by: Sterling Whitaker

Norman Seeff via Heart

After a four-decade career as the reigning queens of rock, there’s not much Heart founding members Ann Wilson andNancy Wilson haven’t seen. Their new book ‘Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll’ pulls the lid off their legendary career, sharing insights into the sisters’ lives and music, as well as the expected tales of rock and roll debauchery.

According to a preview from Rolling Stone, one of the craziest stories in the book involves the Wilsons’ parents, who became aware that their young daughters were smoking pot. Their solution? They suggested that the whole family fire one up together. Then there’s the time that the members of Led Zeppelin wandered into a small club where an early version of Heart were on stage playing ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ but didn’t appear to notice before the evening culminated with a passed-out Jimmy Page.

Of course, no rock memoir would be complete without some lurid sex stories, and ‘Kicking & Dreaming’ delivers with Ann’s recollection of her relationship with Heart manager Michael Fischer; the pair lived together on a hippie commune, and she recalls that “the wild sexuality that went on in the cottage” inspired the lyrics for ‘Crazy on You.’ Heart later found out that their publicist paid for much of the early success of ‘Magic Man’ by handing out hookers and drugs as payola to radio disc jockeys, while an early tour with Van Halen resulted in Eddie and Alex Van Halen proposing a four-way hookup with the Wilson sisters (who declined, but at least Eddie got a guitar out of it).

And then there’s the strange, like the time a cocky young opening act named John Cougar Mellencamp – whose album was outperforming Heart’s at the moment – asked them if they’d like to swap billing since their album was a flop, or the time Nancy Wilson and her then-husband Cameron Crowe got a personally guided tour of the Scientology Celebrity Centre from Tom Cruise.

‘Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll’ is set for release on Sept. 18. Heart will release a new album, ‘Fanatic,’ on Oct. 2.