iVillage Radio Interview
The iVillage audio interview was posted on the iVillage.com website on May 2001. It was trancribed to text by Carolyn . Thanks to Carolyn for providiing it to the Nicks Fix.
Lydia: Hits Live iVillage radio, that's Planets of the Universe, the new one from Stevie Nicks, Trouble in Shangri-La is her new CD, it's amazing, and right now joining the program, the chanteuse herself, one of the biggest, the biggest rock and roll divas of them all, Stevie Nicks, how's it going?
Stevie: Well, it's going great. You know, I've been getting ready to release this record, it's been done since last November, so, we have taken all this time to do press, and, to do that whole thing that many times, when you finish your record, you know, right at the time, it's like, they take it and it goes right out. And you don't have time to do that whole kind of a blitz advertising thing where you really talk to people and really talk about the songs and everything, and I kind of saw it totally work with the Fleetwood Mac reunion record, where we filmed the show in May, and then we, all summer we did press, and then we released the record in like September. And it's like, it's just a, it's just such a much more warm and friendly way to release a record to the world, to have first off kind of told everybody about it so, people kind of know what to expect and stuff, sometimes I think, you know, you need a little bit of a build up.
Lydia: Yeah. Yeah, well this, you know, from the first time I heard the first song off the, off the CD I just was mesmerized, I was just, the power of it...
Stevie: Mmmm. Thank you!
Lydia: Well, I'm serious! You know, I, it was taken away, it felt like you were coming into your own.
Stevie: Well I think, you know, I probably am. It's, I pretty much wrote the first song, which is the last song on the record, Love Is, at the end of 1994, and it's taken, you know, all that time to write all these songs. The actual recording of the record really, in all that time, maybe took 8 months, if that. But, you know, cause there was many times when I wasn't working, when I was just writing, but to write these songs, you know, you really just can't, like, you know, go home and spend a couple of years with your dog. It's like, you have to do something, you know? For me the great thing was that I was started on this record, and the Fleetwood Mac thing happened. So of course, when we even thought that was gonna happen, everything else stopped. So, that was like a good solid two year period, where I was out on the road, I was in rehearsal, I was traveling, and I wrote like six of the songs on this record on that tour, the words, the lyrics. So it's like, I almost needed that tour to be able to go out and experience, like, living, you know? Because it's, it really is, you just really... I think the reason that people will feel these songs are strong is because they're very real. They are not made up songs, not one of them is just a made up story, it's all real, it all happened.
Lydia: Well, one of the things that I've read in the press coming out is the idea of you really saying "I am a premiere songwriter, I really can write music." And it's very obvious.
Stevie: And I really, you know, said that to myself, in 1994, when I really, really was, you know, kind of in a, a place where I really hadn't done anything in my opinion that was very good in a long time. And I'm probably harder on myself than anybody else will ever be on me. So, you know, even releasing these 12, 13 songs, it was like, I really, there were 16 songs to begin with and I had to take three out because you can't have that many songs on a CD. Just like you couldn't have, really, 12 long songs on a vinyl record, you couldn't have, you know, that's why Silver Springs didn't go on, cause there was not room for it. So on this record, it was like I was told I had to drop four songs, and, I didn't drop four, I dropped three, I could not drop four. It was like, there just cannot, four cannot go. But I really went, you know, around with my whole concept of Shangri-La, and the ones that came out were really the ones that didn't quite fit into my Trouble in Shangri-La concept.
[Trouble in Shangri-La plays]
Lydia: Now, tell me about this Trouble in Shangri-La concept.
Stevie: Well, it was written, it was written at the same, it was written in the last two months of the O.J. Simpson trial. And I try to make it really clear to people that it was not written about O.J. It was written about the situation that he and many people that sort of make it to the height of their field. Whether you're a sports figure or a rock star or a doctor or a lawyer, indian chief, you know, candlemaker... whatever it is, when you kind of get to the top of your field and you are, like, really there. And how difficult it is for people to stay there. And how difficult it is for people to not go crazy. And how really hard it is for people to enjoy life, you know, to just say, "wow, I made it, I'm rich, I have lots of great friends, I can travel for the rest of my life, I'm free," you know? And, but yet, that isn't enough, then. That becomes your world, and then that's not enough, and then, if you're searching for paradise, you found it, and suddenly what you thought was paradise, isn't really paradise.
[Trouble in Shangri-La continues]
Lydia: Now, you've had lots of, you've had lots of personal Troubles in Shangri-La throughout your life...
Stevie: Absolutely! Absolutely [laughs]
Lydia: Can you talk a little bit about some of the, some of the surviving that you've done?
Stevie: Well, my, you know, my main thing that I try to throw into all of these articles, and especially since this, this is a women's mag... uh, a women's thing, right?
Lydia: Right. A women's network.
Stevie: ...is the, you know, it's like when, when I started writing this record in 1994 was after I put out my Street Angel record, which was my last solo record. And that record was really, a very, it was a lousy record. And the reason being, was cause the eight years before that, I had been taking this tranquilizer called Klonopin. And throw in some Prozac along with that. And it just really, sucked my soul out of my body and stopped my creativity, and during those eight years, I mean, and I can sit and go back through things, through my art, through my journals, through what I did musically, and it's like so far below my standards, that what I want to tell people is, when you think you're depressed and you go into a psychiatrist, be very very careful because a creative person like me, it was death. It's like I just barely made it through the cocaine, coffee and brandy years, from 1975 to 1986, and then I thought I was home free. I was off of all that stuff, and I was happening, and everybody wanted me to go and see a psychiatrist because I didn't want to go to AA, cause I'm not an alcoholic and I knew I wasn't then. And, just to get people off my back, I did. And, if I had, like, somehow, you know, not been able to find the address that day, my life would have been so different. I would have had eight more years of really wonderful creativity. Because I was right there, then, where I am now, you know? Where I was when I went off the Klonopin, it's like, I had to go home to Phoenix and spend six months and, and just, like, realize what had happened in that last eight years and how many people that I had been really terrible to, and people that I had fired, and horrible things that were not me, that were something that Stevie would never do. You know what I mean? And it's like, so that's, that's what I want to warn women about, is, when you think you're depressed, be very very careful. Because if you have a passion in your life, whether it's your husband, your babies, you're an artist, you're a tap dancer, you're a yoga instructor, it will take that away. I guarantee it.
Lydia: Do you think that we get, as women, a bad rap about depression, when it's part of just our creative...
Stevie: I do. I think it's just your real self! Why are we trying to change our personalities? Because, you know what, I, and the other thing is, if somebody falls in love with you before you go onto Prozac and Klonopin and Valium and all those things that we can take, they will not be in love with you in another year. Because you won't be the same person. You'll be a different person. Your little bit of angst and your little bit of, you know, bitterness that we all have, and your little bit of fire, it'll all be blended.
Lydia: Wow. Now, you also, I'm just changing gears just a little bit... though I love hearing that. I love hearing that, because I think we get so much, I think we get so much grief for the idea of being depressed or not being, not being, you know, Pollyanna-ish all the time as women in this culture.
Stevie: I mean, what in the world did we do, for the first nine-million years?
Lydia: Yeah, exactly!
Stevie: You know?
Lydia: Yeah. Exactly. Well you have always been a woman that has not been afraid of the dark side. I mean, when I, when I say I'm gonna, when I told my friends I was gonna have Stevie Nicks on the show they're like, "Oh, she's so witchy! We love her because she's so witchy!" You've always gone, and had this style where you went places where, where sometimes nice girls didn't go.
Stevie: Well... you know what, the whole witchy thing is, was never really planned, you know? The witchy thing came out of my songs tend to be a little bit gothic-fairy-tail-esque, and, I wore black because it's the thinnest color to wear, and, it, Halloween has always been my very favorite day, because I loved to dress up, and, since I was, you know, four years old, Halloween was, like, my day, and that I looked forward to, so, you know, in putting together that whole image, almost the rest of the world really took it as witchy. I put it out there as being mysterious, and intriguing and, and, and of course the world is a little crazy, and people always want to go that weird, dark, kinky place so that's like, ok, I let everybody do that, as long as people know that I'm really not a witch, I'm fine with it all. I think that, what I am is very mysterious and, I, you know, I tell people what I want people to know, and I keep, I try to keep a hold of my mystery. And I think that's the key of my success.
Lydia: Right, right. I think so. Now, there is something about your style, though, I think the whole, the velvet and the lace that speaks to a lot of, a lot of places in women where we want to go, and, and we need someone to guide us.
Stevie: Right. And you know what? It, all that stuff always works. [Laughs] The lace, and the chiffon, and all that stuff, it's been proved through time. It works, and that's all I've really, you know, ever tried to do was just, give people a reason to, go into my little creative world, and if that means, being all dressed up in a fairy princess outfit, that's fine. And even if it's a dark, if it's a black chiffon fairy princess outfit, that's fine too.
Lydia: Yeah. We're talking to Stevie Nicks here on Hits Live, iVillage radio. A lot of the listeners wanted to know about, that you'd had some trouble with some breast augmentation, and they all were experiencing the same thing and they wondered if you'd talk about it.
Stevie: Sure. In 1976, I had breast implants, they were silicone. And, you know, for several many years, it was cool. But then, it wasn't cool, it was like, I definitely knew that something was wrong. For a long long time. And I went to a ton of different doctors, and had, you know, the ultrasounds and all the different ways that they have to see through your skin, and see if something is broken. And everybody swore to me, "they are not broken, you do not need to do this, this is a big operation, this is, you know, put you down for a month," it's like, and my mother said to me, "they are broken. Go in and take them out." So I did, and they were broken. And they were all through my bloodstream. I had Epsteins-Barr, solid, for two solid years. And I had to go in for acupuncture three times a week, which was very expensive, and go and see a doctor three times a week, vitamin therapy... Well, it was terrible, you know, getting over it. It was terrible. And I even went down to Mexico to, to see somebody that was really doing a lot with looking at your blood, with all that silicone and stuff going through it. It's amazing, it goes totally into your blood, even the silicone sac, it's a silicone sac, it may not be silicone in the sac, but it is silicone. So it like, it's just so dangerous, and you know what? Then you have to go back in and be all, you will have to take them out. You can just plan on it. And also, save some money, so you'll have that $5,000 to $7,000 you'll need to have, to have that reconstructive surgery, when you take them out. Because they will have to come out, eventually.
[Bombay Sapphires plays]
Lydia: Now, tell me a little bit about, about this CD, you've got lots of, lots of, people helping you out on this, or lots of, other names in the business, like Sheryl Crow, and Macy Gray, now, you are the preeminent one in all these mixes, which is just great, and it's wonderful to have those people working with you. How was that? What was it like?
Stevie: Well, it was fun. What has really been great is my relationship with Sheryl Crow because we really planned this whole idea about three years ago. And it's, we've kind of seen it actually come to fruition, and work out, where we have built a, a little relationship where people take us seriously as, like, duet singers, as singing partners, you know? As the Don and Phil Everly of 2001, you know? I really was, I really wanted her to produce this whole record, and she couldn't because she was just releasing her own Globe Sessions record, so, she did the best she could, you know? I went away, did some other things, I came back, she did a few more songs, so, as it turns out, she really produced half the record, which is great, because it's, I get to really share it with her. And that is the most fun of all, I mean that's the fun of being in a band. That's why I love being in Fleetwood Mac, is because, it's much more fun to have these successes when you have somebody to share it with. So Macy, Natalie, Sarah McLachlan, they all, you know, sort of, just kind of fell into my path, very accidentally, Macy is managed by the same management that I have, Howard Kaufman, and I mentioned that I thought that she could sing this little part, on the song called Bombay Sapphires that I had recorded twice, and I had recorded again, one more time, myself, I played on it and I did it the way I wanted it, and when it was done I thought, you know, I bet you that Macy Gray could sing with harmony, so I asked Howard, and they got in touch with her, and, the next day she was there, she did it, it took two hours, it was really fun, and she was, like, gone in a puff of smoke. So it's like that was totally accidental, you know, it wasn't something I ever planned. Sarah McLachlan, I went to Canada to do Love Is with Pierre Marchand, and, Sarah lives there. So he's, he is her producer also, so he, said, "I think that I will ask Sarah if she will play piano. How do you feel about that?" Well, you know, I think that would be so great. So we were there for a week, and her husband played percussion, and some drums on it, and it was just like a wonderful week, you know? And I loved Canada, I had a great time, I came home and it's like, and also she drew the S on the album cover, that's, that's really a dragon, that when we were doing the song, she just sketched that out, and I asked her if I could have it. And she said yeah, and I brought it home and turned it the other way to the light, and the dragon went from being a dragon to an S. So we used him in the S in my name and so she's really , so Sarah is also a part of it from an art standpoint, from the whole artist thing, you know? And so, it was, Natalie Maines. I heard a, I got sent a song from a friend of mine who lives in Texas, about two and a half years ago, and I logged it in my brain when I first heard this song that there was this girl named Natalie in the Dixie Chicks, which, and they were fairly new at that point, that I thought I could sing this song with, I wrote in my journal and just went back to it, you know, quite, like last year, and my friend Sheryl Crow knows Natalie, so I mentioned this to her, I played her the song, and she sent it to her, and within two days we had called Michael Campbell from the Heartbreakers, and gone over to Michael's house, and, cut it live, with a band, with, basically with the Heartbreakers sans Tom, with Waddy Wachtel, Sheryl Crow playing bass, Michael, guitar, Steve Ferrone, drums, Natalie and I singing live, and Benmont Tench on keyboards, and it was trippy, because it was like Natalie and I got to do a song with the Heartbreakers and Sheryl Crow. So all of these relationships, except for the one with Sheryl Crow, were very, just, they just fell into my path, you know?
Lydia: Do you think that happens when you're, when you've got your game face on, when you're really doing what you should be doing?
Stevie: I think so, I think when, I started to feel, in the last six months of this whole thing, like somebody was moving the chess pieces. Something would happen that would be not good, you know, like, I mean, starting with the album cover, it was like I, it was a Polaroid, the album cover is Neal Preston's first Polaroid that he took when I walked out onto the platform arch. And I looked at the view, and it freaked me out cause it was so spectacular, and I kind of jumped up and down a couple of times, and he took that Polaroid, and he got me coming up off the ground, and in any of the other pictures that we took, my feet were flat on the ground, so the picture didn't work. So it was like, at the end of the session when everybody had went home, my assistant, I think, gave me the Polaroid, and I looked at it and went, "well, this is it. We don't even really have to look at the rest of the pictures, cause there won't be another where I'm coming up off the ground." So, it was like, and at that point I said, "oh, this is all perfect now, because, now I have the picture of Shangri-La, I created the song, I created the musical world, and now, I have the picture of it.
Lydia: Now, do you have, do you feel like you're getting Shangri-La in your life, in a different way?
Stevie: I think I'm absolutely, I'm in the good part of Shangri-La, though, you know, I, I mean, this is, this two and a half year period of doing this record really, from once I started to really record it, has really been a great journey. It's been really, so much fun. And we did a lot of the work at my house, we did a, we, the girls and I, we did all, we did all our background parts here and recorded them onto a, like, twelve-track and took them with us into the studio, so, we would not spend the time, you know, working out stuff in the studio, we worked it all out at my house, so my house really has become Shangri-La. It's really become that little kind of world that I created because the songs, a lot of the songs were written here, they were recorded here, they were talked about and discussed and, gone over a million times, here, you know, right where I'm sitting here doing this interview with you so it's like, this has been a great time for me. I think sometimes, as much as, as hard as it seems, the journey, is really probably the best part.
Lydia: Well, I know you have to go, thank you so much, and thanks for the way you've inspired us...
Stevie: Oh, well, thank you, and thank you for liking my record. I appreciate it more than you will ever know. Bye-bye.
[Love Is plays]