Date: 02/16/2010 Print This Post

Heart surges with “Alive in America” tour and all-star band featuring
former Ozzy Osbourne and Alice In Chains bass player Mike Inez,
ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, Lovemongers drummer Ben Smith, and Wondermints/Brian Wilson keyboardist Darian Sahanaja

“Nancy and I never really killed Heart,” explains Ann Wilson, one half of the dynamic duo and rockin’ sister act that formed the profoundly influential and tremendously popular Heart, referring to the band’s “backburner” status in the studio and on the stage in recent years.

With total sales of 30 million records, 21 Top 40 hits, and several sold-out arena tours worldwide so far, even on the backburner, the band still has had serious heat. Now they’re on fire again, and these stats are on the rise as Sony Music’s Epic/Legacy record label releases Heart’s Alive in Seattle, a two-CD live set, June 10.

The concert was recorded in Ann and Nancy Wilson’s hometown, at the landmark Paramount Theater, Aug. 8, 2002, and features an inspired mix of early Heart hits (“Magic Man,” “Crazy On You,” “Barracuda”), later smashes (“Alone,” “These Dreams”), key album tracks (“Mistral Wind,” “Love Alive”), cool covers (Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore” and “Black Dog,” Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Madhatters” and the Sonics’ early Pacific Northwest garage gem “The Witch”), plus outstanding new songs like “Heaven,” “Sister Wild Rose” and “Break The Rock.”

The enhanced CD/SACD follows Alive in Seattle on DVD and videocassette, just released via Image Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: DISK), the distribution powerhouse long recognized as the market leader in music video long form DVDs. The concert will debut on PBS Television beginning in June.

To provide added value to the audiophile consumer, Sony has announced that the two-CD collection will also contain a high definition SACD stereo track, as well as a discreet 5.1 surround sound track. The CD will play on any standard CD player while purchasers who have an SACD player will have the benefit of the enhanced definition and surround sound tracks. Despite the additional high-resolution audio information, the double CD package will carry a standard $24.98 list price.

Heart starts their “Alive in America” tour in mid-June, just three days after the Alive in Seattle release, and will surge through the summer and fall. This major road trip follows up last year’s “Summer of Love” tour, which was, as its designation implies, a rock ‘n’ roll epiphany.

Nancy Wilson says, “It felt amazing to be Heart again. In-between then and now, I did a Nancy Wilson tour, as well as scoring music for movies, and Ann’s done her Ann Wilson tours, but there was something super sweet about being Heart again on a big rock stage and just turning it up really loud. It felt amazing.”

The band’s new blood is definitely rock’s blue blood, including former Ozzy Osbourne and Alice In Chains bass player Mike Inez, and Lovemongers drummer Ben Smith, both who hooked up with Heart for their 2002 “Summer of Love” tour, which culminated in the Alive in Seattle concert. Also among Heart’s line-up of power players are most recent additions ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, and Wondermints/Brian Wilson keyboardist Darian Sahanaja.

“It was really freeing playing new material,” says Ann of songs like “Heaven,” “Sister Wild Rose” and “Break The Rock,” included on Alive in Seattle, and to be spotlighted with “Alive in America.” The more time that goes by with Heart, the more the songs that weren’t Top Five just kind of fade into obscurity. Then you’re just thought of as the ‘Magic Man/Crazy On You/ Barracuda’ band. So when we can have success playing new stuff, that’s what we live for really.”

Diversification and individual achievements marked the Wilson sisters’ endeavors in the ’90s. They opened that decade with Brigade featuring “All I Want to Do Is Make Love to You,” which reached No. 2 on the charts. In the mid-’90s, Ann and Nancy formed Lovemongers, an acoustic quartet with long-time collaborator Sue Ennis and performer Frank Cox. After playing a number of sold-out shows in Seattle, Lovemongers cut Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore” for the triple platinum soundtrack from the movie Singles, directed by Nancy’s husband Cameron Crowe.

The couple’s working relationship is as successful as their personal one; they composed “I Fall Apart” for Crowe’s Vanilla Sky, and Nancy has contributed to other Crowe film soundtracks, including Say Anything and Jerry MaGuire.

While Nancy has been stretching out creatively, Ann has been slimming down beautifully. She has shed more than 70 pounds, after undergoing a Gastric Band procedure, and is now in top form to go the distance on stage and on the road as one of the most powerful and emotive voices in rock.

Unified. Fortified. Beautified. Alive in Seattle and “Alive in America.” You gotta listen to your Heart.