ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Touring has been a big part of Ann Wilson’s life. Since the ’70s, Wilson has toured with her sister, Nancy, as part of the rock band Heart.
After nearly 40 years on the road, Wilson is looking forward to getting off the current tour. But it’s not to rest.
“We’ve written almost an entire album,” she says during a recent phone interview. “We’re going to head into the studio after this tour and put out some new music.”
Wilson says the writing process for Heart has definitely changed over the course of the band’s history.
“We used to have to go away to write songs,” she explains. “Now, we were everywhere and anywhere we get a chance. We hole ourselves up on the tour bus and just write. So much is happening now and we don’t have to search as hard to find subjects to write about.”
While the process has changed, Wilson says she remains the primary songwriter and Nancy puts the music to it.
“This process still works for us really well,” she laughs. “We’re not going to change it.”
Heart is known for hits such as “Crazy on You,” “Barracuda,” “Alone,” “Who Will You Run To” and “What About Love.”
The band’s most recent album is 2010’s “Red Velvet Car.”
Heart is on a headlining tour with Def Leppard and Wilson says that it’s “total rock and roll.”
She says it’s funny because the bands couldn’t be more different.
“You might think that since we both had hits in the ’80s that we would resemble each other, but it’s not true,” she explains. “They really put on a show with lights and a huge stage. We are on stage with a simple set and play our hearts out. It’s a big show full of music.”
But the Wilson sisters don’t stop there. Both stay busy working on side projects. Nancy worked on scoring ex-husband Cameron Crowe’s movies such as “Jerry Maguire,” “Almost Famous,” “Vanilla Sky” and “Elizabethtown.”
Meanwhile Ann has lent her vocals to other artist’s recordings. She was tapped to sing on Sly Stone’s new album – his first in almost 30 years.
“They called me and told me about it and I was flattered,” she explains. “I grew up in a very nonethnic neighborhood in Bellevue, Wash.,” she says. “When I hear Sly’s stuff on the radio, this opened my hears. I landed up choosing to sing on ‘Everyday People’ which I feel represents everyone. It’s one of my favorites and I’m honored.”
Last December, Heart participated in “VH1 Divas Live Salute the Troops,” which featured Nicki Minaj, Sugarland, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Keri Hilson, Paramore and Katy Perry.
Wilson says the experience was great because it brought together different generations and genres of music.
“The best thing about this is that we’re all artists despite our differences,” she says. “It’s about putting all types of music together for people who really deserve it.”
After a long and successful career in music, Wilson says she still enjoys getting on stage and playing for an audience.
“We’ve never been a band to sit around in the studio. We are a live band who likes to be on stage,” she says. “It’s like being at a party every night and we are trying to fulfill the audience with our words.”
Wilson credits the longevity of Heart to the band’s willingness to keep it going.
“For most bands these days, the lifespan is two to three years,” she says. “We’ve been at it for 40 years. We love to stay on the road and I work with some of the best people in the world.
“We’ve dragged ourselves all over the world with tours and it’s still fun – difficult to balance but fun. We just take the time now to balance everything and make sure that we can do it at 100 percent.”
Def Leppard With Heart WHEN: 7:30 tonight WHERE: Hard Rock Casino presents the Pavilion, 5601 University SE HOW MUCH: $31-$111 at www.livenation.com