by Karman Kregloe, Editor in Chief
AfterEllen.com was recently invited to participate in a group interview with Stevie Nicks, who has been on tour in support of In Your Dreams, her first album in a decade. Nicks spoke to a group of LGBT journalists (their questions are also included below) about her extensive songbook, the current tour, her gay fan base and, of course, Glee.
When it was my turn to ask a question, I naturally led with Brittana. As you can see by her answer to that question and the others pertaining to the show, Nicks is a hardcore fan who is invested in all of the character's storylines. In this engaging interview with six journalists who were all unabashed and longtime fans, Nicks talked about her musical career, her favorite song on the new CD and why she's considering writing a memoir.
On when she first noticed that she had a significant LGBT following:
I mean, I have a lot of gay friends. So that’s, you know, one side of the whole thing. But then the other side is the Night of 1000 Stevies. ... Somebody said did you know that there is this big like major party that goes on every year in New York that’s called the Night of 1000 Stevies? And I’m going, "What? What is that?" And so they explained it to me. And I’m thinking that’s pretty damn cool. And then it — that’s what? Twenty years ago? So that really was when I really realized that my music was really appealing to all my gay fans. And my goodness, this party has become historical, I think. And so, really, that was the beginning. And it was a long, long time ago. And who knew? I mean, I think when I was first told about it. I thought this would be something that would be a great thing that would happen maybe twice. And then it is still going on. So I’m thrilled.
On how she feels about her music reaching an entirely new audience of (very young) fans via Glee:
It's pretty thrilling. First of all, I had been watching Glee from the very beginning. And, like we all do, we have our favorite TV shows that we totally look forward to. And if we can’t watch them that night we make sure we tape them.
And so I have been watching Glee since it first came on. So when I found out that they were doing "Landslide," and that Gwyneth Paltrow was going to come in and play her Holly Holiday character and she was going to sing it and Santana and Brittany were going to sing with her, I was just so knocked out. And I said, "Well, can I go?"
I am in LA and people said, "Well, sure you can." So I went. And I hung out there for six or seven hours and really spent the whole day with them and sat with the writers and watched them film it over and over again from every different angle and was so, first of all, just thrilled to be there, and thrilled that I got to interact with all the kids whom I can hardly call by their real names, because to me they have become the characters.
And to just totally sit there and enjoy that; and then the greatest thing was when it was over, when they were done, they all came and like grouped around me. And Lea Michelle, Rachel, said, "You know what? Nobody has ever done this. I mean how many great old songs from the ‘70s and the ‘80s and the ‘60s have we done? And nobody, none of those artists have ever called us or come down or sent us some roses or anything, or taken any kind of notice whatsoever that we did like an amazing version of I don’t know, let’s just pick one, 'Jessie’s Girl.' That nobody ever, ever acknowledged that." And I thought that was so sad.
So, of course I sent them huge flowers. And then when they did the Rumours thing — what a favor they did for me by putting that out the same day that my record came out. I thought that was like so lovely of them. So I sent more flowers to my Glee children. And I said, "A day without Glee is like a day without sunshine." And so I have a real relationship with them now. And I really treasure it.
On whether she'd like to see Brittany and Santana end up together on Glee:
As the "always about love" person, I want — in the story, of course — I want them to be happy whoever they are with. So if that is going to be Santana and Brittany, then I am thrilled. If that is going to be Artie and Brittany, then I am thrilled. It’s like I don’t really have an opinion because I am looking at it as a real story.
And in real stories things work out because of what is in the hearts of man, you know? I don’t look at it as I want it to work out because it is a gay relationship on TV. Or I want it to work out because it’s a relationship with a guy in a wheelchair. I want it to work out because it is right for the characters.
I want the storyline — I want them to all be happy. So I don’t have a preference of how I want it to end up. And also I don’t really — I always want to be surprised, because I am a writer. So coming from a writer’s point of view I want to never know what is going to happen.
On what she thinks of the "new pop divas" Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Pink:
Oh you know what? I love Katy Perry. And I just think she is so interesting. She is very eclectic and interesting. And I think she is a really good songwriter, so that really makes me like her even more. Her "E.T." song, the "k-k-kiss me" one, I love. I just love it.
I really like Lady Gaga because I think that she is a girl with a plan. And I’ve seen her. I’ve watched her put her plan together and really just work that plan.
I was once a girl with a plan. So I understand that. And sometimes the girls with the plans are the ones that really manage to break through. And I think she is a very good songwriter. And I think she is a very much a performance artist like Elton John. And I think that that will hold her very strong over the next many years if she decides that she wants to really do this. She’s only in her very, very early 20s. If she still wants to be doing this when she is 60, I think she can. Some people, not so much. But Lady Gaga — I call her "Ga" — she will absolutely be able to do it.
Pink has been around a long time. And I know her pretty well. And I love her to death. And I am so excited because she must be just ready to have her baby, or she is on the way to the hospital. [Ed. note: Pink gave birth to a baby girl later that day.] And she is another girl that is a really great songwriter and also loves being a performance artist. I ran into her when she was taking the trapeze lessons. And I’m afraid of heights, so I just can’t even imagine. And she was so into it. She was like, "I’m going to be good at this! I’m not only going to hang upside down and sing. But I’m going to really be good at it." And I’m like, "My hat is off to you."
So from the three that you just said, I think they are all just quite amazing girls.
On whether she'll ever write a memoir and, if so, what tidbits might be included:
I think if I were to do that, which I'd consider, I would never write a creepy, tell-all book. I would write a vignette book where one chapter would be Peace Sunday, which was 100,000 people. And I would tell you what happened on that day. And one chapter would be the day I met Lindsey [Buckingham]. And one chapter would be the day that Mick Fleetwood called and asked us to join Fleetwood Mac.
And one vignette would be — oh my God — the day I got my record deal; the day I got signed to Atlantic for Bella Donna. It’s those kinds of things, when I look back on them, that were so exciting. And there are pages and pages and pages to be written about each one of those things. And then there would be, "My name is Stevie Nicks. I fell in love with a boy named Baby Joe when I was three. And I did it in Ajo, Arizona at my grandmother’s public swimming pool. And I never got over it."
My story would be all the really funny and fun — and then it would go to, "My name is Stevie Nicks. I live at the top of Mulholland. If you follow the fog you will find me." That’s what my book would be. I would have bits of art in it. I would have a lot of poetry in it. I would have self-portraits. I have taken 3,000 of them down through the last, oh, twenty minutes.
I would have — it would be like a real trippy adventure book through my life. I would never sit down and write a horrific exposé. I probably would leave a lot of the bad stuff out. And if I did talk about the bad stuff I would talk about it in a very philosophic way as to help people instead of scare people. So I am really seriously considering it.
On being a "survivor" and the source of her strength:
I think I attribute it to the fact that I am not, and never have been, a quitter. I do not walk away in the face of adversity and never have.I also don’t listen to people who don’t think I’m right about my music, or really I actually don’t listen to people about anything. My mom said to me from when I was like in the fifth grade, "Well I hope that you get a job where you are the boss, because you don’t really like anybody to tell you what to do. And so you should definitely be the boss."
And I took what she said very much to heart. And that’s why I said, "I’m going to be a lead singer not a background singer. And when I went into Fleetwood Mac, Christine [McVie] and I, we really realized that because there were two of us, that we really were a force of nature and that we were never going to be treated like second-class citizens in the rock-and-roll business.
So if we walked into the room, we were going to be just as respected as Eric Clapton or Robert Plant or any of those guys, and that we were never, ever going to let anybody treat us any less. And we didn’t. And that was the great thing about being in Fleetwood Mac, especially for that first 15 years. Because after that, everybody respected us and we didn’t have to call out for that respect anymore.
But in the beginning it was like we really had to make a statement. And we did. And that’s why when Chris left it was very hard for me, because together we were so strong. And then when she left, it sort of became the boys’ club, which was not near as cool as when she was there. And I missed her terribly because of that.
But we did. We set down rules. And it works. If you walk in the room with that kind of an attitude, a good attitude but a strong attitude — a sort of "don’t mess with me attitude" (but in a good way) — you can get so far. If you even bow your head one little bit and people see it, then you’re toast.
On her favorite song that she's written over the course of her career:
Oh, that is hard. Because I have different favorites at different times in my life. And that doesn’t necessarily mean like I put out an album and one of the songs on that album is now my favorite song. It doesn’t mean that at all. It just means that whatever is happening to me in my life kind of tends to move me towards what might be my favorite song to sing on stage.
Right now, for me, my favorite song is "Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream)" [from In Your Dreams]. But part of that song was written in the mid-’70s, so that — it’s kind of an ancient song that travels down through time between Lindsay and Stevie and Edward and Bella. So for right now that’s my favorite.
On her recent birthday concert at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles (I mentioned to her that I had attended it) and her ability to connect with an audience during a performance:
I’m so glad you saw that show, because only 2,000 people did see it. And luckily we filmed it because we — Dave Stewart and I — both said, "What if this turns into like The Last Waltz or, you know, like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and, you know, Rolling Thunder or something?"
And because we didn’t know; we only had like a couple days to rehearse. And it was really — we were flying by the seat of our pants on that show, actually. And it did turn into probably one of the top three most magical things that I have ever been involved in.
And what I always try to do is make the audience feel like they are in my living room. And I was able to tell the audience — for that show I was able to really say,"This is going to be a long show. So hunker down because I’m going to tell you all the stories of these new songs. And I’ll probably tell you a few stories about the old songs and how they tie into each other and the thread — the golden thread that runs through the old songs and through the new songs. And I’m going to take the time to do that because this is a showcase. This is not a normal show."
And so you were actually my friends and you’re just sitting in my living room. And we’re like hanging out. And I’m just playing you all my demos, because that is what I do. I mean that is what I do at my house. I sit in my living room and I play my new music for all my friends.
I play it for them in each stage, from the very beginning all the way to the end. And that’s what I tried to do at the Wiltern on Thursday. And I always think it works if you stand up there and you open up your arms and you just say, you know, I love you guys. And I really do. I am not making a big joke out of that. I really do love you.
I really am so proud and honored that you are here tonight and that you still want to sit here and listen to my music just blows my mind. And I think that the audience feels like when you are sitting with a group of friends that you really care about.
So when I walk on stage, I make a real effort to make that really warm friendship feeling happen. And I think if you can get people to feel that way, then you can get them to be open to what you do.