Singer Stevie Nicks' father dies; built music venue

By Michael Senft
The Arizona Republic
August 17, 2005 12:00 AM

NORTHEAST VALLEY – Jess Nicks, father of Fleetwood Mac singer and
Paradise Valley resident Stevie Nicks, died Aug. 10 from heart failure.
He was 80 years old.

In addition to Stevie Nicks, he is survived by his wife, Barbara, and
son Christopher.

Nicks, a longtime Valley resident, was the owner of the now-defunct
concert venue Compton Terrace, which he built in 1979 after retiring as
president and chairman of Armour/Greyhound.

“He was a pioneer,” said Valley concert promoter Danny Zelisko of
Evening Star Productions.

“Compton Terrace was one of the first ‘sheds.’ When Jess opened it,
there weren’t many venues like it. No one thought to dig a hole in the
ground and hold concerts outdoors. Now there are 50 or 60 across the
country,” Zelisko said.

The outdoor amphitheater moved from its original location, next to
defunct Valley amusement park Legend City, to Firebird Lake in 1985. It
closed in 1996.

“Jess brought business savvy from outside the concert business to the
concert business,” Zelisko said. “But he also loved the music, because
his daughter was a musician.”

A longtime sufferer from heart disease, Nicks, who had undergone three
heart operations, was also involved with the Arizona Heart Institute,
serving as chairman of the board for three decades.

Despite illness, Nicks appeared July 20 at the groundbreaking of the
Arizona Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Research building.

Along with his daughter, he helped raise millions of dollars for the
institute. Stevie and Fleetwood Mac performed numerous benefit concerts
for the organization, ranging from an intimate private performance in
1996 to a recent concert with Don Henley on Aug. 5 at the Dodge
Theatre.

In a message posted on her Web site, www.nicksfix.com, Stevie writes
about her father:

“He was a force of nature. He waited until the Fleetwood Mac Tour was
over – I asked him for that. He waited until this summer tour was over
– I asked him for that. He couldn’t leave us during a tour – he knew
that. . . . He waited for me.”

Condolences may be sent via e-mail at Stevie Nicks’ Web site.

The Nicks family asks that donations be made to the Arizona Heart
Foundation, 2632 N. 20th St., Phoenix, 85006, in lieu of sending
flowers. For more information, visit www.azheart.com or call (602)
266-2200, Ext. 4449.

Reach the reporter at michael.senft@arizonarepublic.com.

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