‘When in doubt, be Stevie Nicks’ | Macleans.ca

The iconic singer releases a record amid fierce interest in her work and persona

Elio Iannacci
January 25, 2015

Fleetwood Mac "On With The Show" Tour - New York City

Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

A night owl by nature, Stevie Nicks was unable to sleep on a recent Saturday night in Manhattan and had scheduled a late interview to help pass the evening. So 1:30 a.m. found her looking out on the terrace of her rented penthouse atop the Palace Hotel, with a hypnotic view of the Rockefeller Plaza. Amid a torrent of recollections—of her band, Fritz; of the duo she later created with former lover and Fritz guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham; and, of course, of Fleetwood Mac—Nicks began to hum a hip-hop tune. “Which rapper is it that I love who says, ‘Mo’ money more problems?’ ” she asked, pausing in the midst of Notorious B.I.G.’s biggest hit. “He spoke the truth. Don’t I know it!”

Nicks’s truth is peppered with tales of fate and near-fatalities: Fleetwood Mac’s opulent success, the long nights of work wrought with “enough alcohol and cocaine to guarantee years of addiction,” the speculative stories that followed them around for years (orgies and paganism were favoured topics).

Related: An extended web-only Q&A with Stevie Nicks

The history is relevant; her recent solo album, 24 Karat Gold, reinterprets demos written before, during and after Fleetwood Mac’s rise. In it, Nicks doesn’t simply cover her own work; she acts as a musical necromancer who resurrects old sounds and personal stories of burned love, life on the road and facing demons. The song Twisted, first released on the soundtrack for the 1996 disaster-drama Twister, flicks at the appetite for danger all five band members shared. “It was originally written about a group of tornado chasers who dedicate their lives to hunting down storms,” she said. “The parallels to Fleetwood Mac are so there.” The mix of emotion, narcotics and creative egos brought forth a bounty of songs, and turbulent romances. Nicks ended her relationship with Buckingham in 1975, and had an affair with drummer Mick Fleetwood. Christine McVie, the band’s keyboardist-vocalist, left the guitarist for the sound engineer. “After the show, we wouldn’t go out,” Nicks said. “[Christine] would drink wine spritzers and I’d drink tequila alone in our adjoined rooms. The boys were angry at us [and] we had to see them in the morning to work.” Continue reading