Heart By Heart Hit The Road!

by John A. Wilcox

A great rhythm section is exceedingly difficult to come by. For years, Heart's Steve Fossen on bass and Michael Derosier on drums were one of the very best. You've heard them on Magic Man, Crazy On You, Barracuda, Kick It Out, Heartless, Straight On, Tell It Like It Is, Bebe Le Strange, Even It Up, City's Burning and so many more. They not only helped propel Heart up the charts through the 70s to the early 80s, they helped define the character of the band. They also helped the band become enshrined in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. A few days ago I spoke to Steve Fossen at his home in Seattle. I asked Fossen how he initially hooked up with Derosier. Fossen: We were in the middle of recording our first album - Dreamboat Annie. We were using various studio drummers. Studio drummers are usually drummers who don't like to leave the comfort of their environment. We knew we would be out touring, and a good friend knew of a drummer - Mike Derosier - who was very versed in the John Bonham-type feel of drumming. At the time Heart was really famous for doing a bunch of Led Zeppelin songs. We had a Led Zeppelin medley and we did Stairway To Heaven, Kashmir and a bunch of other Zep covers. It seemed obvious to get the two together. We were playing in a club here in Seattle called The Aquarius, which was a very popular nightclub at the time. One of our studio drummers was filling in for us that night and Mike came and saw the band. I was actually the first guy to meet Mike. We talked for quite a while between sets about music and our goals. How we felt about bass players and drummers. As time went on it became obvious that we needed to ask Mike to join the band. We went over to his house. Met his parents then went over to his back bedroom and he played his drums for us. We thought "Wow! This guy's good!" So we asked him to join the band.

For over 40 years, the music of Heart has not only survived, but thrived. Songs like Magic Man, Barracuda, and Straight On have never left the public's ears. I asked Fossen why he feels the work endures. Fossen: They wanted to see bands that had chemistry and charisma. Stuck-together bands just didn't work back then because people could see right through it. Roger Fisher and Ann Wilson and I - we played clubs together for four or five years before we made our first recordings. So we had a rapport and a history of playing together that you just can't get from "OK, we're gonna hire a bass player here and a drummer there." You just don't have that chemistry. Chemistry is one thing, but charisma is very important too. Especially back then. The band had the chemistry, had the charisma. We had played together enough so that when we got on stage we were totally confident. We went from playing a club with 50 to 200 people to opening up for Rod Stewart on stage with 15,000 people and it didn't phase us. We knew what we were doing.

That takes us to 2017. Fossen and Derosier have a new band called Heart By Heart. Joining them are vocalist Somar Macek, guitarist / keyboardist / vocalist Lizzy Daymont, and guitarist Randy Hansen. The band serves up classic Heart with the original powerhouse rhythm section. When asked what we all should expect at their upcoming gigs, Fossen said this: There are so many Heart songs that are good that we can't do every single one every single night. The setlist is evolving and changing. We do a sampling of songs from all the albums that Mike and I played on. We took a lot of the 80s songs that were popular and made a medley. Of course we do the ballads like Alone and What About Love. We do Mistral Wind, Magic Man, Barracuda, Straight On> We try to do every song that made it into the top 40. Don't be surprised if we get a Zep song or two to boot!

Heart By Heart
Thursday, October 19, 8 PM
Luhrs Center
Shippensburg University
475 Lancaster Drive
Shippensburg, PA

Friday, October 20, 8 PM
The Colonial Theatre
95 Main Street
Keene, NH


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