Juicy Tales From Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson

(Reprinted from Rolling Stone)

Sisters publishing memoir ‘Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll’

By Jessica Hopper

After four decades and 30 million albums sold, Ann and Nancy Wilson have  decided to tell their story. This week Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of  Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll (HarperCollins) hits shelves. With  co-author Charles Cross (Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt  Cobain), the Wilson sisters dish on Heart’s formative years, the  inspirations behind their hits and their personal travails, along with some  sordid rock gossip. Here are some of the more notable – and curious – stories  revealed:

During Ann’s junior year in high school, their parents became aware that  their daughters were regularly smoking pot. Having hit a bit of a counterculture  experimental phase, one night after dinner, the Wilson parents suggested that  the whole family toke together. Ann recalls it being rather embarrassing: “It  wasn’t the best pot, but I wasn’t about to share my connection with my  parents.”

“Crazy On You” was inspired by Ann’s first serious romance, with Michael  Fischer, who would soon become Heart’s iron-fisted manager. The pair shacked up  on a hippie commune in Canada. Wilson writes that while the lyrics “were  straight out of the scenes of wild sexuality that went on in the cottage,” they  were also about her feminist awakening and finding empowerment through her  music.

During Heart’s earliest incarnation they were primarily a cover band,  cementing their reputation in the Vancouver club scene with their set of Led  Zeppelin songs. In March 1975, Heart was onstage performing “Stairway to Heaven”  when Zeppelin themselves walked in, fresh from their show at the Pacific  Coliseum. Wilson writes that the foursome seemed oblivious, disappearing into  the club’s inner-sactum, where Jimmy Page was tended to by “his doctor” before  promptly passing out.

When Nancy was on location with her then-husband (and former Rolling  Stone scribe) Cameron Crowe while he was directing the 2001 bomb  Vanilla Sky, the film’s star, Tom Cruise, gave the couple a personally  guided tour of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre.

The early radio success of “Magic Man” was paid for with hookers and cocaine.  The band’s publicist would ferry the Wilson sisters to radio appearances where  they would meet the DJ, do a station ID and then be told to go wait outside.  According to Nancy, “When we were out of the way, he’d pass the DJ a gram of  cocaine or the number of a hooker he’d lined up and say ‘She’s yours, on Heart.’  It wasn’t until years later that the Wilson sisters found out about the shady  dealings that had gone on behind their backs.

The photo negative for a topless picture of Ann Wilson, taken surreptitiously  by Annie Leibovitz, is rotting in a safe deposit box. When a shoot with the  photographer for the band’s Bebe Le Strange-era Rolling Stone cover went south, the band demanded the famed rock photographer destroy her  copy; when she refused, Heart took her to court. The judge ordered the negative  to be kept in a safe deposit box that could only be opened with two keys – one  belonging to Wilson and the other to Leibovitz – insuring it would never see the  light of day.

In the fall of 1982, Heart had a brush with the legendary ego of John Cougar  Mellencamp. The young singer was opening the band’s tour behind Private  Audition, Heart’s first album that wasn’t an immediate million-seller, when  Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane” went to number one. He came to the band with a  proposition: “Seeing as your album is a turkey and mine is a hit, care to swap  places?” The Wilson sisters declined, reminding him that the tour had sold out  before he’d even been announced as the opening act.

While Heart was on tour with Van Halen, Alex and Eddie, in their own  fumbling, wasted way, suggested a four-way-of-sorts between them. The sisters  declined, but later that night, when Nancy learned that Eddie didn’t own an  acoustic guitar she was incredulous, and she gave him one of her own before  sending him on his way.  The next morning, after a night-long binge, he  called her hotel room and serenaded her over the phone.

Gift Sales Over a 12-Day Period

funny graphs

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Santa and Mariah Carey’s Boobs: What a Pair

(Source: Mail Online)

Naughty or nice? Mariah Carey upstages Santa in TWO revealing outfits at  Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting performance

It’s been nearly two decades since she  released her holiday hit All I Want for Christmas Is You.

And Mariah Carey on Tuesday night proved just  how enduring the track has been with festive fans as she performed at New York  City’s Rockefeller Center for the annual tree lighting ceremony.

Below the 80ft tall Norway Spruce which will  be lit on Wednesday night, and with Santa Claus by her side, Mariah belted out  the track – and gave fans an eyeful of her ample cleavage while prancing around the stage in a low-cut red and silver dress.

Festive pair: The performers took the stage, decorated with trees, lights and oversized boxes

Temperatures fell into the 30s in midtown  Manhattan on Tuesday night.

And while Mariah acknowledged she would be  performing in the bitter cold, she wasn’t detoured from slipping into a frilly  dress.

Still there wasn’t a hint of a shiver from the star, who daintily held her mic in hand with a pair of opera length red  satin gloves to match her frock.

Naughty or nice? Mariah tossed her hair as Santa looked on

Silver bells: Mariah also donned a wintry silver gown and fur for another number
Glam: The star seemed to be inspired by retro Hollywood glamour

Couple Planning Wedding, Life Despite Stage 4 Cancer Diagnosis

Engaged with cancer: Amanda Catano, who has to use a walker to get around, and her fiance Jason Dorais got engaged last week after they learned about her cancer

(Reprinted from Deseret News)

By Emiley Morgan

SALT LAKE CITY — There is cancer in her lungs and in her bones and she has to use a walker to get around, but what Amanda Catano really wants to know is if her visitors have a place to go for the holidays.

“Do you need any water? Drinks or anything?” she asks more than once to those who have come to ask about her story.

She apologizes for the walker.

“Maybe your grandparents have one,” she jokes.

A television camera is situated in her living room and a microphone is clipped to her collar.

“I hear the camera adds 10 pounds. That’s what I need — a little weight gain.”

To say the 32-year-old woman is thin would be an understatement. To say the woman facing stage 4 colon cancer is lovely, charming, funny and warm would also be an understatement.

The first thing her fiancé, Jason Dorais, noticed when he met Catano last year was her sense of humor. Her illness only amplified that and all of the other good things he first saw in her.

“She was always having fun, always upbeat and happy, and I think through this whole process, that has just reaffirmed it,” he said. “She’s staying upbeat and happy and all the initial things I loved about her are even more now.

“I don’t know that it’s changed much of anything, but it’s strengthened what I’d seen earlier, that she could stay like that through tough times.”

The couple got engaged Nov. 10 after they learned about the cancer. Cancer, they said, has a way of making things seem clearer and more urgent. They plan to marry in December.

“I think for us it was that we’re just really excited and looking forward to the future and I feel like we have a really bright future together,” Catano said. “We don’t know how long that is, how many years, but I feel like we can make the most of it and we’ll do well.”

They met through friends in March 2011 and — Dorais especially hates this part — they started a game of Words with Friends. Within a day or so, he asked for her number using the game.

“I think he was like, ‘I know this is kind of lame to do this, but can I get your number?'” she recalled.

They went rock climbing on their first date and have been together since. She said she knew that she wanted to marry him in six months. He recently told her he knew much earlier than that, but held back.

“I guess we’d been thinking about marriage for a while now and I was kind of unsure, as probably any guy would be …,” Dorais starts.

“Because he thought I was crazy and anorexic,” Catano interjects, referring to the dramatic weight loss and emotional struggles before her diagnosis. “And then I get cancer and that’s when he decides.”

Catano said she first noticed something was off when she was training for the Ogden Marathon in January and started experiencing frequent incidences of diarrhea. It was abnormal, but she chalked it up to the increased running.

But it persisted, even after she had run the marathon, and she noticed she was more fatigued. When things worsened, she called a doctor. She had searched the Internet about her symptoms, but ruled out colon cancer as a possibility because of her age and lack of family history with the illness.

The initial tests showed nothing, but she was advised to follow up with a gastroenterologist.

“In retrospect, I look back and I really wasn’t myself last year,” she said. “I feel like I was … something just felt off and that’s what drove me to go in and find out what was going on. I just didn’t feel healthy, I didn’t feel like myself.”

She had a colonoscopy on Sept. 11 and it showed a mass. She was told immediately it was most likely cancer. Further tests confirmed this.

“I think it was just a shock,” she said. “I’m a really healthy person. I’m active, I eat healthy, I’m fairly happy so it was a huge surprise and a huge shock. It wasn’t something I ever anticipated. Cancer doesn’t run in my family, so it was a little bit surreal.”

Dorais was also blindsided. As a medical resident at University Hospital, he wondered how he hadn’t piece it together.

“(It was) not what you expect in a young, healthy girl and … she’d  been complaining about these things for the last eight months, six months, so part of it was, ‘Why didn’t I pay attention and think about this earlier?'” he said. “Cancer is something I see a fair amount at work and it’s just like, ‘Why couldn’t I put that together with someone that I’m so close to?'”

She had an operation to remove part of her colon, her appendix and part of her small bowel. Dorais’ medical experience was invaluable in helping her deal with that and ongoing chemotherapy and radiation.

“To me, it was this huge ordeal and something I really struggled with and seeing Jason not make a big deal about it, crack jokes about it … I mean there was a time where he had come over twice a day and change my wound because I just couldn’t do it myself,” she said. “I couldn’t bring myself to pack this open gaping wound, but for him it’s what he’s been trained to do. I think that’s really helped me accept it. Now it’s like, fine, no big deal, who cares? I have a poop bag on my waist. No big deal.”

Catano said there is still “a little bit of disbelief” about all of it. For the most part, though, she thinks she’s doing well.

“I haven’t been angry or really asking, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ so much as it’s just kind of what life has dealt me,” she said. “I’m trying to just kind of roll with it and do the best I can, I guess.”

Remaining upbeat has been key for Catano and she believes her attitude has been an antidote. It was what helped her fiancé most after her diagnosis.

“It was kind of hard, but she’s stayed positive and I think that helps a lot — seeing someone stay happy and move forward and that’s been the plan so far to just kind of keep going, right?” he said.

“Yes,” she affirmed.

“She stays positive and that makes it easier,” he said. “It’s not great watching it, but that is the silver lining — seeing her happy and seeing her get a little better.”

Dorais has always been dependable and reliable and he has continued to be someone she can count on. But all of this has shown her a more sensitive side of him. She jokes that it’s been the first time she’s seen that he has emotions.

“Sometimes situations like this bring out different sides to people, a great side, but a bad side, too, but I feel like maybe this brought out the best in both of us,” she said.

In the past month, Dorais said whatever uncertainty he felt about getting married before has disappeared. She said the same. He asked her friends to help him pick out a ring. Catano has had difficulties walking and doesn’t often leave her home, so he wondered how to surprise her.

One Saturday, just after a nap, they started talking about the future that they wanted.

“I just put the ring on and asked her and she was like, ‘What? What are you doing? What is going on? This doesn’t make sense,'” he recalled.

“I was like, ‘What?!’ You know, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes,” she added.

“It’s something I knew that I wanted to do,” he explained. “It’s something that she saw happening and I want to be able to do that. Again, time may or may not be limited, but if it’s something we’ve always thought about, something we’ve always seen ourselves doing and it’s an easy decision, then why would cancer change that?”

They are ready. And they feel like it adds some normalcy to their lives, being able to plan a wedding and get married — cancer be damned. They’re shooting for Dec. 21.

“We’re thinking Timpanogos Temple,” she said and turned to Dorais, “You still on board with that?”

“Sure,” he said.

“A simple luncheon afterwards, something that’s just kind of simple. I probably won’t have much more energy than for a wedding and a luncheon,” Catano said. “We’re pretty excited to get married and move on. Any form of normalcy, I just kind of cling on to that, because life hasn’t been normal for the last couple months and you’re looking for anything to just be normal and just get back to living.”

She hopes the wedding will be a celebration, “a holiday” for those closest to them.

Cancer has already changed a lot of things and not all of them have been bad. Catano said she sees her friends, family and loved ones more.

“When your mortality is handed to you, if anything, you realize relationships are really key and important,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been relying pretty heavily on the people in my life. They’ve really made me happy and not that you should rely on other things or people to make you happy, but that’s why you have each other, to kind of help each other out when times are bad. It’s been really helpful.

“Catch me next week when I’m day one of chemo and you’ll probably get a different story, but I couldn’t do this without all those people in my life.”

She’s also come to realize that attitude really is everything and self-pity is a slippery slope. People matter most and life is full of blessings.

“My sister has been sending me all these inspirational quotes every day and one of them said that cancer is not a death sentence, but a life sentence in that it kind of pushes you to live,” she said. “I think it’s caused me to really think about what’s important and what’s worth stressing about and there are so many things in life to be happy for even when you’re suffering or in pain. I think, hopefully, in retrospect this will teach me some really good life lessons and I’ll be able to live a better life because of what I’m going through now.”

Also, insurance is important.

“You got to get it!” she announced, praising her employer, Alianza Academy, and her gratitude for their support. “I just feel like there’s so many blessings in spite of the fact that, you know, stage four cancer kind of sucks.”

At this point in time, the goal is to be walking by the new year. Better still if she can walk by the time they get married.

“I’m hoping to be able to walk on my wedding day without the use of a walker or a cane,” she said.

She feels like she has years still and is optimistic about children. She appears radiant and confident. He is the same.

“I’ve seen a more emotional side of him and I would have married him without seeing that and hoped for it later, but I knew he had it in him,” she said. “You want to know that, that the person you’re going to be with for the rest of your life is going to take care of you through thick and thin. And this is pretty thick. He hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s stuck with me.”

The couple’s friend, Sam Dickens, chimed in: “They are two of the best people I know.”

“Aw, Sam. You don’t have to say that,” Catano said.

She turned to a reporter, “But did you write that down?”

Catano’s family and friends have set up a YouCaring account to help pay for medical expenses at www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/amandacatanosmedicalexpensefundraiser/27013

Recommended Albums #31

Wee Hours Revue

Roman Candle: The Wee Hours Revue (2006)

Once in a while a band comes along that challenges your ability to categorize, even for the sake of recommending, or to put your finger on a template for. North Carolina’s Roman Candle are nominally an alt country band (I suppose) but while their songs may call other bands to mind at times, they really sound like no one–they are the rare band who are their own template.

A reviewer in the Charlotte Observer used Goats Head Soup-era Rolling Stones for comparison, and that’s as good a match as any. But I won’t hesitate to say this is a better record. There are few if any weak moments–from beginning to end it’s a melodic mix of grit and sensitivity, sometimes woven together seamlessly.

NC locals knew and raved about this band for years before this album, which was shelved for about four years by the record company, finally was released in 2006. I can’t name a better album released that year.

Roman Candle is chiefly front man Skip Matheny, his wife Timshel on keyboards and his brother Logan on drums. In person they impress you as some of the most unassuming and personable people in the music business, truly the kind of folks that deserve success. But I think talent will be the determining factor, and a listen to The Wee Hours Revue will convince you they’ve got it in spades. This might just be your next favorite band.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/01/10/songs-you-may-have-missed-287/

Listen to: “Something Left to Say”

Listen to: “You Don’t Belong to This World”

Listen to: “Another Summer”

Listen to: “New York This Morning”

Listen to: “Winterlight”

Recommended Albums #30

Tir Na Nog: Strong in the Sun (1973)

For ears accustomed to contemporary pop music alone, this one’s a reach. But for the more adventurous ear, or for those who like 70’s Irish and English pop-folk, this is an album you should know about. As one Amazon.com reviewer put it: If you like it, you’ll love it.

Tir Na Nog are Sonny Condell and Leo O’Kelly, who met in Dublin in 1969. Discovering that they both had plans to relocate and give the more extensive London folk scene a go, they decided to form a duo. On their arrival in London, not only were they able almost immediately to line up a steady stream of gigs, but their within a week their demo tapes earned them a contract from Chrysalis Records.

Their Celtic-rooted folk, with intricate guitar accompaniment and idiosyncratic lyrics made an immediate impression on folk and rock audiences alike; not only did they headline shows at colleges and London folk clubs, but they toured Europe in support of arena-filling acts such as Jethro Tull, Hawkwind, Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Procol Harum, The Who, Cat Stevens, Roxy Music and Elton John.

Such was their reputation’s rise over two years and two albums that when it came time to record Strong in the Sun they were booked into Sound Techniques studio in London, where people like Paul McCartney and Wings worked, and much sought-after engineer Geoff Emerick, who’d worked on albums such as Sgt. Pepper and Revolver, was hired on to work with them.

tijr

Where their 1971 eponymous first album was filled with simply arranged, pastoral acoustic folk inspired by the Irish countryside, their second album, 1972’s A Tear and a Smile, found them moving slightly and subtly toward fuller arrangements and using a full drum kit for the first time. Strong in the Sun in 1973 completed the transition, and pushed the envelope of folk rock into full rock band territory. However, the album is not without a few sensitive acoustic moments that revisit the sound of the earlier work.

The album’s only non-original is a rather drastic reworking of Nick Drake’s ‘Free Ride’. Tir Na Nog were the only artists to cover Drake while he was still living. They were also perhaps the first to use what is now called “sampling”–the song ‘Cinema’ contains an instrumental bridge overlaid with a bit of audio from an old Henry Fonda Western.

tir

The two held an art-over-commerce ethic throughout their major label run. Their first album did not see U.S. release because Chrysalis insisted they include Bob Dylan’s ‘Maggie’s Farm’, a concert favorite, on the record. Sonny and Leo refused and the label did not release the LP in the States as a result. When the record company suggested they include printed lyrics with their second album as was becoming customary at the time the two again stood their ground and refused on the principle that to do so separates music and lyrics, which they saw as inseparable. When Chrysalis executives heard demos of their third and final record, Strong in the Sun, they insisted Sonny and Leo start over and record the whole album again–new studio, new producer, new backing musicians. The pair went along and rerecorded the album, but it turned out to be the last time they chose to work for a major label.

Paul McCartney was said to be a big fan of Strong in the Sun. Knowing this, Sonny and Leo wanted to ask Paul to produce the next Tir Na Nog single, but it never happened. They’d had enough of a demanding touring schedule and of compromising with a major record label. Although they’d already begun writing material for a fourth album, they instead broke off from Chrysalis and went back to Ireland, leaving a legacy of three cult-favorite albums of progressive folk. Not many artists drop their record company and leave the major label world on their own terms. It’s a testament to the quality of the music that several reissue labels–Edsel, BGO and, most recently, Esoteric Recordings–have licensed it over the years, and all three of Tir Na Nog’s albums remain in print to this day.

Listen to: “The Wind Was High”

 

Listen to: “In the Morning”

 

Listen to: “Most Magical”

 

Listen to: “Teesside”

 

Listen to: “Strong in the Sun”

See also:

https://edcyphers.com/2013/04/21/songs-you-may-have-missed-395/

See also:

https://edcyphers.com/2017/09/12/songs-you-may-have-missed-617/

15 Nerd Weddings and one WTF?

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