Original Heart guitarist Roger Fisher sounds these days like he would welcome a reunion with the Wilson sisters, as well as the other original members of the group.
Heart recently released a new live version of the group’s first album, Dreamboat Annie, which I reviewed here back in October. In that review, I reveal my disappointment that resulted from a performance from the group’s current drummer that fell far short of my expectations for a recreation of an album as brilliant as Dreamboat Annie.
Learning recently that original guitarist Roger Fisher appears to be open to the notion of playing with Ann and Nancy Wilson again and hearing him say that original bass player Steve Fossen original guitar, keyboard player and vocalist Howard Lesse and original drummer Michael DeRosier are still all "active players" makes the idea of a Heart reunion of all original players quite tantalizing.
I did discover, however, that researching the original players led to a somewhat complicated scenario when one considers original drummer, which was he point I was most critical about when talking about the version of Heart that is together today.
I discovered that there were at least three different drummers on the original album. According to Wikipedia, a drummer by the name of Dave Wilson played on "Magic Man," while another guy named Kat Hendrikse played on "Crazy on You," as well as a number of other songs. Then there’s Duris Maxwell who played drums on "How Deep It Goes." This leaves the drummer Heart settled on as their permanent drummer at that time, Michael DeRosier, playing on only two songs, "White Lightning & Wine" and "Sing Child."
It has been a while since I had heard some of those names. Probably as far back as the late 1970’s when I originally bought the album. I also began to wonder who true to the original recordings Michael DeRosier was after joining the band as their permanent drummer. This of course, led me to YouTube, where I discovered a bunch of Heart videos from the 1970’s featuring whom I presume is Michael DeRosier on drums.
Since both "Crazy on You" and "Magic Man" were two big hits from Dreamboat Annie and are also my favorite songs from the album, those were to two I was most critical of when I critiqued current drummer Ben Smith’s performance, and to him I have to offer a partial apology since it appears that DeRosier was not quite true to the original recordings of those songs either, and this may simply be attributable to each performer’s preference and what he thinks sounds best. Obviously, I am heavily biased in favor of the original recordings.
At any rate, what this all boils down to is that I much prefer the work that was laid down on the original tracks by Dave Wilson and and Kat Hendriske when compared to how both Michael DeRosier and Ben Smith approached them, although comparing the work that DeRosier did on subsequent albums with the group places me firmly in his corner if he is to be compared to how Smith currently performs Heart’s material today.
The best quality recording I was able to locate on YouTube was from a performance the group did for what appears to be a German TV program sometime during the late 70’s. All the instruments are obviously off the original recording as it is identical. There’s also the fact that the drums are not mic’d up and you can actually hear them a bit at the end of the performance as their sound bleeds though to the vocal mics or the mic being used by the host. Since there are some vocal "ad libs" by Ann Wilson during the performance, it suggests that the vocal mics (or at least hers) are live during the performance and mixed with the insturmental work from the original recording.
With all that said, I still think it would be great to see the original Heart form up for some kind of reunion. For me, it would be the only way to actually see "Heart" perform again. Call me a "Heart purist" if you must but when it comes to the work I respect as much as what was originally done on Dreamboat Annie, there is no compromising.
Since I’ve probably taken this to a level that far surpasses any interest that someone other than a die hard Heart fan would have in all this information, let me just say that you can check out the performance below if you want to know how a fussy old Heart fan like myself wants to hear "Magic Man" performed.
Thanks to Heartlinker for the pointer to Roger Fisher’s site.