Raise the Questions: Ann Wilson
10 QUESTIONS WITH ANN WILSON:
Q: If you overheard one fan talking to another after leaving a show of yours, what would you like to hear them say about the gig?
AW: “I would like to hear them say, ‘WOW!! That was awesome! Amazing! I’m so glad I came! I love the new stuff! I feel like I’m 27 again!’”
Q: If you were to record a duet with a current artist outside the genre of music for which you’re known, who might that be and which song would you cover and why?
AW: “I would like to try the old Heart song, ‘Cherry Blossom Road’ with Ry Cooder. That would be an excellent reinterpretation of that song; a much further evolution.”
Q: Have any rituals before hitting the stage?
AW: “I like to be very quiet in the 10 minutes before I go onstage. I warm up my throat gently, I breathe, I focus. I visualize being alone with the people.”
Q: What has surprised you most in your career?
AW: “The longevity has surprised me the most. The ‘long haul’ has and is presenting some extremely interesting twists and turns. Many people who have been loyal fans for years are willing and even excited about my creative evolution. Some of the old songs have stood the test of time, some haven’t. I am thrilled about how the new ones are turning out, and that they are being so well received.”
Q: What is your ‘Spinal Tap’ moment (getting lost backstage in an arena, anything like that)?
AW: “The typical ‘Spinal Tap’ moment, getting lost in a labyrinth leading into the bowels of a venue, is pretty commonplace actually. Nowadays there are signs posted everywhere to guide the wandering musicians to the stage, to catering, back to the buses, etc. The biggest probability of a ‘Spinal Tap’ moment would be in the actual technical part of the show; radio interference, gear breaking down, that kind of thing. Many times the crew is heroic in building a stage out of nothing! You would be amazed at how ‘basic’ some venues are. Some dressing rooms are little more than closets, and the backstage crew transforms them into sumptuous oasis tents by the time the artist arrives. Musicians can be spoiled sometimes, and the crew bends over backwards to make it nice for them. Let’s hear it for the backstage Angels!”
Q: If you could have a conversation with anyone who’s living or dead, who would it be and why?
AW: “I would like to have sat down with Elizabeth Taylor and just talked. I would like to have discussed love, sex and obsession. Our conversation would flow naturally into issues of public image and the stresses of being in the public eye. How did she deal with it as she aged? Most importantly, I would love to have heard about her brave and tireless work in the fight against AIDS. Oh yes, and the jewels.”
Q: Which famous historical event would you like to have witnessed and why?
AW: “I would like to have been there at Woodstock to hear Jimi Hendrix play the national anthem. I feel that moment spoke not only for a generation then, but for the American experience before and after.”
Q: You’ve spent many years on the road–are there some favorite spots you go back to, any new discoveries you’ve recently made?
AW: “I’m especially happy to go to new places. Lately, a quiet place in the Florida Keys is my favorite.”
Q: What is your biggest guilty pleasure (film, album, or other)?
AW: “At present my biggest guilty pleasure is swimming with my husband.”
Q: Is there a song you crank up on Friday night to kick off the weekend-and a song you kick back with on a Sunday morning?
AW: “On Friday night ‘Hammerhead’ by Jeff Beck (Emotion and Commotion). On Sunday morning ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ from the same album.”