Showing posts with label VMagazine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VMagazine. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


T.Cole Rachel


Few entertainers in the history of rock and roll have carved out a path as mystic and mythical as that of Stevie Nicks. Both as a solo artist and member of Fleetwood Mac, Nicks has conjured a musical and visual aesthetic that is completely and uniquely her own—an amalgam of twirling black lace, ribbon-covered tambourines, crystal visions, and white-winged doves. Having overcome the dizzying excesses, epic breakups, and competing egos typically associated with one of the most successful and dramatic supergroups of the 1970s, Nicks remains an unstoppable force. Now 61, she has aged better, both physically and artistically, than almost any of her peers, and, with the recent release of a career-capping live album and DVD, she continues to be venerated as an icon in both music and fashion. This summer, Nicks will spend her time doing what she does best—touring the world with her old friends and lovers in Fleetwood Mac and generally casting a beautiful spell wherever she goes.
T. Cole Rachel

T. COLE RACHEL It’s hard to think of anyone else who has a cultural mythology surrounding them in the same way that you do. Do you find that people tend to have crazy expectations when they meet you?

STEVIE NICKS People always think that I’m going to be this little airhead blonde, when I’m actually quite pragmatic and serious. I’m also really funny, or at least I think I’m really funny. I’m really not what they expect, at least when it comes to my personality. In regard to my music, I guess people know me pretty well. When I write music, I know it’s not just for me. When I finish a song and put it out there into the universe, I realize that it belongs to everyone. I think about the fact that each song might become a kind of mantra for someone out there and that’s the joy of it. When I was 15, I wrote my first song about a sad relationship that ended before I wanted it to end. Even then, I wrote it thinking that maybe I’d play it at a school assembly in hopes that someone would identify with it. I always wanted to affect people.

TCR You became famous at a time when there really weren’t a lot of female rock stars. Did you find it difficult to get people to take you seriously as a songwriter and not just view you as this beautiful singer?

SN I think it would have been a real problem had I not been in Fleetwood Mac. But being in the band, I had the power of two—Christine McVie and me. People couldn’t really write us off. I never once felt like a second-class citizen in some kind of boys club and neither did Christine. She had actually been playing in bands for years before Fleetwood Mac, and I think her power and confidence really rubbed off on me. The two of us together were really like a force of nature. Even Lindsey [Buckingham] couldn’t stop us.

TCR Your personal style gets referenced so much now in fashion. When did you first realize that your aesthetic had become a thing in popular culture?

SN I’ve never really paid attention to what other people thought of my look, but I can tell you where it came from. When I went on tour with Fleetwood Mac for the very first time after the first album had come out, I just packed a suitcase with a bunch of my normal, everyday clothes. Then, the first night of the tour I found myself in a dressing room in El Paso, Texas, with everything I owned scattered across the floor just thinking, This is not going to work. Nothing fit right, nothing looked good, nothing felt comfortable. When the tour ended I met this designer named Margie Kent and I drew her this little cartoon of how I wanted to look. I still draw the same cartoon all the time, whenever someone gives me a tambourine or a record to sign. It’s just this little stick figure of a girl wearing a handkerchief skirt, platform boots, a little black top with Rhiannon sleeves, and a top hat. I wanted to look like some kind of waif-y urchin, something Dickensian. I wanted the heavy boots to balance everything out. I wanted it to look old and antique, a little bit worn. I had a shoemaker make the platform boots for me out of suede, and Margie made me lots of ponchos and little silk jackets and flowy chiffon things that hung down to the floor. That became my stage outfit and remains so to this day.

TCR Night of a Thousand Stevies, the long-running Stevie Nicks tribute party that happens here in NYC, is now in its nineteenth year. Does it blow your mind that hundreds of people get together to dress up like you and sing your songs?

SN It’s wonderful. It makes me think that Margie and I had the right idea all those years ago. It makes me think that all those images we came up with really did what we wanted them to do. There’s a “Gold Dust Woman” image and a “Stand Back” image and an “Edge of Seventeen” image. I totally understand how it would be the most fun dress-up party ever! So if I were actually going to Night of a Thousand Stevies and trying to decide what to wear, I could go with the brand-new white ruffle-y dress and top hat, or I could go with a full-on black Stevie Nicks outfit with the Rhiannon sleeves, or maybe the white Belladonna outfit with the white leg warmers and white poncho. I’ve always loved to dress up. Halloween was always my favorite night when I was a kid. I looked forward to it for months beforehand and I was all about planning my outfit. Luckily my mom could sew, so I’d tell her that I wanted to be Martha Washington or something like that and she’d do it. So I have to say, I’m thrilled by that event. God bless Night of a Thousand Stevies. [Laughs]

TCR I saw the recent Fleetwood Mac show at Madison Square Garden and I was really struck by how sweet all of you were toward each other. It seems like everyone is in a very good place these days.

SN I think so too. I think that having children has really changed Lindsey. He has two daughters, so now he really has to deal with women. He comes from a family of boys himself, so I think having daughters has been a good thing. He also has a 10-year-old son, but basically the girls rule at his house. I really think it has changed him though, and I think it’s made it easier for him to accept who I am and to deal with me. He’s less apt to argue with me these days and he’s more apt to understand what I say and not take it personally. I think he understands now that I really do always have his best interests at heart. He used to understand that, back in the beginning, but after we broke up he didn’t feel that way. It was really unfortunate because that’s when the whole band started to split apart. So now, the band is actually a little bit more like it was back in the beginning.

TCR And it only took thirty years for that to happen.

SN [Laughs] I know. It’s okay though because otherwise we wouldn’t be on tour right now.

TCR What do Lindsey’s kids think of you? Are you like the crazy aunt?

SN They like me a lot. They totally get it. You know, they’re in the dressing room saying, “Can I wear that cape?” or “I need to put on those boots!”

TCR It’s interesting to hear you talk about how Lindsey has changed. How do you feel you’ve changed?

SN Well, aside from being 25 pounds heavier and a lot older, I don’t really think I’ve changed all that much. I think I’m still very much who I was at 15. I’m still very excited by my writing, I’m still very excited by performing. I find a lot of joy in doing what I do. I certainly wouldn’t want to stay home now and do nothing!

Fleetwood Mac is currently on tour

Stevie Nicks’s The Soundstage Sessions LP and Live in Chicago DVD are out now from Reprise Records.

Stevie Nicks talks about her most memorable looks of all time.

The one and only Stevie Nicks talks about her most memorable looks of all time.

I had the incredible good fortune to interview Stevie Nicks for V60, which, given my lifelong obsession with Fleetwood Mac, was really a dream come true. Not only was she funny and incredibly forthcoming, she also happened to be very generous with her time. After the formal portion of our interview ended, she took the time to look through a few old images and discuss the origins of some of her most iconic looks.
T. Cole Rachel

1. This is a Herbie Worthington photo. He did the first Fleetwood Mac cover and almost all of my solo album covers. He took almost all of the crazy photos of me between 1975 and 1985. We did photo shoots not because we had to, but just because it was fun. If we had time off we’d just decide to take photos. Me and all my friends would get together and bring all kinds of stuff with us—all our best clothes, props, flowers, whatever—and then take pictures for days. The tambourine and the rose really came from the Belladonna album. The hat that I’m wearing—a gray beret with a feather—was lost somewhere along the way, which is too bad because I’ve never been able to find another one quite that amazing. The little embroidered top that I’m wearing, that I still have. The whole idea here was that you were looking out through this portal into the universe. I was always into having circles in the photos…and roses. I did my own makeup for this photo and I was always my own stylist. We never used stylists back then. Plus, no stylist would have wanted to work with us! We’d be taking photos all day for three days in a row.

2. This was taken on the roof of my condo in California, near the ocean. I’d been wearing the little chiffon tops like that with the long sleeves for a while at that point, and while we were up there taking pictures the wind came up and nearly blew me off the top of the building. There were actually a lot of pictures taken that day, but this is the most famous one. I love wearing things like that because they just create the most amazing shapes. This is when I really realized the power of these outfits. If we played an outdoor venue and there was a little bit of wind, my clothes always looked 100% better. I think this photo ran in People magazine.

3. Oh, the Rolling Stone cover. You’re gonna love this story. This was basically a nightmare picture for me. This was taken by Richard Avedon. You know, it’s not every day that you get work with Richard Avedon, so this was a very big deal. It just so happened that this was taken right after Mick and I had broken up. We’d just ended the year-long relationship thing we had going on and things were very tense. We get to the shoot and Richard Avedon has this ladder set up and he tells me that he basically wants me to be hanging around Mick’s neck in the photo and that the rest of the band will basically be sitting around Mick’s feet. He had this whole composition already worked out. I’m looking at him like, Are you out of your mind? First of all, I’m not even speaking to Mick Fleetwood and I’m certainly not climbing up on a ladder and then hanging around his neck. I’m not touching him! So, I pulled him aside and told him that I really didn’t want to do it. Avedon looks at me and basically just tells me that I needed to just suck it up and do the photo. He’s like, this is the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and in 10 years you’ll be glad that you did this. Now, do it. So, I reluctantly agreed. Up I go on the ladder. I was literally hanging around Mick’s neck like a mink stole. I kept feeling like I was going to fall and Mick was trying to hold me up…it was horrific.

So, the shoot ends and we all go home. Then, lo and behold, the issue finally comes out and there on the cover is just me and Mick. No Lindsey, no John, no Chris. They were all cropped out. It was just me and Mick. Can I even tell you how well that went over in the band? It wasn’t our fault that they cropped everyone else out of the photo, we had no idea. They just did it that way. They were kind of like, "Fuck you, if you’re gonna be on the cover of OUR magazine, we’re gonna do whatever we want." The whole thing was a nightmare. Lindsey didn’t speak to any of us for weeks after it came out, and it seemed like that image was everywhere. I’m sure Mick Fleetwood was secretly happy, though!

4. I think this photo was taken in San Francisco at a music festival. This would be around 1977 or so. I think this was taken backstage. In fact, I think this part of a larger group photo and they just cropped everyone else out of it. Once again, it’s me and a top hat…the little top hat that could. I bought that top hat in Buffalo, New York. We were on tour and on one of our days off Christine and I went antique shopping. I found that hat in some random little shop. I still have it. It’s at home in a box. I keep everything. There were a few classic pieces that got lost or stolen along the way, but everything else I saved. All except for the original black outfit and boots, which are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.