Heart‘s Ann and Nancy Wilson are cleaning out their closets for a good cause.
On November 7th and 8th, more than 175 items spanning the duo’s 40-year career will be sold off by Julien’s Auctions as part of the Beverly Hills-based gallery’s Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll auction.
“We have an awful lot of things from the past that are no longer serving any purpose in our own lives and this is a good opportunity to see if anybody else can use them,” Ann Wilson tells Rolling Stone.
A portion of the proceeds will go to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America — Ann’s pick because her son has Crohn’s — and MusiCares, The Recording Academy’s foundation that provides medical and financial assistance to musicians. On Tuesday, photos of the collectibles went online and are available to view now.
Among the treasures up for grabs from the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers are Nancy Wilson’s Ovation 12-string acoustic guitar from Heart’s 1985 tour and the Sixties Hofner bass Ann Wilson played on their 1980 hit, “Even It Up.” “It’s a good little bass. It just fits really easy against your body. It’s a joy to play,” she says. “These types of guitars need lots of tender loving care because they’re all wood and they have that special Paul McCartney sound.”
A number of the pair’s classic outfits are also on the block, including Nancy’s pink lace bodice from the “These Dreams” video and the silk peignoir she wore in the “Nothin’ At All” clip, as well as Ann’s purple and black-striped, velvet cutaway coat. “I love that coat! Violet [was] my favorite color for a long time,” she says of the 1979-1981 stage mainstay. Like many of her costumes, Wilson designed the coat herself.
Ann is also selling a soprano saxophone that she purchased on a whim. “I remember the early years of MTV seeing a Quarterflash video (“Harden My Heart”) with Rindy Ross wearing a black cat suit thing standing in a rock quarry playing a soprano sax and I thought, ‘That is the most weird and unusual site I think I’ve seen,’ so I ended up going to a Halloween party [like that],” she says.
Since Wilson plays the flute, she thought she could teach herself to play the sax, but her efforts were greeted with howls — literally. “When I sat down to practice, my dogs did not like it,” she says. “They would bark and moan and howl. It caused such a ruckus in my house that I put it away.”
Though she never wore it on stage, one of the more elaborate offerings is a sumptuous red velvet Scarlett O’Hara dress Ann had made for a “Gone With the Wind”-themed party that comes complete with a bra, hoop skirt and bustle pad. “It’s made to measure 22 inches around the waist so when you get that, you also have to wear a corset and lace yourself very small,” she says. “I’m sad to see that one go, but, you know, I’ve been to that party and probably don’t think I’m going to another one.”
While combing through their past, Wilson says the sisters set aside a number of items to stay in the family: “Especially a few pieces from Yves St. Laurent’s Rive Gauche line in 1979 that I plan to pass on to my daughter when her kids are older. She’s got young babies right now, so she has no place to wear them.”
The auction takes place the weekend before the Nov. 10 release of Heart & Friends: Home For The Holidays, a live CD/DVD filmed last year at Seattle’s Benaroya Symphony Hall. Train’s Pat Monahan, Sammy Hagar, Richard Marx and Shawn Colvin join the Wilson sisters on a mix of holiday standards, Heart classics, and choice covers, including Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”
“Pat Monahan singing [Bob Dylan’s] ’Ring Them Bells’ with us is a strong memory for me. He’s such a strong singer,” Wilson says.
Heart is also thinking ahead to its first studio album since 2012’s Fanatic. “We have the urge to get into the studio, that’s for sure,” Wilson says, adding that the band has already written a trio of new songs “good enough to consider” for the new set.
But first, the band has tour dates through February 2015. “We’re just booked, booked, booked,” Wilson says. After more than 40 years on the road, Wilson says she enjoys playing live more than ever. “I used to have a lot of stage fright in the past and a lot of nervousness. Now I don’t have that any more,” she says. “You get to express yourself and shoot your soul up to the sky. It’s really just a lot of fun.”