By Mike De Felice
Kitsap News Group
PORT ORCHARD – Concertgoers can kick off the New Year with a rockin’ performance at Bremerton’s Historic Roxy Theatre by Heart by Heart – a band featuring a pair of musicians from the mega-popular Northwest band Heart.
Heart by Heart features Steve Fossen and Michael Derosier, bassist and drummer for Heart during the ’70s and early ’80s. Fossen is a co-founder of Heart and Derosier joined the supergroup during the recording of Heart’s first album, “Dreamboat Annie.” The band also includes vocalist (and Fossen’s wife) Somar Macek, guitarist/keyboardist Lizzy Daymont and guitarist Chad Quist.
“Our mission is to perform the classic Heart music as faithfully as we can,” Fossen said.
Heart By Heart presents a powerful show that includes favorite Heart hits such as “Barracuda,” “Straight On,” “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man” — as well as deep album cuts that Heart fans will love, Fossen promised.
The evening starts from 7-9 p.m. at Quincy Square in Bremerton with DJ Joe Frank. The doors of the Roxy Theatre open at 8 p.m., with Joey James Dean and Bootlegs, which opens the show. Heart by Heart takes the stage at 10:30 p.m., according to the organizers.
The event is not just for concert tickets holders, said Steve Sego, president of the nonprofit Roxy Bremerton Foundation. The foundation has helped raise funds to refurbish the Roxy Theatre and plans to purchase the facility next year, in part with proceeds from the concert.
“It’s also an event on the street with a DJ and music outside,” Sego said. “It’s meant to be a festival. The concert in the Roxy will be piped outside.”
At streetside — Quincy Square will be closed — beer and wine will be available. Food trucks and covered tents with heaters will also be present.
Reminiscing about Heart
The group Heart was started with a handshake in 1967 between bassist Fossen and Heart guitarist Roger Fisher, who were pals in junior high school. “We agreed to keep playing until we made it big,” recalled Fossen, who later graduated from Ingraham High in Seattle.
The band went through several name changes until settling on Heart in 1969. Ann and Nancy Wilson joined the group in the early ’70s. During the early years, the band played at local venues, including at some high schools.
In 1975, the band recorded its debut album “Dreamboat Annie,” which included the hits “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man.” The album was recorded in Vancouver B.C., on the Mushroom Records label. Heart first hit it big up north, Fossen recounted.
“In Canada, we opened for groups like the Bee Gees and Rod Stewart and the Faces,” said the group’s co-founder.
Heart first earned airplay on Canadian radio stations and, not long after, started getting heavy rotation play on U.S stations. Within months of their first release, Heart’s record sales reached gold and platinum status.
The band went on to release six top-10 albums and 20 hit singles on Billboard’s Top 40 chart, including the classics “Magic Man, “Barracuda,” Straight On,” “Heartless” and “Even It Up.” In recognition of the Seattle-based band’s achievement, Heart — which sold over 35 million records worldwide — was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
While on the road to superstardom, Heart played at Perl’s in Bremerton, a music venue that had showcased numerous national bands, including Bread, Jerry Lee Lewis, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Sugarloaf, and the Ramones. The local club met its demise in 2018 following a fire that destroyed the place.
“Sure, I remember playing there. Perl’s was famous,” Fossen recalled.
Life playing in a popular rock band was fabulous, Fossen admitted.
“We went from playing in the family’s garage to being helicoptered in to play before a crowd of 300,000,” he said, referring to the time the group appeared at California Jam 2 in 1978 at the Ontario Motor Speedway near LA. On the bill that day was Aerosmith, Santana, Ted Nugent and Foreigner.
“It’s something everyone dreams about and wants to experience but hardly anyone ever does. It was fantastic. It never got old,” the bassist said.
As exciting as it was to tour with a future Hall of Fame group, Fossen said he also enjoys playing as a member of Heart by Heart. Keeping the Heart’s hits alive carries its own benefits. The reaction of fans who turn out to listen to Fossen’s current band is rewarding for the 72-year-old musician.
“It’s fantastic. Before the pandemic, towards the end of a show, we’d say that we will be in the lobby afterward,” he said. “We always invite fans to bring old albums, and Mike and I autograph them. I’ve had grown men come up in tears saying, ‘Thank you so much for bringing back the memories. I remembered every song you guys played tonight and remembered where I was the first time I heard each one.”
Heart’s lead singers Ann and Nancy Wilson continue to occasionally perform separately in concert venues.
Roxy’s New Year’s Eve show
Fossen is counting down the days to the Roxy’s New Year’s Eve show.
“We are looking forward to it,” he said. “We have a lot of friends on the Kitsap Peninsula that are going to be there. It’s going to be fun.”
Tickets for “A Nite at the Roxy — Heart by Heart New Year’s Eve 2021” range from $50 for balcony seats to $250 for seats in the center stage VIP section. To purchase tickets online go to roxybremerton.org.