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Stevie Nicks interview from Wild West End
on Sky News, May 15 & 16, 1989

 

Part One

 

Voiceover: For a decade and a half Stevie Nicks has been rock and roll's gypsy queen, a windswept tragic figure singing of love's highs and lows. Both as a focal point of Fleetwood Mac and later as a solo artist, she's been enormously successful. Her first three solo albums went platinum and her fourth, The Other Side Of The Mirror, may well do the same.

Stevie could be forgiven for being a little blas' about success but she remembers the difficult decision eight years ago to record the album Bella Donna on her own.

 

Stevie:  What if this is a bomb? Or what if this doesn't hold up to Fleetwood Mac? Or what if people say, well, we didn't want her to go, to move away in any way from Fleetwood Mac? Which I was afraid of after being in that group for so long. And the fact was, I wasn't moving away, but I was afraid that people would think I was. So I was really scared that it might not work and if it didn't work, then I'd have to go back into Fleetwood Mac and take all their sarcastic remarks, and you know, they're English and very, very sarcastic, and I'm American and very, very sensitive.

 

Voiceover: Her relationships with other members of Fleetwood Mac have often been difficult. The hit album Rumours was a virtual testimony to the failure of her relationship with Lindsey Buckingham. The rock and roll lifestyle has never come cheap. For Stevie Nicks the price was a 12 year dependency on cocaine, a problem she finally faced when she checked herself into the Betty Ford Clinic three years ago.

 

Stevie: You get there and there are so many people there who are in such trouble. See I had a dream to return to. I had 28 days there and then I went straight back into the studio with Fleetwood Mac. And I didn't lose all my money, I didn't lose my career, I didn't' you know, nobody came and took all my clothes away and burned down my house. I had something to return to. Many, many people that go to Betty Ford have nothing to return to. You know, they're divorced, their wives and husbands have left them. They've lost all their money. They've ruined their life over drugs. So when these people tell you with tears running down their face what has happened to them, it's so sad, that even if you leave Betty Ford and go back to drugs, you'll never be the same.

 

Voiceover: Stevie has never made any secret of the fact that were she not a member of Fleetwood Mac she would have no hesitation in joining Tom Petty & The Heartbreaker. It's a musical love affair that has blossomed both on stage and in the recording studio.

 

Stevie: I became instant friends with them and they gave me a lot more leeway then they give any other women. I mean, they stand on the ground that there will never be any women involved in their music and yet, they let me in. So I've ended up, over the past many years, flying to god knows, far, far away, to play, to sing the songs that he and I have done together on stage with them. And there has never been an experience for me like walking on stage with Tom & The Heartbreakers, or Tom and Bob Dylan and The Heartbreakers.

 

Voiceover: For Stevie Nicks rock and roll men have been both her inspiration and her downfall: Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Don Henley and Lindsey Buckingham, to name but a few. She describes them all as modern day highwaymen, but her experiences have left Stevie in no doubt that rock is still very much a man's world.

 

Stevie: I've always loved being a woman; I've never wanted to be a man. So I've learned that order to be part of these men, you have to be very quiet and very unobtrusive. And if you're that way, they'll let you stay; they'll let you be there. If you come on strong at all, they'll throw you out.

 

Interviewer: But is that right that you have to be that way?

 

Stevie: No, of course it's not right. But if you're like me and you want to have people that are your friends that are in rock and roll, and as we already spoke of, how many rock and roll lady singers are there? Not many. So if I want to go' where am I gonna go, if I can't go to a Heartbreakers session or a Bob Dylan session or someone like that. Who am I going to talk to about what I do?

 

 

Part Two

 

Voiceover: Stevie Nicks is a rock and roll fairytale, who has woven herself into a million hearts both as a star of Fleetwood Mac and in her solo career. Over a decade and a half the style has never really changed: a feminine figure playing a string of fantasy women ' Rhiannon, Juliet, Alice, the Gypsy, Bella Donna, and of course, Sara.

 

Stevie: I feel I can write about myself through Sara and that people will understand. Because I can't write all these songs and call them all Stevie [laughs] I have to come up with something different. So I pick out names that I especially love like Rhiannon and Gypsy, even though gypsy is not a name, to me it is a name' um, Juliet of Romeo & Juliet, Alice of Alice In Wonderland. So I write my own stories about me through them.

 

Voiceover: And what of that famous gypsy-like style. Stevie says it's more than just stage costumes.

 

Stevie: As far as changing the things that I wear, as I told you, this [her skirt] has got to be 10 years old, this [her top] has got to be eight years old. This whole outfit has got to be 10 years old! And yet it's still my favourite things. And when I'm not wearing them on stage I hang them on the wall or I put them over lamps. Or I wear them out in my real regular life. If I'm going out somewhere I'll pull something. It's not like these things are just, for me, just for stage. I actually love these things and I actually pick out these fabrics. I'm very, very careful all the things I pick out, I make sure I really, really love because I know that I'm going to be wearing them probably for years. When I'm probably 60 years old these things will still exist, they will outlive me. These things will be in a thrift store somewhere, hopefully in Antiquarius, you know, in 100 years, and somebody will say some little thing like: 'These things once belonged to a lady named Stevie'.

 

Voiceover: Stevie is reluctantly perhaps, approaching her fourth decade. She has no regrets about her wild rock and roll days and claims to have come to terms with growing old. One future project for Stevie is a book about her remarkable life. Since the earliest fays of Fleetwood Mac she has written down every event and thought and she admits that some of it could never be published.

 

Interviewer: Do you have to wait for them all to die?

 

Stevie: I think I do. [laughs] And that's a horrible thing to say. But what I'll probably do is I'll put together a compilation of stuff that can go out, that they won't mind, that won't bother them. And then when I'm 90 years old, and probably they'll all be dead, and I'll still be hobbling round with a cane, then I'll really write the real story of what really was my extraordinary life with all of them.

 

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