Q&A: Stevie Nicks

Fleetwood Mac’s singer on their new tour, turning 60 and making mixtapes
By Austin Scaggs
Rolling Stone
Thursday, March 5, 2009

‘IT STILL GIVES ME GOOSE bumps, and it still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up,” says Stevie Nicks, who is eagerly anticipating the first Fleetwood Mac tour in five years, which kicks off on March 1st in Pittsburgh. And later in the month, Nicks is releasing a DVD, Live in Chicago, and a concert CD, The Soundstage Sessions. With her dog barking in the background, Nicks checks in from her home in Los Angeles: “We still feel like Fleetwood Mac have a lot to give to the world. In this time of trouble and turmoil, I think the world needs Fleetwood Mac.”

What’s the latest from the Mac rehearsals?

I don’t want to give the set list away, but it’s pretty exciting. The fact that we haven’t been on tour since 2004 makes every song sound fresh. It’s just bang, bang, bang — all fantastic songs. We always start with the staples: “Go Your Own Way,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Rhiannon” and “Dreams.” We will play one song we’ve never done at all. If I were going to see Fleetwood Mac, this is definitely the set I’d want to see. It’s like a big steam locomotive that doesn’t stop until we walk offstage.

How are you getting along with Lindsey Buckingham?

When Lindsey and I aren’t getting along, nobody’s getting along. We haven’t had one disagreement since we started rehearsing. And instead of treating me like his miserable old ex, he’s treating me like his difficult but beloved older daughter. He’s been very sweet.

How often do you speak with Christine McVie?

We check in with each other, but we can’t hang out, because she lives in England, and she won’t fly. The only time I’ve seen Chris since 1998 was when we did three nights in London in 2003. I miss her every day. But we’ve all finally started to accept that nothing could make Chris go back out on the road.

Last May you turned 60. How do you feel about that?

I don’t feel any different at 60 than I felt at 50. Age is a state of mind. You can either get old or not get old.

On the “Live in Chicago” DVD you’re joined by Vanessa Carlton on a couple of songs. What other artists of her generation do you mentor?

I love Vanessa — I feel like she’s an adopted child, in a way. And Michelle Branch and I had dinner the night before last. I have a lot of information for all of these women. I should do a “Dear Stevie” column in ROLLING STONE. When Mariah Carey was going through all her craziness a few years ago, I wrote her a long letter telling her how everybody else is crazy — not her. I saw her recently, and she told me she keeps the letter with her jewelry! I love that.

What’s wrong with the record business today?

The Internet has destroyed it. I miss buying an album and lying on the floor for three days and going over it with a magnifying glass. I still go to the record store and spend hours there and buy a bigbag of CDs. I don’t have a computer or a cellphone, because I don’t want to be that available to anybody. I’m all about mystery. Little girls think it’s necessary to put all their business on MySpace and Facebook, and I think it’s a shame.

You’ve always made mixtapes on cassette. Do you still do that?

That’s how I do it. Cassettes sound so much better. And I’m deaf as a doornail, so I like to crank my little boombox.

What songs are worthy of a Stevie Nicks mixtape?

I was just in Hawaii, and I made a mix called “Lahaina Twilight.” It’s got songs by the Goo Goo Dolls, Jackson Browne, Sting, Coldplay, Tom Petty, the Fray, Snow Patrol.

What albums do you lore in their entirety?

I don’t, usually. In the beginning, I was inspired by songwriters like Jackson Browne, David Crosby, the Eagles, Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield — those are the people I learned from. And I probably listened to Joni Mitchell’s For the Roses, Blue and Court and Spark a hundred million times. But now, I can’t listen to a whole album unless it’s a Fleetwood Mac record, where I made sure that every song is spectacular. Sequencing is my forte. I sequenced Rumours. Lindsey doesn’t like to admit it, but he will admit it.

Last year, Sheryl Crow claimed that she would be part of the 2009 Fleetwood Mac tour, but Buckingham later denied it. What really happened?

It was absolutely discussed and she was absolutely invited to join. The reason was because I missed Christine [McVie] so much, and I wanted another woman in the band — it’s hard to be in the boys’ club. I explained to Sheryl what it was like to be in the group — that it’s all-encompassing. Like, on 2003’s Say You Will tour, we went out expecting to do 40 shows, and it turned into 135 shows. So Sheryl called me and said, “I’ll have to pass.” As Stevie Nicks, I was disappointed. As her friend, I told her she made the right decision. Sheryl Crow passed on Fleetwood Mac — I want that out there.

What are the origins of your patented onstage twirl?

A lot of ballet and a lot of dance. I wanted to be a ballerina, but I realized I was not going to be Pavlova, so I became a rock singer instead.

PHOTO (COLOR) [removed from article]: UNBROKEN CHAIN Nicks and Fleetwood Mack kick off their first tour in five years on March 1st.

Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Lenny Kravitz on new Sheryl Crow LP

By Corey Moss
MTV News
Thursday, January 10, 2002

All of Sheryl Crow’s collaborating over the last couple of years apparently gave the singer some ideas for her fourth studio album.

The as-yet-untitled follow-up to 1998’s The Globe Sessions, due in late March, will include contributions from several big-name artists, including Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Lenny Kravitz and the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines, according to Crow’s Interscope Records spokesperson. “Soak up the Sun,” the album’s first single, is due in February and features additional vocals by fellow female rocker (and could-be twin sister) Liz Phair.

Nicks, who appeared on Crow’s 1999 live album, Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live From Central Park , sings on “You’re Not the One.” Crow and Nicks recently collaborated on Nicks’ Trouble in Shangri-La (2001), sharing vocals on “It’s Only Love.” Crow also produced several tracks on Nicks’ record.

Eagles singer Henley, who’s among the artists Crow sang backup for early on in her career, appears on the track “It’s So Easy.” Kravitz sings on “You’re an Original,” and Maines adds her signature twang to “Abilene.” Crow and Maines performed several songs together at a breast cancer benefit in Los Angeles last fall, including Crow’s “It Don’t Hurt”. Maines’ Dixie Chicks also appear on Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live From Central Park.

Other guests on the upcoming album are folk and country veteran Emmylou Harris (“Weather Channel”) and blues guitarist Doyle Bramhall II (“Steve McQueen,” “Over You”).

Since the release of The Globe Sessions, which featured the single “My Favorite Mistake,” Crow has recorded with an array of artists, from Tony Bennett to Kid Rock .

While recording in New York last summer, Crow played several high-profile club shows that included many of the guests on her album along with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards .

In other Crow news, she was just added to the list of presenters for the American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. The show will be broadcast live on ABC.

Tentative track list for Sheryl Crow’s upcoming album, according to her spokesperson:

* “Steve McQueen”
* “Soak up the Sun”
* “You’re an Original”
* “It’s So Easy”
* “Over You”
* “It’s Only Love”
* “Weather Channel”
* “You’re Not the One”
* “Missing”
* “Abilene”
* “Slave”
* “Safe and Sound”

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.

The latest Fleetwood Mac ‘Rumours’: Crow is joining

New York Daily News
Thursday, October 25, 2001

Fleetwood Mac has not stopped thinking about tomorrow.

Word has it that Sheryl Crow will join the ’70s rock band and fill the slot originally occupied by Christine McVie, who retired a few years ago to the English countryside.

Remaining Mac members Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks are said to be working on new material, and Crow’s participation is seen as a positive step. She already has a close working relationship with Nicks, and is an accomplished keyboard player (she once taught piano). This makes her a perfect replacement for Christine, ex-wife of John and the band’s original keyboardist.

Reached last night in Manhattan, a rep for the band said: “The only discussion I know about Crow and Fleetwood Mac is for Crow to open for the band when they tour again. A rep for Crow was unaware of the news but promised to look into it.

Sheryl Crow not a new member of Fleetwood Mac

By Sue Falco and Bruce Simon
Yahoo! Entertainment News
Thursday October 25, 2001

Fleetwood Mac is working on a new album, engaged in its first recording sessions since singer-keyboardist Christine McVie left after the band’s last tour. While there are published rumors that Sheryl Crow might replace McVie in the group’s lineup, representative for Crow has denied that she would be joining the group. Drummer and founding member Mick Fleetwood says that while there are no hard feelings, Fleetwood Mac is more than willing to go on without McVie.

“Just the four of us are going to continue and we’ll augment the band for live performance,” he says. “We’re blessed that we have a lot of material that Stevie (Nicks) and Lindsey (Buckingham) are way capable of demonstrating, and it will be a different band to some extent. As of the moment, no, there’s been no thought of adding anyone. Stevie’s had a lot of fun working and touring a lot with Sheryl Crow…and…I don’t anticipate anything like that happening. We’re certainly not planning to do that, and that’s where we’re at.”

The new Fleetwood Mac album isn’t expected until well into next year.