Just a Minute With: rocker Nancy Wilson of Heart

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Heart, the veteran Seattle rock group fronted by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, are enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks in part to “American Idol” and Guitar Hero, which showcase their classic-rock staples such as “Barracuda” and “Crazy On You.”

Nancy Wilson of "Heart" raises her guitar after performing at the 26th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Hollywood, California, April 22, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Guitarist Nancy Wilson, 55, balances her rock ‘n’ roll career with a busy domestic life as the wife of “Almost Famous” writer/director Cameron Crowe and the mother of their twin 9-year-old boys.

Wilson talked to Reuters about juggling work with being a mom, Heart’s influence on rock and the band’s resurgence.

Q. Is Heart now more of an inevitable sideline to your role as a mother and wife, and other interests in your life?

A. “It’s my job. I’m a working mother. Like everybody that keeps a job and also has children, there’s a lot to balance out. The traveling part during the summer, my kids can come out and be with me. The family can travel together. But during the school time it’s really tough, because we have to schedule everything around being able to be together. It’s more important than anything there is, is trying to be a good parent. They’re more important than you are, because they’re the next generation. You can’t just be self-absorbed in your career thing too much because they deserve everything of you.”

Q. Do you think rock-star mothers are burdened by guilt in a way that Mick Jagger or Jimmy Page aren’t?

A. “Right! It would be easier to be Mick Jagger! As a woman, more than guilt I feel hurt about times when we can’t be together. It’s painful! We keep in really close touch when I’m on the road. To be able to schedule our lives humanely is a real feat!”

Q. How do you stay in shape after having your twins?

A. “You have to stay strong, so I’m doing a lot of working out right now. Yoga and hiking and weights -- about three times a week, three hours each time. Just really committed to staying strong and being healthy so I can keep up with my kids, and the work as well!”

Q. Do you have a special diet?

A. “No. We all eat as well as we can. But on the road that’s next to impossible! We’re at the mercy of where we play and the catering that we get wherever we go, or the hotel. When we’re on longer tours, we have our buses with panini makers, and we take our crock pots and we make our own food on the bus a lot so that we can get good food.”

Q. People like (Alice In Chains guitarist) Jerry Cantrell have said Heart were a big influence. It must be nice to get that feedback from musicians in the next generation, in a different genre.

A. “That is really amazingly cool. We thought that the new generation of rock people, especially coming from Seattle after we came out of there, would be disdainful of our ‘80s run (with hit ballads like “These Dreams” and “What About Love?”). But they were really respectful of our earlier work, especially, which meant a lot to us too.

“Now we have an even younger generation coming out to see us play who have “Barracuda” on their Guitar Heroes at home, and they have American Idol and they’re hearing “Crazy on You” and “Barracuda,” “Magic Man.” Those songs are actually still ticking, which is amazing to think about. A lot of really young faces are appearing at our shows.”

Q. I notice you’re playing a lot of casinos. Is that where the money is these days?

A. “We do some of the casino runs for the higher dollar, but we also have a proper rock tour coming up at the end of the summer in July and August and September with Journey again. That’s big, big shows and amphitheaters and fairs -- the proper rock situation! Some of the casinos these days are more built like theaters and built for music. It’s not quite the same ol’ context as it used to have.”

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte