REVIEW: Lindsey Buckingham @ USC

‘Go Your Own Way’ Lindsey Buckingham talks, performs for student entrepreneurs at Bovard

Photos by USC Greif Center, David Belasco, William Vasta, and Los Angeles Times.

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. — In what was arguably one of the most memorable final class sessions, Lindsey Buckingham and the USC Trojan Marching Band performed the iconic “Tusk,” from the 1979 Fleetwood Mac album of the same name, before a capacity crowd of students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends at Bovard Auditorium.

The April 29 event was the final meeting of David Belasco’s class BAEP 407–Taking the Leap, which focuses on the entrepreneurial mindset and has recently featured guests including Tom Barrack, Mark Cuban, Jessica Alba and Laird Hamilton. Belasco, co-director of the USC Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, had long hinted about his final special guest, and with an amplifier sitting onstage, it was clear this would be no ordinary lecture.

Never Going Back Again

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“We use the term “rock star’ a lot today to describe somebody who has done something great. But tonight,” he said, “we have an actual rock star.” The evening was equal parts artistic discourse and concert, with Buckingham treating the audience to acoustic performances of classic Fleetwood Mac songs such as “Never Going Back Again,” “Bleed to Love Her” and “Big Love.” The band’s 1977 album Rumours hit the top of the charts and stayed there for 31 weeks, selling some 40 million copies and becoming the sixth best-selling album of all time. Buckingham said it was the raw pain of breakups – he and singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks were splitting up after six years, and Christine McVie and her husband, bassist John McVie, had also separated – that fueled the music and lyrics to which so many related. “It was laid bare for all to see,” he said. “The songs were true dialogues from three different writers. People felt that.” The band’s next album, Tusk, was in large part an artistic backlash against superstardom, he said.

Big Love

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Tusk, of course, is the track that featured the USC Trojan Marching Band. It was Mick Fleetwood’s idea, Buckingham said, to mesh a marching band sound with a driving drum beat. “It was a sublime marriage of two completely different worlds.” The double-album, while critically panned, sold 4 million copies worldwide.

Tusk is my favorite album because it set me on the path to be an artist, and not just a craftsman doing music,” said Buckingham.

The evening ended with Buckingham and the Marching Trojans performing “Tusk” and “Go Your Own Way.” Arthur C. Bartner, who for more than four decades has directed the Marching Trojans, and who was present at the 1979 Dodger Stadium taping, conducted onstage.

Earlier in the evening, the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies honored Ben Van de Bunt, a member of the Center’s advisory board, with the Lead Blocker Award, for his role in bringing speakers to USC. In addition to Buckingham, he helped bring Cindy Crawford, Tony Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk to speak at the Center. Presenting the award were USC Athletic Director Pat Haden ’75 and J.K. McKay ’75, senior associate athletic director.

Tusk

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At the end of the program, Helena Yli-Renko, co-director of the Lloyd Greif Center, holder of the Orfalea Director’s Chair in Entrepreneurship and associate professor of clinical entrepreneurship, awarded Buckingham with the Musical Entrepreneur of the Year award.

USC Marshall School of Business / May 1, 2015

Lindsey Buckingham to close out Grammys with supergroup

2014-0124-spin-jem-aswad-grammys-supergroup

Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl, and special guest Lindsey Buckingham will give the closing performance at the 56th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night, SPIN can exclusively reveal.

“We’re incredibly excited about this number,” Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich said in a statement. “There’s nothing better than when the Grammys can rock out, and to have these artists all together on one stage, doing a number that, when they presented it to us, knocked us out, is going to turn out to be one of those Grammy moments that people talk about for a long time. Long live Trent, Josh, Dave and Lindsey and these great bands!” It will be the first-ever Grammy telecast performance for Nine Inch Nails and QOTSA.

Thirteen-time Grammy winner Grohl, as usual, is the connective tissue, having performed extensively with both bands, most prominently on QOTSA’s 2002 LP Songs for the Deaf and Nine Inch Nails’ 2005 album With Teeth. Fleetwood Mac guitarist/singer Buckingham, of course, is the wild card, and his role — singing a kickass version of “Tusk” or “The Chain,” maybe his solo hit “Go Insane”? — remains to be seen. However, it’s not as random as it might seem: Buckingham guested on Nine Inch Nails’ latest LP Hesitation Marks and also appears in Sound City: Real to Reel, the Grohl-directed documentary about the legendary, now-shuttered L.A. studio where many classic albums were recorded; his Fleetwood-Mac-mate, Stevie Nicks, appears in the film and also joined Grohl on the Sound City Players album and tour last year.

While the Foo Fighters did not release any new music during this year’s window of eligibility, Grohl has two nominations, both connected to Sound City: Best Rock Song for “Cut Me Some Slack” (with Paul McCartney and the other surviving members of Nirvana, a group often dubbed “Sirvana”), and Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media; separately, he appears as a songwriter (again, with Nirvana) on a Best Rap Song nominee, Jay-Z’s “Holy Grail.” Queens are up for two awards: Best Rock Album (for …Like Clockwork), Best Rock Performance with the album’s “My God Is the Sun,” and, indirectly, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. Two-time Grammy winners Nine Inch Nails’ Hesitation Marks is nominated for Best Alternative Music Album. Buckingham is not nominated but is featured on the Delta Rae song “If I Loved You,” which garnered Rob Cavallo a shot at Producer of the Year, Non-Classical.

While there’s no official word yet on the latest rumor – that Madonna and Beyonce will perform on the show – Sunday’s telecast, to be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, already boasts formidable star power: The most recent official additions were Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr — who will accept a Lifetime Achievement Awards for the Beatles — plus performers Jay Z and Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves, John Legend, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Keith Urban, and Sara Bareilles (with Carole King). They follow previously announced performers Daft Punk (with Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, Stevie Wonder, and several Random Access Memories session players), Kendrick Lamar (with Imagine Dragons), Lorde, Metallica (with pianist Lang Lang), Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Pink (with fun.’s Nate Ruess), Robin Thicke (with Chicago), and multiple country legends (Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson, with current nominee Blake Shelton).

The Grammy Awards will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Stay with SPIN all week for much more on the show, the performers, the parties and beyond.


2014-0124-spin-jem-aswad-grammys-400Jem Aswad, New York / Spin / Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jem Aswad is Editor in Chief of Spin and the Editor of Billboard.biz. He has also held senior editorial posts at MTV News, Time Out New York, ASCAP and CMJ, and has written for New York magazine, Entertainment Weekly, the Village Voice, Esquire, and other publications.

Fleetwood Mac’s creative glue

It’s 10:30am and the tray in Buckingham’s hotel suite contains evidence of a healthy breakfast: lots of juice and half-eaten fruit. Buckingham looks wiry in black shirt, black jeans and flip-flops, but I notice that he wiggles his toes and jiggles a knee when answering some questions. Critics and the other members of Fleetwood Mac have described him as “uptight.” He is, but then he’s earned the right to be.

(Jeremy Cowart / © 2011)
Lindsey Buckingham, an emotional exhibitionist who bleeds all over his songs (Jeremy Cowart / © 2011)

The real Lindsey Buckingham: He’s their creative glue

Up close, there was something of the actor Kevin Kline about Fleetwood Mac’s guitarist, songwriter and producer Lindsey Buckingham in 1977. It isn’t the appearance, so much. It’s more that Buckingham’s nervy, jittery demeanour reminds me of Kline in one of his nervy, jittery film roles.

It’s 10:30am and the tray in Buckingham’s hotel suite contains evidence of a healthy breakfast: lots of juice and half-eaten fruit. Buckingham looks wiry in black shirt, black jeans and flip-flops, but I notice that he wiggles his toes and jiggles a knee when answering some questions. Critics and the other members of Fleetwood Mac have described him as “uptight.” He is, but then he’s earned the right to be. Without Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac would probably have finished in 1975.

The trouble is, Fleetwood Mac wasn’t what Lindsey Buckingham had in mind when he left the family home in suburban California to try and become a singer-songwriter. It was Stevie Nicks who persuaded him to join Fleetwood Mac. Their Buckingham Nicks album had tanked, and she was concerned they were going to starve. Buckingham, though, would have gone hungry for his “art.”

His painstaking approach to writing and arranging is what made Rumours so great. That he then stuffed the follow-up album, Tusk, with wonky non-pop songs such as “The Ledge” and “Not That Funny” only makes you admire him even more. Buckingham can “do” pop as well as Nicks and Christine McVie, it’s just that he prefers to sprinkle a little broken glass into the mix as well. Like Nicks, he’s an emotional exhibitionist who bleeds all over his songs. The mind boggles at what it must have been like to have been around that extraordinary couple “back in the day.”

Since the late ‘90s Buckingham has repeatedly parked his erratically brilliant solo career to make time for Fleetwood Mac. That’s where the money and the acclaim is, but it must have hurt handing over songs he’d earmarked for his own record to 2003’s Mac comeback album, Say You Will. That album went to Number 3 in the US; Buckingham’s next solo album, Under the Skin, made it to 80.

When I next spoke with him in 2005, he’d become a father to three young children, and had lost that Kevin Kline-like jitteriness. When we spoke again in 2012, he was back on Fleetwood Mac duties, and sounded uptight again. But as the conversation wore on, he gradually thawed out. He admitted that, at times, yes, it was hard being in Fleetwood Mac and dragging all that history and emotional baggage around. But, as he said, it could have ended up like Peter Green.

“Boy, I consider myself lucky,” he said, with a laugh. “I am one of the few who escaped…mostly unscathed.”

Mark Black / Q / October 2013 (from “The high times of Fleetwood Mac – 17-page collector’s special”)

Lindsey Buckingham

(Photograph by Jeremy Cowart)
(Photograph by Jeremy Cowart)

The Fleetwood Mac member on humble beginnings, Bel-Air bachelor pads, and digging in

By Julia St. Pierre / Los Angeles Magazine
Photograph by Jeremy Cowart
Thursday, May 23, 2013

I grew up in Atherton, right near Stanford. Stevie [Nicks] and I were in a band that bottomed out, but there was interest in us as a duo. We came up with enough material for an album, and we intuited that if we were going to make things happen, we needed to move to where the action was. We lived right off Coldwater — it wasn’t a dirt road, but it was close. L.A. was an adjustment, for sure — it’s big, it’s random.

Less than six months after we moved, we got a record deal. We had one album, Buckingham Nicks, and it didn’t sell, so we lost our deal. We had to make ends meet, so we did a lot of shows to get extra money. I remember playing a club with Stevie called the Starwood on Santa Monica. We also played the Troubadour. At Sound City studios the owner was very gracious to let us use Studio B when there was nobody booked to work on a second album. It was there that we ran into Mick Fleetwood, who was really just looking for a studio. He didn’t know [guitarist-vocalist] Bob Welch was going to quit Fleetwood Mac. I walked into Studio A, and the band was listening to our song “Frozen Love” at top volume and Mick was completely grooving to the guitar solo. A couple of weeks later Mick called and said, “Do you want to join Fleetwood Mac?” and I said, “You have to take my girlfriend, too.” That was a very lucky moment for us.

I had a house up in Bel-Air for a long time. It was not a family house; it was a bachelor house. So we bulldozed it. My wife was quite happy because there was a lot of symbolism to having everything that went before bulldozed. We are in Brentwood now. We needed to come down off the hill.

I’ve thought about whether it would be advisable or possible to move out, but this is the thing about Los Angeles: People come here and they stay. It’s not just because there is an illusionary carrot, although that is part of it. You could probably find actors or musicians who are not much younger than myself who still haven’t caught their break. So that’s part of what drives Los Angeles. If you do happen to get lucky, as Stevie and I did, then there are reasons to stay. Unless you want to be Neil Young and live up in the mountains, there’s not a lot of motivation to move. Whatever there may be about the city that you could take to task, it’s a pretty great place.

I don’t think I would’ve wanted to raise my kids elsewhere, but it is a mixed bag. Growing up in Atherton, you could just get on your bike, go to school, and come home. You had a level of autonomy that doesn’t exist for kids today. Some of that has to do with L.A. and some of it has to do with the times. I grew up in one place. Stevie, on the other hand — her dad was a businessman who uprooted his family regularly, so she learned how to make a splash everywhere they went. It took its toll on her in other ways, and that’s not something I want for my kids. We’re dug in here, and we’re happy.

QUE ‘EM UP

Gift of Screws (2008)

On this solo effort, “Time Precious Time” shows off Buckingham’s guitar chops, while “Did You Miss Me” is pure, perfect pop.

Tusk (1979)

Yes, Rumours was the breakout Fleetwood Mac hit, but this double album, initially deemed a failure, was Buckinham’s creative magnum ops and became a band favorite.

Buckingham Nicks (1973)

The lesser-known album that started it all, this early LP may (finally) be re-released on CD for the first time this year.

How Lindsey Buckingham took Fleetwood Mac to the top

Lindsey BuckinghamBy Ted Drozdowski
Gibson
Saturday, April 6, 2013

In the annals of Fleetwood Mac’s guitar history, Peter Green gets nearly all the black — in part because of his key role in making the Gibson Les Paul Sunburst an integral part of rock and blues history. But the Mac also featured another great Les Paul player who took lead of the band and helped the group reach its zenith of popularity: Lindsey Buckingham.

Continue reading “How Lindsey Buckingham took Fleetwood Mac to the top”

Stevie Nicks on In Your Dreams doc, Twilight-inspired song, Dave Grohl

Stevie Nicks In Your Dreams

Why she and Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham are getting along better than ever

By Melinda Newman
Hit Fix
Monday, April 1, 2013 6:53 PM

When Dave Stewart first suggested to Stevie Nicks that he film the making of her 2011 solo album, In Your Dreams, which he co-produced, her blunt reaction was “I think you’re nuts.”

However, the Eurythmics co-founder convinced Nicks by simply reassuring her “If you don’t like it, we don’t use it.” And in the end, she not only liked it, but she saw the documentary as a way to extend the shelf life of the critically-acclaimed album, which debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200, but did not have the high-profile run Nicks hoped it would and fell off the charts after 16 weeks. Continue reading “Stevie Nicks on In Your Dreams doc, Twilight-inspired song, Dave Grohl”

Lindsey Buckingham on surviving Fleetwood Mac

On Stevie: "There will never be romance there, but there are other kinds of love to be had." (Photo by Ture Lillegraven / Corbis)
On Stevie: “There will never be romance there, but there are other kinds of love to be had.” (Photo by Ture Lillegraven / Corbis)

As Fleetwood Mac kicks off its first tour in four years, Lindsey Buckingham reflects on the band’s drug-fueled nights, blowout fights, and unbreakable bonds.

By Brian Hiatt
Men’s Journal
April 2013

For Lindsey Buckingham, recording an album used to mean doing just enough coke to nail a guitar part at 3 am, getting in screaming fights with Stevie Nicks, and, in one case, allegedly throttling an engineer who erased the wrong track. But that was all long ago. These days, he wakes up at six, has breakfast with his three young kids, hits his home studio alone, and is done by dinner. “It’s a nice balance,” says Buckingham, 63, who is reuniting with Fleetwood Mac for an arena tour beginning this month (and has a solo live album, ‘One Man Show,’ out now). “That’s the whole lesson for me now. For many, many years in Fleetwood Mac, it was a study in life out of balance.”

You had your first child at 48. Do you recommend late-life fatherhood?

It depends on the man. You could almost say I’m someone who doesn’t practice age. I went to a high school reunion a few years back, and all these people seemed 20 years older than me, physically and mentally. So having kids late is good if you’re the kind of person who needs to wait – though in 20 years, I may have a different perspective.

Your most recent studio album, ‘Seeds We Sow,’ got great reviews but didn’t sell. Why?

There’s a disconnect between the preconceptions that go with being the age I am and what the music is. I sent the album to Daniel Glass, who runs [hip record label] Glassnote, and he loved it. Then he played it for his staff, guys in their twenties, and they said, “Well, what are we going to do with it?”

What do you remember about the argument that led to your leaving Fleetwood Mac for a while in 1987?

All I recall is that Stevie ran after me crying and yelling and kind of beating on my back. I don’t remember any physical confrontation, not to say there wasn’t.

Is it safe to say, though, that you had a temper in the past?

Sure. It’s been well documented. But we were doing all sorts of substances, too, that probably had something to do with blowing certain behaviors way out of proportion.

Has age calmed you down?

Some of it was situational. You’ve got to understand, it was very difficult for me to have Stevie break up with me and to still be in a band with her, to never get a sense of closure. It took its toll emotionally.

How come drugs never got too out of control for you?

The substances that were in the studio were not part of my lifestyle at home. I had to take them so I could stay up till two or three, and even then, Mick [Fleetwood] would want to go later. My MO if I really wanted to leave would be to say, “I’m going to the bathroom,” and then walk out the door and drive away.

Now that pot is practically legal in California, are you tempted by it?

No. I did a lot of that back then, and it was good for a certain kind of abstract thinking. But we all thought we had to be altering our consciousness on a daily basis in order to be creative, which turns out to be crap. It’s just about finding your center, that quiet place.

You and Stevie broke up decades ago, but you have to deal with her forever. What’s that like?

You get used to it. And for me, getting married and having children was a positive outcome. I wonder sometimes how Stevie feels about the choices she made, because she doesn’t really have a relationship – she has her career. But there are a few chapters to be written in the Stevie-Lindsey legacy. There’s a subtext of love between us, and it would be hard to deny that much of what we’ve accomplished had something to do with trying to prove something to each other. Maybe that’s fucked up, but this is someone I’ve known since I was 16, and I think on some weird level we’re still trying to work some things out. There will never be romance there, but there are other kinds of love to be had.

It’s about as complicated as a relationship can be.

Oh, my Lord, yes.

Lindsey Buckingham Soundstage with Stevie Nicks premieres

Soundstage featuring Lindsey Buckingham and special guest Stevie Nicks premiered  on PBS networks across the country on Thursday, September 8.

During the PBS performance, Nicks joined Buckingham for two songs, “Never Going Going Back Again” and “Say Goodbye.”

A DVD of the performance is available now for $19.95 through Soundstage.

Nicks gets by with a lotta help from her friends

By Cathalena E. Burch
Arizona Daily Star
Friday, December 7, 2001

PHOENIX — Stevie Nicks’ waited until taking her final bow before choking back a tear that was welling for the better part of her 2 1/2-hour show Thursday night.

“Take care of each other and be good to each other. Life is so fragile,” she said, referring to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York.

The 9,000 people loosely filling Nicks’ hometown arena cheered in support and allowed their favorite daughter a moment of emotional indulgence.

They owed her that much for helping them to forgot about the attacks, the war on terrorism and much else to do about the world outside of America West Arena.

Nicks and a few of her friends took the audience back to the cold war 1980s, before anyone had really heard of a madman named Osama bin Laden.

Thursday night’s show was a fund-raiser for the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation. But with the exception of State Attorney General Janet Napolitano and a suit-clad foundation official saying a few words, you never would have known that the evening was dedicated to such warm-and-fuzzy pursuits.

The audience came to see the legendary Nicks and her enviable cast of friends — Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham, Don Henley, Sheryl Crow and Natalie Maines.

From the opening chords of “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” Nicks turned back the clock 20 years, to the days when her ethereal, mystical voice ruled the radio.

Not daunted by age or the ever changing pop music landscape, she sounded and looked just as she had back then, sans the after-effects of heavy partying. She swirled, she twirled, she bent down in that swoop and turn that made everyone want to be a gypsy like her.

Granted, she didn’t bend as low as she did in her youth, but the magic was just as tangible.

And infectious.

Nicks barely uttered the first words of “Stand Back” when the crowd took over, their chorus overflowing the arena. They boldly and loudly sang along to every song she performed: “Edge of Seventeen,” “Rhiannon,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Enchanted.”

One by one she invited each of her special friends to share the mike on a song that forever ties them to Nicks: Henley on “Leather and Lace,” Maines on “Too Far From Texas,” Crow on “Sorcerer” and Buckingham on the classic “Landslide,” a song the pair dedicated to Nicks’ father, Jess.

As Buckingham picked the intricate notes on his guitar, Nicks let the words slip out like lines of poetry, softly and packed with the emotional weight they’ve carried since she penned the song 30 years ago.

The pair share a musical bond that can’t be broken, which could explain why they and their Fleetwood Mac bandmates, sans Christy McVie, are in the studio now recording a new album.

Nicks is forging new but seemingly just as solid bonds with her newest friends, Crow and Maines. She gushed over both women, crediting Crow with the very existence of her latest album, “Trouble in Shangri-La.” She said that after two days in the studio with Maines, she felt as if they pair had been performing together a lifetime.

Nicks also let her friends hog the spotlight individually, which gave Henley a chance to resurrect two of his classics: “End of the Innocence” and “Boys of Summer.” Buckingham jammed on the guitar and then invited Fleetwood to bang on the drums for a number.

But the applause was most deafening when Nicks was solo, spinning a tale of a “Gold Dust Woman” or asking the question “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You,” not anticipating an answer.

The crowd answered back by singing along.

For a little while, Sept. 11 and all that has come after it didn’t exist, and the tears that Stevie Nicks was holding back could just as easily have been tears of joy.

From the heart

By Leigh Flayton
City AZ
Friday, November 30, 2001

Local hero Stevie Nicks’ national tour culminates in a hometown show that’s dear to her family’s heart — it’s also the hottest ticket of the year.

She’s back. Phoenix’s favorite songbird returns home this December 6 to play her annual benefit concert for the Arizona Heart Institute at America West Arena. And, what can fans expect this year, whether they score the premium $1,000 tickets–which include access to the private post-concert party — or the more affordable, yet still intimate, seats throughout the venue?

We’ll have many of the same guests this year: Sheryl Crow, Don Henley, Lindsey Buckingham,” Nicks said recently via telephone. “They’re all my friends; they’re my circle.”

Also in attendance will be any of us who were smart enough to purchase tickets, for we will not only see a one-of-a-kind show, we’ll be supporting a terrific cause. The benefit concert is the passion of Stevie’s father, Jess Nicks — whose brother and mother died of heart disease — and who has suffered from the disease himself, along with Stevie’s mother, Barbara.

“My dad is almost 77 years old, and when you get to be 77 you get to thinking, ‘I better start doing all this,'” Nicks says. “He is determined to build heart hospitals, and these benefits keep him going because he really goes to work on this. It makes him young again.”

Last year’s show was a magical musical moment. Nicks sang unforgettable versions of her greatest works, including acoustic renderings of “Landslide” and “Gypsy”, with longtime friend, collaborator, and former lover Lindsey Buckingham. Also, many of the Nicks’ friends were onhand singing duets with her in addition to their own songs. Yet the best part was that every cent derived from the performance — titled “Stevie Nicks and Friends” — went to the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation’s efforts to eradicate heart disease, and to provide for advanced research into the treatments.

“It’s not like collecting funds that spray into the wind and you have no idea where they go,” Nicks says. “The second my father gets that money in his hand, he takes it to where it’s gotta go.”

Nicks has been benefiting millions with her music during the last three decades, beginning with her days with Fleetwood Mac. Since 1981, when her solo career took off upon the release of her first album, Bella Donna, she has been one of America’s premier artists — a fact that she takes very seriously.

Her dedication to what she does was almost usurped, like most Americans’, last fall. Nicks was on tour in New York on September 11, the 21st-century’s very own date of infamy. Four days later, her first performance since the attacks was scheduled for Atlantic City.

“It’s been very hard for me to be out on the road [since the attacks],” Nicks admits. “I thought about going home, because I just didn’t know that I could stand up there and smile. There were some days when I was calling home every day, really hysterical.” But Nicks got through that difficult first show. “It was hard to go back onstage. I have been very afraid, but we all have to get back on the plane. If we don’t, this country isn’t going to make it.”

That concern inspired Nicks to write a poem “We Get Back on the Plane” which she composed aboard the nerve-racking flight out of Atlantic City, which was accompanied by an F-16 fighter plane. When we spoke a week later, she admitted she had been “song creeping” around the piano, knowing she would soon set the words she wrote to music.

“My Mom and Dad keep going back to World War II,” Nicks says. “They keep saying, ‘You’re part of the USO right now; you must do this.’ I know that if we don’t get back to work, we’re in huge trouble.”

So Stevie Nicks — the artist — took her own advice and got back to work. “I told the audience in Atlantic City to ‘let us let the music just take us away,'” she says. And, she admits, it did.

Nicks says she knows that music does make a difference, and now, during the height of the greatest American crisis in a generation, she still believes music can help change the world.

“During Desert Storm I received a flag from one of the first tanks that went in,” she recalls. “They were listening to my music and they made a very big deal to me about how important it was, to listen to my records. Entertainment — per se — is really uplifting. And now, of course, all my songs take on a different meaning.”

Nicks has said she’s made sacrifices in her pursuit of the artist’s life, but her returns have meant so much to her listeners as well as for herself. She says she “knows” when she’s written something particularly meaningful; usually because it happens so quickly.

I knew at the end of “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You”, I knew at the end of “Landslide”, and I knew at the end of “Love Is” from the new album,” she admits about realizing the brilliance of her songwriting. “I do have a feeling of it because what happens with songs is, sometimes you get halfway through and stop. Something isn’t right.”

But sometimes, according to Nicks, it’s a flawless process.

“There are ones that just flow out with no problem,” she admits. “I really did write a poem called “We Get Back On the Plane”, and I don’t know when I’m going to write it [as a song]. I might write it; I could write it. Those songs all have a really great story; they all have a real reason to be written. The ones that are really memorable are the ones that give that feeling of I have to do this. And, it’s going to be forever.”

Like the heart hospitals Jess Nicks is determined to build, this year’s teaming of Nicks & Nicks will be yet another gift to the Valley. Jess will take his annual seat in the front row and beam — no doubt — as our desert angel takes the stage.

For tickets call 602.266.2200 ext. 4619 or go to http://www.azheart.com.