[The Nicks Fix]

Jalouse Magazine
June, 2001


By Andy Bailey

Touch the ether right now and there's Stevie Nicks. Like the dove that soared out of Fleetwood Mac in a flurry of velvet capes, sequined shawls, chiffon dresses, and that snowy mountaintop of hair, the original rock 'n' roll gypsy has taken to the skies again. She's on the plane for the latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inauguration, and on the airwaves with "Planets of the Universe," the first single from her sixth solo album, Trouble in Shangri-La. Her spirit hovers over the catwalks of Milan, Paris, London and New York, as the layered, ruched and draped look - not to mention a riot of chiffon - rules the runways once again. She haunts the underground, too, in frilly nightclub tributes and in Gypsy 83, the forthcoming indie flick about unleashing your inner Stevie. If that's not enough, a summer stadium tour beckons. Alert the florists, place your bids on those vintage The Wild Heart tour jerseys now trading for colossal sums on eBay, and dust off your customized tambourines. It's Stevie's world. We just twirl in it.

Some would say Stevie never went away--just ask the queens who've spun onstage in creamy shawls and platforms at "Night of a Thousand Stevies," the annual New York City nightclub homage that celebrated its eleventh incarnation this spring. Indeed, so many Stevie impersonators have made the annual pilgrimage that its organizer, Chi Chi Valenti, relocated to a larger venue. Madonna dropped by one year, in disguise, to see what the fuss was about. There were a lot of rhinestones that night.

If there's a secret to Stevie's success, it's her survivor status. She's already done the Betty Ford Clinic, for cocaine dependency in 1986. She nailed VH-1's Behind the Music special two years ago, and she played the White House with Fleetwood Mac back in '93 for the presidential inauguration, after years of squabbling with Mick Fleetwood. "Take your silver spoon and dig your grave," warbled Nicks on the 25 million-selling Rumours - all this from the high-flying gold-dust wearing woman who would board Lear jets at LAX, sent by her then-lover Don Henley, and get flown in to Eagles gigs around the globe. "Love 'em and Lear 'em," went the popular Eagles motto.

Nicks's response to her high-flying, drug-addled life in the fast lane was to stop dragging her heart around. Stevie went solo in 1981. But two years later she was back with Mac, burning up MTV in burnout velvet capes with her self-penned "Gypsy." Suddenly, Nicks had ascended a throne many thought she'd inherited long ago. Stevie WAS Fleetwood Mac.

The video for "Gypsy" streamlined Stevie's signature style--a woman alone, in a sequined chiffon skirt with scalloped trim, twirling out of a rain-drenched forest into a clearing of liberating possibilities. If the garish pomp of the Bella Donna era didn't transform Nicks into a camp icon, "Gypsy" did. One of the most potent coming-out anthems of its era, it signaled to a nation of confused teens in their living rooms that it was okay to spin like that. Ohio native Todd Stephens, who wrote the 1998 gay coming-of-age drama Edge of Seventeen, pays homage to the song, the singer and her style in this fall's Gypsy 83, a low-budget road movie about a misunderstood Ohio teenager (Nicks doppelganger Sara Rue, from the WB Network's Popular) who runs away from home to appear at "Night of a Thousand Stevies" in New York City.

The fans will flock to this summer's Shangri-La tour like they have since 1981. Stevie will twirl, the fans will twirl back, and the whole scene will explode in a riot of lace and shawls. People will cry and go home to Omaha and compose mad, passionate poetry on Internet fan sites and the new record might just do for Stevie what Supernatural did for Carlos Santana.

What it all boils down to is that voice--a glottal, quavering force of nature that sounds like Stevie swallowed all the grit of the Seventies (which in a way she did), then let it wallow in her throat until it solidified into a pearl. Nicks's bruised alto--she underwent surgery in 1979 to repair shredded vocal chords--has left her sounding more splendidly coarse than ever. You can hear Nicks's influence in the throaty growls of TLC's "Unpretty" and on virtually anything by Sheryl Crow, Macy Gray and the Dixie Chicks. They've all come to pay homage to Stevie this year, as you will too, but she remains a woman alone--spinning away into the night, drowning in the sea of love.

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