AUGUST 23rd 2018



Steve Fossen, former Heart bassist and Rock And Roll Hall of Famer spoke to Metal Titans about his current project; Heart By Heart. Fossen and his bandmates; drummer Mike Derosier, guitarists Chad Quist and Lizzy Demont and lead singer Somar Macek, pay homage to the classic Heart songs. “We’re not a tribute band, you have people who performed the songs on the original recordings and we’re honoring those songs,” says Fossen proudly. “Mike’s drumming was so integral to “Barracuda” that he got writing credit for the song,” recounts Fossen of his bandmates contribution to the classic cut; which was discovered by a new generation of fans through the video game ‘Guitar Hero.’  Heart By Heart are gaining momentum and notoriety for their authentic performances of the Heart classics.    

Ruben Mosqueda

Metal Titans: How long has Heart By Heart been in existence? I heard about the band about a couple of years ago. I believe at that point you had Randy Hansen in the band.

Steve Fossen: That’s right, Randy was our first guitarist. Somar [Macek] and I got together and romantically involved in 2009; we were a bass and vocal duo for a while. Our relationship inspired the name Heart By Heart; we played music together and we were in love so we were Heart By Heart. We got an offer to open for Dwight Yoakam in Anchorage, Alaska and we said sure. We called up Randy and Mike Derosier and they agreed to be a part of it. We got together a set of Heart music, we rehearsed it and were ready to go; then Dwight cancelled the show.  A few months passed and some friends of ours had a breast cancer benefit, we played that gig and we started hearing back from promoters and started getting more gigs.

Metal Titans: Heart By Heart has more actual members in the band than some bands touring around using the band name.

Steve Fossen: Right, Heart By Heart features the foundation of all of those Heart hits. There's Mike Derosier on drums and the bass of Steve Fossen, when you see us play it's like hearing the actual classic Heart band. Somar does a fantastic job tackling Ann’s [Wilson] parts and Lizzy Demont does a great job covering Nancy’s [Wilson], she also covers Howard’s [Leese] and Roger’s [Fischer] parts. Lizzy also plays keyboards! She quite talented! [laughs] I can't tell you how lucky we are to have her. Our other guitarist Chad Quist, he's a graduate of The Berklee School of Music in Boston. Chad gets it, he knows exactly what we're trying to do with Heart By Heart in pay homage to the music of Heart. Chad’s attention to detail to Roger and Howard’s parts is incredible. Did I mention that he's a great singer? [laughs] We're really firing on all cylinders right now.

Metal Titans: Being that you've been performing authentic renditions of the back catalog; have you considered doing original music? That would really be interesting.

Steve Fossen: We have been working with songwriters and we’re all bringing ideas to the band and working on ideas. We’ve taken Heart By Heart to a point where we can do a dinner/fundraiser to a theater to 5,000 seat sheds. I think right now is the time to do some original music, I think it’s time for Somar to have her original songs that are identifiable with her voice.

Metal Titans: The Wilson sister have had a falling out; are you aware of what they think of you and Mike moving forward as Heart By Heart?

Steve Fossen: Ann and Somar have met over the course of the past few years; a close friend of ours was working on Ann’s upcoming album [‘Immortals'], he asked her point blank!  Ann answered “If it makes Steve and Mike happy to go out and play Heart music, I’m fine with it. I want them to be happy.” I think what this does it adds to the whole Heart franchise; we’re our promoting the music, Ann is out promoting the music and Nancy is out promoting the music, Heart wins.  

Metal Titans: Going into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame was huge.

Steve Fossen: It was and it was the original band that was inducted. I think until that point, I think people identified Heart as Ann and Nancy, it was Ann and Nancy this and Ann and Nancy that! [laughs] When we got inducted it was like, “Oh yeah, there were other people in the band!” [laughs] I think for Mike, Roger, Howard and I, it was like being reintroduced to the fans! [laughs] I mean, the real fans knew we existed all along, but it was important that the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame said, “These people matter too.” It’s a great calling card, because when we book Heart By Heart we can make note that you're booking two ‘rock and roll hall of famers.’ It was an honor.

Metal Titans: I remember discovering Heart years ago, when I went to the department store and looked through the albums; I saw ‘Dreamboat Annie’ and saw the sisters on the cover. So back then, I thought that was THE band! When the Wilson sisters became the focal point, I assume it was either management or the label? Was that something that the band was in agreement with?

Steve Fossen: [pause] Not exactly, because we were a band. We played shows in clubs, we supported national acts, we made decisions as a band, we had band promotional photos. I don't recall exactly who’s idea it was, but it was presented and it was more like; “Here’s the album cover. If you don't like it too bad.” At the time I looked at it like, well I invested all of this time and effort into the making of ‘Dreamboat Annie’ and it's a great record and the only thing I don't like about it is the record . I can't change that. I went along with it because I couldn't change it.

Metal Titans: Your producer Mike Flicker was a huge part of the classic Heart records; you mentioned new music, have you reached out him at all about working together again?

Steve Fossen: Flicker, there's something about that guy. He's got a great set of ears! [laughs] He was like god on ‘Dreamboat Annie!’ Everything you hear on that album was filtered through his ears and mind. I think so highly of him, we worked with a 16 track machine and everything needs to be mapped out. We had to make the best of using limited tracks and he was brilliant at maximizing those tracks. I remember when we were mixing ‘Dreamboat Annie’ there were like 6 people standing around the desk. Everyone had an EQ and volume fader and we mixed that album 30 seconds at a time! [laughs] The engineer would make sure that everything lined-up together and he’d splice it together and we move on to the next 30 seconds! We did that did that for the whole album! [laughs]

Metal Titans: Steve so have you considered working with Mike again?

Steve Fossen: Can I plead the 5th?! [bursts into laughter] Mike is a great guy, he's a great friend and everytime we talk, we talk about all these fond memories we share. I don't want to raise fans’ expectations, but I’d love to work with Mike again. We’ll see what happens!

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