Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Interview with the Magic Man : Mike Fisher of Heart



For several years in the mid -70's, Heart, a band that got its start in a Bellevue Washington basement, ruled rock and roll radio. Fans came to hear hits like "Barracuda", "Crazy On You" and "Magic Man" and to see two women--sisters--rock out. In the middle of the crowd--riding the sound board--band manager Mike Fisher felt like he was watching a dream come true.

Mike Fisher and  Ann Wilson

 As a draft dodger living in Vancouver BC, where Heart really took off, Mike Fisher kept a low profile. He has been called the band manager and he's been credited ( on the Dreamboat Annie sleeve) with "Special Direction". Ann Wilson's first great love, Mike inspired the song "Magic Man". At the height of Heart's popularity, Mike and Ann were a couple and so were Nancy Wilson and Mike's brother Roger. Those were great times but the kind of temptation that could blow up Heart's fragile "Brothers Dating Sisters" chemistry waited around backstage after every show. And when the couples broke up so did the band.



As Heart entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mike Fisher granted me his first interview in 30 years.

1001Songs
When you hear "Magic Man" on the radio do you flip the dial or does it take you right back?
Mike ( laughs)
   It's always interesting. I always take note of the time because it's always some kind of amazing coincidence  and it happens at the craziest times.
1001Songs
  What is it like to hear "Magic Man"
Mike
Well. there's just so much history associated with everything that went into that song. It's kind of overwhelming to hear any old Heart song for me so I don't really go out of my way to listen to old Heart music because it's so filled with emotion for me I guess.

Ann and Mike


1001Songs
    So what was your role in Heart?
Mike
  My role was more like a gardener, an architect or a designer. For me Heart was an artistic creation of mine in a way. Like a master chef creating a fine meal.

1001Songs
   So "band manager" doesn't really say it all
Mike
  I never aspired to be a label in the music industry. I just had this vision for what those people could become and I was totally fired up and passionate about it. We all were for a long time. So to realize that dream was really incredible.

Nancy and Ann Wilson



1001Songs
  Heart was already a big deal in the Vancouver area with Ann singing and your brother Roger on guitar. ( Roger's friend Steve Fossen on bass). How did Nancy join the band?
Mike
  She came up to visit Ann and they started playing guitars on the couch and My God! It was like "Nancy's got to be in the band too!" It took a while to convince her because she was going to school and doing really well. Straight A's or something. And her parents were totally against it. Especially her mom.

Nancy and Roger


I did what I could to help her overcome that resistance and it didn't hurt that she and Roger kind of liked each other. So that's how that came together.

1001Songs
  Is that what you mean by comparing yourself to a master chef?
Mike
  It's such a delicate balance of egos and artistic creative possibilities and all of those things had to come together and it just took such an amazing coaxing and persuasion and everything to get it just right and then to keep it that way which became harder and harder as the group went along. Eventually being impossible.



1001Songs
  What do you remember about the night Heart opened up for Rod Stewart and the Faces in Montreal (October 24, 1975)?( Thanks to constant radio airplay in Canada, the Vancouver band walked onstage to a huge enthusiastic audience that seemed to already know their songs)
Mike
  That was the day when we realized that we had built the real thing and we were going to take it out and run it on the highway as fast as she would go.


1001Songs
  But for a while there...
Mike
It was really incredible when Ann and I and Nancy and Rog --the four of us being brothers and sisters and lovers and companions-- constantly worked together. It's an amazing bond and I don't know that that has really ever happened before in rock music or if it will ever happen again. It's really hard to get harmony in a group of people and that kind of harmony is really amazing.

Brothers Roger and Mike Fisher working on "One Vision" project
1001Songs
  So tell me about this project you're doing with your brother Roger
Mike Fisher
  We undertook this incredibly ambitious vision of 40 years of music that Roger has written. He never stopped writing music after Heart. He just IS music. And he asked me if I could help him and it was something I always wanted to do and we kept putting it off and putting it off and then a lot of people around me started dying. Including my friends and my parents and I realized I better get started on some of these things I want to do. And It's been a fantastic experience getting together everyday with Rog.

Look for more information about the "One Vision" project, coming out May 18,
 at Roger Fisher. Com

Like this? Try this : Roger Fisher helps us listen to four of Heart's most famous songs with fresh ears


7 comments:

  1. A beautiful human being and a dear friend. Great interview, Michael!!!

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  2. Michael,
    Shine on you'll ~ always be my "best man",
    look forward to hearing your new work.
    Be well & safe my friend,
    Barbee Bunker-Johnson-Conway

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  3. Hi Mike, My boyfriend told me he use to work spot for roger at the back 40 in tacoma wa. He also worked for stripes and crown. He just wanted to tell all of you hi and to look him up sometime he would love to jam with you. His name is Olen Bass. Thank you, Sharon

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  4. olenbass55@yahoo.com sorry I forgot to add that. Thank you Sharon

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  5. Great interview Michael... You are an amazing person, thanks for your efforts in making Heart who they were..... Happy to call you my friend.... Larry Walker

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  6. Remember you guys before Vancouver. I lived in Bothell. And you played in Mikes basement. I remember when Mike was Ian. Running through the seattle center in the rain. Good music, Some good times.

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  7. What was Michael Fisher doing with himself all these decades did he marry and have children? What kind of work did he do? Where did he live all these decades? Everything seems to be a secret with Michael Fisher and if everyone is passing away this is the time to disclose many things about his life and personal history. We know every little detail of the penny ante no talents in the music industry over the last 25+ years but know nothing personal about the immense talent from the members of a great band like Heart.

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