August 5, 2001
Spotight on Stevie Nicks
Aired on 96.1 WSRS Worcester, MA on 8/5/01
Transcribed by Jane Fijal
Valerie: Hello, and welcome to another addition of ďSpotlight On.Ē Iím Valerie Smaldone. Todayís show focuses on the career of a woman who was intricately involved with Fleetwood Mac, a group that shaped the sound of the 70ís and 80ís, and is now, once again out on her own, forging new bonds with different artists and finding success in her own voice. Today the spotlight shines on Stevie Nicks, who talked a lot about how relationships influence her songwriting.
Stevie: It gives me lots of stuff to write about.
Valerie: Weíll be hearing more from Stevie of course, in this program, but right now lets go back to an album that came out in 1977 reflecting the tumultuous relationships within the band. From the Rumours album, hereís Dreams.
Valerie: Hi there, and thanks for coming along to ďSpotlight on Stevie Nicks.Ē One of the things Stevie is well known for is her husky speaking voice and her trademark sound. Stevie said that in her early years, she never warmed up before singing, but in time that changed.
Stevie: Well, my singing voice is good now, because I study. And I take voice lessons, and I do 45 minutes before I go onstage. I do not go onstage if I donít do my 45 minutes of vocal exercises. And I realized that its really too bad that I didnít learn that a long time ago because, would a ballerina ever go onstage without thirty minutes of stretches? So in the last five years Iíve been studying, and I love it, and it like, you know, as long as I do that 45 minutes I go onstage and I can leave that behind because I know Iím gonna be okay, and I know Iíll sing okay.
Valerie: Yeah, but what about that delicious speaking voice?
Stevie: I think if I had not have made it in the music business I wouldíve either been a music teacher or a disc jockey. Absolutely. Because thatís wouldíve been where my love would have went, you know, and this is my low disc jockey voice. Iíve been doing press for weeks. So Iím kind, kinda losing my voice from talking. This is not a loss from singing. This is just from speaking, you know. So this low voice....I have to raise up my pitch you know, and come up, you know, but so, this is my disc jockey voice...(Stevie chuckles)
Valerie: And what a voice it is! And talking about talking, hereís Stevie with Talk to Me on Spotlight on Stevie Nicks.
(Talk to Me plays)
Valerie: Youíre listening to Spotlight on Stevie Nicks, and Iím Valerie Smaldone. As Stevieís a great storyteller and, she painted a picture of how it came to pass that she became a part of Fleetwood Mac. It was at a gathering where she first met Lindsey Buckingham.
Stevie: It was one of those things in high school, you know where they just have these kind of little religious meetings, but they werenít really religious and there was really nothing religious about it. (Stevie chuckles) It was just a reason to get out of the house and go somewhere on a Wednesday night. And, ah, it was just this kind of thing...I donít even remember why I was there. And I walked into a room and Lindsey was sittiní on a chair with his guitar and he kinda broke into California Dreaminí - Mamas and the Papas - which of course I knew every word to, and I just walked over and started singing with him. And we finished out the song and we introduced ourselves, and he was going with somebody and I was going with somebody...and we walked away and I never saw him again for 2 1/2 years.
Valerie: But they obviously reconnected...
Stevie: The drummer in his band called me and asked me if I want to join their band, and I said, ďSure why not? Iím ready to rock now.Ē
Valerie: Seven years later they were a part of Fleetwood Mac. In October of 1979 the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and that same year, one million dollars was spent on the production of the double album, Tusk, where this song came from... (Sara plays, then goes right into Stand Back.)
Valerie: Thatís Stand Back from The Wild Heart, and Sara from Tusk before that. This is Spotlight on Stevie Nicks, and Iím Valerie Smaldone. Next, Stevie talks about her latest effort and her collaboration with Sheryl Crow.
Stevie: The second time I met Sheryl, I really said, ďDo you want to produce this record?Ē
Valerie: Coming up on Spotlight on Stevie Nicks...
Valerie: Hello and welcome back to Spotlight on Stevie Nicks! Iím Valerie Smaldone spending some time with you. Stevie Nicksí latest album, Trouble in Shangri-La, was released a few months ago and has received critical acclaim. And Stevie was delighted that Sheryl Crow produced the album. I asked her what drew her to Sheryl...
Stevie: ďCause we like the same kind of music, and we... well, she does what I do, I mean... sheís a rock star, you know, she really does what I do. So, Iím always drawn to people, you know, who sort of do the same kind work that I do. Because you know you can have that kind of friendship where you can talk to each other about what your life is like and what my life is, and what Sheryl Crowís life is. Theyíre not easy lives sometimes....and there isnít a whole lot of other people that can talk to us that we will listen to unless you really do what we do. We are trying to build something, we are really building something... a repertoire, things that we can do together on stage, Ďcause someday weíll tour....weíll do the Stevie and Sheryl show.
Valerie: From Stevie Nicksí latest album, Trouble in Shangri-La, thatís Everyday. Prior to the release of that cd, Stevie had a listening party at her seaside home in Malibu that was chronicled in the pages of In Style magazine. And Stevie chatted about how she created the ambiance for that event.
Stevie: Well, I got a couple of...I got some wonderful Buddhist statues and I got an incredible statue of a lady...a Chinese lady-goddess thatís in my hallway thatís really tall...its like as tall as I am... and just some things that I just wanted to take into that Shangri-La place...so Iím decorating all the time.... itís kind of what I do when Iím not working, is redo my house.
Valerie: Now that Stevie is concentrating on redoing her house and her songwriting and performing, sheís a healthy and engaging woman.
Stevie: I mean, Iím never going to be a health nut, but I exercise, I do pleats, I work out on my treadmill...I try to do as much as I can. I never even have toast, you know, Iím on a pretty rigid diet all the time. I want to be healthy. I want to be able to do this for a long time. I want to be able to get up on that stage and rock out and I donít want to feel sick or old you know, so I have to take care of myself.
Valerie: But she herself admitted it wasnít always that way. She endured a cocaine habit that she kicked at the Betty Ford Clinic in the 80ís but soon after, a psychiatrist put her on a tranquilizer that she feels ruined her creativity.
Stevie: With the Klonopin, I really realized that my creativity had died. Itís a tranquilizer. Itís in the, I think itís in the Valium family. They almost destroyed my career, I mean literally almost destroyed my life and my career. I didnít really care about writing anymore, and that was a difficult thing to live through every day because my inspiration was gone. Nothing inspired me. I called myself the ďWhateverĒ person....it was like, ďDo you want to come over?Ē ďWhatever...Ē ďDo you want to go out?Ē ďWhatever...Ē ďDo you want to have dinner?Ē ďWhatever...Ē It was horrible. So, that was the hardest thing, you know, the ten years of cocaine was really bad, but the klonopin was way worse. I donít know why anybody would want to give me anything to change my bitter little angst-ridden personality. Because I liked that...you know....people have moods, people are not always happy, people are up and down, you know... Itís like to me, the world is going on to these designer drugs that make everybody just like, flatline....you might as well just flatline....itís just a whole world of Stepford People on these drugs.... And I know I kind of go on about it, but I just really want people to be careful. And if one little thing that I say makes somebody run out of a doctorís office screaming ďI donít want that!Ē then I will be happy; that will have made my life worth it.
(Gold Dust Woman is played.)
Valerie: Thatís Gold Dust Woman on Spotlight on Stevie Nicks. Iím Valerie Smadone. Well, besides her signature voice, Stevie has always had a very distinctive clothing style.
Stevie: I developed it before the Rumours album with my designer, Margi Kent, that I met in the first year of Fleetwood Mac. I told her, ďI need to have uniform. We have to think of something that looks good. We can make three skirts, three tops, and have your shoes and your little, you know....a couple of wraps and jackets and youíre ready to go.Ē And thatís what I did. And the outfit thatís on the Rumours cover is exactly the same outfit thatís on the Shangri-La cover. Itís the same outfit thatís on the Bella Donna cover. Itís timeless...itís a timeless outfit, and it has made my life much easier because I donít ever have to think about it.
(Edge of Seventeen is played.)
Valerie: Back to the early 80ís and Stevieís solo album that topped the charts...Bella Donna and Edge of Seventeen. By the way, Stevie has two Yorkshire Terriers, and one of them is named Sara Belladonna, a combination of the titles of two of her biggest hits. Coming up, Stevie talks about her relationship with Lindsey Buckingham.
Stevie: Lindsey has a life now. So now Lindsey and I can really be friends.
Valerie: This is Spotlight on Stevie Nicks, and Iím Valerie Smaldone. Being in a band like Fleetwood Mac, the whole world seemed to be in on the affairs of the four of them...Stevie had had a tempestuous relationship with Lindsey Buckingham.
Stevie: You know, it was very difficult for Lindsey and I. And it never got better, really. Itís better now because Lindsey is married. And he loves his wife, and I think sheís great too. And he has a little six...seven month old baby girl named LeeLee, and a little boy named Will, whoís four. And they are precious, you know... Lindsey has a life now. So now Lindsey and I can really be friends. Because now weíre not thinking in the back of our mind that weíll ever go back together. That allows us to be free. So now with his new relationship thatís really great for me, because it allows me to be his friend, and hang out with him and see him.
Valerie: Going back to the enormously successful Rumours album, hereís Donít Stop; this time with Stevie on background vocals.
(Donít Stop plays.)
Valerie: Youíre listening to Spotlight on Stevie Nicks, as we hear Fleetwood Mac, and Stevieís female counterpart, Christine McVie. Stevie told me what Chistineís up to these days, and joining another reunion of Fleetwood Mac is, apparently, not on her agenda.
Stevie: Well, she has a castle, you know, an incredible English castle , and sheís an incredible chef, and sheís an incredible gardener and she has lots of dogs and animals, and...sheís probably got horses by now...and I think sheís going out with somebody; I think sheís in love.....sheís not leaviní.
Valerie: Stevie has recorded several very successful songs with other artists, and hereís Stevie with former lover, and now good friend, Don Henley. From her Bella Donna album, with a song that sort of describes her clothing style...
Stevie: ...My black skirt and my little black French corset and my little black top and my black tights and my black boots....itís just what I always wear, itís my uniform, you know...
(Leather and Lace is played.)
Valerie: Thatís Don and Stevie on Spotlight on Stevie Nicks. And Iím Valerie Smaldone. Stevie and I spent a lot of time talking about her eight years on the tranquilizer she wishes she never took. But I asked her what she did during those years.
Stevie: I managed to do the Timespace record, which was a greatest hits kind of record. And I managed to get through Tango in the Night, but that was really a Lindsey Buckingham record changed into a Fleetwood Mac record so I didnít have to do a whole lot of work on that. I just stayed home.
(Seven Wonders plays.)
Valerie: Thatís Seven Wonders from Tango in the Night. Iím Valerie Smaldone. And thereís much more coming up.
Stevie: I think Iíve had a very eccentric and unique life...
Valerie: ...When Spotlight on Stevie Nicks continues...
Valerie: Hello, and welcome back to this addition of Spotlight On, where the spotlight shines on Stevie Nicks today. Iím Valerie Smaldone. Stevie shared with me where she got her name.
Stevie: Stevie just came from not being able to pronounce ďStephanie.Ē And it kind of came out as ďteedee.Ē My mother calls me TD Bird, she calls me TD Bird....itís really sickening, isnít it!? But TD went to Stevie. And I was too little to remember why that happened, but they told me thatís what I used to, thatís how I used to say ďStephanie.Ē And so, it just kinda worked itself into Stevie. And I was never called Stephanie. And my Dad named me Stephanie to call me Stephanie, because he loved that name, so somehow whatever fate just twisted it away and I became Stevie....
(Landslide from The Dance is played.)
Stevie: Hi, this is Stevie Nicks and youíre listening to Spotlight on Stevie Nicks.
(I Canít Wait plays.)
Valerie: Thatís from the Rock A Little album, and before that, a redone version of Landslide from the Fleetwood Mac reunion cd, The Dance. Iím Valerie Smaldone. And youíre listening to Spotlight on Stevie Nicks. Thanks for coming along. Over the years, Stevie has discovered how vocal exercises can improve and strengthen her singing.
Stevie: I sing much higher now. I hit, can hit notes that I could never hit. And if somebody had told me this fifteen years ago, they would have saved my life because I wouldnít have to have read back all those horrible reviews where ďStevie Nicks screamed herself through her songs.Ē Well, this just would kill me, you know....because this was the only way to get through them. To do Rhiannon every night for four nights in a row, I had no voice left. But if Iíd been doing these vocal warmups, that would have never happened.
(Rhiannon is played.)
Valerie: Thatís Stevie Nicks....before vocal cord exercises, with Rhiannon, on Spotlight on Stevie Nicks. Stevie has had a long friendship with Tom Petty and she talked about how he helped her to get started on her latest album with basically, a verbal kick in the pants.
Stevie: Well, I always feel rejected with Tom when I ask him to help me, because he doesnít ever want to help me. Because he doesnít think I need help. Because heís that good of a friend. And heís the one person that said to me at the Ritz-Carlton over dinner, ďWhatever it is thatís bothering you, and we donít really need to go into that...Ē I mean he said that to me, ďWe really donít need to talk about what it is thatís really bothering you. Whatever it is, you need to get over it. Then you need to go home and write some songs. I donít need to help you do this.Ē And thatís a really good friend, you know, somebody who says, you need to just get up and get started. And I did! And I went home and got started.
Valerie: Well, hereís Stevie singing with Tom Petty from back in the 80ís on the Bella Donna album.
(They play Stop Dragginí My Heart Around.)
Valerie: Thatís Petty and Nicks on Spotlight on Stevie Nicks. Coming up, Stevie talks about how she knew she wanted to sing and write ever since she was a teenager.
Stevie: Just singing it with my guitar, and you know, just loving it at 15 1/2 when I got my first guitar...just really loving sitting and singing something that I had written.
Valerie: Next, when Spotlight on Stevie Nicks returns...
Valerie: Stevieís lifelong dream of being a singer/songwriter has been with her since she was a young girl. And she still uses a journal to document her thoughts.
Stevie: Thatís where my songs come from. I journal on this side of the book, and then I go back and read my journal entry and I go over it and if I think it has any poetic justice going on about it, Iíll go over here and Iíll make it into a poem so that then when Iím writing songs, I go back and look at the journal and I look at these sides and there will be little bits and pieces of poems that become the songs, straight out of the journal. So the songs are never really made up. Thereís always kind of a reason that theyíre written.
Valerie: Well, hereís one of those songs from her Wild Heart album back in 1983....If Anyone Falls, on Spotlight on Stevie Nicks.
(If Anyone Falls plays.)
Valerie: Thatís If Anyone Falls, on Spotlight on Stevie Nicks. Now, one of the other passions in Stevieís life is her artwork.
Stevie: I donít really call myself a painter...I draw. So I draw my pictures and then sometimes I paint them in and sometimes I donít. So Iím really more into the fine drawing... And I just draw little creatures, and little people and little bits of my drawing has gone out over the years...Iím doing....Iím gonna do a book...Iím working on it now with my best friend. Thatís just art...art and some poetry and some little vignettes from my journals thatís I think is going to be really nice. And itíll be in the next year or two...so youíll get to actually see what I draw, because Iíve been doing this always, Iíve just never shown anybody. My drawing is like my meditation.
(Silver Springs plays.)
Valerie: From the Fleetwood Mac reunion album, The Dance. Stevieís latest album, Trouble in Shangri-La had an interesting origin.
Stevie: When I wrote Trouble in Shangri-La, it was the last two months of the O.J. Simpson trial and I always say this in the interviews....it was not about him. It was about the situation. It was about that last two months, November/December, when everybody in the world was watching. And I mean, Iím sure, you, as myself, Valerie, were talking about relationships, and people that have it all, and people that can make it to Shangri-La, can really get to paradise and make it to the top of their field and be really beloved and how hard it is to stay there. And thatís you know, lots of people I know. I thought that it would be interesting to use that as a theme and carry it through the whole record.
Valerie: Letís go back to that album now. Hereís another release from Trouble in Shangri-La, on Spotlight on Stevie Nicks.
(I Miss You is played.)
Valerie: From her latest effort, Trouble in Shangri-La, I Miss You. And you heard it here on Spotlight on Stevie Nicks. Although Stevie was suffering from a throat ailment when we met, she did manage to sing for me!
Stevie: (singing) Whenever I call you friend....dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah...I donít have any voice! I just went to a doctor, thank you! I just went to an ENT just now, he said donít sing!
Valerie: Alright, well, Stevie does do more talking when we return...
Valerie: Hi there. Thanks for coming along to this edition of Spotlight On, where the spotlight is shining on Stevie Nicks. Iím Valerie Smaldone. Stevie talked about what is fun for her as a singer.
Stevie: Well, I think itís really fun to work with different people, and not for it to always just be you, you know, thatís kind of the fun of Fleetwood Mac too, is that thereís somebody to work with. In my solo career itís a little more lonely. So I tend to bring people in, ícause I donít want to do these things all by myself sometimes.
(You Make Loving Fun plays.)
Valerie: Well thereís a fun song by Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks singing in the background this time around. Stevie just mentioned a little while ago that she enjoys working with other artists, and she had this to say about her collaboration with Kenny Loggins....
Stevie: (singing)...Whenever I call you friend, yeah, and that was, you know what? a great experience....Kenny is a hardcore producer! And I was not happy with Kenny Loggins when I left that studio. But he got a great performance. So I....it was like one of those things where you work with somebody and you didnít enjoy it, but the finished product almost made you forget the fact that you did not enjoy working with him for that. ĎCause he was not....you know, he was like ďdo that, do this, do this...Ē And I did it, and the finished product was incredible, but at the time it was just like he was really telling me what to do and I wanted to sing a few other things, and he didnít really want me to do that and he was very rigid. And that was a huge hit Ďcause he is a classic, very commercial producer. But you know, that song has brought me joy since the day we did it. So, you know, people love it. And when I hear it on the radio, itís like, it cracks me up because I remember the whole experience, and Kenny, and Iím going ďIím glad I did what he said.Ē Iím glad I actually followed his directions and didnít get angry and stomp out. ĎCause what he got was a wonderful thing.
(They play Whenever I Call You Friend.)
Valerie: Thatís the famous collaboration between Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks. Well, weíre just about out of time on this edition of Spotlight On Stevie Nicks. But before we go, we spoke about whether there was someone special in her life right now.
Stevie: If I meet somebody terrific, if I donít, thatís okay too, because Iím...Iím very busy, you know I donít have a lot of time.... and Iím very....the way I lead my life and what I do, Iím very free. And Iíd just, like, disappear and you wonít even know where Iím gone and itís like, Iím not used to checking in with somebody. So, whether or not Iíd ever want to give up my freedom, I donít know.
Valerie: Thatís the Stevie Nicksí penned song, Gypsy, that sort of describes how she views life. This is Spotlight On Stevie Nicks. And Stevie shared some final thoughts when we spoke a few months back...
Stevie: The best part of my life right now, Valerie, is knowing that people seem to like this record. Because this is just Tuesday I just gave the baby away...so, this is what, Friday? So, itís been three days and Iím starting to feel, like, the love and the warmth. Iím starting to feel something coming back at me. And, I felt that several times before, and itís about people understanding what I do, and that makes me really happy. Itís like, they like my record! What could be better!?
Valerie: Thanks a lot for joining us for Spotlight on Stevie Nicks. And special thanks to Stevie Nicks for her honest and frank interview.
Stevie: Thanks Valerie, so much.
Valerie: I'm Valerie Smaldone. Join me next month for another addition of Spotlight On.