Arizona Republic - The Rep
September 21-27, 2000
Nicks ready for next chapter of her life
Twenty-five years after embarking on a musical journey that would fulfill her youthful fantasies - and fears - of stardom, Nicks, 52, is aware that the piper must be paid one way or another.
Years of hard living as she helped create such rock classics as Rhiannon, Dreams, Landslide, Gold Dust Woman and Sara took a toll, even as Nicks made millions and charmed the listeners of her generation.
Multiplatinum albums and global touring with Fleetwood Mac - one of rock's heaviest hitters in the '70s and '80s - and romances with bandmate Lindsey Buckingham and the Eagles' Don Henley initially put Nicks on top of a rarified world.
But while fans worshiped the twirling gypsy with golden hair, hypnotic eyes and smoky, seductive voice, Nicks was developing a taste for cocaine and brandy.
After launching a highly successful solo career with songs such as Bella Donna, Edge of Seventeen and Leather and Lace, Nicks learned that the cocaine had irreparably damaged her nose and clouded her other artistic calling - painting.
Although she may remain immortal in the eyes of fans and record-company executives, Nicks has come to grips with her own mortality as she watched her parents undergo surgery for heart problems.
The singer has turned to raising funds to fight the disease that has touched her family so deeply.
"Everyone has to have a cause, and I figure this is mine," she says.
She'll headline the Wells Fargo Stevie Nicks and Friends Concert, a benefit featuring Sheryl Crow, Chris Isaak, Henley and Buckingham, on Saturday in Phoenix to help fund a new education and research facility for the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation.
Nicks' father, retired concert promoter Jess Nicks, is the longtime chairman of the foundation's board.
A 1986 rehab at the Betty Ford Clinic and more recent treatment - ironically to end the effects of a drug prescribed to free her from cocaine's clutch - have made Nicks an advocate of exercise and healthful eating.
Although she admits to an occasional shot of tequila before shows to steady her nerves, Nicks says alcohol no longer has a place in her daily life, which she spends at her longtime home in the shadow of Camelback Mountain or a rented residence in Los Angeles.
Having a relationship also has been put on hold as she revs up her career again.
Nicks' next move will be a telling one.
Having not released a new album in six years, her upcoming Trouble in Shangri-La disc will gauge whether Nicks' star power can endure.
"It's a rock and roll record," she says. "But there are some quieter things.
She's co-producing about half of the record with Crow, who has become a pal and her closest musical collaborator. Crow has penned one of the disc's songs.
Nicks expects to release the album early next year and could tour up to two years behind it, unless her former group decides to reunite as it did in 1997.
"Fleetwood Mac will do another record," Nicks says without a hint of doubt.
As for gathering the group for another tour, Nicks is less certain.
While she has brought Buckingham and drummer Mick Fleetwood into the studio to play on one track of Shangri-La, Nicks says she and her former bandmates remain largely out of touch with keyboard-vocalist Christine McVie, who has returned to her native England.
"She (McVie) doesn't want to be a rock star anymore," Nicks says. "She's done, and there's really nothing to be said. We've all tried.
"I think the last time we went on tour it was too much for her. She's been touring since she was 15 years old."
But Nicks envisions involving McVie, who is divorced from Mac bassist John McVie, in at least a few songs of any new album.
Nicks' hope for another Fleetwood Mac album is a testament to her bottom-line feelings about the band.
"I would never change one bit of it," she says.
"We all went through a lot of bad stuff … but if you weigh it out, a lot of great things came out of it.
"We're all terribly proud of the music we made."