Debbie Shair's Q&A's
1.) What is your musical background, and how did it all start?
I'm basically self taught. I took piano lessons between the ages of 5 and
10. I pick up a song much faster though, listening to music and then
figuring out the right chords. I used to memorize the songs that I had to
read and then I would skip ahead and the teacher would totally bust me at
lesson class! I picked up music and made up my own little pieces. At the
same time while I was growing up, my parents used to have a computer store
and I used to get exposed to synthesizers at an early age because my
parents would go to electronic or computer conventions and deal with
companies who specialized in making synthesizers and effects pedal so
needless to say, I scored a lot of cool stuff at an early age!
2.) What was your first reaction when you realized you'd be playing
keyboards for Ann and Nancy?
I was shocked and stunned! I still am!
3.) Can you give us any insight into how this summer's tour compares to
the previous Heart tours?
Well this one is different being that we're not the headliner - it makes
the schedule each day a bit more tighter and organized and a little more
condensed. When we tour by ourselves, we are laid back and have a more
flexible time schedule. Because there are three bands, there is a more
structured schedule. We go on earlier which is different and we end
earlier so that's very different for all of us. The other bands - they
are great people and we all get along and it's fun meeting a lot of the
different bands on the road.
4.) When you were young, what was it that attracted you into becoming a
We had a piano and I just liked it!!! I just sort of naturally gravitated
towards it. It's funny, the one thing I remember as a young child is that
I used to play underneath the piano just to see if my hands would reach
5.) Debbie, what is your favorite song to perform on tour right now?
I will say Alone because it really gives me the ability to tune into what
A&N are doing on stage - it's also a very very powerful song to play
keyboard wise. Also Love Reign O'er Me because I am really busy with that
song and the intro.
6.) What is going thru your mind before you are about to go on stage?
Well if you really want to know the truth, the answer is "Did I go to the
bathroom before I go on stage?!?!" Also, We're basically listening to the
Led Zeppelin's "The Crunge" - we're all dancing to the Crunge and just
trying not to really think of anything and get ready to rock a great show
for the fans.
7.) What was your first concert, and how much of an influence did it have
When I was a kid, I saw Duran Duran. It really did have a major influence
on me for performing and I immediately got a Roland Juno-60 which is the
poor man's version of one of the keyboards that they used.
8.) What's your favourite place in the world to take vacation?
I would have to say that these days that after we toured Hawaii this past
June, that was pretty special to me. I certainly would love to go back
there for a real vacation and explore the various islands. Also, another
place I like to go to is Stockholm Sweden. I have a lot of friends who
live in Stockholm (including some of the folks who were part of the string
section on the Dreamboat Annie CD!) so I like to go visit them whenever I
9.) Growing up, I always admired the keyboard skills of Daryl Dragon. Who
do you consider your main influences?
I would say Rick Wakeman and Mike Garson (early player on David Bowie's
CDs). Freddie Mercury was also a big major influence on me as he was very
theatrical. If you listen to the arrangements of "March of the Black
Queen" from Queen II - just the way it's arranged is brilliant! Tony
Banks is another who comes to mind because like Rick Wakeman, both are
classically trained. Even Scott Joplin was a big influence growing up.
There's a huge range of keyboardists I admire. My own style has
continually developed to be more theatrical. Oh and I can't forget my
biggest influence on the keyboards: Sir Elton John.
10.) When you first joined Heart on stage, what was more intimidating for
you: performing the keys parts or performing backing vocals?
Easy: The backing vocals - absolutely! I consider myself a backing
vocals type of singer. I enjoy blending in with people's harmonies. But
to be in the position to blend with Ann and Nancy Wilson is quite a mind
trip! But it's not a scary thing - it's an inspiring thing and every
night I look forward to it.
11.) When not working with Heart, what other musical projects are you
My other band, Marizane, is in the stages of mastering our latest release
which Is called "The Cosmosis." It's a very whimsical, eclectic, a little
eccentric modern retro rock album. I know that sounds pretentious but
honestly it's the only way I know how to describe it. The CD features
guest performances and a wide range of guest performers including Nancy
Wilson and Craig Bartock. The CD is expected to be released on iTunes
probably in late September or early October and our Myspace page will be
updated soon (www.myspace.com/marizanemusic).
12.) I wanted to know what ever happened to your albums Cosmosis and
Hypercube Sideshow and any chance of a re-issue?
Cosmosis was a vanity project - it took a long time and as you can see
from above answer, will be released probably right after this tour. On
Hypercube Sideshow, we did recordings at a time when home recordings
weren't as sophisticated as they are now. We didn't feel they were as
professional quality as we felt they should be. We never really pursued
that as a complete album for some reason but we did put out 2 mini EPs
that had some of the songs from there. One is no longer in print and the
other one is called Stage One.
13.) Is there a song in the HEART catalogue that you have not performed
live...THAT you would like to perform with A&N?
I would like to play Sweet Darlin from the Bebe Le Strange Album. Also,
one that I have always enjoyed doing from that album is the title track,
Bebe Le Strange.
14.) What is on your cd player or MP3 player this summer?
There's so much on there but the last thing I was listening to was "The
Best of Free Design." A jazz pop band from the 60s.
15.) How familiar with Heart's history were you before you joined the
band - and had you ever played their music prior - just practicing?
I had such a wide variety of interests musically that Heart was definitely
one of the rock bands I listened to that was in my record collection
growing up. I was more familiar with the music than the band history.
But I did know who the blonde was and I knew who the brunette was ;)
It's just so great to see you guys and gals rockin out and having a good
time and appreciating live music and supporting the band. All of you
share that golden moment with us. See you soon!