[The Nicks Fix]

Boston Globe

April 9, 1999
All Crow wants to do is rock


* WHO: Sheryl Crow
* WHEN: 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday
* WHERE: Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland
* HOW MUCH: $30 * CALL: 762-BASS

By Steve Morse

Sheryl Crow is straddling two generations. She has toured with the Rolling Stones and recorded a Bob Dylan song at the artist's request, so she has earned classic-rock credibility. She's also been accepted as a modern rocker whose last two albums sold a combined 15 million copies -- way more than the Stones and Dylan in recent years, meaning that she's definitely reached the younger generation. "When I do interviews, people always ask me how I feel about being lumped into the older generation," Crow says. "But I think of myself as this up-and-comer who never really fit into that. I've been really lucky to get my own audience." A restless artist who switched from being a Missouri schoolteacher to a West Coast rocker back in the '80s, Crow is now living in New York City and has put together a new band. "It was just time for a change," she says of both moves. "I absolutely love New York," adds Crow. "I'm the kind of person who has real problems making plans and I also don't like to drive, so L.A. is always problematic. And L.A. is also distracting. I find that most people I'm around there are always talking about business. It creates this strange sort of panic that the phones should be ringing and you should be out doing something."

Busy, busy, busy

The phones are still ringing for Crow, despite her change of address. Her latest album, "The Globe Sessions," features several songs drawn from romantic breakups that have occurred during her tour-heavy schedule of the past five years. She's also stretching her career out. She made her film debut as a junkie in Dwight Yoakam's "Minus Man," which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival. She hopes to write a film score in the future. She's producing a new album for Fleetwood Mac's queen bee, Stevie Nicks, for whom she produced two songs on the recent "Practical Magic" soundtrack. Most recently, Crow embarked on another tour in March -- it includes two shows next week at Oakland's Paramount Theatre -- featuring new guitarist Peter Stroud from Pete Droge's band. Despite the success of her albums, "Tuesday Night Music Club" (1993) and "Sheryl Crow" (1996), Crow endured frequent criticism from those who felt her success was based more on her looks and from the contributions of other writers and musicians. Though she is grateful to have been embraced by the Stones, Dylan, et al., nothing has been more satisfying than her recent alliance with Fleetwood Mac's Nicks. "She and I have had such a similar path," says Crow. "She became well-known at 29 and I got my first record deal when I was 29. We're also similar in that we're both matriarchal. When we go out on the road, we take care of everybody. We're not just the captain of the ship, we are the mother -- and the person who is challenging everyone musically. "But when you come home, it's a different thing. That was my experience when I came off the road this last time. All of a sudden, the family that I built around me wasn't my family. They all went home to their families. And that's what motivates you to continue to go out on the road."

Endless inspiration

Like Nicks, Crow is a rock 'n' roll lifer ("it's my calling"), but "the one difference is that I'd like to have children pretty soon." (Nicks, who just turned 50, has voiced regret that she never had children.) Crow has spent time co-writing songs with Nicks for the latter's album. "Right now, we're doing five songs for the album that she had already. And two of them are Buckingham/Nicks songs," Crows says, referring to Nicks' pre-Fleetwood Mac collaboration with Lindsey Buckingham. Crow also has kept intact her friendship with the Rolling Stones, who have been an endless inspiration to her, not just for the guitar licks that she has so obviously memorized but for their enthusiasm to keep going decade after decade. "The biggest thing with the Rolling Stones is that they're so obviously into the music and they get such a kick out of each other," Crow says. "For me, that's the most telling experience. Just watching the interaction between them when they were getting their new live album together -- Keith (Richards) was acting as bartender and listening to the record at full volume, while they were all pointing at each other and posing during their solos. They're still just so into music. I don't know what kind of lesson that is, but it certainly gives somebody like me a great deal of encouragement." Crow listens to other elders as well, among them legendary punk priestess Patti Smith. "I played after her on a radio gig once and she smoked me. When she came offstage, I said, 'I'm supposed to go on after that?' And she said, 'Just go out there and give 'em love.' I thought that was such a cool comment. What a great attitude."

Thanks to Sylvia Cooper for sending this article to The Nicks Fix.
The Nicks Fix main page