By EARL DITTMAN
The longtime Fleetwood Mac vocalist opens up about the making of her new solo album, her past pregnancy with The Eagles’ Don Henley, what drove her into rehab, getting older and how she felt going through photos for her upcoming photography exhibition.
Stevie Nicks readily admits she’s always been a driven woman. And, at the age of 66, she is showing no signs of slowing down. Nicks is about to hit the road with the original Rumours line-up of Fleetwood Mac — Lindsay Buckingham, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie (who left the band in 1998) — for the North American leg of their On With The Show Tour (which begins September 30 in Minneapolis).
Additionally, on October 7, while she’s busy belting out Mac classic such as “Rhiannon,” “Landslide,” “Sara,” “Dreams” and “The Chain” for loyal Big Apple fans, Nicks will unveil her latest solo record, 24 Karat Gold – Songs From the Vault, a collection of lost songs she had written between the late ’60s and mid-’90s.
“My previous album, In Your Dreams, took a year and two months. So I called (In Your Dreams producer) Dave Stewart and said, ‘How do we make a record in two months?'” she explained. “And he said, ‘We go to Nashville.’ He told me, ‘In Nashville, you hire the best studio musicians, and they record two songs a day. On a really good day, they might even do three.’ I was laughing, because I didn’t believe him. But we were there for three weeks, and we recorded 17 songs in 15 days.”
In addition to the album’s first single, “Lady,” there’s another song on 24 Karat Gold that particularly resonates with Nicks — who readily admits to a former cocaine addiction — titled “Mabel Normand.” “Mabel was an amazing actress and comedian from the ’20s, and she was a terrible cocaine addict,” Nicks explained. “She eventually died of tuberculosis, but it was really her drug addiction that killed her. She was in love with a famous director, who tried to get her off coke, and he was murdered. Rumor has it, drug dealers killed him. I saw a documentary of her in 1985, when I was at my lowest point with the blow. I was watching TV one night, the movie came on, and I really felt a connection with her. That’s when I wrote the song. Less than a year later, I went to rehab at Betty Ford.
“The documentary really scared me, because I saw this beautiful girl go downhill so fast,” Stevie Nicks continued. “Sometimes you can’t see it in yourself, but you sure as heck can see it in someone else. And suicide was never my MO. I’m basically a happy person. I was a happy person back then. I just got addicted to coke, and that was a very bad drug for me. It was obviously a very bad drug for Mabel too. She had a gang of rich kids, like Lindsay Lohan today. That same bunch of girls comes around every 15 years.”
In the October 4 issue of Billboard (read full interview HERE), Stevie also speaks candidly about a wide variety of personal and professional subjects, including:
Fleetwood Mac 2014: Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Christine McVie
How she convinced ex-boyfriend Lindsay Buckingham to join Fleetwood Mac…
“I made Lindsey listen to all the Fleetwood Mac records. And I said, ‘I think we can do something for this band. We’ll do it for a year, save some money and if we don’t like it, we’ll quit.’ And he’s like, ‘But Buckingham Nicks, I still think the record’s going to start to break out.’ I said, ‘You wait around. I’m sick of being a waitress. We are joining Fleetwood Mac and we’re going to be great.'”
The truth behind Don Henley’s assertion that the Fleetwood Mac hit “Sara” is just about the unborn child the pair never had…
“Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara. But there was another woman in my life named Sara, who shortly after that became Mick’s wife, Sara Fleetwood.”
Why she won’t write a memoir…
“The world is not ready for my memoir, I guarantee you. All of the men I hung out with are on their third wives by now, and the wives are all under 30. If I were to write what really happened between 1972 and now, a lot of people would be very angry with me. It’ll happen some day, just not for a very long time. I won’t write a book until everybody is so old that they no longer care.”
“Part of me is feeling extremely old now, and part of me is feeling extremely young. Because I look at these pictures and realize I worried about things that I shouldn’t have been worrying about. Like the fact that I had little marionette lines around my mouth when I was 29, and I was complaining about them. I wouldn’t go out to the beach without a sarong from my neck to my ankles. Now I see a picture of myself from that era in a bikini and I’m like, ‘You looked great. And you missed out on a lot of fun vacations, because you were so sure that you were fat.'”
As an artist, Stevie Nicks has the rare ability to capture the complex emotionality of life thru music and self-portraiture. Her vision is so well formed it transcends mediums. Her photography exudes the same realness and rich spectrum of feelings as her music. It’s by turns vulnerable, sensual, introspective, and always authentic. These stunning pictures also capture the breezy elegance of the 1970s California time period and the heyday of what many term rock music’s greatest era.
Morrison Hotel Gallery’s creatively fertile atmosphere of lively debate makes it the ideal environment for Stevie to explore her fluid artistry publicly as a photographer. 24 Karat Gold is curated by rock legend Dave Stewart, who is not only known for his work with the Eurythmics, Super Heavy (with Mick Jagger), and Stevie Nicks, but is also a sage cultural commentator. His insights, along with commentary from MHG co-founder Peter Blachley and Stevie Nicks herself enrich the exhibition with recollections and intriguing dialogue.
Morrison Hotel Gallery will debut Stevie’s 24 Karat Gold photographic exhibit on October 10th & 11th at a special larger venue in Soho to accommodate Stevie’s prolific fan base at 201 Mulberry Street, then moving on October 13th to Morrison Hotel Gallery Loft at 116 Prince Street for the month of October.