Really great interview with Ann. Love how she describes her relationship with Nancy! :D
Citadel Digital: You and the band have come a long way since 1976’s Dreamboat Annie. What inspired you to write and record Red Velvet Car?
Ann Wilson: We have made quite a few albums since Dreamboat Annie. Red Velvet Car will be the 13th studio album. We’re just artists. So we just always are inspired to make new albums because we’re artists.
CD: Does making a record still give you that same sense of excitement that it did 34 years ago?
AW: Of course it has. Every time we write a bunch of new songs, it might as well be the first album for us. We always just have a great time and are always very excited. It’s the first time we’ve been on a major label since the 70s. We’re excited because the people at Sony are excited, too. Everybody’s working really hard to make sure people know about this record. That’s pretty thrilling for us.
CD: How has your recording process changed?
AW: We’re just better off in the studio now because we know how to record. Our first album, we were pretty green, of course. We have learned a lot since then. Now we look forward to using all of the technology, and getting sounds, and developing the songs. It’s really great.
CD: What kind of sound were you going for on Red Velvet Car and how do you think that fits into the evolution of Heart?
AW: We have definitely gone for on Red Velvet Car a real warm, active sound. A lot of the songs were played all together in the same room at the same time, so they are really actual live performances. I think that they are great for these times because it provides more variety, more different kinds of things to listen to. You can listen to the real digital, put-together type of stuff, and you can listen to stuff that’s live and honest. I think it will fit in fine.
CD: Many of the tracks on Red Velvet Car seem to be about moving forward and the process of personal evolution. Were any of these songs inspired by personal experiences?
AW: Yeah, they all were. All the songs are autobiographical on this record. They are about travel and friendship and just about different things that have happened to us. About love and they’re all real.
CD: Did you want your audience to learn anything from Red Velvet Car?
AW: I would just hope that they would listen to it and enjoy it. It’s not really an instructional thing. It’s more of something for them to take into their lives and listen to personally or with friends and get off on it. Like the songs, listen to the poetry and hopefully understand something about us and how these songs can fit into their own lives.
CD: Heart has loyal fans that have been there since the ‘70s, some who came in during the ‘80s and ‘90s and maybe some that just found you with the last studio album. What does that feel like to look out from the stage and see so many different generations of faces singing along with your songs?
AW: It feels really great. It especially feels great when you see the children and the young people because they are getting a sense of music history when they come to a Heart show. That’s for a lot of them, roots stuff. And it feels very good. It also feels good to see their parents there, too, of course, because they are very loyal.
CD: Did you record Red Velvet Car with any age group in mind, and how do you think the new album will appeal to younger audiences?
AW: We did not record the album with any age group in mind. We just sort of know who our fans are. We know who comes out to the shows. It’s a wide demographic group. We were just trying to appeal to people in general and just to be honest ourselves. I think it will be great. We are already getting a lot of good radio play on a couple of the songs: “Hey You” and “WTF.” We’re a multi-dimensional band. We don’t just do one kind of thing all the time. We have several different faces. I think there are ways for different kinds of people and ages to latch onto it.
CD: What are you enjoying the most about your tour right now?
AW: The time on stage is hands down the best part of it. The travel is really extreme and difficult, but the time on stage makes it all worthwhile. The people last night, we played in Baltimore, and the people were just crazy out of their head. It was just really fun. So it’s as good as it ever was for us, and that is really saying something when you have been together as long as we have.
CD: With all that travel, how do you find a balance between your public, private and professional lives?
AW: Well, when we are home and not doing this, we are really home. And we’re pretty private. Nancy and I both have children. We have two each, so it’s really important that we be there for them. They come out on the road when they can. So we are with them every day whether it’s in person or calling back and forth several times a day at least. It’s a tightrope walk, of course, and as mothers we have to try really hard, REALLY hard, to move heaven and earth to talk to them every day no matter where we are. It can be done.
CD: We’ve heard lots of stories how Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks have fought for 40 years and how Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis have a weird sibling relationship. We’ve never really heard horrible things about you and Nancy. So, in a sense, you are wonderful family role models. What advice would you have for new bands made up of family members?
AW: I think that even though you are siblings, if you are gonna work together as friends and as fellow artists, it’s important to remember that any relationship needs work. You have to really be careful and treat it gently. So the relationship that Nancy and I have is a friendship, and we really are careful to give each other space and know when to say what to each other. We’re very cautious with our friendship because it’s very precious. Having said that, I think we’re lucky because we like each other. We have a really good sense of humor together, and that’s really important in this life. And I just happen to think that Nancy is extremely talented. And as an artist, I’m thrilled to be able to stand next to her on stage every night. For me, that’s worth working on a relationship for.
CD: What can we expect next, from Heart?
AW: When the album comes out, we, of course, will be doing some touring to support it. I’ve heard them talking about us going to Europe in the new year, and spreading the word around about Red Velvet Car and ourselves. I think Nancy and I in the future might record an album just the two of us. And we each have our various things we like to do. We like to be home, and just be people. I see more of the same: more playing, more singing, more writing. Just more living in the world.