In Your Dreams: A Conversation With Stevie Nicks

Interviewed by Mike Ragogna
Transcribed by Galen Hawthorne
KRUU-FM
Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mike Ragogna: Stevie, how are you?

Stevie Nicks: Good, how are you?

MR: Pretty good, thanks. Stevie, you have a new documentary that’s going to be premiering on October 7th at Hamptons International Film Festival. The name of you new documentary with Dave Stewart is In Your Dreams, that title also having been the name of the last album. Obviosly, this was an important album for you.

SN: This was an important album. This was an album that I probably was never going to make, because after I did Trouble in Shangri-La that came out in 2001, I went out on the road with Fleetwood Mac for a couple of years and then in 2005, I was going to make a record. I came off the road with Fleetwood Mac and that’s kind of what I’ve always done. I do my whole thing with Fleetwood Mac, and it was like a year and a half for Say You Will, and then I was going to make a record. I really got very depressed feedback from everyone in the business around me, which was like, “You know what, the business is so screwed up that really, right now, you just shouldn’t bother.” It wasn’t just my manager, it was everybody. It was like I’d tripped and fallen down the stairs. It was a really bad moment in my life, and I said, “Okay.” That’s really not like me, but with the whole internet piracy and everything, I don’t have a computer, I didn’t have one then, but I knew that was coming ten years ago. I knew that that was going to start to destroy the music business, and I was like, “Oh, my God, it’s happening, it’s even happening to me.”

MR: Yeah, it took out the record companies, leaving them going, “How in the world are we going to make money now?”

SN: Right, and then not to mention us—the elite bands from the seventies who never stopped playing and who could go out and do big tours, vis-à-vis Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles. We can have a three-hour repertoire if we want. We can have a five-hour repertoire if we want. We can still do these big tours and that’s where the money is right now. But what makes me very sad is all the kids, all those really talented kids anywhere from fourteen to thirty, just so talented and out there waiting to be found. But the problem is that record companies don’t have money so they can’t help you. In my day, they helped you. When we did Buckingham Nicks, Polydor helped us before they dropped the record. For two years, they helped us and they gave us money and they helped us with our rent and our car and food. You can’t get that now, so how in the heck is anybody that’s up-and-coming going to make it if they can’t support themselves because they’ve moved out of their parent’s house and their parents are like, “Hey, you’re on your own. We’re not going to just support you for the next ten years while you try to make it in a business where people are stealing your songs, even if you’re the best songwriter we’ve ever met.” That’s just so unfortunate. I feel so sorry for this generation—for the last five years’ worth of the generation coming up that so want to be in the music business that are having such a hard time because they cannot support themselves.

MR: Stevie, let me ask you, what do you think of these talent shows like The VoiceAmerican Idol and the franchises that have popped up over the years? To me, it does seem like a last hurrah or a last gasp for the record companies to try to hook into something. But it’s the same problem, right, the loss of sales?

SN: Yeah. The problem with that is, people ask me all the time, “If you and Lindsey moved to LA now and you were 23, 24 or 25, would you go on one of those shows?” and I’m like, “Well, first of all, I’d have to drag Lindsey kicking and screaming. However, oh you bet your life we would!” That is the last bastion right now to get noticed. But then again, I know people who have won these shows and some of them are doing really well and some of them disappear within the next year. I guess even once you’ve won those shows, then what? You put out a record, five hundred people buy it, and each one of those five hundred people sends it out to a hundred of their close personal friends and then each one of those close personal friends sends it out to another five hundred people and you may have won a big television show, but unless you’re Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson, you’re still going to have a terrible time. My friend Michael Grimm who won America’s Got Talent, I took him on tour with me and he’s amazing. He’s like Boz Scaggs.

MR: Yeah, I interviewed him a while back. Nice guy.

SN: He’s so sweet and dear and he walks out there on that stage and that voice is amazing. He lives in Las Vegas, he’s doing gigs there, and he said, “You know, I actually had more gigs before I won America’s Got Talent, and it was a great thing. I won a million dollars and was able to set my grandparents up, who pretty much raised me, and I was able to take care of the people around me. But when it comes down to me, my goal…it’s like I’m really back to doing exactly what I was doing before.” The record companies don’t have the money. They’re going to be onto the next thing the second they even see you falter.

MR: Yeah, remember when artists on A&M or Geffen or whatever and the label would hang in there for like four or five albums because they believed in you?

SN: Our record company, after Rumours, when we did Tusk, needless to say, Warner Brothers was like, “What is this?” and Lindsey’s like, “We’re not making another Rumours. We’re making something completely different.” So he went in on a mission to make something that was the other side of Rumours and we did. The record company really wasn’t happy about it, at all, and it was a double album, so it was double bad. But they didn’t drop Fleetwood Mac, they said, “Okay, we’re going to let you guys be crazy…and when your record comes out, we’re going to totally promote it, and we’re going to go with you on this one because we are willing to hang with you and let you morph…from Fleetwood Mac to Rumours to Tusk to Mirage toTango In The Night.” They could have just dropped us. If it had been even in the last ten years, they would’ve dropped us so fast with Tusk. You would’ve never heard about Fleetwood Mac again.

MR: Before you leave Tusk, I also got to interview Lindsey and one of the things I mentioned to him was that I’ve found that over the years, Tusk has become much more appreciated, with artists doing projects based on what they’ve learned from the project.

SN: People love it now because it was way ahead of its time. I used to say that we were climbing to the top of the mountain to find the gods. It was a thirteen-month project where we there 24/7 every day. It was pretty outrageous, but we lived in that bubble where it was kind of strange and mystical world music, music from all over the world we were listening to in order to make that record. We knew it was weird, but we also knew in our hearts, I think, because…people always ask me with Fleetwood Mac, “You guys were doing a lot of drugs and you were all crazy and breaking up and mad with each other and stuff.” My answer to that is always, “Yes, that’s true.” However, we were so very focused on our music that we weren’t letting anything get in our way and if we were mad at each other, we did not take that into the studio. If we were a little bit too high, somebody would always say, “Why don’t you go home and come back tomorrow and don’t be that way.” It’s like with every one of the five of us there were always two or three people going, “Listen, what’s most important here?” Fleetwood Mac is most important here. Fleetwood Mac trumps everything that is happening in everybody’s life. So whatever it is, don’t bring it here.

MR: Let’s get further into In Your Dreams. On camera, you appear fluid, informed, and very comfortable. You’re very at ease here.

SN: Yes. You know what, I have been a little performer since I was four years old, and you’re going to see that in this film. I was just nuts for the stage. I came into the world dancing and singing, and my mom and dad, I think, knew from the very beginning. My grandfather was a country-western singer and a fiddle player and guitarist, and he wrote songs and traveled all over the United States and played gigs in the forties. My parents were very supportive of my love of music and my focus was very strong from when I was in grade school. They knew I didn’t want to be an actress, I didn’t want to take drama, I didn’t really want to take musical drama. I just wanted to listen to rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll and R&B, and I just was in my own little musical world. I had it planned out. In sixth grade, I was wearing a black outfit with a top hat. I had it all planned out.

MR: We like to diagnose things as ADD or ADHD, but how about, “No, she just had the music in her?”

SN: Exactly, and I was really refusing to go any other way. But you know, the great thing about this record is that I wrote a song in the early seventies when Lindsey and I first moved to Los Angeles called “Lady From The Mountains.” It never got recorded for real, but a demo was made of it and the demo was stolen from my house and it went out as a bootleg. So the whole world heard this song called “Lady From the Mountains.” In 2009, we went to Australia and I saw the second movie in the Twilight series and I was very taken with it. Either you are or you aren’t; I was. I went back to my hotel in Brisbane and I took the first and the third verses from “Lady From The Mountains,” and I wrote the second verse and the chorus and it became the song, “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream).” When I finished that song and we did it on a demo, I got up from the piano and I said to my assistant, “Karen, I am ready to do a record now, and I don’t really care what anybody says and I don’t really care if the record business in trouble. I’m going to make this record for me. I need to do it and I feel the power right now.” So I did. I went straight back and I called Dave Stewart at the beginning of January and I said, “I’m going to do a record, Dave. Would you produce it?”

We got together at his studio and offices in downtown Los Angeles and that’s when we decided to do it at my big house and from there on, within three days, we were filming. Even though the filming thing was like, “Okay, really, does that mean I have to wear makeup every day and I have to kind of dress up every day and do my floor-length hair every day,” he said, “Well kind of. Or you could come down in your pajamas, it’s okay, I don’t care.” He said to me, “Darling, if you don’t like it, we won’t use it,” and right there, it was like, “I love him and I trust him.” And I knew that, first of all, he really knows how to film women and has since Annie Lennox, and so that right there is a big, huge plus. So I said, “Okay, we’ll give it a go,” and by the end of the first two weeks, not only Dave was filming and not only did he have a friend of his who was a great film photographer who just came in with a small, really great camera, he had the girl background singers and the chef—my god-daughter who was a really great film photographer—he had everybody in the house filming. Then it became really, really fun because all of us had really great stuff. Not only were we writing songs and making this great album, but we were all part of this filming project. It was the best year of my life and that’s what I tell people. It’ll be hard to ever recreate something that is this much fun.

MR: Yeah, and you’ve said you would like to leave this behind for people who are getting into music, which brings me to my next question. What advice do you have for new artists?

SN: Well, if I had kids that were fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years old and I could see that they were so talented—Dave has a daughter that’s twelve and she’s super talented and she sings like Janis Joplin for real—it’s like what do you tell these kids? I would say, you have to do what you have to do, and if you really want to be a singer and you really want to be a songwriter, put a band together and you’re just going to have to live at your parents’ house and play everywhere in your city that you can, every night. And if you have to go to school at the same time like I did, that’s what I did. I practiced from five to ten with the band every night, and I studied from ten thirty to three every night and I went to college. I went to five years of college when I was in that band up in San Francisco before we moved to Los Angeles. So I did both—I went to school and I was in a band that was actually playing two to three gigs a week. You just can’t give up. I think it depends on how strong your spirit is to actually make it in the music business. If your spirit is super strong and you’ve really got the goods, then you’re going to take on that attitude that you’re not going to fail and you’re going to give it a try. You’re going to go after it in every place you can possibly play, from any mall that will accept you to a coffee shop to steakhouse to any place you can possibly get in. That’s what you do. That’s what you did then and that’s what you do now, except that, hopefully, you have a supportive family that let you stay at home for a couple extra years.

MR: Yeah, or pay for you wherever you’re going to live.

SN: Well that’s asking a lot, right there.

MR: I know, who has money.

SN: With this kind of financial crisis that’s been going on for eight years, you’re asking a lot. So you’re going to have to have a very supportive backup team besides being super-talented. You’re going to have to have a super support team. But you know what? Nobody would be able to tell me, if I moved to Los Angeles right now and I knew how good I was, because I did know how good I was, if I moved there and everybody said, “The record companies are screwed and you’re never going to get a record deal,” I would go, “Just watch me.” That’s how I would go into it. I would pack my bag and I’d be off to Los Angeles or New York in ten minutes. If I had to be a cleaning lady and have five waitress jobs and be a temp somewhere and substitute for dental assistants, whatever you have to do, you do it if you love it that much and then, five years later, you make a decision on what you’re going to do.

MR: You, personally, have a very spiritual side that also keeps you driven, right?

SN: Oh yeah—spiritual backed up by extremely hard work. I psychically knew in the sixth grade when I did a lip-syncing tap dance to Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” I was going to be famous. I flat out told my parents that. “I’m going to be famous. You do know that, don’t you?” They were like, “Well, okay, we get it, but you’re also going to go to school because you’re going to back up your fame with a good education.” My mother would say to me, “You know what Stevie? I totally believe that you’re going to be famous but you’re going to be able to stand in a room with all of the famous people that you’re going meet—and there are going to be politicians and movie stars and famous scientists—and you’re going to be able to totally be on their level because you’re going to have a five-year college education. You’re never going to feel like you’re not as smart as all these people are. You’re going to be able to sing and dance and do your thing, but you are going to be really educated.”

MR: Stevie, your song “Landslide” has embedded itself in this culture to the point where it keeps getting re-recorded and sung during countless open mic nights. And it wasn’t a top ten Fleetwood Mac song. How do you explain that?

SN: You know what, it’s just that little song. That’s what I tell people on stage when I do it. I wrote it in 1973 in Colorado in Aspen, and I knew when I was sitting on the floor looking out at the snow-covered hills and I wrote this little song, I knew. I got up from the floor and I said, “This is going to be that little song. This is going to be it.” That’s what I tell everybody in the audience. So when you’re writing songs—any of you out there that are songwriters—understand that when you write a song that’s really special, it could be the song that makes your whole life.

MR: Yeah, there’s something about “Landslide.”

SN: That is the one. That’s the one that can never go out of the set.

MR: Stevie, any more reflections on the documentary?

SN: I tell people that Dave created a magical sandbox for me and my singers to play in and that he became The Mad Hatter and this walk through ten months in my house is like going into Alice In Wonderland’s world. You really get to experience making this record. Anybody who loves music, wants to be in music, is a singer, is a writer, used to be a singer or a writer, is ninety years old and wishes they were still young enough to be a singer and a writer, it’s like you come into my world and it’s very, very special. I’m so proud of this that my real prayer for this film is that when people see this—because they get to see a little bit and hear a little bit of the finished product of each song, not a lot—but what I’m hoping is that in this world of “We don’t need to buy a whole concept record,” that they see this film and they go, “I really need to hear this record!”

MR: Nice. And again, it’s debuting at the Hamptons International Film Festival on October 7th.

SN: Right. Dave and I are going to be there and it’s going to be so fun.

MR: I also want to congratulate you on your song “Soldier’s Angel.” It’s still very touching and I love that you are still with the Band Of Soldiers charity. You’ve contributed to our soldiers’ lives as well as the culture in beautiful ways.

SN: Well, thank you. I think that “Soldier’s Angel” is probably the song off of this record that will live on forever because it does sort of capture a moment in time through Iraq and Afghanistan and everything that’s going on now. These wars aren’t over and these kids are coming back and they’re so wounded and they’re never going to be the same and people should try to remember that and try to take care of these guys because once they leave the hospitals, they’re on their own. When you actually sit on the bed of one of these injured soldiers, you’re like, “Oh my God, what can I do to help?” and I tell everybody every night, you need to send in five bucks a month. Do whatever you can.

MR: All right, Stevie, I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

SN: You too, and hopefully I’ll see you soon.

MR: Yes, I’ll see you soon.

Stevie performs at Spirit of Life gala

Stevie schmoozes with Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine at City of Hope's Spirit of Life fundraising gala. (Cohen/Wire Image)
Stevie schmoozes with Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine at City of Hope’s Spirit of Life fundraising gala. (Cohen/Wire Image)

On Wednesday, Stevie attended City of Hope’s annual Spirit of Life benefit, which, this year, honored Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Doug Morris.

SANTA MONICA, CA — On October 15, Stevie performed at City of Hope’s “Spirit of Life” fundraising gala at the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, CA., honoring Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Doug Morris for his contributions to the community and music industry. The event also paid tribute to Motown. Stevie covered “Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart,” a song originally performed by the Supremes. 

Morris received the 2008 Spirit of Life Award for this philanthropic efforts. The fundraising event raised nearly $10 million for the City of Hope cancer research and treatment center in the Los Angeles area.

Read more:
Stars raise nearly $10 million for City of Hope (FMQB)
Morris receives City of Hope Award (Billboard)
City of Hope has its mojo working (Los Angeles Times)

Stevie Nicks downsizes life, upsizes charity work

By Larry Rodgers
The Arizona Republic
www.azcentral.com
July 26, 2007

With her 60th birthday looming, Stevie Nicks is making some changes.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has put the Paradise Valley home she has owned since 1981 up for sale, and has expanded her charitable efforts beyond benefits for the Arizona Heart Institute, a favorite of her late father, Jess.

She’s also selling a house in Los Angeles to move to a smaller place on the beach in Santa Monica. “I’m downsizing,” Nicks said in a call last week. “I’m moving into a rock-and-roll penthouse where I can do my work. I don’t want to worry about if the pool is taken care of and the grass is right.”

Nicks, who performs in Phoenix on July 28, said she’s spent only a few weeks annually at her Valley home in recent years. In addition, her brother, Chris, and his family, who shared the two-winged home at the foot of Camelback Mountain, have moved.

“I’ve written many famous songs there, so I hope somebody buys it who appreciates the amazing rock-and-roll history and the legendary behavior that’s gone on in that house,” said Nicks, who successfully underwent rehab for drug abuse in the ’80s.

With the 2005 passing of Jess Nicks, who headed Armour/Greyhound before becoming a concert promoter, the singer has found a new outlet for her charitable side – providing encouragement and music to U.S. servicemen hospitalized in the Washington, D.C., area after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“They are so banged up. If anyone ever needed help, it’s these guys,” said Nicks, who has visited Army and Navy medical centers since 2004.

Nicks came up with the idea of giving song-filled iPods to the hospitalized servicemen.

“I call it a soldiers’ iPod. It has all the crazy stuff that I listen to, and my collections I’ve been making since the ’70s for going on the road,” Nicks said. “When I’m sick . . . or the couple of times in my life that I have really been down, music is what always dances me out of bed.”

She hit up fellow musicians and friends for money to buy the iPods and has given away hundreds.

Nicks is setting up a foundation that will allow her to accept donations on a wider scale for iPods and medical aid such as prosthetic limbs. The non-profit group will be called Stevie Nicks’ Band of Soldiers.

The voice behind such rock classics as Edge of Seventeen, Rhiannon, Landslide and Stand Back said she still has plenty of energy left over for her music, which is celebrated on her new CD, Crystal Visions: The Very Best of Stevie Nicks.

She acknowledged that the thought of turning 60 next May “blows my mind,” but quickly added, “I think age is definitely a state of mind. Our mothers and grandmothers . . . at 60 were really looking at slowing down. If anything, I’m looking at adding in a lot of stuff.”

Nicks is including video shots of the artwork she has created since the ’70s in her stage show, which features a seven-piece band led by Los Angeles guitar wizard Waddy Wachtel.

She’s also working on a screenplay based on the Menologion, a collection of myths and stories that inspired Rhiannon.

“I want it to be a movie or miniseries. It’s such a fantastic group of stories,” said Nicks, who plans to talk to directors Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson about the project.

Plus there’s her idea for a cartoon based on a song she wrote called The Ladybug and the Goldfish:

“It will be the love story of this interspecies, interracial kind of thing.”

Nicks’ creative side doesn’t extend to making radical changes to the hits she has recorded with Fleetwood Mac and on her own. She won’t take a page from the Police’s ongoing tour, in which the British band has redone some of its biggest hits.

“We don’t mess with the actual arrangements too much, because people aren’t crazy about that,” Nicks said.

“You can’t change the solo in (Eric Clapton’s) Layla. Lindsey (Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac) can’t change the solo in Go Your Own Way, as much as he’d like to.”

Nicks’ unmistakable smoky vocals and her dramatic stage presence are a combination that needs no refinement, in the eyes of XM Satellite Radio’s Mike Marrone.

“She’s a true rock-and-roll icon,” said Marrone, who programs the Loft, which spotlights singer-songwriters.

“I think it’s her voice . . . and her spirit. People genuinely like her, almost as a member of an extended family.”

Rock sweetheart, soldiers’ angel

Stevie Nicks

By Sylvie Simmons
San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, May 13, 2007
www.sfgate.com

A small woman walks into the living room of her Southern California house carrying two mugs of steaming Earl Grey tea. A pair of tiny dogs, barely bigger than fur balls, skitter between her stiletto-booted feet. She is dressed in a floaty chiffon blouse and rock-star-tight black pants, her long blond hair worn loose and to her waist. Her expression, as she offers a mug and sits in front of the log fire, is open, unguarded and, as always, a little stunned, as if she’d just fallen out of a little girl’s drawing of a fairy princess and hasn’t quite got her bearings. She looks, in fact, exactly like Stevie Nicks.

In 1985, when Nicks was in the Betty Ford clinic being treated for cocaine addiction — she was one of the first rock stars, if not the first, she says, to do the now-common rehab thing — they gave her some homework: Write an essay on the difference between being Stevie Nicks, real-life human, and Stevie Nicks, rock goddess. She says it was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do.

It prompts a story about going to her 40th high school reunion earlier this year in San Francisco — Nicks was born in Phoenix, but her family moved West when she was a teenager. One of her close group of high school girlfriends told her, “You know what? You haven’t changed a bit. You are still our little Stevie girl.” Nicks says it made her cry “because it was the nicest thing anybody had said to me, that I’m still the same. Because I’ve always tried very hard to stay who I was before I joined Fleetwood Mac and not become a very arrogant and obnoxious, conceited, bitchy chick, which many do, and I think I’ve been really successful.”

That this should be said so guilelessly by a woman who will be 60 years old next year, and who has spent a good three-quarters of those years experiencing the rock ‘n’ roll life in all its often less-than-innocent glories, might sound odd. But with Nicks, what you see really is what you get. Her hobbies include writing children’s stories and drawing sweetly childlike illustrations. A couple of her drawings, still unfinished, are propped up in a corner of the room.

“They’re my Zen thing, what I do on airplanes, what I do when I really think — think about what I’m going to do,” she says.

If she could only “organize my time a little better,” she says, she would have had an art show by now and published the children’s books.

“It’s like Oprah says: If you wait around, you’re never going to get it done,” she says. “So I’ll see if I can’t multitask a little more.”

To an outsider, Nicks’ multitasking skills seem Olympian. For the past three decades she has run, concurrently, two phenomenally successful careers: as a solo singer and songwriter and as a key member of Fleetwood Mac. During a break from touring solo and with the band last year, she spent five months on the road as an unpaid guest member of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers “just for fun.” She’s been writing a ballet and a film based on the Menologian, the mythology book that inspired her best-loved song, “Rhiannon.” Oh, and she also managed to establish the Stevie Nicks Soldier’s Angel Foundation, a charity that helps injured U.S. military personnel.

She was planning a vacation in Hawaii before finishing the last few songs for a new solo album, when her record company called and told her it was putting out a greatest-hits CD and DVD, “Crystal Visions: The Very Best of Stevie Nicks” (“These records are never your idea,” she says). So Nicks dusted herself off, packed her bags and got ready for the solo tour that brings her back to the Bay Area on Thursday.

“Due to the fact that I never got married and never had children, I do have this crazy world where I pretty much continually work,” she says. “But I love my work, and it’s so different all the time that I really can’t complain. And when I do get tired and irritable I get really mad at myself and stop in my tracks and say, ‘You have no right to complain. You are a lucky, lucky girl.’ I always hear my dad, who I lost a year and a half ago, saying, ‘Ninety-nine percent of the human race will never be able to do what you have been able to do, to see all the beautiful cities and meet the people that you’ve met. You’re a lucky girl, Stevie.’ And I just try to keep that very present in my life.”

But it must be hard playing the ethereal fairy princess myth at the age of 59, isn’t it?

She nods.

“It is. Because when you go onstage and perform in front of people, you want to be that person for everybody, but you are getting older, and there’s nothing you can do to stop that,” she says. “That is something I have had really long talks with myself about. All women have to deal with getting older, famous or not famous, and the way I deal with it is, I feel that if you stay animated from within, people don’t see the age. I do my makeup and I do my hair and I try to look as fantastic as I can when I walk out of that bathroom, but once I walk out of that bathroom, I don’t think about it again. I’ve never had a face-lift. The idea of having plastic surgery and looking like somebody else or a caricature of myself is so horrible. So I deal with it by just being me.”

Her aversion to cosmetic surgery might have something to do with her work with wounded soldiers. In 2004, when Nicks was performing in Washington, D.C., her manager got a call from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, asking if she would visit, and she couldn’t refuse.

“You put on a gown and gloves and they say, ‘Well, this guy’s name is John Jones and he was injured in a blast and lost both legs. He’s had a bad day, but he’s very excited to see you.’ And you go in and I just say, ‘My name’s Stevie Nicks. What happened?’ Because they would like to talk about it. I was there from 2 in the afternoon until almost 1 o’clock that night. When I walked out of that hospital, after having seen about 40 guys and girls who’ve lost arms and legs, I was completely blown away by it all, and by how these kids’ lives had been completely changed.”

It changed her, too. She went back, armed with iPods she’d filled with music for the patients. She and her girlfriends dropped by with movies and popcorn and sat and watched the films with the soldiers.

“I’m not a mother, but I feel incredibly motherly to all these kids,” she says. “They are so young.”

She phoned her musician friends and asked for their help with a foundation she was planning. And when she learned that a new facility for amputees and burn victims was opening in San Antonio, Texas, she set up her tour “so that I can hub out of San Antonio and go there and figure out what they need,” she says.

“I’m very, very dedicated to this. It’s nothing that I would have ever in a million years have dreamed that I would have ever become involved in,” America’s rock sweetheart says, smiling, “but I feel like it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Stevie Nicks performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Sleep Train Pavilion, 2000 Kirker Pass Road, Concord. $36-$131. (925) 676-8742, http://www.livenation.com.

Sylvie Simmons is a freelance writer.

LiveDaily Interview: Stevie Nicks

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
LiveDaily
May 3, 2007
www.livedaily.com

Whether it’s raising money for the Arizona Heart Institute, collecting iPods for injured Iraq war soldiers or writing a song about the plight of New Orleans, charity is important to singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks [ tickets ].

“When you get famous and you get recognized for the work that you do, there’s a lot of good things that you get,” Nicks told LiveDaily. “You get a beautiful house and you get beautiful things, and you get to meet fantastic people. There’s this part of me that’s always thought, ‘This can’t just be a one-way street here. I have to do stuff.'”

While her upcoming tour with Chris Isaak was being mapped, Nicks was spending her time off by promoting her new greatest-hits collection, “Crystal Visions–The Very Best of Stevie Nicks,” and visiting injured military personnel at the Walter Reed Army and Bethesda National Naval medical centers.

Nicks talked to LiveDaily about the long days she spends at the medical centers, raising money in her dad’s name for the Arizona Heart Institute, her greatest-hits record and touring with Chris Isaak.

LiveDaily: Do you still live in the Phoenix area?

Stevie Nicks: I’m in Los Angeles. I do live [in the Phoenix area], but I’m in the process of selling my house because I’m not there enough since 1980. My mom and dad were there, and my dad died a couple years ago. My mom’s still there. I’m not there enough to warrant having a big house there. But that won’t mean that I still won’t be coming home. My brother’s there, my mom’s there, my niece is there. I still have a lot of family there.

I think it’s really noble, all the work you do for the Arizona Heart Institute. My dad had a heart transplant, and my grandfather has heart problems, so our family has spent a lot of time there.

Well, my dad was very determined and devoted to building those hospitals. To stand in the hospital and say, “This was his dream and he did it right down to the very end …” We did the last benefit just last year, and it was the one we needed to do to finish the last hospital of the three that he [helped to raise money for]. He did it. I was standing there going, “I’m so sorry he’s not here to actually be here, because this was his day.” He did it. He pushed it through.

Charity seems to be really important to you. I read about what you did for injured soldiers at Walter Reed.

[With the Arizona Heart Institute,] that was really [my father’s] charity calling because he had an “almost heart-attack” in the ’70s. That’s why he resigned as president of Greyhound. He had a big job working for a big corporation. He had one of the first 1,100 bypasses that were done. This was when I was 22 years old. You probably know this: if you can not have a heart attack, and you can go back and fix it–whether it’s by bypass or a stint or whatever–you can go out and have a pretty long, great life. If you have a heart attack, you’ve endangered the heart muscle, then you’re going to have big problems. So he didn’t. They got it. They did the bypass. He was in his 40s, so he lived another 40 years. That then became his cause. That was even before I joined Fleetwood Mac. That then became my cause, because that was his cause. Then I started to really realize how many people–even people my age–were having all these heart problems. So it was a good thing that he had this cause, because it was a really easy thing for me to step up to and join him. It was a thing that he and I got to do together, which was really great. It was a real bonding thing for the two of us.

With the Walter Reed thing, that just happened very accidentally. I was playing in Washington, DC, two and a half or three years ago, and I just got invited. I had a day off. I was in DC and I got an invitation to go to the hospital from the Army, I guess. I went. I had no idea what to expect, to be perfectly honest. I just thought, “I’m going to go to the hospital, meet a few guys and then I’m going to come home.” I ended up going at 2 [p.m.], and I don’t think I got back to the hotel until 9 or 10. I went into basically every room in the hospital where there was somebody who was well enough to see me. I was really pretty blown away and startled by the entire situation.

When I went home that night, I was pretty stricken, and I cried and I was really upset. I just said, “I have to do something.” So I came up with the idea of buying iPods and putting as many songs as I could stuff on them, because they’re little. When you’re in a little, tiny hospital room, and you don’t have room for a big stereo and all your CDs, this iPod idea would really work out well. That’s what I did. I came back to Los Angeles and called everybody I knew and said, “I need money to buy iPods with, or I need iPods.” That’s how it started. I never went to Steve Jobs, I never went to the iPod people. I just call up everybody I know. Every time I go, and I get 50 or 60. I go now to Bethesda also, which is the naval hospital. We call both hospitals, find out how many people are there, we get a ballpark figure, and we try to take as many [iPods] as there are people there, 60 or 70. If we give them all away, we give them all away. If we don’t, we put them into our stash for the next visit.

It has worked out exactly how I thought it would. These kids need to go get out of that bed and go exercise. They need to go work on their rehabilitation. For me, when I don’t feel well and I’m trying to get better, music has always been single-handedly the thing that gets me back up and into the world. That’s what I tell them: “I hope you use this for your rehab. It’ll dance you out of your bed.” I think it’s working. I think they appreciate it. I think they have a lot of fun. I put all my collections that I’ve been making since 1978, that I think are personally fantastic. Anything else I can think of. All different bands. Everybody knows and is behind me on this. So I put any music that I want on it, and they love it. It’s a little thing, but it’s a big thing in the scheme of their recovery.

On to your music: how did your tour with Chris Isaak come about?

Chris and I have been friends a long time. We are both managed by Howard Kaufman. It’s kind of like we’re all in the same family. I don’t know how it exactly happened, but I’m sure it happened through our management. It was just a good bill, and due to the fact that we are really good friends, it’s not just a good bill, but it’s a really fun thing for the two of us. I know his band really well. He knows everybody in my band really well, so it will be a really fun traveling circus. I don’t usually get to do this. For the last two years I took Vanessa Carlton with me, who did 30 minutes, but that’s one little girl. That’s a whole ‘nother kind of opening act. This is like the old days. This is kind of like two big acts, so you’re all backstage together so it’s fun.

Was it difficult to choose songs for “Crystal Visions”?

When you do this kind of collection, there’s a few that you have to put on. You kind of have to do the singles. Then you go through [what’s left of the] catalog and you figure out things that you think might be fun. We added in several live cuts. “Landslide” and “Edge of Seventeen” are live from Melbourne, Australia, with a 60-piece orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. I sequenced [the album] as if all of the songs were done at the same time. It’s fun to listen to it because of that. It’s trippy, because you hear these songs and you’re like, “When was that?” Even me, and I know when they were. I said to my sister in law Lori, this is kind of the record we always wanted to make. This is the solo album we always wanted to make with all the most fantastic songs on it. I think it came out great. I’m very proud of it, and I think the sequence is really fun. If it has a really good sequence, which is kind of my forte, maybe people will listen to the whole thing instead of just saying, “I want that one song” or “I want those two songs.”

You said you weren’t even sure when the songs came out. That’s a sure sign of how timeless your material is, wouldn’t you say?

Well, thank you. I do. When I was sitting there listening to all of them, I’m going, like, “You know, these songs sound really good today. These songs I recorded in 1981 and 1983 and 1985 and 1987 and 1990, they do, I think, they stand up very well.” I think every time I do this kind of a thing, I hope, anyway, it ends up being a teaching thing for all the new little rock stars that are coming up. This is something they can listen to.

With the live footage on the DVD, that’s the actual recording of “Bella Donna,” because we filmed it. My singer Lori Nicks–she’s my sister-in-law too–her first husband filmed the whole damn thing for three months and edited it down to two hours. We put 25 minutes of the two hours on the DVD. It’s fascinating, because you see Jimmy Iovine, who’s president of the world [he currently heads Interscope Records], he’s producing the record so he’s in there with me, showing me and telling me what to do. He’s such a part of it. He is really producing the record. You don’t see that that much now.

Most of the photographs I used [in the package] were by my friend Herbie Worthington, who did the Fleetwood Mac “Rumours” cover and the first Fleetwood Mac “Fleetwood Mac” record, and almost all of my covers. I went back into all of Herbie’s vault of photos and pulled out many, many pictures that I thought were just so terrific … and tried to fill this little booklet with stuff that was new. Only if you’re doing a photo book would you ever have a reason to go back and pull all those photos. I had a lot of fun doing that.

Have you started writing material for a new album?

I have. It’s not like I’m writing new material for a new album; I’m just writing because I always write. I’ve written a song about New Orleans that I really love that’s kind of about [Hurricane] Katrina. I was going to put it on this record as just an extra, added thing, then I pulled it because I’m not ready to release this song yet. I don’t have the time to go out and find the right producer for this song. I’d like to have it be a real New Orleans flair. I live in Los Angeles. I don’t really know anybody with a New Orleans flair here. I made a really, really good demo of it and it’s sitting in the demo trunk waiting for when I have some time to do it. When this tour’s over at the end of the summer, that’s probably one of the first things I’ll do is find somebody. I want to get this song recorded. I don’t think it will matter if it’ll take another two years to come out, because New Orleans is not getting better overnight. I think it’s going to be relevant for the next 10 years, [so I’ll release it] whenever I get it done to the point of where I think it’s really ready to help that city. That’s what I want to do with it. I want to let it go somehow someway to help them. Whether it’s just giving the song royalties over to the city of New Orleans or what–but something. I’ll figure out something. I didn’t want to take a chance of it not being done, as good as it is. I think it’s one of the best songs I’ve written in a long time.

Stevie Nicks asks famous friends, fans to give iPods to troops

StarPulse
Saturday, November 11, 2006

Stevie Nicks launched her charity drive to provide iPods to wounded and maimed U.S. troops last night with a little help from her famous friends. The Fleetwood Mac star has founded The Stevie Nicks Soldier Angel Foundation and used famed rock photographer pal Neal Preston’s new exhibition at Los Angeles’ Morrison Hotel Gallery to spread the word.

Neil Diamond, Heart siblings Ann and Nancy Wilson, movie maker Cameron Crowe, Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis and rocker Keith Emerson were among the famous faces who attended Nicks’ charity party, which coincided with the preview of Preston’s latest show.

Nicks explained she came up with the idea for her new foundation after visiting rehabilitating soldiers in Washington, D.C.’s military hospitals two years ago.

She said, “You’re in a room with about 25 to 40 soldiers who have all been left without limbs and you’re told that this young guy has lost both his legs and all his friends were killed by a bomb. It changed me forever. They have prosthetic limbs and many of them need two years of rehab. You can’t imagine how expensive this is. I left thinking, `What can I do?’ I can’t exactly take my guitar, which I play very badly, and play for them.

“So I’m asking people to give me money for iPods and I’m going to fill them with my favorite songs and I’ll take the iPods with me every time I go back and the music will help them with their rehabilitation. It makes them happy.”

Nicks admits her first visits to the hospitals were “heart wrenching” and she spent a lot of time crying, but now she just wants to offer the wounded soldiers as much hope as possible. She adds, “I’m very attached and I will follow their progress to the end of my life.”

Generous Preston donated the night’s proceeds from all sales of his photographs, which featured famous shots of Nicks, to the cause. He said, “Stevie spends a lot of time with these soldiers and what she’s doing is really angelic.”

(This news article provided by World Entertainment News Network)

Nicks takes time to smile for the camera

FLEETWOOD MAC star STEVIE NICKS always smiles for the cameras these days after she was reprimanded for being too sullen by a four-year-old. The rocker was reminded of her all-too serious poses at the preview party for rock photographer NEAL PRESTON’s new exhibition at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in Los Angeles last night (09NOV06), and scowled when she saw pictures of herself taken in Venice, California in 1982.

Contact Music (UK)
Friday, November 10, 2006

FLEETWOOD MAC star STEVIE NICKS always smiles for the cameras these days after she was reprimanded for being too sullen by a four-year-old. The rocker was reminded of her all-too serious poses at the preview party for rock photographer NEAL PRESTON’s new exhibition at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in Los Angeles last night (09NOV06), and scowled when she saw pictures of herself taken in Venice, California in 1982. She said, “I never used to smile in photos, but then I posed with this little girl and she said, `You’re not making a smiley face.’ It was very touching. “Ever since then, I’ve always made sure I smile in photos.” Nicks wasn’t the only famous face checking out Preston’s exhibition – NEIL DIAMOND, rocker ANTHONY KIEDIS and LAKE + PALMER star KEITH EMERSON also showed up for a blast from the past. When Diamond came face to face with a concert photo Preston had taken of him 30 years ago, the stunned SWEET CAROLINE singer said, “I cannot remember that shot. It was taken 30 years ago.”

‘Hulaween’ success

‘THE SECULARIZATION of America is nowhere better illustrated than in the way this nation has now embraced Halloween as a commercial holiday!” Overheard on the Third Avenue bus.

Bette Midler’s annual “Hulaween” fund-raiser for her New York’s Restoration Project benefits from this mania for witches and goblins, but it doesn’t always happen on Oct. 31. This year it did – in spades – which meant that almost without exception, every person who crammed into the Waldorf’s ballroom was in costume.

By Liz Smith
New York Daily News
Thursday, November 2, 2006

‘THE SECULARIZATION of America is nowhere better illustrated than in the way this nation has now embraced Halloween as a commercial holiday!” Overheard on the Third Avenue bus.

Bette Midler’s annual “Hulaween” fund-raiser for her New York’s Restoration Project benefits from this mania for witches and goblins, but it doesn’t always happen on Oct. 31. This year it did – in spades – which meant that almost without exception, every person who crammed into the Waldorf’s ballroom was in costume.

The “Hulaween” event is always kind of loosey-goosey, but this year it was a very “downtown” happening, as if Webster Hall had moved into the gilt and glitter of Midtown. The costumes were fabulously inventive, colorful and some of them quite wicked. (There was one girl wearing a sequined T-shirt that said “Mrs. Ritchie.” She carried an African doll in a bundle slung across her arm. The photographers went wild for her.)

Bette appeared as a goddess of nature with what seemed to be a large dangling fern headpiece. (But Bette later explained it was a faucet!) Joy Behar, her co-auctioneer, was got up as Queen Elizabeth II. (Harvey Fierstein said she looked more like Golda Meir or Leona Helmsley.) The auction was fast, furious and fabulously vulgar. Bette did her level best to get those big bucks – and she did. “Is that Michael Fuchs’ table? Is that you, Michael? Are you raising your hand or just waving to me? Do I have to come down there?” (Fuchs coughed up, naturally.) And Bette is so persuasive talking about her wish to make the city a lovely, welcoming environment, not only of steel, glass and concrete, but of trees and grass – well, you want to go right out and plant a sapling. Bette says her own goal is to plant “a million trees” in New York. Costumed celebs included Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, Michael Kors, Danny Aiello, Lee Daniels and Anne Hathaway.

Willie Nelson was honored for his founding of Farm Aid. He and Bette sang an exquisite “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Then Willie sang some more – perhaps more than expected. Stevie Nicks was waiting to take the stage.

All I can say is it was worth the wait. The audience went berserk as she appeared, swelling voluptuously out of a black lace dress over 4-inch-high black leather boots. Her voice, one of the most distinctive in rock ‘n’ roll, was rich and full. As Nicks went into her famous trademark “twirl,” the crowd yelled loud enough to be heard out on Park Avenue. Forty minutes later when she finished, the room was on its feet and Bette herself was rocking out. It was funny, campy and, thanks to Stevie, enjoyably sweaty. This is another triumph for Bette Midler, who raised an incredible $2 million for the work that keeps N.Y.C. No. 1 in the world!

P.S. ON Stevie Nicks. This iconic, somewhat mysterious performer spends time these days visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed hospital. She offers presence, support and iPods filled with great music as well. Asked about this, she blushes and brushes it off: “They’re great guys – and gals. No matter what you think about the war, it’s the least anybody can do, right?” Right.

THE LATINO heartthrob, Julio Iglesias, age 63, and his wife, Miranda, have just welcomed a baby boy. His eighth child. Joy and rejoicing in Miami Beach. (They can’t get enough new young blood there!)

ENTERTAINMENT Weekly called it “Tex Mess,” and they weren’t discussing enchiladas. The reference is to the long-awaited “Dallas” feature movie. Stars, including Jennifer Lopez, Luke Wilson and Shirley MacLaine, have all been in and then out. The one still attached is John Travolta, who is determined to reinvent J.R. Ewing for the 21st century.

John is winding up his role as the super mom Edna Turnblad in the film version of “Hairspray.” Then, possibly if there is still a budget, New Regency will try to hit a gusher. But despite Travolta’s enthusiasm for this project, I still say “Don’t dress!” for the premiere.

OVER COFFEE in her new Manhattan apartment, the legend Angela Lansbury quipped: “I’ve been Mame Dennis, Mama Rose and Mrs. Lovett – why not Dorothy Parker?” And now she will be for one night only on Sunday. Angela, Boyd Gaines, Harriet Harris, Lisa Banes and Lynn Collins will be onstage at the Schoenfeld Theatre reading “This Is on Me, An Evening of Dorothy Parker,” adapted by Tom Fontana, directed by Warner Shook.

John Houseman, Ms. Lansbury’s longtime pal, founded the Acting Company in 1972, along with artistic director Margot Harley. The company benefits from the evening and a supper after. Call (212) 239-6200 or (212) 258-3111.

ONE OF the greatest looking guys in showbiz is heartthrob Lorenzo Lamas, now doing his stuff at Feinstein’s at the Regency Hotel, courtesy of Michael Feinstein himself. Lorenzo has a two-week “vacation” from CBS’ “The Bold and the Beautiful” to go onstage and sing his heart out. The great Vic Damone has been advising this guy, whose parents are the glamorous and beautiful Arlene Dahl and the late Fernando Lamas. Lorenzo will be singing there until Nov. 11, and he’s a real treat.

Best Bette (Hulaween)

By Liz Smith
New York Daily News
Wednesday, November 1, 2006

BETTE MIDLER’S ANNUAL “Hulaween” fund-raiser for her New York’s Restoration Project Tuesday night was another triumph for Bette Midler who raised an incredible $2 million for the work that keeps New York City No. 1 in the world. Almost without exception, every person who crammed into the Waldorf’s ballroom was in costume. The “Hulaween” event is always kind of loosey-goosey, but this year it was a very “downtown” happening, as if Webster Hall had moved into the gilt and glitter of midtown. The costumes were fabulously inventive, colorful and some of them quite wicked. (There was one girl wearing a sequined T-shirt that said “Mrs. Ritchie.” She carried an African doll in a bundle slung across her arm. The photographers went wild for her.) Bette appeared as a goddess of nature with what seemed to be a large dangling fern headpiece. (But Bette later explained it was a faucet.) Joy Behar, her co-auctioneer, was Queen Elizabeth II. (Harvey Fierstein said she looked more like Golda Meir or Leona Helmsley.) The auction was fast, furious and fabulously vulgar. Bette did her level best to get those big bucks. And Bette is so persuasive talking about her wish to make the city a lovely, welcoming environment, not only of steel, glass and concrete, but of trees and grass — well, you want to go right out and plant a sapling. Bette says her own goal is to plant “a million trees” in New York. Costumed celebs included Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, Michael Kors, Danny Aiello, Lee Daniels, Anne Hathaway. Willie Nelson was honored for his founding of Farm Aid. He and Bette sang an exquisite “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Then, Willie sang some more — perhaps more than expected. Stevie Nicks was waiting to take the stage. All I can say is it was worth the wait. The audience went berserk as she appeared, swelling voluptuously out of a black lace dress over four-inch black leather boots. Her voice, one of the most distinctive in rock’n’roll, was rich and full. As Nicks went into her famous trademark “twirl,” the crowd yelled loud enough to be heard out on Park Avenue. Forty minutes later when she finished, the room was on its feet and Bette herself was rocking out. It was funny, campy and thanks to Stevie, enjoyably sweaty.

P.S. ON Stevie Nicks. This iconic, somewhat mysterious performer, spends time these days visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reade Hospital. She gives presence, support and iPods filled with great music as well. Asked about this, she blushes and brushes it off: “They’re great guys — and gals. No matter what you think about the war, it’s the least anybody can do, right?” Right.

Stevie Nicks donates guitar for charity auction

Stevie Nicks has designed and donated a guitar for a charity auction, benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona.