For as many decades as I have been alive (that’s five, for those keeping score), Nancy Wilson has been rocking the world. As the lead guitarist and co-founder of Heart, Nancy Wilson, alongside her sister Ann, has delivered anthemic hit after career-defining hit. From “Crazy on You” to “Barracuda” to “These Dreams” and “What About Love,” the songs Nancy Wilson has created have become part of the fabric of our lives.
In 2017 Nancy, who is on a break of undefined length from Heart, did the unexpected and started a brand-new band named Roadcase Royale. The group consists of Miss Wilson plus funk powerhouse vocalist Liv Warfield, best known for her time in Prince’s NPG, and a combination of former bandmates of Miss Wilson and Miss Warfield. The result is a perfect blend of rock and funk. One listen to “Get Loud” and you’ll swear you’ve known — and loved — that Roadcase Royale tune for decades.
Miss Wilson discussed the lowdown on the new band and the uncertain future of Heart.
Question: When did you first meet Liv?
Answer: I first met Liv in person when she opened up for Heart at the Hollywood Bowl in 2015. We saw a YouTube clip of her performance on Jimmy Fallon, and I thought she’d be a great opener for us for our Los Angeles shows.
After our performance, we met for a few minutes and felt an instant connection.
Q: How did that meeting turn into forming a band together?
A: We got excited talking about music and playing music together. After the second Hollywood Bowl show, we decided we were going to get together and committed [to] actually [getting] together.
Q: Was it important to have a mix of guys and gals in the band?
A: Well, I always came from a unisex kind of band my whole career. The combined energies of males and females makes a greater human family of energy inside of a rock band. I think a genre-specific band would be the wrong type of band for me.
Q: Do female rockers give off a different energy than dudes?
A: (Laughs) Absolutely! Just like life itself, there’s a whole language that women bring to the conversation
Q: The sound of the band is a perfect blend of rock and funk. How did that happen?
A: When we started listening to Liv and [lead guitarist] Ryan [Waters]’s song ideas, there were these song riffs that really spoke to us. It was superfun to play those types of riffs and they were right down my alley. It sort of became the signature of our rock and soul sound.
Q: Which came first, performing for Roadcase Royale, playing live or recording the album?
A: Recording the album. Because we come from different cities, we got together to write and record before we ever got the chance to perform live. [We] met immediately after the Heart 2016 [tour] concluded a year ago.
Q: How did you decide what songs to record?
A: We knew that the new material was going to work great to record, and we also realized that adding a few Heart tracks would be a great sort of calling card for Roadcase Royale’s new songs to bring the Heart fans into our new world.
Q: What was the genesis for the song “Get Loud”?
A: “Get Loud” was already a Liv and Ryan song. It had a completely different feel and different lyrics that we updated, and it became even groovier!
Q: Why did you decide to cover the Heart classics “Even It Up” and “These Dreams” with Roadcase Royale?
A: It was because I was always the secondary singer in Heart. There were certain songs I could achieve as a singer/vocalist and some I could not. I’m a simple guitar player mainly. (Laughs) Those are beautiful Heart songs and superfun to sing live.
Q: Did you discover anything new by revisiting those songs?
A: Yes! Revisiting “Even It Up” for me was a blast because I took it back into the original acoustic context that I had started to write [in], and it [came] full circle to its acoustic groove.
And with this new version of “These Dreams,” I’m very proud of how it translated from so many different versions from what I think is the truest version of this song.
Q: Is there more touring in the band’s future?
A: Yes indeed! We are very excited to resume opening for Bob Seger’s tour, and everything is looking good and on course for that to happen as soon as possible.
Q: What are the three most important things you need in your road case on the road?
A: (Laughs) I’d say my stage boots, a good mirror and a fan!
Q: Do you consider yourself rock royalty?
A: Well, if people keep telling me I am, I better not believe it, because then my head will swell.
Q: As a guitarist, do you get the respect you deserve?
A: I feel like that, more recently, people have noticed my contributions to rock ‘n’ roll guitar, both acoustic and electric, and I’m very pleased to receive the recognition as I’ve been doing this for most of my life.
Q: What will it take to bring you and your sister together again?
A: I think that just getting a conversation in the same room with our sister Lynn in person would be a wonderful first step toward resolution.
Q: Do you think we will ever see another Heart tour or album?
A: I would personally love to see the formulation of future Heart music and Heart shows, and my fingers remain crossed.