Heart's tell-all book stirs up rock world

Stevie Nicks and John Mellencamp are not pleased with the way they are portrayed in a new tell-all autobiography by the band Heart.

In the book “Kicking & Dreaming,” Heart — performing Friday at Green Valley Ranch — wrote about the time the band tried to keep up with Nicks’ drug appetite while partying in the 1980s.

“Stevie Nicks was really pissed off” about the book, Heart singer Ann Wilson tells me. “She didn’t like being outed as a person who would attend a rock party.”

And Mellencamp wasn’t very happy that the book details this moment: Back when he was opening for Heart with his hit “Jack & Diane,” he told them, “Seeing as your album is a turkey and mine is a hit, care to swap places?”

I tell Wilson that story is striking to me because Mellencamp has always been so nice to me.

“He is a nice guy, and wants to be a nice guy, and wants to make sure everybody else knows he’s a good guy,” Wilson says.

“So when something gets said in a book that frames him as not that nice of a guy, of course it’s going to make him mad. He’s worked on his image a lot since the early ’80s.”

On the other hand, Alex and Eddie Van Halen have no problem with their cameo in the book: The brothers proposed a foursome with Ann and her guitar whiz sister, Nancy, but the sisters turned them down.

“The Van Halen guys thought it was great,” Ann Wilson says and laughs.

She thinks stars upset by the book will get over it.

“All this stuff happened so long ago, it’s almost useless to pick it apart and say, ‘This is too much reality to show in 2013 — this thing that happened in 1986.’ You see how ridiculous it is?”

Wilson says writing the book with co-author Charles R. Cross “was like therapy.” At first, she had reservations about divulging so much. But then she thought, “What the heck, that’s all past, let’s just talk about everything.”

Fan reaction has been fantastic.

“We’re up onstage, and there will be this line of people down the front row, each holding up a book,” she says.

At Friday’s concert, the Wilson sisters will perform their stable of hits (“Barracuda,” “Magic Man,” “These Dreams” and so on), but they also will do acoustic songs they don’t normally perform, she says.

Wilson is fun to talk with. I ask if there’s anything else she would like to tell the world.

“Oh,” she says. “You can tell them that Heart’s the best (expletive, expletive) band you ever heard, and ever will hear — but that’d be a joke, haha, I’m just kidding.”


On Friday, Penn & Teller get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Then, at 1 p.m. Saturday at Caesars Palace, Penn Jillette headlines the Opportunity Village Celebrity Poker Tournament fundraiser with his “Apprentice” cast mate Omarosa Manigault, plus Lacey Schwimmer, “Chippendales” James Davis and Jaymes Vaughan from “The Amazing Race,” plus Strip stars such as Claire Sinclair and Marc Savard.

You can mingle with them by registering at OpportunityVillage.org. As Penn says: “For 50 bucks, you can come and have lunch. For 300 bucks, you get to play in the tournament.”

And on April 14, Penn & Teller will serve as grand marshals of AFAN’s AIDS Walk fundraising for their 12th straight year.

The Rio headliners will match donations to their Penn & Teller Challenge, which raised $276,000 last year for AFAN. Join up at Afanlv.org.

Doug Elfman’s column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.