For several years in the mid -70's, Heart, a band that got its start in a Bellevue Washington basement, ruled rock and roll radio. Fans came to hear hits like "Barracuda", "Crazy On You" and "Magic Man" and to see two women--sisters--rock out. In the middle of the crowd--riding the sound board--band manager Mike Fisher felt like he was watching a dream come true.
|Mike Fisher and Ann Wilson|
As a draft dodger living in Vancouver BC, where Heart really took off, Mike Fisher kept a low profile. He has been called the band manager and he's been credited ( on the Dreamboat Annie sleeve) with "Special Direction". Ann Wilson's first great love, Mike inspired the song "Magic Man". At the height of Heart's popularity, Mike and Ann were a couple and so were Nancy Wilson and Mike's brother Roger. Those were great times but the kind of temptation that could blow up Heart's fragile "Brothers Dating Sisters" chemistry waited around backstage after every show. And when the couples broke up so did the band.
As Heart entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mike Fisher granted me his first interview in 30 years.
When you hear "Magic Man" on the radio do you flip the dial or does it take you right back?
Mike ( laughs)
It's always interesting. I always take note of the time because it's always some kind of amazing coincidence and it happens at the craziest times.
What is it like to hear "Magic Man"
Well. there's just so much history associated with everything that went into that song. It's kind of overwhelming to hear any old Heart song for me so I don't really go out of my way to listen to old Heart music because it's so filled with emotion for me I guess.
|Ann and Mike|
So what was your role in Heart?
My role was more like a gardener, an architect or a designer. For me Heart was an artistic creation of mine in a way. Like a master chef creating a fine meal.
So "band manager" doesn't really say it all
I never aspired to be a label in the music industry. I just had this vision for what those people could become and I was totally fired up and passionate about it. We all were for a long time. So to realize that dream was really incredible.
|Nancy and Ann Wilson|
Heart was already a big deal in the Vancouver area with Ann singing and your brother Roger on guitar. ( Roger's friend Steve Fossen on bass). How did Nancy join the band?
She came up to visit Ann and they started playing guitars on the couch and My God! It was like "Nancy's got to be in the band too!" It took a while to convince her because she was going to school and doing really well. Straight A's or something. And her parents were totally against it. Especially her mom.
|Nancy and Roger|
I did what I could to help her overcome that resistance and it didn't hurt that she and Roger kind of liked each other. So that's how that came together.
Is that what you mean by comparing yourself to a master chef?
It's such a delicate balance of egos and artistic creative possibilities and all of those things had to come together and it just took such an amazing coaxing and persuasion and everything to get it just right and then to keep it that way which became harder and harder as the group went along. Eventually being impossible.
What do you remember about the night Heart opened up for Rod Stewart and the Faces in Montreal (October 24, 1975)?( Thanks to constant radio airplay in Canada, the Vancouver band walked onstage to a huge enthusiastic audience that seemed to already know their songs)
That was the day when we realized that we had built the real thing and we were going to take it out and run it on the highway as fast as she would go.
But for a while there...
It was really incredible when Ann and I and Nancy and Rog --the four of us being brothers and sisters and lovers and companions-- constantly worked together. It's an amazing bond and I don't know that that has really ever happened before in rock music or if it will ever happen again. It's really hard to get harmony in a group of people and that kind of harmony is really amazing.
|Brothers Roger and Mike Fisher working on "One Vision" project|
So tell me about this project you're doing with your brother Roger
We undertook this incredibly ambitious vision of 40 years of music that Roger has written. He never stopped writing music after Heart. He just IS music. And he asked me if I could help him and it was something I always wanted to do and we kept putting it off and putting it off and then a lot of people around me started dying. Including my friends and my parents and I realized I better get started on some of these things I want to do. And It's been a fantastic experience getting together everyday with Rog.
Look for more information about the "One Vision" project, coming out May 18,
at Roger Fisher. Com
Like this? Try this : Roger Fisher helps us listen to four of Heart's most famous songs with fresh ears