Stevie Nicks Shares a Dozen Stories at L.A. Performance
Billboard Magazine by Phil Gallo, L.A.
Steve Nicks entertained and educated high school students and fans Wednesday at two sessions at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. She touched on everything from her childhood to her recently released album "In Your Dreams," providing the audience with imitations of her Fleetwood Mac bandmates Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham, tales of poverty and success and revelations about her past. Here are a dozen she shared.
1. "Moonlight" -- currently her favorite song on the new album "In Your Dreams" -- was written after she saw "The Twilight Saga: New Moon." "I saw it while we were on the road with Fleetwood Mac in Australia. I was so taken by the movie that I wrote a five-page essay after seeing it and went back to see it the next night in Brisbane. I had a piano in my room and I wrote ("Moonlight")."
2. There is music in the vaults from the "Fleetwood Mac" and "Rumours" sessions. "Lots of stuff -- lots of songs that turned into other songs. It could get released some day."
3. On the making of Fleetwood Mac's double album "Tusk" in 1979: "'Tusk' was 13 months at Village Recorders. Lindsey had tusks on the wall and all these weird Polaroids. I thought this must be what hell is like. With speakers. I felt like I was watching weirdo spirits. It's a lot more fun to tell stories about that record than it was to live through it."
5. In 2005, after the Fleetwood Mac "Say You Will" tour, Nicks wanted to make a solo album. "I was told by people in the industry now is not a good time to make a record. Your best bet is to stay on tour and get while the getting is good. I was so overwhelmed by that. It was the first time anyone had ever told me that I shouldn't (make music). I was horrified. But if I had done a record then, maybe I wouldn't have done this record ("In Your Dreams")."
7. She would love to record a song with Lyle Lovett.
8. Key influences: Grandfather was a country musician; she loved pop-R&B she heard on the radio in the fourth, fifth and sixth grade; and her parents would play Mahalia Jackson records on weekends.
9. The practice of getting gifts -- stuffed animals, flowers, scarves, etc., -- from fans at the end of a show began on the tour for "Bella Donna" at the former Beverly Wilshire Theater in Beverly Hills. "Some times when I start a show I feel too tired to do it because sometimes it takes 15 minutes to go across the front of the stage. But even if my back is breaking I do it. And I'll always do it. If it's important to the fans then it's important to me."
10. Her traveling makeup kit has a photograph she took with George Harrison in 1977 in Hana, Hawaii.
11. Songs she wanted to sing when she arrived in Los Angeles in the early 1970s: The Beatles' "Yesterday," James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" and Kenny Loggins' "Danny's Song."
12. Her favorite venue on the recent tour was San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium. "I saw Janis Joplin there and Jimi Hendrix and I wondered how I was going to get from the floor to the stage. (The owners) know what they have and they have kept it (intact). You can feel the spirits of the past. I'd love to go up there and do 15 shows."
Stevie Nicks Sings and Talks Fleetwood Mac, Solo Career to Fans and Students at Grammy Museum Event
Waddy Wachtel and Stevie Nicks listen to a question from a high school student at the Grammy Museum Wednesday during its "Backstage Pass" session.
Stevie Nicks spent Wednesday afternoon and evening discussing her career and ambitions for the future for two different audiences at Los Angeles' Grammy Museum. She first spoke to 200 high school students about songwriting and her career, and then to an audience of fans. She performed three songs for the students -- "Landslide," "For What It's Worth" from her recent "In Your Dreams" album, and "Rhiannon" -- doing the same at the evening session but adding "Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)."
"I went to San Jose State for five years, majoring in speech communication and psychology. I was going to be some kind of teacher," Nicks said. "Doing this with this type of program [with students] makes me realize I would have loved it. It's a real cool give-and-take thing. It also makes me feel like I would have been a really great mother."
Interviewed by museum executive director Robert Santelli, Nicks was forthcoming about joining Fleetwood Mac in early 1975. "We met at a Mexican restaurant," she recalled. "I thought 'These people are a riot" -- the stress of working with Lindsey Buckingham after their romance broke up and the way she has balanced songwriting, a solo career and Fleetwood Mac tours.
"Lindsey is my miserable muse, which is important to have," she said.
"I was told by people in the industry: 'Now is not a good time to make a record,' " she said. " 'Your best bet is to stay on tour and get while the getting is good.' I was so overwhelmed by that. It was the first time anyone had ever told me that I shouldn't [make music]. I was horrified. But if I had done a record then, maybe I wouldn't have done ['In Your Dreams']."
Having finished the album -- her first in a decade -- and two tours this year, Nicks said she would like to explore two visual media projects: Turning the mythological stories of Rhiannon into a film and making a cartoon out of "Goldfish and the Ladybug," a song and children's story that she's had on back burner for decades.
Nicks brought members of her band with her, including veteran guitarist Waddy Wachtel, who was being followed by a film crew for the day (who were filming a documentary, details of which were elusive). Wachtel told the kids the story of the evolution of the late Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London": It started with Phil Everly giving Zevon the title, who then mentioned it to Wachtel, who wrote the first verse, basically as a joke. Zevon then finished the song with LeRoy Marinell. The extra connection to Nicks? Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood and John McVie backed Zevon on the original recording with Wachtel.
"Moonlight" Live... Stevie alone at the piano: