Longtime HEART and current ROADCASE ROYALE guitarist Nancy Wilson recently spoke with Jason Saulnier. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On vocalist Liv Warfield, and the origins of ROADCASE ROYALE:
Nancy: "We thought it would be cool to do something fresh. With Liv, who I'd met when she was opening for HEART a couple years back for the two nights we played at the Hollywood Bowl, she and I got really into talking about music together. I'd seen on the Jimmy Fallon show [editor's note: the NBC late-night television talk show 'The Tonight Show'] doing an incredible song, and she's just drop-dead powerful, and her voice is insanely good, so we offered that opening slot to them. Once we started talking about music, it was like, 'We should try to do something.' At that point, Ann [Wilson] had already started doing other stuff off on her own as a side project – and now, she's doing it full time — so me and Liv got together with her guitar player, Ryan [Waters] from Prince's NEW POWER GENERATION, and I brought my three guys from HEART [Ben Smith, Dan Rothchild and Chris Joyner], and we made a new band. We do a lot of HEART songs that just Liv just tears up, and it's great because she does it in such her own way that it's not a comparison to how Ann would have sung something like 'Crazy On You' or 'Barracuda'. It's a whole different take on it, which I love about that, the way Liv does those songs."
On branching out stylistically:
Nancy: "[Liv] wanted to do more rock, not quite be as relegated into the R&B [world]. Together, we kind of make the rock and soul thing. I've always liked the R&B thing. HEART's done songs like 'Straight On', [and] a few songs where we kind of borrowed heavily from the funky thing. It's a real natural fit for me and Liv and Ryan and my three HEART guys to be together. The ethic really works too. The chemistry in this band is really wonderful, and we have a blast doing our shows. There's good energy with this band, and it's a life-affirming thing. Maybe it's even kind of a fountain of youth in a certain way."
On the band's name:
Nancy: "People have called me and my sister Ann 'rock royalty' and that type of thing, so I thought I'd kind of poke fun a little bit of the royalty aspect. With Prince's NEW POWER GENERATION players in my band, there's a little bit of the royal-ness right there, and the road case aspect of it all is more my image of me from HEART, who has been on the road... the road cases are what get all scuffed up and rolled all around the world with the rock shows, so one is kind of an old, scuffed-up image, and the other one is a very royal, contrasting image, that I think has a cool balance, like the band, I think, does."
On ROADCASE ROYALE's music video for "Cover Each Other":
Nancy: "We batted around some concepts. Having been a writer of the song, I pictured it in the open air, where there would be some aerial views of the band playing somewhere outside. We made it very simple, very simply, with a couple cameras and a drone camera. We had a blast. We were in a park — actually, at the park where they shot that scene from [Steven Spielberg's 1982 feature film] 'E.T.', where he's got the little [toy] and he's trying to contact home. People were walking through, and in between takes, they'd let people walk down the path, walking their dogs by. They're like, 'Hey, cool song, guys!' It was a cool day."
ROADCASE ROYALE's debut album, "First Things First", was released last September via Loud & Proud Records.
Wilson formed ROADCASE ROYALE after a falling-out with her sister Ann during the group's 2016 tour, when Ann's husband Dean Welter was arrested for assaulting Nancy's then-16-year-old twin sons.
In a 2017 Rolling Stone article, Ann said that HEART was on hiatus, but that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees had not disbanded.
Photo credit: Jeremy Dange