by Susan Varnes-Newland
(Guest blogger from Grieve The Astronaut) ~ ~
Welcome to HEART BY HEART
Featuring Original Heart Members: Steve Fossen & Michael Derosier
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
I loved being a teenager in the 1970’s. Great music, great tv shows, and how about those super wide flared jeans, that you constantly tripped over. Technology was slowly advancing, but it hadn’t taken over our lives yet. If you wanted to listen to music, you basically had 3 options. An AM/FM radio ,vinyls spinning on your turntable or a live concert.
On our wheat farm in Eastern Washington, I listened to the Spokane radio station, KJRB; a sister station to Seattle’s KJR. And of course, KJR had the legendary DJ, Pat O’Day. It is primarily because of Pat, that so much great music was brought to Seattle, which eventually filtered across state to Spokane and down to Pullman. One of my favorites teenage concerts that I attended was HEART. I was 15, lived on a farm and STILL managed to get to their concert over 25 miles away….without my parents knowing! April 9, 1976. It was the beginning of Heart’s 40+ year career of music. Their incredible setlist:
2. White Lightening & Wine
3. Dreamboat Annie
4. Silver Wheels
5. Crazy On You
6. Sing Child
7. Soul of the Sea
8. Devil Delight
9. Magic Man
~ HEART BY HEART ~
My first experience with Heart By Heart was at the 2015 North Bend, WA Block Party. I remember continually telling people in the crowd, “You guys, this isn’t just a tribute band. Steve Fossen and Michael Derosier are from the original band, HEART!”. Their jaws would drop and then they would run close to the stage.
After HEART was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, Heart By Heart naturally formed on its own. Heart By Heart’s mission is simple –“ to create music that is authentic, passionate, and true to HEART’s original recordings. After all, Fossen and Derosier, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 as members of HEART, would never do the music any injustice”. In addition to Steve and Michael , there is Somar Macek singing lead vocals, Lizzy Daymont on guitar, keyboard and vocals, and new addition, lead guitarist, Chad Quist. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the path of Heart By Heart these past few years. The music of HEART is really important to me. Actually, it’s “ The Beating Heart “ (pun intended) of my whole ‘ROCKIN’ Through My Fifties’ experience. If you scroll back to my intro of the Susan In Seattle Blog, and the first entries in March 2017, you can read my stories about HEART.
Back to the 2015 North Bend Block Party. It was so cool to listen to the music of HEART, from a different band, who were actually part of the original band. I was next to the stage, of course, and got great photos and videos of Steve Fossen. And was like, WOW! I’m experiencing rock and roll history. He was a total ham in my videos, and I loved every minute of it! I kept capturing him and Michael on drums, because my 15 year old teenage girl spirit was freaking out.
I will be honest, though. I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel, with different women for the vocals and instruments. Ann and Nancy have big shoes to fill.
NO WORRIES. Somar and Lizzy are fantastic! Talented, professional and obviously, have a true love and understanding of the music of HEART. These are not easy songs to sing or to perform. I was sold after seeing their first performance. I looked forward to their upcoming shows, and started following them on Facebook.
This past year or so, I started to see something really wonderful happening to Heart By Heart. Their music was getting recognition, and their tours were expanding nationally. East Coast, Midwest, California and Las Vegas! I was disappointed that I would not be seeing them again at the North Bend Block Party in 2018. But, as luck would have it, I crossed paths with Steve, Somar and Lizzy at the YES concert at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, this past June. I’m really brave and friendly, after enjoying some delicious Washington State Wine, LOL. Actually, Steve was so nice, and I really enjoyed our conversations. And that’s why I decided I needed to make the effort to go to The Triple Door for their concert. It was the same night that the Seafair Torchlight Parade was happening. And here I go again….That Seattle traffic. BUT, it was SO worth it.
We had great seats, and right out of the gate, Somar came onstage and took control of the room. After the first song, I realized that this was no longer just a ‘fun tribute band’ that I would see at a block party. This was a professional, tight, well oiled group of musicians working together. I and everyone else at The Triple Door, were up on their feet WHOOPING after the first song. Somar’s voice has always been powerful. But now, it’s grown into this magnificent entity. And, she totally owns each song. I loved it when she came out into the crowd singing and sitting next to people in the audience. That’s when you knew…this is her real voice. She’s standing right next to me. I hear exactly what is coming from her vocal chords. A powerful presence, with an incredible range.
And Lizzy, to quote my friend Raymond Hayden (who is the band leader of Grieve the Astronaut). “Lizzy Daymont is a f*%’n badass!”. Totally true. Guitar, keyboards, vocals. Wow. Totally kicks it out. She’s playing the keyboard, with her guitar hanging in the front. Smoothly transitioning back and forth. Incredible talent! And in perfect musical symmetry with Somar.
This was my first time hearing their new lead guitarist, Chad Quist. An excellent choice and musician. Totally at home performing onstage with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. And after reading his bio, I can see why. He is no stranger to performing and touring with legendary rock bands. And like Lizzy, attended Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
And then there’s Steve and Michael. THANK YOU for forming this band and coming back onstage! I love how you are staying true to the music that you created. And Michael…duuude! You’re an animal on the drums. Whatever your fitness and strength program is, you need to share it.
And you know what else I loved? The connection between the band members. Steve and Somar are married, so OF COURSE she gets the whole “HEART BEAT”. But, the entire time, everyone was having fun. No stress, just fun. And if you’re having fun with your music, I’m having fun with your music. It was a total Rock and Roll Show, from beginning to end.
HEART has a complicated history. But, seriously, what band doesn’t? Actually, what family doesn’t? Steve and Michael, I’m so happy that you guys are playing HEART music again, and sharing it with all of us. Other than the 1970’s hairstyles, you guys don’t look or sound any different. This is my original Dog and Butterly album from 1978. The only band member that I haven’t met (YET) in this picture is Howard Leese. He is performing in Raiding The Rock Vault in Las Vegas. He wasn’t performing the night that I went, so I guess I will just have to return! It’s a great show, so I don’t mind that at all.
And, Michael, thank you for clearing up what GOOGLE has wrong. On April 9, 1976 I saw the fantastic new PNW band HEART perform at The KIBBIE DOME in Moscow, Idaho. NOT at the WSU Performing Arts Center. I KNEW it. The Kibbie Dome has a very unique appearance. If you want the correct answer, go straight to the HEART of the matter.
Now, if I could just go back an re-live that concert. No ticket stub, no t-shirt, no pictures. Deep sigh. Because….
Sorry Mom and Dad in heaven , for sneaking off the farm, and not telling you that I was at a HEART concert.
Hmmm, I wonder what my own kids have done that I don’t know about ?!
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
Heart By Heart www.heartbyheart.com
The Triple Door www.thetripledoor.net