BARRACUDA! ANN WILSON GETS OUT OF THE HEART-SHAPED BOX FOR A ROCKIN’ SOLO PROJECT
After embracing and surviving the excesses of the ‘70s, the power ballads and MTV exposure of the ‘80s and the grunge movement of the ‘90s, Heart celebrated the 2000s with four solidly constructed albums and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Currently on an indefinite hiatus, 2017 finds Ann and Nancy Wilson on decidedly separate musical and personal paths. Nancy has joined forces with Prince collaborator Liv Warfield and corralled the recent Heart backing band to form Roadcase Royale. Ann is crisscrossing the country with her own band of veteran musicians with a show very appropriately billed as “Ann Wilson of Heart.”
Insite caught up with Wilson at her new home in Florida for a wide-ranging conversation.
The Pacific Northwest was home for so long, how does it feel to be living in Florida?
We just wanted to be able to be alone and it didn’t even really matter what state we were in. We just wanted warm weather and we found a really beautiful little spot. It’s been really relaxing.
It’s obviously so much different than Seattle.
Oh God yeah, polar opposites. It’s been sunny and warm here all winter. The temperatures go up and down a little but it’s not like nine months of drizzle and depressing cold weather.
Do you think the new vibe - coupled with everything that’s going on in the world in general and your life in particular - will affect your songwriting?
Well my songwriting has always been based on my life experiences so yeah, I think so. Like when I wrote “Crazy On You” way back when, I thought the world situation was just bouncing out of control - even then. But that was nothing like what’s going on today, you know?
It’s too bad we have to have our collective worlds in flames for good art to finally emerge from the ashes.
I know. But it’s not just in music. Look at what’s happening with SNL even; they’re just on fire right now. Down the decades, I’ve noticed that’s when they are the most on fire and really “on” - is when things are just crazy in the world.
How’s the solo tour going? You’ve had a bunch of shows already and now you’re gearing up for another batch.
Yeah and then another bunch after that! We’re done 20 shows so far this year, all over the country. Usually we’re playing these 1500 to 2500 seat places, like performing arts centers and theaters. It’s just been going great. We’ve designed the show to be for those kind of places so we can use those rooms to their best advantage. They’re beautiful inside and we’ve designed the lights, even the walk-in music and the whole atmosphere, for those theaters.