Original Heart members still playing in Heart by Heart

Steve Fossen interview

Steve Fossen, right, with Mike Derosier of Heart by Heart.

“Heart by Heart plays a lot of Heart music,” says original Heart bassist Steve Fossen. We play mostly from the ’70s catalog, we do a few ’80s songs and we try to play the music note for note as it was recorded and written.”

Fossen and drummer Mike Derosier are 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and, given the success which they achieved with Heart, a trip to the hallowed halls was inevitable.

Fossen was there from the beginning, forming what would become the nucleus of the future juggernaut way back in 1967 when he co-founded a band called The Army with original Heart guitarist Roger Fisher. Bands come and go, change directions and personnel. Some stay the same, and others, like Heart, morph over time.

Fossen and Derosier’s time with the band ended circa 1982, well after the group was entrenched in accolades, a massive number of fans, hits and million-selling albums. But Fossen and some of the earliest members have kept in touch and, over the years, have performed together. Fossen tells the story of Heart by Heart forming: Like most great rock ‘n’ roll tales, it just all kind of fell into place.

“Back in 2008, Roger Fisher, Mike Derosier and I wanted to play some Heart songs at a party that we were doing downtown and we had heard about (singer) Somar (Macek); she had a Heart tribute band that she was playing in called Straight On. We heard that she could sing the Heart material … so we had her come and sing with us, and she’s a very intelligent and nice person so we got along well. That was in February. And then over the course of the spring and summer I would run into her at different parties and clubs, and we developed a friendship. And then that evolved into a romance.

“Once we were romantically connected, we started a bass and vocal duo and we’d play songs like ‘Dog and Butterfly,’ ‘Crazy on You,’ ‘Alone.’ At first we started out at friend’s dinner parties and then evolved into bistros. We even did a wedding and a funeral and we were having a lot of fun just doing that. Then people heard about it and we got a call from a booking agent from Alaska. He wanted us to open up for Dwight Yoakam at a show he was doing in Anchorage. We thought that a duo would be a little light to open a show so we asked Mike Derosier and Randy Hansen, our original guitar player, to help us out, and we put together a 45-minute set and we were all set to go to Alaska. And then at the last minute, Dwight Yoakam decided not to play the show. But we had a band; so, thank you Dwight (laughs).

“Then some friends of ours had a benefit for Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness, and we raised a good amount of money, and from that gig a lot of booking agents heard about us and started booking us around the Seattle and Tacoma areas. And the next thing you know, we were playing shows all over the place. We started coming back to the East Coast about four years ago.”

Fossen he says his former bandmates, the Wilson sisters, are okay with the group.

“I spoke with Ann not too long ago and she was totally cool with it as long as we keep it true to the original works. Let’s put it this way, they’ve not given us any indication that they are not blessing it (laughs).”

For more about Heart By Heart, visit heartbyheart.com.

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