Stevie Nicks: The men, the music, the menopause

(Photo by Kristen Burns)
Stevie Nicks: ‘You gotta remember I am 62. So you got to have those cameras up, and the best lighting in the world.’ (Photo by Kristen Burns)

Fleetwood Mac’s frontwoman is one of the last old-school rock stars left – and she’s still walking the walk, finds Craig McLean

By Craig McLean
The Guardian (UK)
Friday March 25, 2011 6:31 p.m. EDT

Stevie Nicks, legendary singer-songwriter and hard-living Fleetwood Mac frontwoman, is considering her greatest regret. It is not her “huge cocaine period”, the 10 years that elapsed between the making of Fleetwood Mac’s 40m-selling 1977 album Rumours and the moment, in 1986, when she finally entered the Betty Ford Center. Nor is it her complicated history with band members: she joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974 with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, subsequently detailing their split in the hit song “Dreams,” and went on to have an affair with drummer Mick Fleetwood, which inspired the 1983 solo song “Beauty and the Beast.”

It is not even the eight years she lost to Klonopin, a prescription tranquilliser to which she became addicted in the late 80s and early 90s, when she was “just a sad girl, sitting in a big, beautiful house, going, ‘What the f- hell happened?’“

The regret that has really stayed with her is her marriage, in 1983, to Kim Anderson, widower of her best friend Robin Snyder. Snyder’s baby Matthew had been born two days before she died of leukaemia. Three months later, Nicks and Anderson were married.

“It was insanity,” the 62-year-old says now. “Everybody was furious. It was a completely ridiculous thing. And it was just because I had this crazy, insane thought that Robin would want me to take care of Matthew. But the fact is, Robin would not have wanted me to be married to a guy I didn’t love. And therefore accidentally break that guy’s heart, too.”

Nicks, now a multimillionaire, may have remarkable recall for details and dates from her four decades in music, but she also betrays the hallmarks of 70s cosmic thinking. She describes how she became aware of Snyder’s displeasure: “One day when I walked into Matthew’s room, the cradle was not rocking,” she says. “I know that sounds crazy, but it was always rocking whenever I’d walk in, and I knew Robin was there. And one day it wasn’t rocking and it was very dark and the baby was very quiet. And I said, ‘Robin wants this to end – now.’ I felt it as strongly as if she’d put her hand on my shoulder.”

So it was a sign from beyond the grave?

“It was absolutely a sign.”

Nicks had visited Snyder during her cancer treatment. “I was so high on coke. I’d drink half a bottle of brandy on the way there, ‘cause I couldn’t stand it. She was so sick. And she said to me, ‘Don’t come back until you’re not high – don’t come back into this place where everybody is dying.’“

Nicks shrugs. “So that was the Robin who would have said [of the marriage], ‘You’ve lost your mind. What were you thinking?’“

Nicks and Anderson divorced after three months.

Stevie Nicks is holding court in a hotel suite with spectacular views of the ocean off Miami, as her tiny terrier, Sulamith, yaps about in a blue sweater. She is here for the Heart & Soul tour, a month-long series of concerts with Rod Stewart. The tour, billed as “Two legends – one stage”, starts three days from now, but Nicks and Stewart have yet to rehearse together.

Stewart has been in the UK playing the proud, new, 66-year-old father to his eighth child. Nicks has been at her LA home, putting the finishing touches to her seventh solo album, In Your Dreams. It’s her first new record in a decade. She and her producer/collaborator, former Eurythmic Dave Stewart, have spent a year in the mansion, writing, recording and filming vampire-themed promotional videos.

This afternoon, Nicks – 5ft 1in (“and a half”), blond and well-preserved – is agitated at the prospect of driving to Fort Lauderdale for her first practice with Rod the Mod. “Two hours it takes to get to! For probably 15 minutes of rehearsal!”

Only 15 minutes?

“Yeah, he’s not a rehearser. He. Is. Not.”

Because he doesn’t need to?

“He doesn’t care. He’s just not like me. I’m like [I’m in] sixth grade: totally prepared, meticulous.”

She is also relatively concert-ready: in 2009, Fleetwood Mac undertook a reunion tour of 83 shows around the world. Nonetheless, she says, “I’m scared, that’s what I am. Rod’s not scared. I have fear, he has no fear. And some people – me, Mick – we get panic attacks. Christine [McVie], too. That’s why she quit.” McVie, singer and ex-wife of bass player John McVie, left Fleetwood Mac in 1998 and now lives in the Kent countryside.

Since the tour, Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 song “Landslide” – written by Nicks – has appeared in the US charts, though not in its original incarnation. “It’s on Glee: Gwyneth Paltrow’s done it,” she says. “And it’s number one!”

Nicks loves Glee, and American Idol (“My friend Steven Tyler’s a judge now. I tell people, ‘Two hours, don’t call me, I’m watching Idol’“). She visited the Glee set during filming of the episode featuring “Landslide,” and creator Ryan Murphy has claimed Nicks asked him to write her a role in the series. “I did not,” she says. “I don’t really like to be filmed. But if I was ever going to do anything like that on TV, it would be Glee.”

Nicks has strict rules about appearing on film. “I say, ‘You gotta remember I’m 62 years old. So you’ve got to have those cameras up, and I have to have the best lighting in the world.’ I’m not asking to look 16, I’m asking to look 40.”

In the past, she has described the menopause as “horrible… rock and the menopause do not mix”. Is that behind her now? “Well, kind of. My mom is 83 and she still has hot flushes. She just starts to sweat from the very top of her head. So there’s parts of it that I feel don’t ever go away. It’s a way of life and you learn to live with it.”

Does that make it harder to go on stage?

“No,” she replies briskly, “because when you’re on stage you have to forget about it. There is no dizzies, there is no cramps, there is no menopause. All there is, is the audience and what you do. So you feel great for those two hours. And when I come offstage, then I can burst into tears.”

The new album opens with a song called “Secret Love”: “The ode to the rock star,” as Nicks calls it.

Which one, though? Lindsey, Mick, Don Henley, his Eagles bandmate Joe Walsh? She shakes her head. “I’m not sure who I wrote it about. I wrote it in 1976. It’s so old, I honestly cannot remember. In ‘75, ‘76, we were beautiful, fast, sexy, love was everywhere and we were moving from person to person. That’s it. Love was around every corner.”

In “For What It’s Worth,” Nicks sings about a “forbidden romance that saved my life”. It’s not about Mick Fleetwood, she says. Rather, it refers to someone who stood by her in 1995, before the release of Fleetwood Mac’s live album The Dance and after her stint in rehab for Klonopin.

It was “not a good time… I was freaked out. In rehab, when you’re leaving, the last thing they say to you is, ‘Don’t get married, don’t sign contracts, don’t buy a house, don’t sell a house. Nothing heavy.’ Because your judgment is impaired. You’re a shell. And you need to go out there and find out who you are, not on tranquillisers.

“So you walk out into the world and you are a different person. And we were going on a tour and I was terrified. Terrified. And this person just sort of hung with me through that tour and buffered me from the world. And he did save my life.”

The Klonopin was prescribed by a psychiatrist to wean her off cocaine. While on it, her skin peeled off and her hair turned grey. “If someone ever says to you, ‘I think you should take some Klonopin’, you should get a gun and shoot yourself,” she says.

As for the song “Everybody Loves You” (“We cause each other such pain… at home or on stage”), the music and chorus were written by Dave Stewart. He based it on one of 40 poems in Nicks’s journal that she concedes is about Fleetwood Mac’s guitarist. “And the reason Dave wrote the chorus the way he did was because of his relationship with Annie Lennox. So we had two duos. Dave understood. He’s the same way with Annie – ‘Everybody loves you… no one really knows you, I’m the only one’ – I’m the only one that knew you before you were famous. So I let the song go ahead and be about Lindsey, and he let the song be about Annie.”

Nicks and Buckingham met at high school in California and started out as a duo. Had Fleetwood Mac, fame and drugs not entered the picture, she believes, the couple would have stayed in San Francisco and had success anyway. “And we would have married and had children, ‘cause we were headed that way. We didn’t really mess up till we moved to Los Angeles. And that was when the whole world just ripped us apart.”

Still, she says, “Fleetwood Mac was our destiny.” But Buckingham doesn’t feel the same way. “I think he regrets it totally. I think he wishes we hadn’t ever joined Fleetwood Mac and had just stayed together. Even though his life has now wound around to where he’s married to a lovely girl and he’s got three absolutely beautiful kids.”

Nicks, meanwhile, is happily single. “It’s a decision I made, to not get married and have children,” she says, “because I want to always be free to follow my art wherever it takes me.”

She has no plans to retire, and thinks there will be another Fleetwood Mac album next year. She spends the rest of her time drawing, writing poetry and reading; her current obsession is the Twilight series.

One of her best friends, Sheryl Crow, recently adopted two boys, but Nicks isn’t tempted by family life. “I want to have complete freedom. Sheryl does not have complete freedom now. She doesn’t! But that’s what she wanted. She wanted a baby. And I have a Yorkie Chinese crested dog. I’m happy with that.”

In Your Dreams is out on Warner Music on 27 June. Stevie Nicks will be at London’s Hard Rock Calling on Sunday 26 June.

In Your Dreams trailer

Reprise Records has released the official trailer for Stevie’s In Your Dreams album, due out May 3.

Interview: Dave Stewart talks Stevie Nicks’ new album ‘In Your Dreams’

2011-0301-hitfix-dave-stewartLearn about her obsession with poets

By Melinda Newman
HitFix
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 4:31 Pm

Stevie Nicks will release, In Your Dreams, her first solo album in 10 years on May 3. Nicks recorded In Your Dreams in her Los Angeles home with co-producers Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard.

Stewart, best known as half of Eurythmics, says recording with Nicks was an absolute joy. “We co-wrote eight or nine songs together,” he tells Hitfix, seven of which ultimately ended up on the album. “After the second or third song, she said I’ve never sat together and written with someone in my life. It’s an amazing album.”

Nicks, who inspired a generation of singers, is the last artist who will be chasing trends, Stewart says. “It’s not like trying to answer or compete with any pop market.”

Stewart says he learned much about Nicks and her craft.  “I learned how incredibly focused she is and how unbelievably committed she is to her art form and includes the words, research, her obsession with poets like Edgar Allan Poe and all the details.”

Nicks is prepping for a North American tour with co-headliner Rod Stewart. The Heart & Soul Tour kicks off March 20 at the Bank Atlantic Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart Hit the Road for Blowout Arena Tour

By Patrick Doyle
Rolling Stone
February 17, 2011

ON THE ROAD
Inside the legendary singers’ first-ever union Plus: New LPs from both

ROD STEWART HADN’T seen Stevie Nicks since the mid-1980s, when both of them were recording in the same L.A. studio Until last month, that is, when the pair – who are gearing up for a 16-date co-headlining tour — were reunited to perform on Ellen. “I tiptoed up behind him and put my arms around his waist from the back,” says Nicks. Adds Stewart, “I’d know those hands anywhere.”

The pair have never worked together before, but they’ve crossed paths over the years. Nicks recalls attending a New Year’s party in the Seventies at Stewart’s L.A. home. Nicks remembers Stewart, afraid she was drunk and might damage his collection of Tiffany lamps, asking, “‘Can I have that glass of wine before you walk in?’ I was horrified.” Stewart says, “Oh, the bitch I am sometimes. I probably wanted more wine for myself.”

The idea for the shows (which kick off in March) came last year from Stewart’s daughters Ruby and Kimberly. “They love Stevie,” he says. “She’s just ultra-cool — she has a cult.” Nicks will open the three-plus-hour show with solo tunes and Fleetwood Mac classics, followed by a, Stewart set that will likely mix deep tracks and hits. They’re still working out the pacing, but there will be a portion of the shows where they sing together. “We won’t let people, down on that score,” Stewart says, adding he hopes to tackle Nicks and Don Henley’s 1981 duet, “Leather and Lace.” Nicks wants to join Stewart on “The First Cut Is the Deepest” and “Reason to Believe.” “That’d be a wonderful one,” Stewart says. “We’re both sort of sopranos, so it’ll sound great.”

Outside of the tour, Stewart is planning an LP with former bandmate Jeff Beck -their first full album together since they were in the Jeff Beck Group in the late Sixties. “Jeff and I had a lunch together just before Christmas,” he says. “He’s going to record some tracks with his band in February in San Francisco, and he’s going to send them over to me.” Adds Arnold Stiefel, Stewart’s manager, “They have some really clever things planned – it’s mindfucking stuff.” One proposed album title: Unfinished Business. Stewart is also in talks to extend his recent stand at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace to multiple residencies over the next two years, and he’s considering a stint at Carnegie Hall performing only American Songbook material. “I’m proud of those records,” he says.

Meanwhile, Nicks is readying her first studio album in a decade. In Your Dreams, due May 3rd, is co-produced by an old friend, Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart. Together, they wrote seven of the LP’s 13 tracks, including “Everybody Loves You,” inspired by their experiences of being in bands with lovers (Nicks with Lindsey Buckingham, Stewart with Annie Lennox). “We know what it’s like to be in love with the person and be in love with what the person does,” she says. “It’s different from just being in a band.”
Nicks praises the producer for adding a Sixties pop vibe. “I have never written a song with anybody sitting in the room, not even Lindsey,” she says. “I suddenly realized why John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote together. I haven’t had this much fun since Lindsey and I were working in the beginning.”

“Stevie is just ultra-cool,” Stewart says of his tour partner. “She has a cult.”

Stevie Nicks, ‘Secret Love’ — new song

2011-0208-secret-love
Reprise Records

By Scott Shetler
AOL Radio
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 12:21PM

Stevie Nicks has finally unveiled the track ‘Secret Love,’ the first single from In Your Dreams, her first studio album in ten years.

“I am not asking forever from you / I’m just asking to be held for a while,” Nicks sings on the melodic mid-tempo song.

Though she persists with “a timeless search for love that might work,” Nicks eventually professes, “My secret love secretly died.”

Producer Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics has substantially updated the demo version with more vibrant drums, subtle synths and electric guitars that bring some brightness to the melancholy lyrics.

Stewart co-wrote half of the songs on In Your Dreams, the seventh solo studio album by Nicks and first since 2001’s Trouble in Shangri-La. The record is set for a May 3 release on Reprise.

Last month, Nicks appeared with Rod Stewart on Ellen, and the two plan to hit the road together for the first time on the Heart & Soul Tour, which kicks off March 20 in Sunrise, Fla.

To hear the new Stevie Nicks song ‘Secret Love,’ head over to AOL Radio’s Female Focus station.

Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart discuss touring together for the first time

Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart
(Donald Kravitz/Getty(Nicks), Ethan Miller/Getty(Stewart)

Idea for the shows came from Stewart’s daughters. Plus: New LPs from both

By Patrick Doyle
Rolling Stone
February 2, 2011 5:35 PM ET

Rod Stewart hadn’t seen Stevie Nicks since the mid-1980s, when both of them were recording in the same L.A. studio. Until last month, that is, when the pair, who are gearing up for a 16-date co-headlining tour‚ were reunited to perform on Ellen. “I tiptoed up behind him and put my arms around his waist from the back,” Nicks tells Rolling Stone. Adds Stewart, “I’d know those hands anywhere.”

The pair have never worked together before, but they’ve crossed paths over the years. Nicks recalls attending a New Year’s party in the Seventies at Stewart’s L.A. home. Nicks remembers Stewart, afraid she was drunk and might damage his collection of Tiffany lamps, asking, “Can I have that glass of wine before you walk in?’ I was horrified.” Stewart says, “Oh, the bitch I am sometimes. I probably wanted more wine for myself.”

The idea for the shows (which kick off in March) came last year from Stewart’s daughters Ruby and Kimberly. “They love Stevie,” he says. “She’s just ultra-cool – she has a cult.” Nicks will open the three-plus-hour show with solo tunes and Fleetwood Mac classics, followed by a Stewart set that will likely mix deep tracks and hits.

They’re still working out the pacing, but there will be a portion of the shows where they sing together. “We won’t let people down on that score,” Stewart says, adding he hopes to tackle Nicks and Don Henley’s 1981 duet, “Leather and Lace.” Nicks wants to join Stewart on “The First Cut Is the Deepest” and “Reason to Believe.” “That’d be a wonderful one,” he says. “We’re both sort of sopranos, so it’ll sound great.”

At the Ellen rehearsal, Nicks spent two hours running through “Stand Back” with her band while Stewart showed up and banged out “Hot Legs” once. “He walks in, expects the band to be fantastic, and then it’s, ‘Let’s go and I’m out of here,’” says Nicks.

“In the Faces, we never rehearsed,” Stewart says. “I always like there to be the element of risk in any show. When things go wrong, I love it. We’ll have to meet in the middle.”

Outside of the tour, Stewart is planning an LP with former bandmate Jeff Beck‚ their first full album together since they were in the Jeff Beck Group in the late Sixties. One proposed album title: Unfinished Business. Stewart is also in talks to extend his recent stand at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace to multiple residencies over the next two years, and he’s considering a stint at Carnegie Hall performing only American Songbook material. “I’m proud of those records,” he says.

Photos: The Who, Jeff Beck, Debbie Harry and More From the Concert for Killing Cancer

Meanwhile, Nicks is readying her first studio album in a decade. In Your Dreams, due May 3rd, is co-produced by an old friend, Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart. Together, they wrote seven of the LP’s 13 tracks, including “Everybody Loves You,” inspired by their experiences of being in bands with lovers (Nicks with Lindsey Buckingham, Stewart with Annie Lennox). “We know what it’s like to be in love with the person and be in love with what the person does,” she says. “It’s different from just being in a band.”

Nicks praises the producer for adding a Sixties pop vibe. “I have never written a song with anybody sitting in the room, not even Lindsey,” she says. “I suddenly realized why John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote together. I haven’t had this much fun since Lindsey and I were working in the beginning.”

Rod Stewart/Stevie Nicks

By Ray Waddell
Billboard
Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hopes are high that the pairing of Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks for the Heart & Soul tour of North American arenas will strike the kind of boomer gold that led James Taylor and Carole King to a $62 million gross in 2010—the sixth-highest among all tours for the year, according to Billboard Boxscore. American Express presales are solid, according to Stewart agent Dennis Arfa at Artists Group International, but the true test comes when several public on-sales launch Jan. 23. The tour begins March 20 at the Bank Atlantic Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Stewart is working his latest Great American Songbook release, while Nicks will release In Your Dreams on May 3, her first studio album since 2001.

Both veterans remain big draws. Last year, Stewart sold out eight shows in Las Vegas and every date on his 26-show European tour, grossing $31.2 million on ticket sales of 309,139, according to Boxscore. Meanwhile, Fleetwood Mac’s 67-date tour in 2009 grossed $74.1 million on attendance of 718,017, according to Boxscore.

Rod Stewart, Stevie Nicks pair up for arena concert tour in March

2011-heart-and-soul-tourBy Zach Edwards
ConcertTour.org
January 13, 2011

Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart, two of the biggest superstars and members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, have announced they are joining forces. One of this year’s most anticipated events in rock music will be their “The Heart and Soul Tour.” Now the question is will there be a big enough stage to hold that much raw talent.

The tour will be uniting two of the most legendary forces in rock music for a run of North American arena concerts. Performances have been confirmed already for Los Angeles, Toronto New York and Phoenix among other cities. The shows will be featuring both artists who will perform rock-n-roll sets containing material from their impressive catalogs of musical hits. They will be backed by an amazing band along with an incredible stage production.

Stewart said we haven’t started rehearsals yet, but already I can tell you having Stevie on board will give our audiences a night of pure rock-n-roll. I am thinking already about which old favorites of mine I want to bring back. I think vocally, we both starting thinking about what songs may be well-suited and fun for singing a few duets together.

In Stewart’s five decade career he has sold approximately 250 million singles and albums combined. Stewart is one of the all-time most successful performers and wrapped up 2010 on top of the album as well as the touring charts, capped off by his first run of sold-out and critically acclaimed shows in Las Vegas at The Colosseum.

Stewart has received an impressive 16 Grammy nominations, including this year’s Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album nomination for his set Fly Me to the Moon… The Great American Songbook, Volume V. On February 1 The Best of… The Great American Songbook will be released.

Grammy Award winning artist Stevie Nicks has been dubbed “The Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll” by Rolling Stone. Nicks is best known as a singer with the band Fleetwood Mac. She has also had an extensive solo career. Collectively she has sold more than 140 million albums and produced more than forty hits songs in the Top 50.

Nicks will be adding to her impressive totals no doubt with the release of In Your Dreams, her greatly anticipated new CD, which will be released on May 3, 2011. It will be the first album from Nicks with new material in ten years. The set was co-produced by Glen Ballard and Dave Stewart, formerly of the Eurythmics.

Starting on January 21, tour tickets will be going on sale.