The Weekly chat: Heart’s Ann Wilson heads to the Hall of Fame by way of Las Vegas

Heart’s Ann Wilson, right, and sister Nancy.
Photo: Norman Seeff
Annie Zaleski

It’s a good time to be a Heart fan. On April 18, the band will go into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Rush, Public Enemy and others in the Class of 2013. Last year, principal members Ann and Nancy Wilson released a memoir, a boxed set and a new studio album, Fanatic—a charged-up collection of electrified rock tunes.

Heart also continues to tour tirelessly, either as a headlining act or with other groups. This summer, in fact, they’re playing with Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, a pairing that will allow for an encore set of Zep tunes. And before that, Heart will bring its own show to Las Vegas, where you can expect tunes from Fanatic, classic rock staples like “Barracuda” and “Magic Man” and ’80s hits like “What About Love” and “Alone.”

We checked in with Ann Wilson to get the latest on Heart.

Have you and Nancy started writing your Hall of Fame induction speeches? We have talked about it and taken notes, but I don’t think they’re going to be really written speeches. The Rock Hall foundation suggested the more extemporaneous, the better.

The Details

April 5, 8 p.m., $47-$91.
Green Valley Ranch, 800-745-3000.

What are you most looking forward to about the ceremony? I’m looking forward to looking out and seeing the faces of the other previous inductees from years past. I’m looking forward to hearing Jennifer Hudson sing. I’ve been to a lot of Hollywood events, so I don’t know how this one’s going to differ, really, except I’m going to be up there being honored. That’ll be a great part.

Now that the announcement isn’t so new, and you have had some time to reflect, what does the Rock Hall induction mean to you as a musician? It means you’re being acknowledged by your peers, and you’ve been able to have a long-lasting career that has left its mark on rock culture. And that’s really amazing; that’s really quite something. And also, it’s a look back at where you came from—you’re being inducted starting with when you began. That’s part of it, too.

At the ceremony you’re going to play with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell. I know you guys go way back with them, but how did that pairing come about? We just asked them if they wouldn’t mind getting up and jamming. And both those guys are so great—Alice [in Chains] is rehearsing for their tour and everything, and they’re real busy, but Jerry said he’d do it, which meant a lot.

You’re doing a summer tour with Jason Bonham, where you’ll team up for a set of Led Zeppelin songs after sets by his band and Heart. How long has that been in the works? We played at a show at the Kennedy Center Honors last December, honoring Led Zeppelin. Jason Bonham was playing drums, and people really, really liked it. A lot of people saw the combination of Nancy and I and Jason Bonham doing the Led Zeppelin song [“Stairway to Heaven”] and they thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to see this live, blown up into a show?”

How many Zeppelin songs do you think you’ll prepare to play together? I don’t know … we’ll probably end up playing a half-hour, forty minutes worth. Some Zeppelin songs come up and translate better to live than others. We’ll just get together in a room as musicians in rehearsal, and we’ll have a Led Zeppelin festival, and then we’ll pick the ones that rise to the surface.

You played songs from Fanatic last summer on tour, as kind of an album preview, and they’ve stayed in the set. How have they evolved as you’ve played them live? The songs we’ve played in the set from Fanatic are getting bigger and badder, really. We might add “Rock Deep” to the set, so we have a few new Fanatic songs in our pocket.


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