeff Beck, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, the Stones, Devo & Missing Persons, just to same a few.  Ken has just written Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust – Off the Record with the Beatles, Bowie, Elton and So Much More from Alfred Music Publishing.

Although there have been hundreds of books written about the Beatles, Scott takes a different approach, substantiating his claims, wherever possible with additional interviews with others who were around at the time.  The result is a honest account of what it was like to work with the top musicians in rock.  In part one of our conversation, the author debunks several myths concerning the Beatles, including the bad blood surrounding the recording of the White Album (which he says was blown way out of proportion).  We also talk about how these amazing recordings came from such primitive technology.

Show #174 – Geoff Tate (11/26/12)

He’s been the lead singer of Queensryche for over 25 years – Geoff Tate led the band through such critically-acclaimed albums as their magnum opus Operation: Mindcrime and the multi-platinum Empire (read our review here).  Earlier in the year, news came that the other members of Queensryche were splitting from Tate and forming another band, essentially a Queensryche cover band…an odd career move for sure.  Undaunted, Tate grabbed some of his talented friends for a fresh version of the band, which he hopes to unleash in 2013.  In the meantime, Geoff Tate has a brand new solo album, called Kings & Thieves, full of the crunching power chords and melodic hooks that have become signatures of his music.  We talk with Tate about the split with his former bandmates, and inspiration behind many of the songs on his new CD.

Show #173 – David Lanz (11/16/12)

David Lanz spent the last few years immersed in the music of the Beatles – first, with 2010’s Liverpool: Re-Imagining the Beatles, and then it’s followup, Here Comes the Sun from earlier this year.  Now, he’s chosen to revisit his most-famous work, 1988’s Cristofori’s Dream.  The original album put Lanz on the map, and helped breathe life into the budding New Age genre.

For this anniversary project, Cristofori’s Dream…Re-envisioned, Lanz chose to re-record the entire album with just him on solo piano.  The sparse arrangements let these timeless melodies really shine.  We talk with him about the circumstances surrounding the surprise success of his breakthrough album, and the difficulties in trying to recreate the songs with no other accompaniment.

Show #172 – Renaissance (11/8/12)

Renaissance formed out of the same Yardbirds’ ashes that sent Jimmy Page to form Led Zeppelin.  After several lineup changes, the band developed a reputation as one of the finest progressive rock bands of the Seventies.  After breaking up in the Eighties, the band reformed back in 2009 with a new lineup – still fronted by vocalist Annie Haslam and guitarist Michael Dunford.  They’ve just released a two CD/1 DVD collection called Renaissance Tour 2011 – Live in Concert, where the band performed two of their classic albums in their entirety – Turn of the Cards, and Scheherazade and Other Stories.

Haslam tells us a great story of how the band got a flat tire in the pouring rain, while driving to where they were filming the DVD.  She also reveals details on a brand-new Renaissance studio album coming in 2013, funded in part by a successful Kickstarter campaign.

 

Show #171 – Hayley Reardon (11/1/12)

Hayley Reardon has been writing songs since the age of eleven.  She’s already released two EPs of her own music, shared the stage with music legends like Tom Rush, and partnered with anti-bullying organizations like Pacer.org.  Now at 16, she just issued her first full-length album, an entire disc of her own music called Where the Artists Go.

Tony Peters talks with the singer/songwriter about trying to juggle school and a music career, what is was like working with producer Lorne Entress, and how she came up with the clever CD booklet that looks like a journal. Peters’ 12-year old son, Christian, also helps out with the interview, and asks her some questions.

Show #170 – Shoes (10/26/12)


Power pop legends Shoes have released their first new album in 18 years called Ignition.  It’s their best album yet, full of melodic hooks that will make you wanna crank your volume knob up to eleven.  In addition, the guys recently helped compile 35 Years – The Definitive Shoes Collection, their first-ever career-spanning best of.

If that weren’t enough, Mary E. Donnelly, a devoted fan of the band, is putting the finishing touches on Boys Don’t Lie: A History of Shoes.  We talk with guitarist Gary Klebe about many of the troubles the band went through that caused the long wait between albums.  He also talks about Shoes getting heavy airplay on early MTV, despite their record label being oblivious to that network’s influence.

Show #169 – Barbara Carr (10/15/12)

Singer Barbara Carr has had a long and interesting career, which began when she signed with the legendary Chess label in 1966, recording singles like “Don’t Knock Love.”  But, when her career didn’t take off right away – she walked away to raise a family.  But, the music called her back.  She and her husband formed their own record label and began releasing albums on her own.  A contract with Echo Records heated things up in the late Nineties, with a string of sexually bold singles like “Footprints on the Ceiling,” and “If You Can’t Cut the Mustard.”

Now Barbara’s back with a brand new disc produced by Johnny Rawls called Keep the Fire Burning.

Show #168 – Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ (10/2/12)

Kevn Kinney.
Photo: Frank Mullen

Kevn Kinney formed Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ in 1985 in Atlanta, scoring several college radio hits including “Honeysuckle Blue,” and “Power House.”  Then came their breakthrough album, Fly Me Courageous in 1991 – the album scored three rock radio hits including the searing title track.  Kinney has also led a solo career, recording the excellent Macdougal Blues in 1990.  Drivin’ N’ Cryin’’s last studio effort was The Great American Bubble Factory.  Now the band is readying a series of EP’s, exploring different aspects of their long career.

The first one, out now, is called Songs From the Laundromat. Kinney tells a funny story of how his wife helped influence his decision to release EP’s instead of full albums, how the laundromat holds a special place in his heart, and how the success of “Fly Me Courageous” negatively affected his life.