Heart by Heart on stage. (Photo submitted).
Heart by Heart on stage. (Photo submitted).

BY Robin Pennell



VAN WERT — Original band members for the legendary rock band Heart will be in concert at Fountain Park on July 30, 2021, at 7:30 p.m. Bassist Steve Fossen and drummer Michael Derosier, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, will perform songs such as Magic Man, Dog & Butterfly, Crazy on You, and Barracuda. Vocalist Somar Macek, Fossen’s wife, vocalist Lizzy Daymont, and guitarist Chad Quist join Fossen and Derosier to bring these songs and the memories back to you in the most authentic way, as close to the original as possible.

Bassist Steve Fossen spoke with the Times Bulletin on July 8, 2021. He said that being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame was the proudest moment of his career. He knew from a very young age that he wanted to be a musician. He learned how to play the guitar, the organ, and the cornet, all on his own. In fact, his dad rented a bass guitar and amplifier for him. “I think he was just tired of hearing me talk about it all of the time. He thought, in his own mind, I would get the bass, fool around with it a little bit, and decide it was too hard or I didn’t like it,” He said. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Steve got together with friends who played other instruments to share whatever musical knowledge they had. How to play different songs, chords and get different sounds.

Fossen had a variety of recording artists to motivate him in his youth. He was particularly influenced by the Beatles and the sounds coming from the UK at the time. He reminisced, “I was totally inspired by rock and roll music, and the British Invasion, and particularly the Beatles. I just lived it. Every day I was in awe of their music and the possibilities. Every day I would just dream about playing my own instrument, writing our own songs, being in a band that played around, toured…At the time, I thought touring around in a bus would be fun, but after touring in a bus, you find out that it’s not as fun as you think it is.”

Like other musicians and songwriters, he enjoyed and studied the sounds of Hank Williams. “His honest lyrical content. Something about his voice was just so down to earth and human. By the time I did start to study the Hank Williams stuff, I realized that he had such a great bunch of musicians in his band. His band created this chemistry that was just incredible.” He reached the hearts of the common person, and that really inspired Fossen. Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain also inspired Fossen. Fossen lives in the same area where Nirvana played, although he could never see them live. He shares that admiration with his grandson, who also plays guitar.

When asked if he thought his music ability was motivation inspired or inherited ability, Fossen answered, “I have learned over the years that musicality is actually a gene that you inherit. And some people have the musical gene where you can distinguish the different tones, and some people don’t have it. Every instrument I came across, I could actually pick it up and do something with it. And, my dad kind of recognized that early on.” He picked up instruments and just taught himself what to do. He never had formal training, never read music from a sheet or recorded music on staff paper. It was all just in his head. Fossen just does music. He never had any other idea of what he would do as a career besides music. Life was music and only music for him.

When asked why classic rock music is so popular among the younger generation today, he answered, “I think it’s a similar thing that happened when I experienced and I lived it back in the ’50s and ’60s and ’70s. There was just something going on in rock music. The creativity and the newness of it. It gets really popular, and everybody really loves it because all the people that do it are so innovative because there’s no rules at that time when it’s first coming out. There’s no rules. It seems very inspirational, and you are exposed to all of these different kind of creative ideas that people have that spark your imagination. Hits you someplace in your brain that makes you like it. After a while, the things that people like become institutionalized. And then everybody likes it.”

Fossen relates the music industry to football. “Back in the ’70s, players were so innovative and inspiring. Nowadays, the players spend years and years at the gym, creating muscles and training. Back in the ’60s and 70’s you just got your ability naturally. You could be more innovative. Too much training kind of spoils the innovation and the inspiration,” he said. To find the innovation in music, you have to “Find the inspiration in your life and try to put that into your instruments and what you are trying to portray in your lyrics.”

Being a musician is not just fun and games. In 1976, when Heart was brand new, they were playing and singing when an empty alcohol bottle flew into Fossen’s microphone. Luckily it bounced away from Fossen. “The reality of touring is you get up, you got to get ready, you jump in the limo or whatever transportation you’ve got, and you get on the road. It is work. When we toured Europe, we drove to Switzerland and went by Lake Geneva. And everybody goes, ‘Hey! There’s Lake Geneva!’ And you go, ‘Wow, that’s cool.’ But then you don’t stop! Time is money. If you’re spending a lot of time on touristy things, you spend a lot of money.”

Fossen and Heart by Heart will be coming to Van Wert straight from Wisconsin, about a six-hour drive, just in time for soundcheck. But they will put on a fantastic show. He noted that everyone would enjoy Heart by Heart. People who come to shows are like him and the band. “Baby Boomers and they bring their grandkids … and they bring their kids. It’s a weird mix of young and old that come and see Heart by Heart. We’ve had people come up after our performance with tears in their eyes, thanking us for bringing back all of the memories. And people will say, ‘We conceived our daughter … um…thank you,’” he laughed.

Get there early to reserve your spot on the lawn with your lawn chair or blanket. Do remember it is a public park, so conceiving children is not an option there. And, it is bound to be crowded.