The life’s journey of 69-year-old North Seattle resident and native Steve Fossen has taken him from family vacations at Ocean Shores, through a ‘60s garage band at his parents’ Kenmore home, to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and now back to Ocean Shores this weekend. In the words of fellow HOF members, The Grateful Dead, indeed, “what a long, strange trip it’s been.”
Fossen will be on bass Saturday evening as Heart By Heart headlines the first-ever Superheroes Music Fest, running Friday through Sunday at the Ocean Shores Convention Center.
They’re not exactly a tribute band, but they will play the music of Heart. That’s because Fossen is one of the founders of the iconic band, and he’s joined onstage these days by original Heart drummer Michael Derosier, also a Hall of Famer.
Fossen and guitarist Roger Fisher formed The Army in 1967. The band became Whiteheart a year later, and Fossen recalls playing the roller-skating rink in Hoquiam as Whiteheart, probably in 1969. The band then became Heart, then Hocus Pocus when singer Ann Wilson joined in 1971. When her sister, Nancy, joined in 1974, they’d settled on Heart.
Their debut album, “Dreamboat Annie,” was recorded in Vancouver, B.C. in 1975. Fossen remembers Heart performing at Hoquiam’s 7th Street Theater in 1976, “when Dreamboat Annie was just starting to bubble up throughout America.”
Within a year, the “kid who grew up in Seattle and had only seen the Pacific Northwest” was a rock star who had toured all of the United States, Canada, and most of Europe.
He and Derosier stayed with the band through five platinum albums, leaving in 1982. As Heart By Heart, they perform the hits and some deeper cuts from that body of work, with lead vocalist, Somar Macek, whose big voice can handle the hard rocking tunes that made Heart famous.
Fossen said Dreamboat Annie is still his favorite Heart LP. “It really set the pace for the rest of albums,” he explained. “It was the first time we had recorded, so everything was new to us. Our producer really helped us out and guided us along the path to excellence.”
He recalled the summer of 1976, when “we opening for a lot of different acts, and I remember we got a call from the record company that K-Mart just picked up our record. A short time later it went gold, and a short time after, platinum.
“We were all very driven and motivated. Everybody was so devoted so focused, that we kind of figured something was going to happen.” The original lineup reunited onstage when Heart was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.