‘Crystal Visions – The Very Best of Stevie Nicks’ re-released on vinyl, hits the streets on 19th May

Crystal Visions – The Vest Best of Stevie Nicks (vinyl)
limited edition clear transaparent vinyl

On May 19th 2015, the vinyl edition of ‘Crystal Visions – The Very Best of Stevie Nicks’ will be re-released on crystal clear transaparent vinyl, this edition will be available from the usual record store outlets such as Amazon, in addition Warner Brothers have a limited fan pack available that includes the vinyl album, lithograph and vinyl bag, please click below to order the limited edition fan pack….

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California Dreaming – Stevie in Mojo Magazine (Sept 2007)

mojoBy Sylvie Simmons
Mojo Magazine (UK)
September 2007

Living in “heavy obscurity,” Stevie Nicks was a just a humble waitress with a failed debut album to her name. Then she joined Fleetwood Mac. Cue instant superstardom and its attendant lifetime of sex, drug and suspended reality. But what of her biggest regrets? “Curse the day I did cocaine!” She tells Sylvie Simmons…

The living room is dimly lit, cosy. At one end of the floor, propped against a wall, are some paintings—works-in-progress—that could pass as illustrations for children’s books. At the other end is an open fireplace with logs blazing, the California sunset having given way to a chilly ocean breeze. Two tiny dogs, neither much bigger than a hairball, one of them clad in a little pink overcoat, skitter between the stiletto-booted feet of a small woman dressed in a floaty chiffon top and tight black pants, her loose blond hair hanging down to her waist. The expression on her face is unguarded and, as always, a little bit stunned. She looks less like a major rock star who’s one year off turning 60 than someone who just fell out of a little girl’s drawing and hadn’t quite got her bearings yet. She looks, in fact, inarguably and utterly Stevie Nicks-ian.

In 1985, when Nicks was in the Betty Ford Clinic being treated for addiction to cocaine, she was set some homework: to write an essay on the difference between being Stevie Nicks real-life human, and “Stevie Nicks” rock icon. She says it was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. It prompts a story about going to her fortieth high school reunion last month. One of the group of girls she used to hang with in her teens told her, “You know what? You haven’t changed a bit. You are still our little Stevie girl.” She cried on the way home. “It was the nicest thing anybody had said to me,” she smiles. “That I’m still the same. Because I’ve tried very hard to stay who I was before I joined Fleetwood Mac and not become a very arrogant and obnoxious, conceited bitchy chick, which may do. I think I’ve been really successful.”

She says all of this guilelessly. For someone who’s served nearly 40 years in the crazy world of rock, more than 30 as a major star and indulging in her fair share of the sex and drugs, it’s innocence more than experience that comes across. As her close friend Tom Petty (with whom she completed a five-month US tour as unpaid guest singer in 2006) said of her, affectionately, “It’s like when you’ve got a sister in the family that nobody want to talk about much.” Meaning someone you love but who’s, well, different. “Stevie,” he added, “does not live in the real world.”

She scoffs, “Tom lives in the same world that I do. Because both of us became huge successes very young, we made lots of money, and that changes your life immediately—and those thing change for you, you don’t even try to change them. They take you out of the real world, but they don’t need to change who you are.”

But who exactly is she? Besides being one of the most successful women in rock, juggling two careers—solo and with Fleetwood Mac—for more than three decades, she is also one of the most mythologised. Having made MOJO and herself steaming mugs of Earl Grey tea, Stevie Nicks settles in an armchair by the fire as we prepare to find out.

Stevie Nicks has kept a diary every day since she joined Fleetwood Mac—New Year’s Eve 1974. The rest has been committed to memory; like her performances at age four with her grandfather, A.J. Nicks, an eccentric would-be-country musician who lived in a trailer in the desert. He bought Stevie “a little cowgirl outfit with guns and boots and vest” and took her on-stage with him in Arizona bars. Her parents finally put a stop to it, but “it didn’t stop me singing. I sang all the time—to the radio, to anybody, until we moved to San Francisco and I did my own music.”

The timing was perfect. It was the mid-‘60s; Stevie was in her mid-teens. She was writing songs (her first: I’ve Love And I’ve Lost And I’m Sad But Not Blue) and singing with her girlfriends in Mamas & Papas-type harmony bands. Lindsey Buckingham went to the same high school, and the pair met when she saw him singing California Dreamin’ at a social evening and joined in, uninvited, on harmony. Almost two years later he formed a band, Fritz, remembered her and asked her to join. So by day she studied speech communication at college, by night she sang with Fritz.

The group was no great success. At the urging of producer Keith Olsen, they disbanded and Nicks and Buckingham moved to Los Angeles. Lindsey stayed home and wrote, while Stevie paid the bills working at Burger King, waitressing at restaurants, even cleaning Olsen’s house. The producer helped broker a deal with Polydor, who released their debut, Buckingham Nicks, in 1973. A mellow slice of well-produced California rock, nevertheless it flopped.

Meanwhile, Mick Fleetwood, who’d moved his band to L.A., was shopping for a studio and producer. He met Olsen, who played him Buckingham Nicks as a demonstration of his sound and got the job. Fleetwood was also looking for a guitar player—a regular occurrence, what with the band’s habit of losing them, often in unfortunate circumstances (Bob Welch left citing exhaustion; Danny Kirwan was fired for refusing to go on stage and was later admitted to psychiatric hospital; Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer both left as a result of drug-related trauma and alter joined religious cults). The offer of a job was extended to Buckingham, who agreed, if Stevie could come too.

“I know for a fact I was simply being hired as extra baggage,” says Nicks, today, “that they only wanted Lindsey and couldn’t get him without me. They already had a girl singer [Christine McVie], they didn’t need another one who didn’t really play anything. They’re not going to say, “You stand ou there and be the star and we’ll just play.” But I so wanted to be part of it, I thought I could be their secretary or something, anything, and they understood I felt this way and never made me feel unwanted.”

Quite what McVie made of Stevie in the beginning hardly bears thinking about. Five years older than Nicks, Christine Perfect, as she was before marrying Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie, had a distinguished musical pedigree; classically trained, lead singer and keyboard player on Chicken Shack’s sole Top 10 hit, I’d Rather Go Blind, she’d topped Melody Maker’s Best Female Vocalist poll in 1969, the year before she joined her new husband in Fleetwood Mac.

Stevie nods, “I’m sure there were times when I’m flying around the stage in my gossamer chiffon where she had to think to herself, Wow, what’s this? Fairy school? But never once did she make me feel like that, never one comment to the effect of, ‘I could really have done without you.’ Because she knew from the beginning that I was real sensitive and that anything she’d say to me would cut like a knife.”

Nicks herself had “no hesitations” about giving up Buckingham-Nicks for Mac. “They were an established band and our album had flopped, we were bankrupt. And when I met them they were very dry and English and I loved them straight away. They didn’t audition us or anything, it was like ‘Right, rehearsal starts in four days.’ Then we started getting paid: $200 a week apiece for four weeks when we were rehearsing, and $400 a week apiece when we actually started recording. Basically, I’d been scraping together to make $300 a month waitressing to pay our rent, our food and our car, and all of a sudden we were making almost $4,000 a month overnight. I was washing hundred dollar bills and hanging them up with clothes pins! As a member of Fleetwood Mac for two weeks, I was still working at the restaurant because I’d given them notice. I didn’t just want to walk in there and say, ‘I’m going to be a famous rock star so I quit and I never liked your food anyway.’ It makes you feel bad later, and I like tying up loose ends. So Fleetwood Mac plucked us straight out of heavy obscurity. It was hysterical how fast it all happened.”

Fleetwood Mac, released in spring 1975, featured three songs Nicks had written, including the hit single Rhiannon, originally planned for the non-existent Buckingham Nicks II. The new line-up’s first album together sold five million copies. It was quite a turnaround, not just for Nicks and Buckingham, but for the band too. Months earlier, Mac had been battling in court to keep their name—their manager had put a bogus Mac on the road after Mick Fleetwood pulled out of a tour, having learned that their guitarist Bob Weston, was having an affair with his wife. Now here they were with their first US Number 1.

They were heady days as Nicks describes them—the excitement of going into the studio, the speed with which they made the album, how thrilled everyone was at how it came out. Lindsey was happy, their relationship was going great. “But by the time we came off the road, which was probably three or four months after the record came out, our relationship was not doing that well.” And by the time they started the follow-up, Rumours, John and Christine McVie were in the same boat. “It wasn’t another woman or another man, it was just the situation. The whole hugeness of it all had really hit everybody very hard. And the biggest thing is Chris and I got a lot attention, because we were the girls, and the boys didn’t like that. They didn’t like it then; they don’t like it now.”

Fleetwood Mac’s “Soap Opera” years, in which the members’ love lives came under constant public scrutiny, would overlap with the “Marie Antoinette” years of excess. Says Stevie, “I went to see that film the other night and it reminded me a lot of myself and the people surrounding me when we first started with Fleetwood Mac. The clothes and the champagne and how young they all were—and it really touched me. Because we were young too and there was a tragedy for all of us also, just in what it did to all of our lives and taking them out of ‘the real world’, as Tom Petty would say.”

Dogged by tension and extravagance and distracted by sex and drugs, Rumours took the best part of a year to record. But the lyrics aside—Christine McVie would later comment that everyone was writing about each other—the cracks didn’t show on the record’s supple ensemble playing and smooth harmonies. This was classic California pop—the band’s British blues element as good as one—featuring songs like Christine’s catchy Don’t Stop and You Make Loving Fun alongside Stevie’s darker cocaine song Gold Dust Woman and the wistful Dreams. Rumours hit Number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, becoming one of the biggest-selling rock albums of all time. And the band, of coruse, went back on the road, with the new ???? of various members variously hating various other members’ guts. So how did someone of Stevie’s famed sensitivity manage?

Mostly because I, like everybody who was in Fleetwood Mac, loved Fleetwood Mac the entity, and nobody wanted to leave. People would be, ‘You leave, I’m not leaving.” Lindsey didn’t want to quit, I didn’t, John didn’t, Chris didn’t and Mick certainly didn’t; he just sat back and watched it. So you went up on-stage and tried to keep your problems off that stage and then went back to separate dressing rooms and hotels and didn’t go to the bar after the show, because you didn’t even want to take a chance of having a run-in in front of people. So we stayed very cloistered, especially Chris and I, because the boys could go out but Chris and I couldn’t, so we hung out together, drank tea and watched movies and stayed away from the rest of the guys.”

It didn’t always work. On-stage in New Zealand once, Buckingham got mad at Nicks… “I think I aws singing through one of his solos or something, and he walked across the stage and kicked me and then went back to his microphone and we just sort of went on with the show. Me being pretty much the ultimate professional, I’m like, OK that didn’t just happen, it was just a joke everybody. Then he threw his guitar at me, wwwosh! I saw it coming and ducked. And he would have killed me if it had hit me; a Les Paul weighs about 30lbs. When the song was over he raced of the stage but Chris was so mad she was at the dressing room two seconds after he got there. And she grabbed him—then the bodyguards came in and dragged us all apart.”

But the show, as they say, had to go on. “Let’s just say he was told by everybody, from tour manager to everybody involved, if you ever throw anything at her or kick her again, the crew will attack you and kill you, so you’d better think about it. It never happened again.” She pauses a moment. The wind is whipping up now; through the large window you can see it bullying the trees hung with fairly lights in her garden. She continues, “But Lindsey and I have had many thing happen on-stage that’s not a long time ago. We have a very hard time with each other, and he has a very hard time with me because he didn’t go after a solo career and I did. He should have and he didn’t and it’s not my fault. But he blames me.”

The idea for Nicks’ solo career was cemented during talks with Eagles manager Irving Azoff while Mac were recording Tusk, reputedly the most expensive rock album ever made. There was plenty of time to set up a label for her records, Modern, during the 13 months Tusk took to make. “That’s a long time to go into one room every day, six days a week, but it happened. And it happened because everybody was so busy doing drugs that nobody was organized, and you do things that you would think were just marvelous and the next day you’d come back in and it wasn’t, so you’d have to do it again.”

Bella Donna, her 1981 solo debut, with its mix of earthy and ethereal (the sexiness of Edge of 17) and After The Glitter Fades; the chiffon delicacy of How Still My Love and After the Rain) was in contrast “very quick, because we rehearsed for months and really knew our stuff when we went into the studio.” “We” being Stevie and the two women who still sing with her, Sharon Celani and Lori Perry, with guest appearances by Tom Petty, Don Felder and members of the Heartbreakers and Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. “It only took three months. Then I did 12 shows, about a month and the last show at the Beverly Wilshire Theatre, which is on the DVD, you can kind of see in my face that it was over, and I didn’t really know if I would ever be able to come back to my solo career. I went scurrying back to Fleetwood Mac as fast as I could.” By her own reckoning, her solo career, chronicled on the forthcoming Crystal Visions CD/DVD retrospective, has actually helped Fleetwood Mac to stay together, her sabbaticals allowing the Mac to take a holiday and keep off the punishing album-tour-album treadmill while also providing her with a needed outlet.

“When you’re in a band with three writers and you do a record ever two or three years, and for somebody that writes as much as me that’s not very much.” And she does appear to write all the time—if not songs then poetry, short stories, fairytales, her diary. She refers to that as her “sanity life,” of which, frankly, there didn’t seem a lot in period that led to her going into rehab in 1985: an affair with Mick Fleetwood; a short-lived marriage to Kim Anderson, the widower of her best friend, Robin Anderson, who had died of leukaemia; a coke habit that “ate away my nose. I curse the day I ever did cocaine.”

She says she was the first in the band to go to the Betty Ford Clinic, and possibly one of the first L.A. rock stars. “I don’t know many other people that went because Betty Ford is not Malibu Promises. It’s boot-camp. I adore Betty Ford, the lady, because she saved my life, but her facility is very tough. They couldn’t give a shit that you are a rock star. In 28 days I gave up a 10-year coke habit and I could feel myself just coming back to myself. I also felt, I will never have to come back to rehab for cocaine.

Mention that she later spent 47 days in hospital to treat an eight-year addiction to prescription tranquillisers, and it’s the only time MOJO sees her bristle. After Betty Ford’s everyone encouraged her to join Narc Anon or at least see a doctor. When she finally gave in, the man she chose turned out, she claims, to be a “rock star groupie”. “I can forgive all the miserable cocaine dealers because they were completely screwed up and trying to get enough money to buy food, but this guy was rick and had no reason except that he wanted to keep me coming to his office a couple of times and tell him about what was going on in Hollywood. And I’m lucky to be sitting here today. I could have OD’ed on anything, being that bleary. I could have been Anna Nicole Smith! I don’t hate anyone, but I hate him.”

Hate is not a word that surfaces very often during a conversation with Nicks. She admits the simmering tension that exists between Buckingham and herself, but there appear to be no hard feelings towards ex-lover Mick Fleetwood. An argument over her decision to use her song Silver Springs on her 191 solo retrospective Timespace, and not, as he wanted, on Fleetwood Mac retrospective The Chain, blew over…but then, both were massive sellers. In fact, Stevie’s initial Best Of featured a new song, Desert Angel, dedicated to the American military serving in Operation Desert Storm, which resulted in another turning point in her life.

In 2004, a Washington DC Army hospital approached her to ask if she’d be willing to make personal visits to the bedsides of young veterans injured in the war on Iraq. Stevie’s eyes light up when she talks about it. She’s set up a fund, she says, and planned her whole solo tour around being able to go back as often as she can. Wasn’t she nervous about getting so closely involved—after all, didn’t she once attract a stalker who was convinced she could cure him of homosexuality with mystical spells? She looks puzzled. “I’ve never heard that one. But you know people keep the really weird stuff away from me, so a lot of that stuff I don’t really hear.”

Yet she seems aware enough, in general, of the myths that surround her, of people’s fantasies of who “Stevie Nicks” is. If in the past she might have played into those fantasies of the ethereal Californian pop enchantress, you sense there are limits now. She declares, for instance, that she “won’t have a face lift”. “The idea of looking like a caricature of myself is horrible,” she winces. “I feel that if you stay animated from within, that people don’t see the age, so I try to forget about it. I deal with it by just being me.” And she has been used to being “me” for quite some time, her short-lived marriage aside, she says she “never had children [because] I didn’t want to compromise my art.”

As a parting shot, she also admits to being happy as a workaholic. “I do have this crazy world where I pretty much continually work all the time,” she smiles. “I can break real easily if I don’t get back a little bit of the love that I try to put out but I’m happiest when I’m working. The other stuff I try to laugh about. Sometimes I’ll wake up and I’ll go, So what is going on in the fabulous life of Stevie Nicks today? And when I do find myself getting tired or complaining, I get really mad at myself and say, You have no right to complain, Stevie. You’re a lucky, lucky girl.”

Crystal Visions: The Very Best of Stevie Nicks (Warner Bros CD & DVD) is out in the UK on September 24.

SIDEBAR
A Tonic for the Troops

In 2004, a US military hospital invited Stevie Nicks to visit its woulded young soldiers. She’s been going ever since. Here she explains why.

“We were playing Washington DC and my manager said Walter Reed Army Medical had asked if I would like to visit. What could I say? I was there from two in the afternoon until almost one o’clock that night. Basically you go in—and believe me, I never thought that this would be anything I would ever do—and you put on a gown and gloves and they say, Well this guy’s name is John Jones and he was injured in a blast and lost both legs. He’s had bad day, but he’s very excited to see you. You go in and I just say, My name’s Stevie Nicks, what happened? Because they would like to talk about it. I don’t sing to them, just talk. And then the USO comes in and takes a Polaroid and then it’s on to the next room and, This girl, Amanda, who was in a blast and lost one leg and a hand, and you just suck it all up and sit and talk to Amanda for 15 minutes. You don’t even have time for a cup of coffee, you just keep going—and when I walked out of that hospital after having seen about 40 guys and girls who’ve lost arms and legs, I was so completely blown away by it all and by how these kids’ lives would never be the same.”

“So I said, I’m going to have to do something about this. I have to do something for them. I thought, maybe I can buy gym equipment for their physical therapy, and then I had an idea. I could take them music. I could give them iPods and fill them up with songs from all different artists and I can take them music. So I called everybody I knew and said I’m starting a foundation and I’m going back in two months, and that’s how my Stevie Nicks Solder’s Angel Foundation started.”

“I’m very, very dedicated to this. I’m not a mother, but I feel incredibly motherly to all these kids—they are so young, 18, 20, 22, and a lot of them are there for anywhere between a year and 18 months—and they love the music. I sign everything—the iPods, the box they come in, the T-shirts we take them. A lot of my girlfriends have started doing this with me and we have bags of popcorn and a movie, so it’s fun. They’ve just built a place in San Antonio, Texas, specifically for amputees and burn victims, and so I’m going there—in fact I’ve planned my whole tour around it so I can hub out of San Antonio and go there and figure what they need.”

“I’m so happy that that one time they invited me to go I actually went, because I feel like it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Pictures from the Sept 2007 edition of the popular UK music magazine

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Thanks to trackaghost for providing the original scans and for Daniel from Stevie Nicks INFO for allowing the text to be added to this site

Stevie Nicks Downsizes Life – Upsizes Charity Work (Jul 2007)

Larry Rodgers
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 26, 2007 12:00 AM

With her 60th birthday looming, Stevie Nicks is making some changes.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has put the Paradise Valley home she has owned since 1981 up for sale, and has expanded her charitable efforts beyond benefits for the Arizona Heart Institute, a favorite of her late father, Jess.

She’s also selling a house in Los Angeles to move to a smaller place on the beach in Santa Monica.

“I’m downsizing,” Nicks said in a call last week. “I’m moving into a rock-and-roll penthouse where I can do my work. I don’t want to worry about if the pool is taken care of and the grass is right.”

Nicks, who performs in Phoenix on July 28, said she’s spent only a few weeks annually at her Valley home in recent years. In addition, her brother, Chris, and his family, who shared the two-winged home at the foot of Camelback Mountain, have moved.

“I’ve written many famous songs there, so I hope somebody buys it who appreciates the amazing rock-and-roll history and the legendary behavior that’s gone on in that house,” said Nicks, who successfully underwent rehab for drug abuse in the ’80s. Continue reading

Vision Quest – Stevie Nicks | Performing Songwriter (June 2007)

Stevie Nicks built a beloved body of work within and without Fleetwood Mac—but success had a steep price. As a new greatest-hits album chronicles her solo success, the mysterious superstar takes stock on her life and music.

By Chris Neal
Performing Songwriter
June 2007

Stevie in Performing Songwriter Magazine

(Photos: Neal Preston, Barry Shultz/Retna, Paul Natkin/WireImage, Fin Costello/Retna)
The weather is gray, windy and, as Stevie Nicks notes, “a little creepy” outside her home overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

“I call it the ‘amoeba fog,” she says, looking out from the living room of her Los Angeles home. “It sticks right to the coast. You might as well be in Seattle or London for several months out of the year. It suit me sometimes, but after it’s been that way for a couple of week, I start to go, ‘OK, I’d like to see the blue sky.”

Nicks is well acquainted with both the clouds and the blue sky of L.A. A native of Phoenix (she also keeps a house there), she moved to L.A. from San Francisco with guitarist and then-paramour Lindsey Buckingham in 1971. On New Year’s Eve 1974, both were asked to join Fleetwood Mac—and alongside keyboardist Christine McVie, bass player John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood, they helped to turn a British blues-rock warhorse into one of the best-selling and most influential bands in pop history.

Nicks became the group’s breakout star, thanks to her striking beauty, dusky alto and magnetic stage presence—but perhaps most of all her talents as a writer. Songs like “Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” “Sara” and “Gold Dust Woman” rang out as evocative, impressionistic transmissions from a parallel world a little more vivid and romantic than our own. Through a poetic lens, she examined femininity, mythology and love—particularly the disintegration and aftermath of her relationship with Buckingham.

In the spring of 1980, Nicks began work on her first solo album. The intervening years have seen her build a persona, fan base and musical legacy that stands apart from the mighty Mac. Hits like “Edge of Seventeen,” “Stand Back” and “Talk to Me” provided a constant reminder that Nicks was a singer and songwriter whose talents went much father than her contributions to the band she could never completely abandon. Those songs and a bounty of others chosen by Nicks herself are now collected on a new compilation album, Crystal Visions… The Very Best of Stevie Nicks. As dusk settled over L.A. and the “amoeba fog” clung stubbornly to the coast, we asked Nicks, 58, to describe her creative process, recount her journey through music and predict the future of Fleetwood Mac.

This is your second greatest-hits collection. How did you pick songs for Crystal Visions?
When you’re doing this kind of package, you go back to the singles. But I tried to make this different. “Landslide” and “Edge of Seventeen” with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra went on in place of the recorded versions at first. You better have a really good in-place-of if you’re not going to use the record version. But then I decided to put the real “Edge of Seventeen” on, too, since I could fit it. So there’s “Edge of Seventeen” from the very beginning and “Edge of Seventeen” from last year. I thought that was an interesting turn-the-page from one lifetime to another.

You’ve talked about your “song vault.” Every album you make seems to include at least a couple of songs that go back a few years.
I do try to go back and pick up as many of the standout songs as I can. I was reading the article about John Mayer in your magazine [November 2006], and he was talking about the fact that when a song doesn’t get recorded, it just goes out into space. Sometimes you later realize that song was a lot better that the one that made the record. So you try to go back and pick that song up at some point.

At this point in your career, there are certain songs that your audience would be disappointed if you didn’t perform. Do you ever get tired of those?
After you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you have a certain repertoire. You know there are certain songs people want to hear. You’re not going to throw out “Rhiannon,” because people are gonna walk out and go, “I can’t believe she didn’t do ‘Rhiannon.'” So you have to figure out a way to summon that passion. I reach down and pull out the emotion that led me to write the song in the beginning. With that, they’re not hard to sing. I can always enjoy them. And if I start to get tired of one of them, I drop it. There have been times when I’ve dropped “Gold Dust Woman” or “Dreams.” I can’t drop all of them, but I can drop one here and there.

Why did you revise the lyrics to “Rhiannon”?
How did I revise them?

There are several differences in the recording and the way you do it live. For example, on the original, Rhiannon is “taken by the wind.” By the early 1980s, she was “taken by the sky.”
Oh, you know what? I don’t think I purposely did that. Sometimes I just go off. Those words probably evolved out of my solo work. When I have my two girls with me [background singers Lori Perry and Sharon Celani have performed with Nicks on most of her albums and tours], we do all these things I don’t do that much in Fleetwood Mac. That is a difference in Fleetwood Mac and my solo work. In the Mac, I’m part of a team, so I try not to stand out as much. I blend in more, because I’m one of the charmed three. In my own work, I’m just me. When Lori and Sharon and I are singing, we’re able to be more out there, more spacey, more flamboyant.

Do you generally write on piano?
Pretty much. The piano, for some reason, holds a real fascination for me. I’m not a very good player, and I play in a weird sort of way. I don’t really play chords. I sound like a second-grader but play good enough to write. Even the total childlike renderings that I come up with, I can hear them orchestrated in my head. “Rhiannon” is just like (sings melody) dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun, it’s this little simple thing. But when I was writing it, I could hear what it could be.

What kind of piano do you have now?
I have a nine-foot white Steinway that was played on the road for years by Billy Preston, Leon Russell and other famous people, I’m told. It has a certain sound that’s very Leon Russell-Dr. Hon, that very tinkly kind of sound. Then I have a Bosendorfer that is like a big black cat. It’s a seven-foot grand. These pianos take up so much room that you can’t even have living room furniture, but they’re my babies. “Edge of Seventeen,” “Stand Back” and “Dreams,” all of my songs I’ve pretty much written on these two pianos. Each brings out something different in me, because they sound different.

Let’s go back to the beginning of your solo career. Why did you decide to make your first solo album, Bella Donna [1981]?
Simply to have another vehicle for my songs. The reason was not ever because I wanted to be a big solo artist. I was very interested in continuing to be in my band. I loved being in Fleetwood Mac. But when there are three writers [Nicks, Buckingham and Christine McVie each contributed songs more of less equally to Fleetwood Mac], you can only get three or four songs on a record. For me as a writer, that started to become hard.

What do you recall about the making of the album?
We rented Bill Cosby’s house in the Palisades. We worked for about two months with [keyboardist] Benmont Tench, Lori and Sharon in the living room at the grand piano every day. We played and sang all the songs on Bella Donna over and over until we had them down perfect. It was so much fun. We were like Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills & Nash, living in this great house and making music in [ L.A.’s] Laurel Canyon. It was one of those real rock ‘n’ roll experiences that you can ever forget. Then we went into the studio, and the record only took three months because we were so rehearsed and practiced and excited—and not spoiled rotten, not self-indulgent. By the time the record came out, Fleetwood Mac was tapping their feet like, “Where the hell are you?” So I only did 12 shows and flew to Paris the next day to join Fleetwood Mac for [the recording of 1982’s] Mirage.

What was your attitude going into your second solo album, The Wild Heart [1983]?
Bella Donna had done really well, so we had more confidence. But during Wild Heart I was coming to the end of my [romantic] relationship with [producer] Jimmy Iovine, so that was really sad. I was working with Jimmy, and that was hard. I had already gone through the whole Lindsey-and-Stevie thing, and now here I was back in another situation where I was working with somebody that I had loved and the relationship had started to fall apart.

Why is that?
Mostly because of drugs. Jimmy was not a drug user or a drinker, and the whole world was turning into a bunch of drug addicts at that point. It was heartbreaking for him, because everybody around him was starting to cave in. The Wild Heart was a hard record to do, and by the time we got to Rock a Little [1985] he had had it. I didn’t blame him. I understood. On Rock a Little, we were really slipping into darkness.

How does Rock a Little sound to you now?
There are some really good things on Rock a Little. There are also parts where I go, “What were you thinking?” Did you really think that was good ? But that was toward the end of my cocaine habit. Everybody was crazy at that point. When you’re rich, famous and a drug addict and you’re trying to your music … I was always planning to quit, I was always making plans to change my life, and it just didn’t happen because we never had a day off. We were always working. I knew at the beginning of the Rock a Little tour that I wanted to go into rehab. I had already booked this seven-month tour, but I knew that the second the tour was over in October that I would be going straight into the Betty Ford Center.

Most people who say, “In seven months I’m going into rehab,” wind up never going at all.
Right, they don’t. But my poor little nose had fallen apart. I went to a plastic surgeon, and he said, “Your nose is in trouble, and you’d better be careful. You could have a brain hemorrhage and die.” I was terrified. But I wasn’t gonna cancel my tour, so I decided I was just going to walk a tightrope for the next six months. And I did. I took as good care of myself as I could, and I did as little of that stuff as I could possibly do to get through it. Then when the tour was over I went home, got in the car and rove to Palm Springs. I walked into Betty Ford going, “Here I am, fix me.”

How did you feel when you finished rehab?
I came out in great shape. I was happy, drug-free and looked incredible, if I do say so myself. The problem came with the rest of the world saying I should either go to Alcoholics Anonymous or to a psychiatrist. I was saying, “Listen, I’m not an alcoholic, and I’m not to a psychiatrist because I’m not crazy. Get off my back.” But people didn’t get off my back. They kept bugging me. So one day I said, “Alright, I’ll go see a psychiatrist.” And it’s too bad, because if I hadn’t gone to see this doctor I would have had a much better life. This guy decided that he was going to be the reason that I wouldn’t return to coke. So he put me on a drug called Klonopin [a tranquilizer in the Valium family]. This drug is subtle. You take it and you don’t really feel it that much. You feel a little calmer. But over a period of time, it starts to fog your brain.

How did it affect your artistic output?
Lucky me, I had written the song for The Other Side of the Mirror [1989] before the Klonopin kicked in. I was very happy with them, and still am. I really love that record. Somewhere out on that tour the stuff kicked in and brought me to my knees. I folded into the couch. I’ve read through my writings from that time, and I would just be writing about nothing. Pages and pages of … nothing . That was a very sad period of my life. This guy continued to up my dose over an eight-year period. I will never quite understand how somebody can do that to another person. If I could have just not gone to that doctor, I figure I could have done two or three more really, really good solo records. Those eight years were totally stolen from me. That was worse than the cocaine years, because at least during those years I did something that I considered valuable.

How did you get off Klonopin?
I walked into the psychiatrist’s office for the last time in 1993 and said, “I’m going to a hospital, you asshole.” He’s going, “I don’t think you should do that. We can drop your dose a bit.” I said, “You fuck yourself, you bastard.” And I went straight to a hospital. I believe that had I not done that, I would have been dead within a year. I went into rehab for 47 days. I went through the worst detox, and I nearly died there.

So where does the making of Street Angel [1994] fall in relation to that period?
I was done in the very end of that era of my life. When I came out of rehab, I was listening to this record going, “Oh my god, this cost a lot of money, it’s not good and I hate it. We can’t put this out.” So I went in for six weeks and tried to fix it, but it was like making a dress—you cut it to a certain length, and you cannot put the length back in. You can’t get the fabric back. I was screwed. There was really nothing I could do. We put it out. By the time I came off that tour, all the songs from Street Angel had been dropped from the set list and I almost never spoke of it again. I don’t listen to it. I don’t even want to hear it.

By contrast, Trouble in Shangri-La [2001] seems like…
I’m back! (Laughs) Trouble in Shangri-La was terrific. My world had fallen apart twice now, and I was trying to put it back together this time. It took about three years to make, but when the record was done I was very proud of it. It took a long time, but it was fun.

After that you returned to Fleetwood Mac yet again. How do you look back on the making of Say You Will [2003]?
On Feb. 2, 2002, I went straight from the Trouble in Shangri-La tour into recording with them. It was nightmare doing that record. It really was Lindsey’s vision, and it wasn’t very much about the other three of us. And of course it was also the first record we had ever attempted to do without Christine [McVie, who left the band in the late 1990s]. Right there, the whole thing was completely insane. She is the magic mediator in that band and always was. She’s the one who made light of everything and made everybody laugh and told us all that were full of shit. She was the person who made it all work. So when she wasn’t there, that sunk the boat. I don’t think that my friend Chris ever realized how important she was. Without her, it’s a boy’s club. The lack of Christine is a big, hollow hole in my heart.

Would you be willing to attempt another record without her?
Absolutely not. Not in this lifetime. Why? We already tried, and it did not work. My thing is, somebody convince Christine to come back and do this one more time. I don’t think she’s going to change her mind, but stranger things have happened.

Do you have plans for another solo album?
I’m always writing, so I would be lying to say I wouldn’t love to. But I don’t have a lot of faith about what’s going on in the music business right now. I have a 15-year-old niece who is incredibly talented and beautiful, and she sings and she writes. Is there even a place for her? The idea that all these talented kids are out there writing incredible songs that are never going to see the light of day makes me nauseous. So we have to be really optimistic and believe that there is a god, and God will not have a world without music. Let’s all just say a prayer that the music will be saved.

What has sustained you through all these years in such a brutal business?
I love to entertain. If Lindsey and I had broken up and not done that first Fleetwood Mac record, I would have still done my music in my own small way. I’d be playing in clubs now, because my music is what I love. No matter what, I would have still been doing this. I’m an entertainer at heart. ■

INSIDE THE SONG
“Rhiannon”

Nicks wrote “Rhiannon” several months before joining Fleetwood Mac, inspired by a character of the same in Mary Leader’s book Triad. The original demo, recorded by Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, takes the song at a much faster clip than the version that would appear on Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 self-titled album and reach No. 11 on Billboard’s pop singles chart. “It wasn’t exactly the song it is today, but it’s similar,” Nicks says.

Nicks learned that the name “Rhiannon” dates back to the Mabinogion, a medieval Welsh book of wisdom. Nicks says she had written around 20 more songs based on Mabinogion myths over the last three decades, around which she hops to eventually build a fantasy movie musical. “They’re these amazing stories of Rhiannon and all the gods and goddesses of her gang,” she says. “I’ve been working on it in my heart ever since I wrote ‘Rhiannon.'”

INSIDE THE MUSIC
“Silver Springs”

Nicks write “Silver Springs” for Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours, but the song was cut at the last minute and tucked away instead as the B-side of the hit “Go Your Own Way.” It was a decision that deeply disappointed the song’s creator (it was restored on the 2004 Rumours reissue). When the Mac’s most famous lineup reunited for the 1997 concert album and MTV special The Dance, the song was revived and became a hit after 20 years.

Nicks’ mother, Barbara, suggested to her that “Silver Springs” be included on her daughter’s new greatest-hits album, Crystal Visions…The Very Best of Stevie Nicks. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Nicks had long ago gifted her mother with the song’s publishing rights—so it’s Barbara who will collect the songwriting royalties. “I said, ‘You’re a very smart woman girl, Mom,'” Nicks recalls with a chuckle. “The reason I really did this is that my mom is 79, and having that song on this package makes her a part of this.”

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