[The Nicks Fix]

Stevie Nicks Interview - Off The Record

This interview with Stevie Nicks which was aired on several radio stations on September 6th.

"Over My Head" plays as intro….

Joe Benson: Fleetwood Mac was formed in 1967, but their first vocalist/guitarist Peter Green, took way too much acid and left the band to live, legend has it, as a gravedigger. Then guitarist Jeremy Spencer went missing, and was subsequently found by the FBI living in a cult. Then guitarist Danny Kirwan self-emplodded…. And guitarist Bob Weston left after a messy affair with Mick Fleetwood’s wife…. And guitarist Bob Welch left… and, at this point, the band stumbled upon a Southern California musician named Lindsey Buckingham and his old lady, Stevie Nicks. Uh No…. she wasn’t really old, but remember this was 1974. But hey, let’s let Stevie tell you how she and Lindsey came to join the band.

"Sisters Of the Moon" begins to play in the background…

Stevie: I was aware of a band called Fleetwood Mac that had a lady singer in it named Christine McVie, except I always thought her name- everybody always referred to her as Christy, right, Christy McVie. So…. I didn’t know her name was Christine, but I was aware that there- there was this rock and roll band with a girl singer…. in it, and I was very interested in that, due to the fact that there just really weren’t that many bands with…. women singers that were…. Up front, you know. So that was about as aware of- of Fleetwood Mac as I was, and when I came in contact with them, I instantly went out and bought all their records…. With my last dime…. And uh…. Listened to them in sequence, front to back, to see if I could find a theme…. Through all these records that…. I thought I could…. Add to… could I be in this band?

"Little Lies" plays…

Stevie: Lindsey was…. going back and forth…. with ‘should we or should we not…. Break up Buckingham Nicks?’ But we both thought at that point, after starving for the last five years…. that it would- it was a better idea…. To… go into Fleetwood Mac and see what that led us into…. Or, you know, possibly starve the next ten years, and then my parents and everybody else was on me like, ‘you should go back to school, and you should-‘ you know, and I didn’t want to do that, so…. Umm… we decided that…. The best thing for the both of us was Fleetwood Mac.

JB: If you can believe it, at first, Fleetwood Mac wasn’t interested in Stevie Nicks. I mean, they already had a female vocalist. But they knew that if they wanted Lindsey, it was a package deal, and Stevie would come along too. So when Buckingham and Nicks were asked to join an already established band, Stevie quit her day job and never looked back?

Stevie: No, I gave two weeks notice… because I’m very practical, and I thought if this doesn’t work out…. I like this job, I don’t- I like doing lunches four days a week for three hours and making great tips, and making enough money to support Lindsey and I so that he could, lay on the floor and play guitar all day, and I could go out and do this for four hours a day, four times a week, and then I had the other three days a week to spend with him, and to spend working on our music.

"The Chain" from the Dance plays….

Stevie: I was very aware that they didn’t need another girl…. Especially another girl that was not behind a piano, and that was going to stand right out front in the middle. And I mean, I understood that, I mean it was like, if I had been Christine, I would have said, ‘Well I’m not too crazy about that idea myself, actually, but…. you know, I’ve been in this band for a hundred years and…. So there’s this little, you know, twenty-seven year old girl that’s gonna walk- come walking out- and… be the lead singer, basically, because that’s where she stands….. and… but Christine is… a very, mature… and very unjealous person…. And so…. if she ever did feel any jealousy, she never let me know it.

"The Chain" finishes playing….

JB: Everything seemed rosy when Fleetwood Mac put out their first album of Buckingham and Nicks. As the album was released, Fleetwood Mac was touring the U.S. in a station wagon, opening for other bands, and within a year, the album went to number one, and sold over five million copies. Finally, in their tenth incarnation, Fleetwood Mac had hit the big time. But those haciendas wouldn’t last long. Oh, but I’m getting ahead of myself. This is your Uncle Joe Benson, and I’ll let Stevie continue this story when we come back, with more of Fleetwood Mac Off the Record. (Commercial break)

"As Long As You Follow" plays in the background….

Stevie: When you first get together, it’s very different, I mean, it’s like… a love relationship when you’re- you’re- you’re very excited… so…. You don’t have any arguments, and everybody is really pretty pleased…. everyday.

JB: That’s how Stevie Nicks recalls her early days with Fleetwood Mac. Hey, this is your Uncle Joe Benson, and as I was saying, Fleetwood Mac had no idea what a great songwriter they were getting when they agreed to let Stevie tag along with her boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham…. but they’d soon find out. In the meantime, Stevie was just happy not to be scraping by anymore.

"Gypsy" plays….

Stevie: I mean, we didn’t know each other- well enough to….. to have fights or to- to get upset, you know. We were all so excited and so grateful, that we were able to- you know, they were grateful that they had found… Lindsey, at least…. and we were terribly grateful that we had found them…. and I was terribly grateful that I didn’t have to be a waitress or a cleaning lady anymore…. And, that I could, you know, go and buy myself a dress once in a while if I wanted…. So, it was really a, pretty much a…. mutual admiration society, at that point.

"Rhiannon" plays….

Stevie: When we first finished Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood Mac, I…. I took it home when I got my first disc…. To my apartment…. And I laid on the couch, and I closed all the doors, and…. put all the shades down, and lit a candle, and…. and uh….. listened to it all by myself, and I said ‘This is a really nice album. I really like it. It’s really pretty- it’s got some really pretty songs on it…. And the voices sound beautiful, and….. yes in fact we have added something- we have enhanced Fleetwood Mac.’

"Rhiannon" continues to play….

Stevie: My songs- Lindsey pretty much, and the band, would take my skeletal songs…. and…. work them out… with me listening, to make sure that I liked them…. Umm… and- and do them pretty much on their own, and the only time that I would stop them is if I- if they did something to one of my songs that I really didn’t like… which happened very seldom.

"Rhiannon" plays more….

Stevie: Rhiannon is such a special story…. Umm… I wrote Rhiannon…. three months before we joined Fleetwood Mac…. and uh, I didn’t know anything about Rhiannon when I wrote the song Rhiannon. I had just- I was just reading a…. paperback book, and, the name Rhiannon came up and I loved it, and I- I have this on tape, on a cassette that’s in my vault- in my mother’s vault, at home in Phoenix…. that uh…. that I had the tape recorder on when Richard and Lindsey came in and I said we have to go…. to a park and record the sound of birds rising. Of course Richard and Lindsey looked at me like, ‘she’s really gone around the twist this time, huh?’ And I said, ‘don’t you think that Rhiannon is a beautiful name?’, and Lindsey said, ‘yeah, it is a beautiful name.’ And uh…. three months later, we joined the band…. and, I played it on the piano in my little simple way of playing…. and they…. they loved it.

"Warm Ways" is now playing in the background….

JB: After the self-titled Fleetwood Mac album was released in mid-1975, the band toured for over a year, and it was Stevie’s first time singing in front of thousands of people.

Stevie: It was terribly exciting. Umm…. and it was from the very very first concert in El Paso, Texas, which I happened to have lived in El Paso from the fourth grade until the end of the seventh grade…. Uh…. and that was where we did our first show. I mean, when I walked out on the stage, I did not feel like I had not been on that stage before, and I did not feel…. afraid, and I did not feel that I could not hold my weight in front of that center stage mike…. and I was very nervous before the show…. I mean, I was sick to my stomach- really ill…. and as soon as I walked out on the stage, that- this all went away.

"Landslide" plays….

"Crystal" begins to play in background….

JB: What Stevie Nicks brought to Fleetwood Mac was energy and charisma, and Stevie’s stage presence has inspired a lot of today’s performers, including Shania Twain, who cites Stevie as one of her influences. If you want to see for yourself, check out Shania Twain’s concert live from Dallas, September 12th through direct TV. Anyway, when we come back, Stevie will speak frankly about the hard times the band went through while making their biggest album ever- Rumours. You won’t want to miss this. I’m Joe Benson, keep it here. (Commercial break) Hey, we’re back Off the Record with Fleetwood Mac. I’m Joe Benson. And you think a- a band coming off the most successful tour of their career would be pumped up to get back into the studio to record, but that was not the case. Mick Fleetwood called the Rumours sessions ‘an emotional holocaust’- Stevie and Lindsey were in the middle of an acrimonious break up, John and Christine McVie were divorcing, and Mick was going through a divorce of his own, and to top it all off, throw in a hefty dose of seventies style substance abuse. But, uh, despite it all, Rumours went on to become their biggest album ever. It sold over twenty-five million copies, won Grammy awards, spent 450 weeks in the album charts. 450 weeks- that’s close to nine years.

"Dreams" plays….

Stevie: The only problem with Rumours was that we were all breaking up, and that was a big problem. We had two couples that were breaking up, so it’s difficult not to be bitter, it’s difficult not to be…. somewhat nasty when you…. react to something that somebody says…. and, um…. that was hard…. but…. probably the reason that people love Rumours so much is because, they say that, you know, great- great art comes out of great tragedy.

"Go Your Own Way" plays….

Stevie: To break up with somebody and see them the next morning in the, hotel breakfast room…. possibly with another person…. uh…. was about as difficult a situation as you could impossibly imagine. And for me to walk into a…. to the breakfast room and see Lindsey sitting with a girl…. I mean it was a- an instant U-turn in the first place…. and uh, I mean it was- it was enough to make me absolutely ill.

"Go Your Own Way" continues to play….

Stevie: I have enough respect for the seven years that we went together and lived together…. and, for all that he taught me, and all that he did for my music…. and…. the incredible- the incredible experience of being with him for seven years, I would never ever ever do something like that to hurt him. So it’s still difficult…. after all this time…. It’s almost exactly the same as it was when we did Rumours. You know what Lindsey is like, as- as difficult as our life has been, together and apart….. he and I- he- he’s like, you know when something go- something happens to you that’s bad…. and your mother calls you or your dad calls you, and you pick up the phone and you hear their burst and you just burst into tears…. Lindsey…. is that, to me, because I’ve known him for so long.

JB: When we come back, Stevie will tell us how it was to reunite after all the bitter feelings, and about the one song that didn’t make it onto the Rumours album that should’ve, only to become a hit twenty years down the line. Proving, I guess, a good song is a good song, no matter when it’s released. This is your Uncle Joe Benson, keep it here. (Commercial Break) We’re back, Off the Record with me, Joe Benson, and the so-called Welsh Witch herself, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac. So after Rumours, the couples that made up the band had broken up, but they forged on musically- Stevie found great success with a solo album, and Fleetwood Mac turned out three more albums with both Stevie and Lindsey, one of which was Tusk, a more experimental album, and at the time, the most expensive album ever made.

"Sara" plays….

Stevie: Tusk was a very uncommercial album. Sara was a very commercial song. I didn’t write it to be a commercial song. I wrote it as a demo in Dallas, Texas after a concert on the Fourth of July…. way way long time ago…. and uh…. never in a million years dreamed that it would make any record. It was just a really special song to me.

"Sara" continues to play….

JB: Besides Sara, there’s another song that’s very special to Stevie Nicks. It’s called Silver Springs, and it was supposed to appear on the Rumours album, but without her knowledge, at the last minute it was pulled and relegated to a B-side, only to emerge twenty years later as the song that launched the band’s reunion.

Stevie: Well, their reasons are, it was too long, and so, without asking me… or telling me… they recorded I Don’t Want to Know…. and put Silver Springs on the back of Go Your Own Way…. which was probably one of the most devastating things anybody has ever done to me in my life…. and I remember vividly running out into the middle of the record plant studio parking lot, and screaming…. because I knew that Silver Springs deserved to be on that record, and that I Don’t Want to Know was really just a really fun…. guitar song…. and Silver Springs was…. Silver Springs was all about me and Lindsey, you know, and all- I mean…. I mean, he didn’t write beautiful love songs about me, but I did write some beautiful love songs about him.

"Silver Springs" plays….

Stevie: We were always either recording or touring. There was a time, where there was nothing that existed in my life except Fleetwood Mac. I mean, it was like you were on call…. like a doctor. I mean, it was like, if they’d had beepers then, we would have all had beepers…. and, to this day, it remains that way. It’s like…. everybody can call me and ask me to do things…. and I can…. think up a great excuse or I can get out of it, or I can, you know, hide or something…. but, when Fleetwood Mac calls, and says I have to do something…. it’s like, I don’t say, ‘but I can’t." I say, ‘okay, when? I’ll be there.’

"Silver Springs" finishes playing….

JB: By the late 80’s, Fleetwood Mac was in shambles. After their album, Tango In the Night, the group as a whole tried to convince Lindsey to go on tour with them, but during that discussion, Lindsey had a violent argument with Stevie and ended his tenure with the band. Then, in 1990, after Stevie read the things Mick Fleetwood said about her in his autobiography, she quit in disgust. But despite all those bitter feelings from the past, Fleetwood Mac reunited last year in full force, for an album and a tour.

"Gold Dust Woman" begins to play….

Stevie: When you spend that much time with people, even if you don’t see them for ten years, when you get back after fifteen or twenty minutes goes by, it’s really not, you know, like when you’re back with an old girlfriend, or a friend from high school or something, and it’s like no time has past…. that’s kind of how it was.

"Gold Dust Woman" continues to play….

Stevie: What has Rock and Roll ever done for us? Everything. You know, it has allowed us to have…. a beautiful car, and a lovely house, and…. dogs and cats, and friends, and go places and travel. I’m not- I’m not quitting.

Closing credits as "Gold Dust Woman" ends….

Thanks to Angela Simpson for transcribing this interview and sending it to The Nicks Fix.
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