Stevie Nicks on Why Payback Is Coming For Trump Post-Coronavirus and Plans for New Album
"I never thought that I would’ve gone underground so heavily as I have," says Nicks of struggling to find inspiration amidst the pandemic.
When Stevie Nicks was my age, she tells me, she had just joined Fleetwood Mac at 27.
“I remember the phone call,” she says, calling from her Los Angeles home’s landline late on Saturday night. “I remember scheduling a dinner the next day and meeting for Mexican food somewhere in Hollywood where it was all decided. It’s just like yesterday to me; I can smell the amazing smells of enchiladas and tacos and tamales, and see all of their beautiful faces. We were so young, but it just seems like I could reach out and touch that night.”
Now, Nicks is 72 -- and enjoying the unexpected return of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and Rumours back on the charts at No. 12 on the Hot 100 and No. 7 on the Billboard 200, respectively. Meanwhile, Nicks herself just topped the Billboard Songwriter’s Chart.
It’s all thanks to the now famous TikTok; yes, that one with user doggface208 longboarding and sipping some Ocean Spray while vibing out to “Dreams.” Since he posted it to the platform, the clip has raked in 65.5 million views, and inspired everyone from Mick Fleetwood, Shakira and even Nicks herself to join in with their own renditions.
She says she’s “tickled pink” at the virality of her decades-old hit, and shares one important piece of advice: “If the young kids start listening to Fleetwood Mac, start with the first album and just go through them. Sit down and be in it for the long run, and you’ll have the best time.”
She also relates the moment currently being experienced by doggface208 (real name: Nathan Apodaca) to her own unexpected early-'70s breakthrough with Fleetwood Mac. “We all do silly, creative dumb things that we never think anybody is going to care about, and the fact that [this TikTok user] just reached out to the entire world with his 10-second ride… his life will never be the same. In a strange way, it’s kind of like when Lindsey and I joined [the band] and we had no money -- and I do mean no money -- and within eight months, together we were almost a millionaire.”
Now, Nicks is a millionaire many times over on her own accord, and has celebrated one victory after the next throughout her career, whether historic accomplishments like becoming the first (and still only) woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice, or personal triumphs like participating in her first Zoom during the ongoing pandemic (she says the concept is “terrifying”).
And even though the icon has made her hatred of our current reality well known -- she refuses to contract the coronavirus, saying “I have put a clear plastic ring of angels around my body” -- she’s still managed to find pockets of creativity this year, resulting in her anticipated concert film, Live In Concert: The 24 Karat Gold Tour, which hit select theaters and drive-ins for two nights only last weekend, and powerful new pop-rock single, “Show Them The Way,” her first piece of new music in six years.
With so much to celebrate, it’s odd for Nicks to be lounging at home. “One more reason to hate this pandemic is that if this hadn’t been going on, I would have been out in the world [right now],” she says. “The only connection that I really have to all of this is doing these interviews.”
How does it feel to be back in the spotlight while also stuck at home?
I will tell you, it’s hard during this pandemic because I am not really on social media. I don't have a computer; I have, of course, my assistant, but I’m not in that world. I’m not on Instagram or TikTok -- even though our little “Dreams” thing is now on TikTok and I have watched tons and tons of little TikTok things, but that’s everybody else showing it to me. So what I have noticed, that I think is really so unfortunate -- I mean, one more thing that’s unfortunate with this pandemic -- is if you’re not on social media, and you do what I’ve just done, [the reaction is] not in [your] sight.
And I hate that, because this film is really really important to me. Anybody who’s putting out a movie, from my favorite, Wonder Woman -- I’m not into those kinds of Marvel movies, but that particular [one with] Gal Gadot, I’m like, “Oh yeah, I want to be her” -- to James Bond [No Time To Die], they’re just holding, because they’re not giving up the big deal part of it with the red carpet. With a concert film, I thought, “Well hey, people probably need this right now a lot more than they’re going to need it when this pandemic goes away and they can start going to real concerts.”
You were always going to take this year off, but you did have some festivals booked.
I had like, six gigs booked by last January and I probably would have had another four. And that wasn’t going to be on tour, I was -- strangely enough -- taking this year off. But off for me still meant doing 10 or 12 shows. So when this happened... I mean, I’m just like everybody else. I have a big house that I don’t really live in because it’s old fashioned and it’s got all my stuff in it: my two grand pianos, an upright grand, a gazillion guitars, and it’s like a great antique store. So I live in a very modern, really beautiful little one bedroom apartment that’s five minutes away from that house that reminds me of a ballet studio. It’s very calm, it’s circular, so that’s where I really live.
When the reality of this pandemic set in, were you worried about losing steam or inspiration?
We’re all experiencing basically the same thing, which is: try to stay in as much as you can, try to be safe, try to wear your mask and don’t throw any big huge parties. At the end of February, we were starting to go like, “Wow, can this really be like the pandemic in 1918, when in Twilight Edward was made into a vampire?” That’s what I think of, right? Like, “Oh my god! That’s when he became Edward Cullen.” So we’re all in the same boat in a lot of ways.
For March, April and May we were in total lockdown. And I draw, I’m an artist, [so I thought] I can do that, and I can go to my other house and write songs. And you know, I didn’t do any of that. All I did was watch TV. And that’s what everybody else has told me, that they did the same thing. Even the most creative people that I know -- of which I am, by the way, one of them -- not a thing.
So for me, when I figured out I was going to go to Chicago to work on the movie, it was a total breath of fresh air. We stayed in a really cool house and we went into the studio every single day, literally seven days a week, because we weren’t staying longer than a month because we needed to turn the film in, so we just worked solid. And that was great, because I felt like I was me again. But when we came back [to L.A.], it was like, “Well, here we are.”
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be calming for everybody, no matter who you’re voting for. I want it to wrap its arms around everyone in a musical hug. I worked with Greg Kurstin, who was in Hawaii with his family and had been ever since March, and then Dave Grohl, who was out in the Valley somewhere, and Dave Stewart who was in Nashville, and I had the girls come -- I had hardly seen my two background singers -- so we all were able to finish the rock’n’roll version, because we already had the acoustic, piano, voice one.
We just kind of sped through it because we knew we didn’t have a lot of time; if we didn’t turn it in at the beginning of that month, it wouldn’t have come out until the 16th and I said, “No no, that is just way too late.” So we did everything we could do to get it out on [October] 9th, and we did it, we were successful. So that all made me feel like I was still alive, and that I was still able to be really creative and that it wasn’t my fault that I was feeling so uninspired for the first half of the year and so lazy and just so like… “Do you wanna get in the car and drive down to Malibu?” No. “Do you wanna do a craft night and we can all make dream catchers or something?” No. Like, “Wow, you picked a great person to go through this pandemic with, right?” So I felt that go away, and I felt the real me start to come back.
And now that the film and song are both out, how do you feel?
Now, I’m starting to feel like the other way again, because there’s nothing I can do. I can’t go out on the road and sing “Show Them the Way” on stage and knock everybody’s socks off. I can’t even go and see my own movie -- even though I have already seen it 300,000 times -- but I can’t chance it.
Because for me -- and I have said this in every interview and I’ll say it again -- I’m not getting this [virus]. I am never going to get something that could last for the rest of my life. And I don’t have 40 years. I have 10 or 15, maybe. And I want these next 10 or 15 years to be brilliant, creative, wonderful years. And I am not going to be dealing with the after-effects of COVID-19 because the people in power did not get a hold of this in March.
I will also say -- and this is just funny, so we can laugh about it -- but President Trump got it. And I’m very sad for that, because I don’t want anybody to get this, but he did. And the thing is, he went into the best hospital in the world and had this set of drugs that none of us will ever get. He got a full round of four or five days of steroids; I had really bad pneumonia last year and I hate steroids, because they have really bad side effects, like gaining weight, and they make you very nervous. And so he comes out and he’s like, “I have a glow,” and I’m going, “Yeah… you have a steroid glow.”
On five days of doing steroids in the hospital, I never slept -- never. Me and my assistant watched the Kardashians for five solid days. We also watched Very Cavallari, South Park, I Love Lucy, we just watched TV and screamed with laughter for five days. When I came out of there, I gained about -- because I starved myself -- six or seven pounds that I have yet to lose. And that was over a year ago. So what I am laughing about is, just wait until President Trump starts to gain weight -- because he will, because everybody does. Payback’s a bitch, so there you go.
But what I was going to say, before we got on that ridiculous thing, was that I’m sorry. I feel that this [pandemic] has stolen my ability to enjoy going to a movie theater with everybody to see my movie, or to be out in the world while “Show Them the Way” becomes a big song. I think this song is maybe the best thing I’ve done in 20 years, maybe 30 years, maybe ever. Because this is not only just a great song, but it has a purpose. It has a message and it is a prayer for the world, but I don’t get to be out in the world to enjoy sharing this prayer with everybody, and that breaks my heart.
You wrote “Show Them the Way” back in 2008 after it came to you in a dream. Do you keep a journal next to your bed for moments like that?
I do. I keep notebooks everywhere so that I’m able to jot down just a sentence, if I think of a sentence that I think is really important. I would have pulled that song out a long time ago, because I loved it from the second it was written, but I thought. “Nope, this song has a path,” just like I’ve always had a path.
You’ve talked a lot about how men hate that kind of confidence in a woman. Do you see that changing in music today, and that women are owning their confidence more than ever?
I think women are trying very hard to be really independent. But I will say that I think women better be on their toes right now, because I think that men are trying very hard to slip us back into the 50s, where it’s like, “Just look pretty and sit in a corner and don’t talk and just be beautiful,” and just, you know, “hang out, make sandwiches.” I think that’s where the men of the world would like this world to go.
And so I think that every one of you -- starting at your age, Mick’s twins, my goddaughters Tessa and Ruby, my 40 year old [fans] and my 30 year old ones -- you girls all need to fight. When you get up in the morning, you have to put on our armor and look at yourself in the mirror and go, "Hello, Wonder Woman." And that’s who you have to be, because if you don’t, you will get squished.
You said you want your next 10-15 years to be creative, but what exactly does that path look like moving forward?
There’s a book of Welsh stories about Rhiannon and all the Gods and we have actually connected, signed, whatever you want to say, with a really great movie company and we’re starting to work on [adapting] this. That’s something that we can throw ourselves into because the stories are all written. So that’s really exciting and that could go on, if it’s as good as I think it’s going to be, for several years.
I think because of “Show Them the Way” that I will make another record. I hadn’t really thought that I was gonna do that, but I should. I just figured, you know what, I have written a lot of poetry over the last eight months -- not even poetry with messages either, just really good poetry about stuff I see on television. There’s a few creepy crime shows that I watch that I really like, and I wrote one song about a character in one of those shows, a woman, and I can’t wait to write a song to it. I’m surprised that I haven’t done it yet, except probably that I’ve just been really busy in the last two months. But as soon as I calm down a little bit, I’m going to go and write that song and that will be the beginning of writing this new record..
And then there’s a famous lady record executive who wants me to write songs for Broadway musicals -- that’s something that I might think about. There’s just a lot of things that I could do, that I would love to do, but that I would prefer to do in a normal world. I don’t want to make a record that’s full-on done by myself in my living room over Zoom. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t be ready for the normal world when the normal world comes back.
I see a lot of different sources of creativity that are there for me. I just have to get myself out of this uninspired place where it’s so easy to live during this thing, because I would never have thought that I would’ve gone underground so heavily as I have. I was surprised by that, everyday. But now I’m starting to just go like, “You just can’t do another six months like that. You’re already on the horse -- so stay on.”
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