Ann Wilson Interview
Seven Springs Resort, Champion PA
Q: How did the tour come about?
A: It was an idea… I believe an Alan Parsons idea. He did a lot of work at Abbey Road Studios in the 60s and 70s and actually engineered some of the Beatles’ stuff and his own stuff and Pink Floyd stuff. So, you know, he just sort of got this idea and then, I guess, I can’t really tell you what his thought process was, but I imagine it was that he wanted to make it a little more special than just another tribute, by getting some known people to come and do it, rather than a tribute group.
Q: So, did he just call you and say hey…?
A: Yeah. Called our management companies and everybody just talked about it and the idea emerged as a unique one…an original idea. That’s why I’m here.
Q: I know that you have used Beatles songs to warm up. You’ve done encores with Beatles songs. Obviously, there’s been a lot of influence there musically, what about personally?
A: I think that’s probably the real reason why they chose to call me rather than any other woman, you know, to fill the woman’s slot, because I’m a famous Beatles fan personally. I just grew up as a young girl, like from the age of about 11, just listening to them. Like, they provided the soundtrack to my life.
Q: In a Rolling Stones interview, I think it was the year Bebe Le Strange was released you told the story about how you met Sue Ennis (Ann’s best friend) in high school because of the Beatles.
A: Oh, yeah! Yeah. That was the year "Revolver" first came out, 1966, and when school started the next fall I was all immersed in it with Nancy and we were like sister Beatle maniacs. So, the first day of school in German class this girl that I didn’t even know was sitting behind me, humming this really obscure riff in the George Harrison song "Love You Too", and I just whipped around and went "Whoa! That’s obscure." She was way into the album too, so that was the meeting atom of our whole friendship, and we’re still friends. We’ve written all these songs together, and she and Nancy and I are still close friends.
Q: I did some research on the Ann and Nancy.com web site and saw something about funds being raised for a puppet theater?
A: Yeah. Sue writes children’s songs for a puppet theater in Seattle called Thistle Theater. She really has developed the talent for children’s songs. I think when my daughter, Marie, was born, Sue just really responded as a childless woman and what she gave to the baby was a tape of original children’s songs. It was just the coolest gift. Every year after that she’s written a bunch of songs for Marie, and then that kind of developed in to writing for the theater.
Q: Remastering classics?
A: Yeah we’re gonna do that.
Q: There’s a tentative date of August
A: Yeah. We’re really not all that involved in that. That’s something that the record companies just do when they think that the time is right.
Q: Does that bug you?
A: No. I mean, it’s great, because people will get to hear the music sounding the best it can sound.
Q: Do you have any input?
A: Well, sure. Like if we didn’t want them to do it we could raise a ruckus, but there’s no reason why we’d want to stop them.
Q: Bonus tracks?
A: Yeah. I think so, and we’d have some say in that.
Q: What bonus tracks might we see?
A: I don’t know yet. I think the most exciting thing about these remasterings is that they’re going to release the original art work, all the stuff that was in the package. Because, over the years, you know, the packages get smaller and smaller and they drop more and more of the stuff that you’ve worked on. Back when we were first making records, you didn’t just make the music, you put a great deal of energy into the way it looked, and every word that was written on the whole thing.
Q: I pulled out some of my old albums this morning before coming here and I know that there are some things left off of the CDs. On the Greatest Hits Live album, what is it? Strange Euphoria, was left off?
A: Yeah. Strange Euphoria and Hit Single. That was just an executive decision by the record company because they figured it wasn’t music, and it wasn’t. They were sounds collages.
Q: There was this little piece where you guys are talking about Bobo the shy clown.
A: (laughing) That was our humor at the time, you know. I can’t pretend it wasn’t herbally enhanced. It was herbally enhanced humor, but that’s the way it was then and those were two tracks out of that whole body of work. We figured it was okay to just catch ourselves letting off steam.
Q: That was cool for a lot of us back then.
A: I thought so too, and a lot of people have said that. But, I don’t think the record company agrees, because they have to pay us for each track that put on there. So, if they don’t deem something to be "really" a track, then….
Q: Don’t you think the fans think, well that really was a track, that it was a significant portion of this album?
A: You know. I’m with you. That’s how the artist would feel too, but the people who work on the record company level aren’t necessarily artists or fans, they’re business people, with the odd exception.
Q: What about future projects? Is there anything that you haven’t done, that you’d really want to do?
A: Well, yeah. Nancy and I haven’t done a new studio album since "Desire Walks On", and that’s what we’re gonna do when I get through with this tour and she gets through with "Vanilla Sky" which is what she’s doing now with Cameron (Writer/director Cameron Crowe, Nancy’s husband). This fall we’re gonna get back together and start working on that.
Q: VH-1 movie. Have they cast it?
A: They’re casting it now.
Q: Do you have any preference for someone to play you?
A: My opinion was always that it should be Lucy Lawless, because she’s strong and, you know, she’s got this physical…she’s got presence. But, I don’t know, they (VH-1) have an idea that… they’re looking at all these young Hollywood actresses, like from That 70s Show, and people like that who are trying to break into movies, because the biopic starts when we’re very young, like in our teens, and goes up to about 1986, so it has to be an actress who can look really young and age about 20 years.
Q: Have you had any input in the movie?
A: Yeah. We helped work on the screenplay.
Q: Who would you like to see play Nancy?
A: Catherine Zeta Jones for me, and Gwyneth Paltrow for Nancy (laughing hard). I’m just kidding. Those are actresses who are a whole different league.
Q: I think Lucy Lawless would be perfect for you.
A: I think so too. For Nancy, who’s the chick that played Gabrielle on Xena?
Q: Renee O’Connor. But she’s very pregnant right now, so I don’t know how that would work.
Q: I’ve been surfing around various Ann and Nancy sites online and there seems to be a raging debate going on about what the song "Secret" is about.
A: Well, for one thing, we didn’t even write that song. I imagine it’s just about an affair. Since we didn’t write the song, I can’t guess what the writers’ thing was. But, I thing it was just about an illicit affair. Sorry to be so mundane.