Ahead of their sold-out show at Glasgow’s Hydro, we talk to Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks about touring, solo albums, Game of Thrones and her relationship with Prince.
Fleetwood Mac have been touring for much of the year – how’s it been?
“Great. But the last 15 shows in America were particularly gruelling. Shows got added so the routing was difficult – you’re in Canada, then you’re in Dallas, then you’re in Florida, then Portland. So it was very hard.
“We’d fly after the show most nights, a two-hour flight, then the drive to and from the airport. We all got terribly jet-lagged. But for me, it’s not such a big deal ’cause I stay up really late every night anyway. But for Lindsey [Buckingham] and Mick [Fleetwood] and John [McVie], they don’t stay up late – they go back to their rooms and go to sleep.'”
This is the first Fleetwood Mac tour since 2009…
“At the beginning of 2012 I told everyone I wouldn’t tour with the band that year, because I wanted to give [2011 solo album] In Your Dreams another year, because I thought it deserved it. And because I thought Fleetwood Mac should stay off the grid for three years.
“It’s a good idea; it’s just smart to keep us out of the spotlight for three years. Everyone went along with it. And now they all know it was really a great idea – because we were gone long enough that it was us coming back.
“I told the press last year that 2013 was going to be the year of Fleetwood Mac. And I was just hoping with all my heart that this big statement was gonna come true!”
The band released an iTunes EP earlier this year, which was recorded just after your mother died. Was that a difficult time for you?
“I didn’t go [to the studio]. I didn’t want to go. But it wasn’t just that – I didn’t want to go anywhere. I didn’t leave the house for almost five months.
“I worked on the edit of my documentary about the making of In Your Dreams. And then I got pneumonia. With my pneumonia and my mother’s death I watched the entire first season of Game Of Thrones – so that was great! That certainly took my mind off everything.”
So you’re a fan of the show?
“Yes! The author [George RR Martin] is my age and it blows my mind that he’s able to create this vast, interlinked world. As a songwriter I write little movies. But I can’t imagine sitting down and writing even one small book. But then probably somebody like him couldn’t imagine writing Edge Of Seventeen or Rhiannon – couldn’t write a whole little life in two verses and a chorus. And of course I would love to write some music for Game Of Thrones. I’ve written a bunch of poetry about it – one for each of the characters. On Jon Snow… On Arya… On Cersei and Jaime.”
Glee dedicated a show to Rumours, and you got to know some of the cast. Were you devastated by Cory Monteith’s death?
“I was. [In the Seventies] we were really warned about heroin. I can’t remember who it was but somebody said, ‘this is what will happen if you do heroin: you get really, really sick, you’ll throw up for hours, then you’ll have about an hour of a high. And then after that high you’ll start scraping the ground looking for more. Then for the rest of your life – probably – that’s what you will do: search the world for that high. And you’ll never find it.'”
You managed to conquer your own addictions a long time ago…
“Right, right. But with this Cory thing I’ve thought a lot about it. Mostly you realised that all that recreational/non-addictive [idea] was bullshit when it started to become more important than music. And it did. And heroin’s a lot quicker road to that! It’s gonna become more important than your music, or your acting, or your amazing career that you have ahead of you. You’re just throwing it away. And you have somebody like Cory who had the world at his feet, and his fingertips.”
You were one of the first female rock icons. Did you have a sense that you were the first generation fighting not to be defined by having a partner or being a mother?
“Right. We were feminists, and we fought for the feminist movement. And I see that starting to be lost a little bit now. I see women being more willing to be put in their place today. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, what it is. But I see something changing, and I see girls being not quite as willing to take a stand. And not willing to be really brave and maybe risk something. And that makes me feel bad because, boy, my generation of women, we were an army. And we were not going to be second-class citizens in any way. And I see that ebbing now. And I don’t know why.”
Have you always had that fight in you?
“I knew from the beginning, when Lindsey and I joined Fleetwood Mac, that Christine [McVie] and I had to really stand our ground. And we had to be a force of nature. Or we would be considered second-class rock stars. And between the two of us that was never gonna happen! We made a pinky swear pact: ‘we will never, ever walk into a room that’s full of rock stars – especially English rock stars! – and not be treated as if we’re not as good as them. Because we are as good as them.’ And that never did happen.”
This year you celebrated your 65th birthday – working. You did a show in Las Vegas that night. That’s commitment.
“Thank you! And when people in Britain see the show they’re gonna be blown way! Honestly, rock bands that are 30 years old would baulk at this schedule and at the amount of songs we’re doing and the length of the show. They would go, ‘you are kidding? Two hours and 40 minutes a night?'”
Is it true that you and Prince almost had a relationship?
“I wanted to work with Prince. And I was smart enough to know that if you start having a relationship with somebody, you’re never gonna work with them. The romantic thing’s gonna take over. And Prince is such a strange and beautiful guy.
“He wanted to be my friend; I don’t know if he wanted any more than that. I don’t know what he wanted. But I know that he wanted to hang out. But we lived in two different worlds. That’s when I was totally a drug addict and Prince is the other side of drug addict – Prince is straight as an arrow.
“He would bring me cough medicine when I was sick and then I’d ask for another spoon of it, and he’d go, ‘I didn’t come here to start you on a new drug!’ So I realised that that was not gonna work out. We’re two really famous rock’n’roll stars, and I’m a drug addict, and he’s not, so these paths are not gonna meet ever well. So if we wanna stay friends… And we are friends, not that I talk to him very often. But if I needed Prince I’m sure he would come and help me.”