When you mention the iconic rock band Heart, most people automatically think of sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. But it was the two guys in the band, Roger Fisher and Steve Fossen, who actually founded the group. And where did they grow up? Right around Bothell, WA, in nearby Kenmore.
*Rumor has it that Fisher himself was on the Anderson School property on opening night last week, taking photos with fans in front of the Roger Fisher guest room. Pretty cool.
Think of the first few bars of Heart's "Barracuda" - you know the guitar lick. It thunders through the speakers like a herd of elephants, then suddenly pings through three bright harmonic chimes. Part darkness, part light. It is unmistakable. You only need to hear it once, and then you remember it forever.
You could probably play it pretty easily with just a little practice. It's not that hard. You might nail it, technically, after a few tries. But you'll never get it quite right. Your down strokes will be a little off. The harmonics won't chime right. It might rock, but it won't roll.
One guy on earth got it right, back in the day, and he continues to get it right, and he will always get it right. His name is Roger Fisher (at left in the photo). Roger Fisher and his buddy Steve Fossen, who both grew up in the neighboring town of Kenmore, are the founding members of Heart, and that's Fisher you hear on the band's third album Little Queen, busting out that "Barracuda" riff with equal parts intense guitar groove and laconic '70s smooth.
Fisher played on Heart's first four killer, landmark albums (Dreamboat Annie, Magazine, Little Queen, Dog and Butterfly), and Fossen played on the first six. They paired up with the now-legendary sister duo Ann and Nancy Wilson, and by that sheer magic that sometimes happens in the world of music, together they forged one of the most signature sounds rock 'n' roll has ever heard.
Fisher and Fossen may have helped found a band that ended up selling 35 million records worldwide, but the two started their musical journey as a means of staying out of trouble. The pair met in eighth grade and by the time they entered Inglemoor High School, in nearby Kenmore, they were getting into shenanigans that could have turned them in a different direction. Instead, their parents rented them instruments (Fossen even got a job at the Kenmore IGA grocery store), and their mutual obsession with the Beatles and prog rock kept them focused on music. They formed a cover band and started gigging everywhere around the area - including Bothell High School.
They had used music to get out of trouble. But by the time they were famous, music got them into trouble. There was romantic drama, the usual rock 'n' roll debauchery.... Good times that turned out to be not so good.
But would those evil little guitar lines in "Magic Man" be as delicious if they weren't spiked with Fisher's devilish streak? Would Fossen's transfixing bass lines be so hypnotic were they not spiked with the louche-ness that touched the era?
Probably not. And when you get down to it, it's not like they're bad guys. Not in the least. In the end, they're just a couple of local dudes who played their fair share of local high schools on their way to the big time. You might start to think it could happen to anyone, right?
That's what those two other boys staring out the classroom windows are thinking, anyway...
*Let the record state that it was Steve Fossen (rather than Roger Fisher) who was onsite at Anderson School last week (pictured above), along with 1975-'82 Heart drummer Michael Derosier. Here they are with Brenda Bassett, our insurance rep from Davidson Benefits, in front of the Heart artwork by artist Patty Forte Linna.
Fossen and Derosier are now in a band called Heart by Heart, "a spin-off of Heart that performs '70s and '80s Heart songs."