HEART- “What makes Heart Beat” ?

Heart Live and in Action at the Coliseum in Oakland on 12-31-77. Photo/Art by Ben Upham.


HEART- “What Makes Heart Beat” ?
by Air-Wreck Genheimer
Creem Magazine
September 1977

Heart (hart), n. 1. a hollow muscular organ that by rhythmic contractions and relaxations keeps the blood in circulation throughout the body. 2. a six member rock “n’ roll band that by melodic howls and whispers keeps enjoyment high for a rapidly increasing number of fans.

We shall confine our concern over the all important, if not greasy, meaty organ to its second definition. Let us elaborate.

The aforementioned six members have names and musical functions. You should be aware of them and they are as follows: Michael Derosier, percussionist; Roger Fisher, guitarist; Steve Fossen, bassist; Howard Leese, keyboardist/guitarist; Ann Wilson, Vocalist/Flautist, and Nancy Wilson, guitarist.

In pursuing an answer to the musical query: what makes this rock “n’ roll pump thump, we have enlisted the aid of four of the previously inventoried band members, (Mike, Roger, Ann and Nancy) as well as photographer Michael N. Marks (hereafter referred to as The M&M) and yours truly (hereafter referred to as A-Wreck) all for no particular purpose other than your enlightenment.

Birth (including School Daze and Self-Discipline for Nancy)
Ann: Heart’s been together five years as of August 1977, but Roger and Steve have been together as the basis of the group, for eleven years.
Roger: Yeah, and around 1970 we were calling it Heart. (Meanwhile, as Ann, Roger and Steve were jamming in Seattle, Nancy was cramming in college.)
Nancy: I went to college at a private university for a year. I went through this big trip where I said, “OK now, you really have to work, and all that.” I really dove into it and I really extended myself and “Wow! I did it.”
A-Wreck: Did they have someone standing – over you with a … a whip? (The M&M leans forward in his chair.)
Nancy: No, not really. (The M&M slumps back in his chair, then stands and exits.) I went to school mainly to gain some semblance of self-discipline .. I came out of a real “modern” high school where” Just be yourself and we’ll give you an A” so therefore, I didn’t know how to spell, I didn’t know how to write and I wanted to learn those things. I learned a little. The reason I finally stopped was because I felt I had gained what I had gone into it for, the self-discipline, and of course the long-standing offer from Ann to join the band was there ever since I can remember … so I just kind of drifted into the other realm and took off with these guys and “Surprise, surprise!”

Mushroom Success & Outrage
A-Wreck: So why, after all the success of your first album with Mushroom Records, did you blow them off?
Ann: Well, it’s not that we don’t want to talk about it, but there’s only a certain amount of stuff that we know.
In the beginning it was a mutual thing. They were just getting their start at the same time we were. At first it was a really great thing because both entities were just” going for it” in order to make it. What it all came down to in the end was that money came on the scene and with the introduction of money, there was like a chemical change. The people who were going to get changed by it “changed.” It kind of forced us out because we wanted to save our art. .. be true to our art and all those “words.” It’s like things have changed for us as a result of money, but I don’t see anybody in our group really wearing dollar bills for necklaces or anything.
Mike: There were a lot of power plays going on, too.
Ann: Yeah, and there was a lot of publicity that was starting to come out which we thought was really bogus.
Nancy: That misrepresented us. Ann: So we checked into it … and discovered all kinds of seedy little … (Ann pinches her fingers together making squirmy insect signs.) … kinda like turning over a rock. They were just implying things with some of the promo …
Nancy: Just doing things without our consent that we wouldn’t have done … No way. Just a lot of little things added up to a big thing.
Ann: Like not paying us for two and a half million albums until the court ruled that they had to.

Oh, Canada
A-Wreck: As a result of being known as a Canadian group, didn’t everyone make fun of you?
Nancy: A lot of interest was generated from that. A lot of people would say (Pulling back her jaw and stretching her upper lip flat across her teeth) “Ah, so you’re from Canada, eh? Oh, yeah, oh, yeah, eh!” That’s where the band got started. Most of us are landed immigrants of Canada, but we’re all American citizens. So actually it’s like we’re both Canadian and American, if you want to look at it technically.
Ann: That’s a real choice point- the disowning of Canada- because we’ve moved back to Seattle, a lot of Canadian people have accused us of just that… .
Nancy: But jeez! It’s only a two-hour drive.
Roger: We just moved back to where we were raised …
Ann: But we are forever grateful for the success we’ve had in Canada …
Mike: We still do a lot of good gigs there.
Ann: Thanks for the Juno Awards.
Mike: They’re real handsome.
Nancy: When your business is music; it’s not politics … for us, anyway.
Mike: Vancouver is really more like any other state on the West Coast.
Ann: We tend to look at it like that, too. It’s just the West Coast rather than a big division between countries … it’s just the West Coast and it’s all really beautiful.

A Question, The Return of the M&M and Guitar Symbiosis
Roger: How do you know when your tape runs out? (The M&M bursts through a door and drops a conspicuous cardboard box on a table, apparently interrupting an inquiry about Nancy and her guitar.)
Nancy: I’ve played guitar since I was about nine years old … various types of acoustic guitars, but through the guiding hands of Roger Fisher … Roger: (With very stern inflection) I didn’t really help her that much ..
Nancy: I showed him a few acoustic licks and he shows me electric things. (The M&M and A-Wreck exchange lewd, knowing glances.) .

Natural Food, and A Secret is Revealed
The M&M: (Slapping the cardboard box) I’ve brought food ..
Nancy: (Leans back in her chair and glances up at The M&M. A drop of saliva trickles out of his lips.) Thanks a lot.
The M&M: Frozen carrot juice.
Roger: Frozen carrot juice?
A-Wreck: Is this the kind of stuff you eat all the time?
Nancy: We wish.
Ann: Yeah, when we’re at home. When we’re on the road we try.
A-Wreck: Are you Natural Food Gourmets?
Ann: Not really. We try to keep the quality of what we put into our bodies fairly high.
A-Wreck: (Suspiciously) Well, what kind of stuff should one eat?
Roger: We were just talking about that this morning. How people spend billions of dollars to get up in airplanes and build fantastic hotels and then they give the people this …
Ann: Edible plastic.
Roger: Edible plastic, right… this poor excuse for food to eat. And it just seems that people, for the most part, don’t know what’s good for them as far as food is concerned. But your diet is very important to your being. Your mental and physical being.
Ann: That’s true. You don’t realize it because you’ll feel fine if you eat and drink the normal stuff that most Americans eat and drink. You feel fine! There’s nothing wrong if you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and all, but when you go off that stuff …
Roger: When you go without it for a while …
Ann: You’ll realize where you were.
Roger: YEAH, It’s a big difference.
Ann: What your body was having to cope with; all the sugar and nicotine and all that stuff .. .Yeach!
Nancy: Chemicals and preservatives will pickle your livers.
The M&M: Pickle your livers?
A-Wreck:. Well, do, Natural Foods let you sing louder and play guitars faster?
Ann: Well, I don’t know about that.
A-Wreck: What’s a typical Natural Food lunch?
Roger: A real favorite is rice and vegetables ..
Ann: Well, it isn’t required that you eat “Natural Foods.” You can get natural foods at Safeway if you shop right. It’s stuff that’s not a bunch of junk. Like even chicken can be good, or fish.
A-Wreck: But isn’t life kind of bland without a taco?
Nancy: Oh, no. There’s good spices-not the kind you buy in the super market, but fresh herbs and spices are really good for you. You can have really well seasoned, spicy food, too!
Roger: We’re trying to get into Oriental foods as much as we can, too.
Nancy: Horseradish and ginger.
Ann: When it all comes down to it, some guy’s gonna kill somebody whether he’s a health food freak or not. (Puzzled looks abound.) If a person is weird, they’re gonna be weird and being on health foods isn’t going to alter their… basic make up.
(The M&M takes this opportunity to slip away with the Wilson’s for some “pictures.”) .
A-Wreck: Hey, Roger … What’s the secret to being the guitar player in a band with two girls as lovely as Ann and Nancy?
Roger: I use brass nuts.

Lesbianism and Incest
A-Wreck: (Upon the Wilson’s and The M&M’s return) I’ve heard rumors that you two are dykes.
Ann: That was one of the reasons that we left Mushroom. That implication kept being made and it’s totally untrue.
Nancy: They did that just to sell records ..
Ann: Well, if it were true, I probably wouldn’t have gotten so angry. We were in Europe and when we got back we saw this whole, big Rolling Stone ad with a picture of Nancy and I wrapped up in towels with a caption, “It was only their first time.” So we asked them to cease and desist but the stuff kept coming out. We just said …
(waves her digits).
Nancy: Bye-bye-eee.
Ann: I can see where people might get that idea about incest and all, but it’s not true. We both are very, very much into men. (The M&M squirms back and forth in his chair.) We’re just real boring, little dressed-up girls. Sorry.

Vices, Drugs & Nutrition
A-Wreck: Well, if you aren’t perverts, don’t you at least have some vices?
Roger: Aspirin.
Ann: Being on the road so much we really have to keep our health together and the quickest way to lose your health, under all the grind and pressure of the road, is to get into some kind of weird drug trip. God, I sound like my mother, “some kind of weird drug trip,” but it’s true.
A-Wreck: But you still smoke a lot of marijuana? ,
Ann: Oh, yeah. There’s marijuana and then there’s chemicals and things that get in and drive your resistance down.
Nancy: Marijuana is just an herb, that’s all.
The M&M: It comes from the ground.
A-Wreck: But so do worms.
Ann: Well, worms are very nutritious.
Nancy: Some people eat them.
The M&M: Do you?
Ann: There was a time when we ate dog food, though.
Roger: Blah! Really?
The M&M and A-Wreck: Woof!
Nancy: When we were kids.
A-Wreck: Knowingly?
Ann: Yeah! All those little biscuits … so nice and crunchy and they tasted good, too.
Nancy: Milkbones.
The M&M: Liver flavor?
Ann: And it wasn’t ’cause we had to.
Nancy: We liked ’em.
Ann: Our parents were well enough off to give us normal food.
Nancy: “We used to eat Milkbones” says Ann Wilson of Heart.
Ann: “It was only our first time!”

Lust, Fashion Frenzy & A UFO is Identified
A-Wreck: Do you find it offensive when your male fans rush the stage, trying to pull your dresses off?
Ann: Ha-hut. RIP! Well, that seems very natural to me.
Nancy: Not that we try to encourage it.
Ann: We’d just as soon that people get off on our music and watch the show and jump up and down screaming.
The M&M: Instead of getting off on you, personally?
Ann: Well, that’s flattering and all that junk, but it gets dangerous. Damn dangerous.
A-Wreck: So you dress accordingly?
Ann: Well, we all wore an awful lot of scarves and stuff on our last tour, but that’s out now, Daddy-O. You know, Daddy-O?
(Nancy looks down at the petite lime scarf which decorates her own neck and feigns a whimper.)
Roger: English parachuting outfits are coming back …
Nancy: The kind that.. tie at the ankles. Just like Vogue Magazine.
Ann: We just usually try to wear clothes that are comfortable onstage ’cause we move around so much.
Nancy: (Shimmies gently in her seat.) You’ve got to move.
(The M&M’s tongue skims the floor..)
Ann: I can just move better in a dress. I feel more female. It’s more healthy to wear a dress. (Mike snickers into a plate of potato salad and exits.) Roger: I don’t know about that!
A-Wreck: Dresses for male rock stars too, huh?
Ann: Oh, yes. I think all male rock stars should wear dresses for hygiene.
Nancy: Oh, God. Especially the quilt-look … you know, cute.
(Roger exits with a chuckle, leaving A-Wreck, the Wilson’s and The M&M alone.)
The M&M: Would you like to smoke my toe?
Ann: Oh, sure. I’m game. (Nancy agrees and A-Wreck looks concerned, having smoked The M&M’s toe before.)
[An obscene, but unfortunately illegible logorrhea vaguely concerning dogs followed. The next segment, apparently about the concert itself, was the only salvageable portion. -Ed.]

The show’ begins and any apprehension due to their ten-month absence from the stage on the part of the musical muscle is successfully hidden. The M&M rolls into position for the photographic shoot-out as an unusually delirious Detroit audience proceeds to squish him against the stage in their quest to witness the compelling systole and diastole of the band. The M&M refuses to melt in their hands as A-Wreck staggers aimlessly around the auditorium muttering self-effacing oaths and swearing never to smoke anymore toe as long as he lives, which under the effect of the toe, he fears not to be much longer.
A humorous carcinogen within the body of the audience launches a blubbery projectile (actually an un-lubricated Trojan, filled with a combination of Stroh’s and urine, about the size of the deadly phallic sculpture in A Clockwork Orange) hoping to cause a blood clot.
The golden blob hits the stage managing, to wrap itself around Ann Wilson’s ankle. The singer bends Over to free herself, but has second thoughts about touching the undulating object when she apparently realizes its actual contents. Her face contorts in a grimace of disgust as she
rises erect and hops clear of the amoeboid assailant; all without missing a note. The scumbag begins to roll, seemingly by its own volition, falls off the stage and bursts slightly to the right of The M&M.
Based on the above data we are forced to draw our own conclusions in answer to the topic question and can, only suggest that the reader do the same. Class dismissed …

1976 Dreamboat Annie
1977 Little Queen
1978 Magazine
1978 Dog and Butterfly
1980 Bebe le Strange
1980 Greatest Hits Live
1982 Private Audition
1983 Passionworks
1985 Heart
1987 Bad Animals
1990 Brigade
1991 Rock the House Live
1993 Desire Walks On
1995 The Road Home (Live)
2003 Alive in Seattle
2004 Jupiters Darling
2007 Dreamboat Annie Live
2010 Red Velvet Car
2012 Fanatic
2016 Beautiful Broken