Stevie Nicks has been taking the pandemic much more significantly than most. She has barely left her house in Los Angeles this yr. “My assistant, God bless her, she places on her hazmat swimsuit and goes to get meals, in any other case we’d starve to demise,” she says. She fell significantly ailing in March 2019, ending up in intensive care with double pneumonia; after that shock, she fears contracting Covid-19 may finish her singing profession: “My mother was on a ventilator for 3 weeks when she had open-heart surgical procedure and she or he was hoarse for the remainder of her life.”
What would it not imply to her to cease singing? “It might kill me,” she says. “It isn’t simply singing; it’s that I’d by no means carry out once more, that I’d by no means dance throughout the levels of the world once more.” She pauses and sighs. “I’m not, at 72 years previous, keen to surrender my profession.”
It’s practically midnight in LA after we communicate on the telephone; not an issue for Nicks, who’s “completely nocturnal”. The evening she fell ailing final yr, she had simply turn into the primary girl to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame twice – an honour that displays her wild success as one of many lead singers of Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist, as a author and singer of uncooked, magical songs about love and freedom, together with Goals, Rhiannon, Gold Mud Lady, Landslide and Fringe of Seventeen. Nicks is unabashedly humorous, dry as a bone, usually sidling into sarcasm.
I ask about her strategy to spirituality. She says that, for all her fears about her profession, “some individuals are actually afraid of dying, however I’m not. I’ve at all times believed in non secular forces. I completely know that my mother is round on a regular basis.” Simply after her mom died, in 2012, Nicks was standing in her kitchen with “actually dangerous acid reflux disease”. “And I felt one thing nearly faucet my shoulder and this voice go: ‘It’s that Gatorade you’re consuming,’” she says. “I’d been sick and chugging down the Hawaiian Punch. Now, that’s not some romantic, gothic story of your mom coming again to you. It’s your actual mom, strolling into your kitchen and saying” – she places on a rasp – “‘Don’t drink any extra of that shit.’” She pauses, ready for me to chuckle, then cackles.
Nicks was near her mom, Barbara, who pushed to get her profession again after she had kids. “She stated to me: you’ll by no means stand in a room filled with males and really feel like you’ll be able to’t sustain with them. And you’ll by no means rely upon a person to help you. She drummed that into me, and I’m so glad she did.”
Girls’s rights have been on Nicks’ thoughts for the reason that demise of her “hero”, the US supreme court docket justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, final month. “Abortion rights, that was actually my era’s battle. If President Trump wins this election and places the choose he needs in, she’s going to completely outlaw it and push girls again into back-alley abortions.”
Nicks terminated a being pregnant in 1979, when Fleetwood Mac had been at their peak and she or he was relationship the Eagles singer Don Henley. What did it imply to have the ability to make that alternative? “If I had not had that abortion, I’m fairly certain there would have been no Fleetwood Mac. There’s simply no manner that I may have had a toddler then, working as exhausting as we labored continuously. And there have been lots of medication, I used to be doing lots of medication … I’d have needed to stroll away.” She pauses. “And I knew that the music we had been going to convey to the world was going to heal so many individuals’s hearts and make individuals so completely happy. And I believed: you understand what? That’s actually essential. There’s not one other band on the planet that has two lead girls singers, two lead girls writers. That was my world’s mission.”
Fleetwood Mac introduced out Rumours in 1977 – an album that turned nearly as well-known for the drama that went into making it as for its songs. It has bought greater than 40m copies and retains reaching new listeners. Simply final week, one in every of Nicks’ greatest hits, Goals, turned a part of a viral development on TikTok.
The band’s issues incubated because the album was made, with their cocaine use reaching industrial ranges: Nicks and her then boyfriend and musical companion, Lindsey Buckingham, broke up; John and Christine McVie, the band’s bassist and pianist/singer, obtained divorced; and the drummer Mick Fleetwood’s marriage broke down.
Nicks has been performing for the reason that age of 5, when her grandfather, a rustic singer in her native Phoenix, Arizona, dressed her in cowgirl outfits and hoisted her on to saloon bar levels to sing. She met Buckingham on the piano, in her closing yr of highschool, when he began enjoying California Dreamin’ and she or he walked over to harmonise with him. The pair joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975.
Nicks introduced glamour, stage swagger and tragic love songs to the band, her contribution complementing that of her fellow songwriter, Christine McVie. The band survived for 44 years – via Nicks’ affair with Fleetwood, Christine McVie’s 15-year hiatus and Buckingham’s departure in 1987. He got here again, however was fired in 2018 (he filed a lawsuit, however later settled with the band). He was changed by Neil Finn of Crowded Home and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
Has she spoken to Buckingham since he left? “No.” Do you actually assume you’ll by no means seem on stage with him once more? “Most likely by no means.” Actually? “Uh-uh,” she says, indicating a agency no.
She says individuals at all times ask the band: “‘Do you get alongside?’ We’d go: ‘Not likely.’ They’d say: ‘Are you mates?’ and we’d go: ‘Not likely.’ ‘Do you see one another once you’re not on tour?’ ‘Er, no.’ It has been like that since 1976.”
Nicks has a brand new live-concert movie popping out, 24 Karat Gold, which was recorded in 2017. The present is a hoot: 4 many years of biggest hits, some never-released songs and anecdotes that veer from hilarious to heartfelt. She has a brand new single out, too, a few dream she had about Martin Luther King and John F Kennedy. “Let me inform you, honey, the rock’n’roll model will simply knock your socks off,” she says. “However the acoustic model will break your coronary heart.” Each had been recorded remotely, with Dave Grohl on drums and Dave Stewart on guitar.
Nicks has been described by male colleagues as an “ego” who parades her heartbreak on stage. When her first solo album, the sensible Bella Donna, topped the charts in 1981, she gave Buckingham a replica. He left it on the studio ground and by no means listened to it. “They had been full-on jealous. And you understand what? I ought to have cared much less.” “They” as within the band members or the producers? “Oh, all of them. They hated that sort of confidence in a girl. Individuals would say to me: ‘It might be very exhausting to be Mr Stevie Nicks.’ And I’m going: properly, yeah, in all probability, except you had been only a very nice man that was actually assured in himself, not jealous of me, appreciated my mates, loved my loopy life and had enjoyable with it. And, in fact, there are only a few males like that. I’m an unbiased girl and am in a position to deal with myself, and that’s not enticing to males.”
She remembers a dialogue together with her father in her household house, simply after Bella Donna got here out, when she was 35. “And simply out of nowhere, my dad goes: ‘Stevie, you’ll by no means get married.’ If Christine was on this room with me proper now, she’d inform you that we each made the choice to not have children and as an alternative comply with our musical muse all over the world. It’s not my job, it’s who I’m.”
However Nicks did get married as soon as, in 1982, to the previous husband of her highschool greatest buddy, Robin Anderson. Robin was recognized with leukaemia whereas she was pregnant together with her first baby and died shortly after his beginning. Nicks’ marriage to Robin’s widower, Kim, lasted three months. “That wasn’t actually a wedding,” says Nicks. “We did it to deal with her son. And, three weeks later, we realised that that wasn’t going to work.”
Robin and Kim’s son, Matthew, now has a daughter, named after his late mom. “Little Robin is 5 years previous,” says Nicks. “Final Christmas, she was at my home and she or he comes into the kitchen, grabs my hand and goes: ‘Include me, Grandma Stevie,’ and I’m going: ‘Did this baby simply name me Grandma Stevie?’ She did. And on that day I wrote in my journal and it stated: ‘I promise you, Robin, that I will probably be Grandma Stevie till demise do us half.’ Life has these bizarre turnarounds, you understand. I say to my buddy Robin, who died so way back: ‘Look via my eyes at your granddaughter.’ She was yours and now she is mine.”
Trying again, Nicks’ solely remorse is her eight years of dependancy to the tranquilliser clonazepam (bought as Klonopin). It began in 1986 when a psychiatrist prescribed her the drug to assist her sleep after she got here out of rehab for cocaine dependancy. “It’s a really refined drug; you simply don’t really feel it a lot, or so that you assume. On the bottle, it says: ‘Take as wanted.’ That’s the stupidest factor I’ve ever heard. So that you assume: ‘Effectively, I would like it each two hours.’ It’s dependancy in a bottle.”
It was not a dreadful or traumatic time, she says. She sat at house, watched movies, ate good meals, noticed mates. However she stopped creating. “It was a completely non-time. I simply existed. It took away all my fantastic drama, my tempestuousness, my compassion, my empathy – all these issues that drove me to my piano. I say to myself now: ‘How did you survive eight years with out your fantastic drama?’
“I at all times look again and assume: what may I’ve accomplished throughout that point? Made a Fleetwood Mac album or a solo file. I may have gotten married or had a child or adopted one. Let me inform you, if anyone ever tries to place you on Klonopin, run screaming out of the room.”
She says it’s “annoying” that so lots of the males of her era had been in a position to pair up with youthful girls and begin households later in life (Buckingham, for instance, had his third baby in his mid-50s; Ronnie Wooden and Mick Jagger fathered kids at 69 and 73 respectively).
“Males should not having households with youthful girls as a result of they need to have households, they’re doing it as a result of they should have a youthful spouse to allow them to really feel that rush of romance once more,” she says. “I did it as soon as, although, you understand. I had a relationship with a person after I was 50 and he was 30.” He was not well-known, she says. “He was only a actually pretty man. And I realised that I’d already lived 30 to 50; I didn’t need to stay it once more.” Sooner or later, he requested her to go to a talkshow taping with him on the again of his bike. “And I stated: ‘Are you out of your thoughts? I’m going to reach at a well-known talkshow on the again of your bike. And individuals are going to say, wait, is that Stevie Nicks? Hahahaha.’ Lastly, I simply needed to say to him: ‘I’m not good for you.’”
Is she relationship now? “I’m not going out with anybody. And I haven’t gone out with anybody in an extended, very long time. However I’ll say, I’m at all times a romantic and I’m by no means averse to the truth that it’s doable that you just may flip a avenue nook and stroll into someone that simply catches your eye, as a result of it’s occurred to me 1,000,000 instances. So, may I fall in love and run away with someone at 72 years previous? Yeah. It’s in all probability not gonna occur, nevertheless it’s doable.”
I ask about her friendship with Harry Kinds. “Can I simply say that Harry Kinds shouldn’t be my youthful boyfriend,” she says – deadpan, however with a smile in her voice. “He’s my buddy. My superb buddy.”
Like Kinds, Nicks is a vogue muse: the highest hat, billowing sleeves, draped silk and shawls she popularised within the 70s and 80s remains to be a beloved silhouette. She was at all times feted for her magnificence, however did she know that she was stunning? “After all I believed that I used to be very fairly,” she says. “You already know, I as soon as wrote a music referred to as Prettiest Lady within the World, nevertheless it by no means got here out. It began with the road: ‘She was the prettiest woman on the planet / However that was a very long time in the past.’ And that’s one thing that I’ve stated to lots of my youthful mates: irrespective of how stunning you might be, you’re going to become old and also you’re not going to seem like you probably did once you had been 25. So roll with the punches.”
We discuss what it’s like for girls to age within the public eye. “Oh God, the Botox,” she says. “Let me inform you, Botox solely makes you seem like you’re in a satanic cult. I solely had it as soon as and it destroyed my face for 4 months. I’d look within the mirror and try to raise my eyebrow and go: ‘Oh, there you might be, Devil’s offended daughter.’ By no means once more. I watch lots of information and I see all the girl newscasters trying like Devil’s offended daughters, too.”
It’s nearly time for Nicks to go. She plans to spend the remainder of the evening in mattress together with her canine, Lily, studying Vogue and watching the dawn, consuming tea. “I’m very sober now,” she says. Earlier than she goes, I ask about my favorite music of hers, Storms, by which she describes falling out of affection with a person and surrendering herself to her future: “By no means have I been a blue calm sea / I’ve at all times been a storm.”
“Oh, that one was a – excuse my language – fuck-you to Mick,” she says, referring to her affair with Fleetwood. “I sat at my piano, a feminist girl, and I wrote it, to say that nothing you or anyone else can do to me can change the truth that, because the opening line goes: ‘Each evening that goes between / I really feel rather less.’” A music about independence, I say. “Freedom,” she says. “I’m a completely free girl, and I’m unbiased, and that’s precisely what I at all times needed to be.”
Stevie Nicks’ 24 Karat Gold: The Live performance will probably be in cinemas 21-25 October. Discover a screening at stevienicksfilm.com. The accompanying album is launched on 30 October.