Stevie Nicks: timeless, tireless
BY DAN FIRESTONE BLADE STAFF WRITER
BY DAN FIRESTONE BLADE STAFF WRITER
When Stevie Nicks last performed in Toledo, a thunderstorm threatened to blow her and her band right out of town.
"It blew so hard it almost knocked some of our set down," Nicks said in a phone interview, recalling her appearance at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre in 2008, which finally began after a downpour delayed the show for almost two hours. "Of course I remember. But you know it turned out to be a magical night."
The rock and roll legend returns this week, with no worries about weather conditions. Her concert is scheduled for Friday at the Huntington Center.
Nicks, calling from her home near Phoenix last week, is embarking on a tour to promote her seventh studio solo album, "In Your Dreams." It debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard charts, an impressive showing in a business dominated by younger artists.
At 63, the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman never seems to stop working, either on her solo career or with the band that shot her to superstar status in the 1970s. She did a mini-tour earlier this year with Rod Stewart. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer seems everywhere these days, with guest appearances on all of TV’s top competition shows.
It’s hard to imagine that it’s been nearly 40 years since she and then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham joined three remaining members of the English-based Fleetwood Mac and skyrocketed to success with a run of best-selling albums, most notably "Rumours," which sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.
Nicks released her first solo album, "Bella Donna" in 1981 and it went to No. 1 and spawned the hits "Edge of Seventeen," "Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around" (with Tom Petty), and "Leather and Lace" (with Don Henley). She’s overcome battles with drug addiction to develop a career that spans generations, which she discussed in a recent interview.
How do you approach writing songs, because you’ve often said you don’t write for your generation?
I try to make my music as timeless as possible. I don’t think that any of my songs are directed to people in their 70s. My songs are directed towards the whole world. I think love in many ways, when you’re writing about it, is not different. When I fell in love with the first guy I fell in love with at 15½ and I wrote my first little love song and told my mom and dad I was going to be a songwriter, I was in love with that guy at 15½ [in the same way] as I have been in love with anyone since.
So when I write, that’s how I write, I look back to 15 and come up to how old I am now and I see so many similarities. I don’t think a lot of things change. I think a lot of people think it does. I write for people who think love is timeless.
Well, I do actually watch these shows when I’m able. But in this day and age, the media is television. I don’t have a computer so I’m not really a part of the Internet world. It’s not something I think is a good thing and I think everyone down the road is going to agree with me, so I don’t have one. We went about it this way — how can we get this record out to people besides going on tour and phone interviews and in-person interviews? — so we got the offers from these TV shows.
Would you try out for a show like American Idol if you were a young singer just starting out?
If Lindsey and I had moved to Los Angeles today and we were trying to a get record deal — which would be very hard, I believe honestly, because record deals are few and far between and record companies have no money — they would have said to Lindsey and I, ‘So can you make a dance record?’ And we would say, ‘No.’ ‘Can you make a performance-artist record like Lady Gaga?’
And Lindsey would have just stormed out. The record companies would have said to Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, ‘Who are you guys? What is your music? Are you like a rockabilly act? Folk music? Texas rock and roll? What the heck are you?’
Of course Lindsey would have been so not pleased, like ‘Of course you should know who we are!’ and I would have been kicking him under the table and saying of course they don’t get it. So would we do one of these shows under these circumstances? Absolutely.
You and Lindsey haven’t been together personally for decades but you remain together musically. Has it come full circle where you enjoy working together again with someone you will be linked with forever?
Forever. Lindsey and I had a really wonderful experience making "Soldier’s Angel" on this record. Because it was one song I had made a demo of in January and we just couldn’t get it. We tried to record it with the whole band and we just couldn’t get it. It’s brutal and it’s honest. So finally we were coming to the end and I said we need to call Lindsey or it’s not going to make the record because it is my sacred, revered song on this record. [Producer Dave Stewart, of Eurythmics fame] said let’s call Lindsey.
He came a month later and we recorded it. We had an amazing time. We recorded it and then he came back and added a little guitar and some harmony on the last three choruses. Lindsey walked into the world of Dave Stewart and Stevie Nicks and really enjoyed it. How can you not because it is so much fun. Dave was filming him all through the song [for a documentary.] So when he left it was like a big warm hug from Lindsey and he and I felt we had come back to as close to Buckingham Nicks than we had been since 1973.
Your duets are among the most well-known in rock history. Of course you started out as a duo with Lindsey and had huge hits with Tom Petty, Don Henley, and Kenny Loggins. And now you have a great duet with Dave Stewart, "Cheaper than Free," one of the new album’s best songs. Is there somebody, you’d still like to do a duet with?
Well, you know I actually just sang with someone after The Voice. I went to the Hollywood Bowl with Maroon 5 and Adam Levine and did "Leather and Lace" and it was fantastic and we had an amazing time. The woman I would love to sing with would be Vanessa Carlton, my favorite girl singer. I definitely think Vanessa and I will do a record one of these days. There are a lot of people I would love to sing a song with. I’m a harmony singer.
Will we ever get read the stories of your life, much the way Mick Fleetwood did a few years back with his book? Will we get your perspective?
I’ve had many offers to write a book. If I write a book it would not be nasty tell-all book, it would be a really fun book, like vignettes telling all the amazing parts of my life. I don’t think I would drag everybody through the parts that weren’t very much fun. I would touch on them, but I would mostly concentrate on the fact that here I am and how wonderful it is to be my age and to just release a solo record and still have Fleetwood Mac on the back burner. It’s pretty amazing and I look back over it and I would love to share that with people, so, yeah, it’s a possibility.
And this tour is going to offer a lot of the new album, right?
I’m doing six news songs and I’m very excited about it. We did a showcase concert in Los Angeles and I’m doing the same set that I did that night. It’s tried and true. It worked and we got great reviews and it was so fulfilling to know people loved the new songs. They said we loved the old songs but we love the new songs.
Show time for Stevie Nicks’ concert Friday at the Huntington Center in downtown Toledo is 8 p.m. Remaining tickets — after service charges — are $58.65, $80.35, and $101.35. They are available at all Ticketmaster outlets,www.ticketmaster.com, the Huntington Center box office, and by phone at 800-745-3000.