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HEART Still In It

Two of Heart’s original band members bring Heart to Heart show to The Levoy.

From Left: Somar Macek, Lizzy Daymont, Mike Derosier, Steve Fossen, and Chad Quist.
by William Sokolic
From left: Lizzy Daymont, Somar Macek, Mike Derosier, Steve Fossen, and Chad Quist.
From left: Lizzy Daymont, Somar Macek, Mike Derosier, Steve Fossen, and Chad Quist.

If anyone has the street cred to put together a Heart tribute band, it’s Steve Fossen. He and his high school friend, Roger Fisher, co-founded the original band, not the Wilson sisters as many might have thought.

Bassist Fossen, along with Heart drummer Mike Derosier, are the backbone of Heart by Heart. The five-piece band plays the Levoy Theatre in Millville on Thursday, May 2, where you can expect to hear Heart’s greatest hits done note perfect.
Before Heart, Fossen and Fisher started The Army in 1967. A year later, they changed the name to Whiteheart, and then, in 1969, just Heart.
“It’s sometimes easy to forget that Heart already was a functioning band for several years before either sister walked through the rehearsal room door,” Fossen says.
By 1972, Ann Wilson had been brought on board as lead vocalist. Nancy Wilson came along in 1974, followed a year later with Derosier and Howard Leese. The band plied its trade on either side of the Canadian border.
Up to this point, Heart and its predecessors were mostly a cover band. By 1975, Heart grew into something more than a good band, recording their formidable talents to record Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen, and Dog & Butterfly, among other albums, including singles “Magic Man,” “Crazy on You,” “Barracuda,” “Kick It Out,” “Straight On,” and “Even It Up.”
During the late 1970s, Heart had gone all Fleetwood Mac. Nancy Wilson stopped seeing Roger Fisher, and began a relationship with Derosier, which left a bad taste for Fisher, considered one of the virtuoso guitarists in rock.
“It seemed like we’d all shared the same dream in the early days, but money and other things reared their ugly heads,” Fisher says.
Derosier and Fossen departed Heart in 1982.
 “We recorded an album called Private Audition, where it was clear we were straying a long way off-course from Heart’s original sound, and suddenly the whole thing was about as much fun as a root canal,” says Derosier.
Says Fossen: “It was sort of a relief to leave when we did.”
Still, he received his walking papers from a band he himself had helped start 15 years earlier. “We took it from the basement of my parents’ house to playing for nearly half-a-million fans at the California Jam festival, which isn’t bad for a skinny kid from Kenmore Washington.”
After Fossen left the band, music took a back seat as a full-time endeavor for a while. Until Heart by Heart.
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Steve Fossen
Steve Fossen

Born in 1949, Fossen developed an interest in music from his family, who always had music playing at home or in the car or in the juke box at diners and such. While mom and dad preferred Glenn Miller and Dean Martin, as the ’50s rolled on, the parents grew more comfortable with Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers, Elvis, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison and Gene Pitney, and the spate of girl groups in the early ’60s.

His father, Norman, served with the Signal Corps in World War II before joining the Merchant Marines.
“On one of his trips, my dad brought back an acoustic guitar,” Fossen says. “My hands weren’t even big enough to fit it, but I’d just sit there and stare at it like a sort of icon. Pretty soon, I was playing the organ and the trumpet, and I realized I could sing after a fashion.”
Another goodie from Norman was a transistor radio. On a hot day in the summer of 1963, Fossen rode to a friend’s house, with the radio taped on the handlebar of his bike. “From Me to You” by the Beatles came on. Excited, Fossen almost lost control of his bike.
For Fossen, the Beatles sealed the deal for a future in music, Paul McCartney in particular.
“The Beatles embodied all the music that I was inspired by and loved. Paul played the bass and that’s the instrument I decided to pursue. A regular guitar just didn’t sit right with me. With a bass, I felt normal.”
Fossen returned to music in 2008 after meeting vocalist Somar Macek. “We started out playing dinner parties, bistros and jam nights around town,” Fossen says. By 2009, Fossen and Macek were a couple and have since married. “We were so in love, we decided to call the project Heart by Heart,” he says. When booking agents began requesting a full band, Fossen welcomed the opportunity to once again play professionally with Derosier.
The trio added Lizzy Daymont on vocals, guitars and keyboards and Chad Quist on lead guitar,
“We decided our goal and mission was to represent the Heart material in the most authentic way possible, because we felt other Heart bands were straying too far from the recordings. Mike and I being the musicians who helped write, arrange, record, mix and tour Heart’s most beloved and successful albums should present our set as a nostalgic look back to the late ’70s.”
Aside from regular repeat appearances around their Pacific Northwest home base, Heart By Heart has been touring the U.S. since 2014, taking their show to performing arts centers, indoor and outdoor theaters, casinos, fairs and festivals.
“Our mission is to perform the classic Heart music as faithfully as we can,” Fossen says. “It’s really rewarding to talk to fans and hear their stories and memories.”
The Wilson sisters seem to have opposite reactions to Heart by Heart, Fossen says.
“I think Ann has expressed that if Mike and I were happy doing Heart By Heart she was okay with it. Sadly, I have never heard anything positive from Nancy.”
There was another “From Me to You” moment in early 2013, when the classic lineup learned that Heart was being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
“I nearly drove my car off the road with excitement,” Fossen says. “Mike Derosier and I flew down to L.A. in a private jet. We were treated like royalty for the week, with room service and limos at our disposal round the clock. Then we got to play ‘Crazy on You’ live with Ann and Nancy, which was great; we collected our awards and flew home to Seattle again.
“I had a conversation with Ann, and it was good to reminisce a little bit. We have such high regard for our rock and roll heroes that it was a little surreal when we joined them in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There’s a part of you that says, ‘You’re not worthy’ but then you remember how big Heart was—and still is—such a big part of classic rock, that it was a no-brainer for us to be in there,” he said.
Heart overall has sold over 35 million records worldwide, including over 22.5 million in album sales in the U.S. They have had top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s. The group was ranked number 57 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.”

If You Go:

  • Who: Heart by Heart
  • When: Thursday, May 2
  • Showtime: 7:30 p.m.
  • Ticket prices: $34 to $39, plus fees
  • Where: Levoy Theatre, 126-130 N. High Street, Millville
  • Phone: 856- 327-6400
  • For more info, visit,