BY WILLIAM SOKOLIC
Stevie Nicks admits she's led a double life since the early 1980s. In one life, the ethereal singer stands front and center as a mainstay of the celebrated Fleetwood Mac. In the other, she flies solo.
And she couldn't be happier with the two sides of Stevie Nicks. The crossover keeps the juices flowing, keeps boredom at bay.
"Now I go back and forth and it's proved quite wonderful for me. I do Fleetwood Mac till I'm run ragged. I run ragged till the music plays out as Stevie Nicks. It's worked well all these many years," she said in a phone interview last week.
The solo Stevie Nicks brings her entourage to the Etess Arena at Trump Taj Mahal tonight as part of a very short tour this month, which included an earlier benefit concert for a cancer-stricken girl in Santa Barbara.
Meantime, Nicks has been busy in the studio recording her first solo album of new material since "Trouble in Shangri-La" in 2001, with the Eurhythmics' Dave Stewart as producer.
An Arizona native, Nicks has sold over 120 million albums, both solo and with Fleetwood Mac. She has seven Grammy nominations and, with Fleetwood Mac, won a Grammy for Album of the Year for "Rumours." As a member of Fleetwood Mac, Nicks was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
With an almost ten year lag, Nicks said she wasn't going to make a new record. "But I woke up one day and said "I'll do it even if only one person buys it."
And she's glad she came to that conclusion. "I'm having the best experience I've ever had," Nicks said.
Working with Stewart on songs together was a first, she said.
"I've never written before with anyone in the same room. It never appealed to me. But this opened my eyes why Lennon and McCartney did this great writing as a team," she said.
Stewart also provides something Nicks lacks when creating a song: an almost endless supply of chords. "I know four chords on guitar and not as many on piano. Imagine what I can do with ten chords," she said.
The expanded musical vocabulary translates to expanded lyrical capacity as well. "I go through my poetry and pick something out. With Dave, I'm able to get more of each poem in there. I get these great whole stories in the songs," she said.
So far, she's worked on nine songs with Stewart. "The songs are spectacular. Another five were just mine. Once we weave it all together, it'll be fantastic," she said.
Don't expect Nicks to preview any of the spectacular songs in Atlantic City. "I never do songs I'm working on. Otherwise they'll be on YouTube the next day."
Nicks also believes playing new songs short changes the audience.
"If I go see my favorite band and they take out "Rhiannon" and "Stand Back" to put new ones in I would be disappointed. You can't make people listen to a bunch of new material no matter how good it is. I learned that a long time ago. We did that with (Fleetwood Mac's) "Rumours" tour and we almost got booed off stage."
Next year when the album comes out, she'll do up to three new numbers on stage.
The as-yet untitled record will debut 30 years after Nicks' first release, "Bella Donna," which yielded such hits as "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," "Leather and Lace," "Edge of Seventeen" and "After the Glitter Fades."
As for the other side of Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac is on hold right now. "When I'm done with this project I'll go back to Fleetwood Mac. I'm loyal to the group. I love my band," she said.
Stevie Nicks performs at 8 tonight at Etess Arena at Trump Taj Mahal, 1000 Boardwalk. Ticket are $116, $96 and $76 and can be obtained by either calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420, on the web at www.ticketmaster.com or in person at the Taj Box Office. For box office hours and more information call (609) 449-5150.