Stevie Nicks Stands And Looks Back
By Tim Parks
There are certain words that you associate when you hear the name Stevie Nicks, which are as indelible as the uniqueness inherent in her intonations during a song that surrounds you from your speakers. Words such as “royalty,” “survivor” and “one-of-a-kind,” and you can now officially place “Gleek” and “bossy” on the short list of adjectives to describe this artist.
The 63-year-old legend began her illustrious career with Fleetwood Mac in 1974, with her then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham, and the inclusion of the duo to the fray of Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, and John McVie, shot the girl from Phoenix, Arizona into the atmosphere of becoming a rock goddess.
The very next year, the group’s self-titled album would became the calling card that there was a new force to be reckoned with, as the change in lineup of the almost decade-old band heralded a new dawn of having hit singles, which included “Rhiannon,” “Over My Head,” and “Say You Love Me.” The song “Landslide” was also featured on this chart topper, but would not become an actual hit until 20 years later on the group’s live effort, The Dance.
The release of the group’s seminal effort, Rumours, became the gold standard for which teenagers and adults alike, of the day were deemed cool if they owned a copy of it on vinyl or 8-track tape in 1977.
The ninth highest selling album of all-time stayed in the #1 position on The U.S. charts for a staggering 31 weeks. The Nicks-written single, “Dreams,” became the only time the band would reach the top of the charts with a song, although the album also spawned the hits “Don’t Stop,” “You Make Loving Fun” and “Go Your Own Way.”
Speaking of going your own way, Nicks embarked on a successful solo career with the 1981 release of Bella Donna that produced the hits “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” “Leather and Lace” and “Edge of Seventeen.” She returned to Fleetwood Mac for the 1982 release of Mirage and then prepped her second solo effort, Wild Heart, which was bolstered by the single “Stand Back.”
Professionally, Nicks was circling the globe on tour, but personally, she had split from Buckingham prior to the writing of Rumours, was experiencing infighting within the group, and was told by a plastic surgeon in 1986 that she needed to stop using cocaine, or it would severely affect her health. She was then put on the tranquilizer Klonopin to avoid a relapse on the drug that had fueled much of her time in the limelight, which proved to also be problematic, until she detoxed from it in 1994.
During those years and beyond, Nicks vacillated between projects with Fleetwood Mac and solo efforts, until there was a marked silence that was deafening for fans wanting new material, when there was a ten-year gap between her last singular CD Trouble in Shangri-La and her recent release In Your Dreams.
Her new disc is a throwback to her days as a “Gold Dust Woman,” as it evokes a sense that it is an unreleased Fleetwood Mac endeavor, and there is a reason for that. Her first single off In Your Dreams, “Secret Love” was originally written for the Rumours album, and her newest arsenal in her solo cannon has been heaped with praise as her best non-Fleetwood Mac recording to date.
Nicks spoke with LGBT Weekly about the her gay fan base, the resurgence of Fleetwood Mac songs used on Glee this past season, her favorite song, and why she’s a survivor.
Realizing She Had A Gay Fan Base
“I have a lot of gay friends, so that’s one side of it. The other side is ‘The Night of 1,000 Stevies.’ I don’t remember it was so long ago, but somebody said, ‘Do you know? There’s a major party that goes on every year in New York that’s called ‘Night of 1,000 Stevies?’ And I’m going, ‘What is that?’ And so they explained it to me, thinking that was pretty damn cool, and that was 20 years ago.
So, that really was the beginning of me really realizing that my music was really appealing to all my gay fans. And my goodness, this party has become historical, I think, and that was really the beginning. And who knew? When I was first told about it, I thought it would be a great thing that would happen maybe twice, and then it was still going on and I’m thrilled.”
Shouting Out With Glee
“First of all, I’ve been watching Glee since the beginning, and like we all do, we have our favorite TV shows that we totally look forward to.So when I found out that they were doing ‘Landslide,’ and that Gwyneth (Paltrow) was going to come in and play her Holly Holiday character, and that Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris) were going to sing it with her, I was just so knocked out! And I said, ‘Well, can I go?’ I’m in L.A., and so I went and hung out there for six or seven hours.
I was, first of all, so thrilled to be there and got to hang out with the cast, who I can hardly call by name; they have so become the characters. The greatest thing was that when it was over, they were grouped around me and Lea Michele, Rachel, said, ‘You know what? Nobody has ever done this. How many great songs from the ’80s, ’70s and ’60s have we done, and none of those artists have ever called us, or come down or sent us some roses or anything, taken any kind of notice whatsoever?’ And, I thought that was so sad.
So, of course I sent them huge flowers and then when they did the Rumours thing, which was quite a favor they did for me when they put that out the same day my record came out; I thought that was so lovely of them, so I sent more flowers to my Glee children. A day without Glee is like a day without sunshine.”
Choosing A Favorite Song In Her Catalog
“Oh, that’s hard, because I have different favorites at different times in my life. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you put out an album and one of the songs on that album is now your favorite song, it doesn’t mean that at all. It’s just whatever’s happening to you in your life kind of tends to move you towards what might be your favorite song to sing on stage.
Right now, for me, my favorite song is ‘Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream),’ but part of that song was written in the mid-Seventies. So, that’s part of an ancient song that travels down through time between Lindsey and Stevie and Edward and Bella (from Twilight). So, for right now, that’s my favorite.”
The Rigors of Touring
“I get up in the morning and I ask myself, ‘Do I have to pull up those black tights one more time?’ As tired as I get sometimes, I say to myself, ‘How long would you be happy laying around your house watching TV? I’ve had now this extended three month vacation, and now I’m totally bored!’
So I really appreciate that I lead a very, very quote romantic life as a writer and singer and songwriter and a girl who gets to travel the world. The traveling part of it is really pretty great; I think that we as artists get more rest when we’re out on the road than we do when we’re home. Because when you’re out on the road, you’re on a schedule.”
Penning Her Memoirs
“I think if I were to do that, which I’ve considered, I would never write your creepy tell-all book. I would write a vignette book where one chapter would be ‘Peace Sunday,’ and I would tell you what happened on that day. And one chapter would be ‘The Day I Met Lindsey,’ another chapter would be ‘The Day That I Got My Record Deal,’ when I got signed to Atlantic Records for Bella Donna.
It’s those kinds of things that, when I look back on them, are so exciting and there’s pages and pages and pages to be written about each one of those things. That’s what my book would be, and I would have art, a lot of poetry in it, I would have self portraits that I’ve taken. It would be a real trippy adventure book through my life. If I did talk about the bad stuff, I’d talk about it in a very philosophical way, as to help people, instead of scaring people.”
The Nature of Survival
“I think I attribute my strength to not and never having been a quitter. I do not walk away in the face of adversity, I never have. I also don’t listen to people who don’t think I’m right about my music, or really, I don’t listen to people about anything! My mom said to me, when I was in the 5th grade, ‘Well, I hope you get a job where you’re the boss, because you don’t really like anyone to tell you what to do.’
And I took what she said very much to heart, and that’s why I said that I’d be a lead singer. When I went into Fleetwood Mac, Christine and I, we realized that since there was two of us that we really were a force of nature and that we were never going to be treated like second class citizens in the rock ‘n roll world. So, if we walked into the room, we were going to be just as respected as Eric Clapton or any of those guys, and we were never going to let anyone treat us any less. And we didn’t, in the beginning we really had to make a statement.
And it works, if you walk into a room with that kind of attitude, a good attitude but a strong attitude, of sort of a don’t mess with me attitude, you can get so far. If you leave and bow your head one little bit, and people see it, then you’re toast.”