You know it's going to be interesting when it begins, "Our journey starts with Ann's encounter with the Devil's nightclub and poisoned food. Nancy, meanwhile, battles the demons of disco, orange jumpsuits, and flames both good and evil...."
Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll is slightly misnamed. In fact, it is a series of stories, alternately told by Ann and Nancy Wilson of their life with Heart from their earliest days (1972, if you include various pre-Heart incarnations containing one or both of the Wilsons) through the present day.
It's a tell-all, mostly
This book is not a tell-all from the standpoint of dishing dirt about others (okay, maybe a little, like the story about some not so subtle suggestions by the Van Halen brothers as to how the four of them might spend the night) but rather dishing it about themselves (like the time they stalked Paul McCartney.)
Along with the humorous anecdotes are some very personal stories about things like Ann's struggles with alcoholism and obesity, and Nancy's with fertility issues and a failed marriage. Like I said, it gets pretty personal.
There are also stories about growing up as military brats, frequently moving to wherever their father, a Marine Corps officer, was assigned. The importance of family throughout their lives is a recurring theme in the book, and on their two most recent albums, Fanatic and Red Velvet Car.
Per Ann in the pre-release publicity, "We've had moments of failure and vulnerability and humiliation, sure, but ours is also the story of women who are being told there are rules to follow and just won't do it." And, says Nancy, "We don't leave much unsaid."
Waiting until the time is right
For years, says Ann, friends and colleagues urged them to write "a real lascivious tabloid-y type" book. "You know -- think of the ugliness and the dirtiness -- but that's so one dimensional." Understand, there are stories about the '70s rock star sex, drugs, rock & roll lifestyle, but they are not the main attraction.
Fotos International / Getty Images
The book offers considerable insight into Heart's past, but also into their future. "When you're pushing sixty," says Nancy, "you know what you want and you go for it."
Kicking and Dreaming is an informative and entertaining read. As they have shown us so may times with their songwriting, these are two very talented storytellers. In combination with vetran music biographer Charles R. Cross, the result is a fascinating, fast-paced, smartly written, sometimes funny, sometimes sad story. A well chosen 16-page photo section is an essential part of the storytelling.
Release date 9/18/12 - It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers