INTERVIEW: Roger Fisher
Founding Heart Guitarist
By: Sonya Brown
Evolution, Roger Fisher's latest project, begins and ends with the sound of flowing water.
Together, we will drift away from Evolution on the sound of water joined with bountiful infusions of guitar, sitar, percussion and harmony. Evolution devotes focus upon nature, family and friends of Roger Fisher; and is Part One of a four book/cd box set.
Packaged beautifully and filled with 32 pages of poetry, photography, and a 12 track CD showcasing his many talents, Evolution portrays an overall feeling of positive energy. An energy often reflected in the words of Roger...
"The beauty of today's creativity is that now, more than before, we are able to draw upon influences from everything connected to the network of modern communications. We see things much more globally and use these "tools" to our expressive advantage. It really binds humanity in a way, seeing that in all cultures of all times, we love and need music!"
Roger left Heart in 1979 and has remained very active with his music and artwork. The first album he released after his departure from Heart was "Standing, Looking Up". He then joined with the group "Alias" in 1990, and released a self-titled album on Capitol Records. Roger's artwork can be seen on his website (www.rogerfisher.com), and he taught Music Publication and Record Promotion at the Art Institute in Seattle, Washington. Roger also designs instruments, creating with them his own unique and beautiful style of music.
Sonya: What can you tell us about your own personal and professional evolution after leaving Heart?
Roger: The scenario of being the object of much attention while having all the money you need to do whatever you need to do whenever you want is very desirable and very dangerous. After leaving Heart, it took about a year to come down to a relative sense of reality. Then, I imagined being very successful in music immediately and worked hard at writing and recording the new music. Twenty years later I'm releasing music that represents the personal soul searching and musical striving in the only specific direction that seemed worthwhile, spiritual realization.
Sonya: How do you define your style of guitar playing?
Roger: One image I've kept in my mind since 1968 us of black slaves working in the heat of the southern United States, being whipped. The place their music came from was very real, in that it was brought into being out of necessity just to survive! I've always tried to come from a deep emotional spirit with the delivery of melody that speaks in sentences something of value that needs to be heard.
Sonya: Please explain One Vision?
Roger: If you could pinpoint one thing the world needs more than anything else, what would it be? That's what I asked myself when starting this project. What can I focus all my work toward? The answer I would give is One Vision. When humanity acts together, based on a common need for survival (i.e. earthquake, tornado, epidemic, etc), we accomplish great things with no selfish intentions. Trouble is, we have to be faced with death before we wake up and act right. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I see a future in which humanity is faced with death unless we start acting right. All my work is focused on helping people see with one vision. Specifically, if one can have a personal spiritual realization, then everything one does from that point is part of the solution, rather than adding to the problem, the problem being self-centered activity. My music intends to help the audience have a spiritual realization.
Sonya: What are the ties between One Vision and The Human Tribe Foundation?
Roger: The Human Tribe pays for work to be done on the One Vision project (recording costs, marketing costs, etc.). As the One Vision Project creates profit, it gives a large percentage of that money to the Human Tribe, which then gives to organizations like the Arleco Creek Foundation, a very important cause.
Sonya: Evolution feels much like a concept cd. What can you tell readers about the concepts you have envisioned in Evolution?
Roger: Evolution is part one of a four-book four-album box set which was inspired by the concept of waking up to one's true nature. All four albums' concept is simply self realization.
Sonya: Many of your songs reflect the importance of focus on the family. Please tell us about your family!
Roger: I am with my third wife and we're expecting a child in November.
My first wife, Mary, and I produced a girl, Alicia, who is 26 now.
My second wife, Maureen, and I have a 13 year old boy, Dylan, an 11 year old girl, Michaela, and a 10 year old girl, Lily. They live a half mile away and we see each other a lot, as we have no set parenting plan. We act with spontaneity and flexibility.
I see much emphasis by our society on making money and spending it on all the "necessary" things. Because the bottom line is to make as much money as possible, products tend to become junk disguised as a good buy. This vicious cycle gives the clear message that humans don't matter' money in the hands of the powerful is what matters. This consumerism is dangerous to the Earth. I try to pass this perception on to my kids.
Tobacco, alcohol, and drugs each have their particular function. Each is a very distinct threat, and kids need to learn from experienced adults exactly what to expect if they indulge. I pass this on repeatedly.
When I was young, my parents let me do a lot without worrying too much. That gave me the message that they trusted my judgment. I was always thankful for that and try to treat my kids the same way.
The bottom line is: I spend quality time with my kids setting the kind of example I would like them to be influenced by... crazy fun; wild, high energy, intense playing; mock seriousness; mock punishment; creativity and hard dedicated work. I'm so different from any other parents they know, it must be strange for them. I certainly don't try to conform to the societal norm! I hope my children benefit from and see the wisdom of this behavior. Both my previous wives and all my children display heartfelt love for each other.
Sonya: The photography in the book Evolution also has a focus on family and friends. Who are the people pictured on the book cover?
Roger: From left to right, the sperm about to enter the ovum was me when I was very young; then Lily in the burgundy hat; Dylan gesturing with his fingers; Michaela blowing a kiss; my mom, Sylvia, and my dad, Hank. The angel I feel around me most of the time, but I haven't quite earned the knowledge of its name yet.
Sonya: Track 7, River of Souls, presents a beautiful instrumental, abundant with acoustic guitar and sitar; then flowing into the track, The Bridge, almost without pause. Was River of Souls meant to be a prelude to The Bridge?
Roger: The way these songs found their places next to each other was the result of many, many trials of different possibilities, including songs that aren't on this album. I think it flows nicely into it (or should I say under it).
Sonya: How do these 2 songs relate to each other?
Roger: The four albums play off each other lyrically. The answer to this question involves a song from album three (Big Gate) entitled "Already There".
Sonya: The sitar on River of Souls contributes a mid-eastern flair; and the track Soul Revelation contains chants and "tribal" sounding percussion. What other cultural styles do you like to explore with your music?
Roger: I enjoy mixing it up with no rules. The beauty of today's creativity is that now, more than ever before, we are able to draw upon influences from everything connected to the network of modern communication. We see things much more globally and use these "tools" to our expressive advantage. It really binds humanity in a way, seeing that in all cultures of all times, we love and need music!
Sonya: What other projects are you involved in? How many pies are you dipping your hands into today?
Roger: I'm very focused on the One Vision Project. I'm recording voiceovers for a cartoon animated series, but other than that, the studio is dedicated to Rog-Things.
Sonya: Where might fans find your music and artwork?
Roger: Only over the internet as of now.
Sonya: Where and when will you be touring in support of Evolution?
Roger: It makes no sense to try to tour without a buzz, so first step is to see if we can sell some albums and get a buzz going. I'm not anxious to play live until I can afford the budget to do it with a surround sound system and all the image projection I've dreamed for years about.
Sonya: How do the sounds of water evolve into the production of Evolution?
Roger: Each of the four albums is loosely based on a basic element. Evolution is very water-oriented.
Sonya: What objectives do you hope to accomplish with Evolution?
Roger: I hope millions of people enjoy listening to it!
Sonya: How did you know that rock and roll would become your life?
Roger: Remember the first time you experienced sex? You knew you were going to be doing a lot of that! Same thing with me and rock and roll.
Sonya: How do you unwind at the end of the day?
Roger: I've got a big screen tv, a wood stove and a beautiful wife.
Sonya: How does the cd, Standing, Looking Up, portray "earthly birth and subsequent reaching out to other worlds and wonders"?
Roger: Listen to it!
Sonya: Do you still keep in contact with any of the other former members of Heart?
Roger: Just Mike and Steve. They've played on many of the other tracks that will be used on the following three albums. We've got some great music in the can, waiting to be released.