The original Heart lineup no longer tours, but your ears might say otherwise at San Juan Community Theatre’s March 11 show. Original members Steve Fossen and Michael Derosier use the same formula in their new band, Heart by Heart, as they did before – two girls, a few guys and the same hits from albums “Dreamboat Annie” to “Bad Animals.”
The 90-minute show focuses on the era Fossen and Derosier were in the band – think 1970s Heart, before the perms and fog machines, when their Zeppelin-inspired, stacking guitars bled through vinyl.
“Heart has a different take than us,” said Fossen. “They modernize songs a little and we try to recreate what it was like to see Heart in the late 70s and early 80s.”
Today’s Heart lineup, which includes Ann and Nancy Wilson, plays “Alone,” only on the piano, said Fossen, while Heart by Heart uses the full band.
“Like you remember from the 80s,” he said.
Except, this time, add Seattle Jimi Hendrix impersonator Randy Hansen on guitar and swap Chicagoan Lizzy Daymont for Nancy Wilson and northwesterner Somar Macek for Ann.
“Somar happens to have that same timber in her voice and that power,” said Fossen. “There’s something about her voice where you immediately hear sincerity in it.”
It was Fossen who founded the group in the late 60s as a Seattle high schooler, under the name Army. He played on island around then, at a high school, he thinks. That was before the Wilson sisters joined and their original Canadian success crossed the U.S. border.
At a Canadian nightclub in 1976, recalls Fossen, the band was fired for the first time. Right afterwards, their manager called –the band Faces, with Rod Stewart, wanted Heart as an opener.
“After we played our first song ‘Magic Man,’ the crowd erupted in applause,” said Fossen.“We didn’t know if we were popular to them, but apparently they had heard our songs. It was a goosebump moment for the band.”
From there they went on to play with the Doobie Brothers to ZZ Top, sell over 35 million albums and, in 2013, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fossen and Derosier still keep up with the other members, like the Wilson sisters — meeting backstage, after Heart concerts — and guitarist and keyboardist Howard Lesse, who often tours with Bad Company.
It’s the band’s first theater appearance, which Executive Artistic Director Bobby Ryan booked after last year’s sold-out Pink Floyd cover band.
“We knew another classic rock band would be perfect,” said Ryan.
Fans will recall radio staples, from the galloping guitars of “Barracuda,” to one of rock’s early ballads, “Dog and Butterfly.” Who knows, islanders might even “go crazy” on the band.
“It will be a fun show,” said Fossen. “You can relive the 70s and 80s and see some quality musicians.”