Upon the announcement of Stevie Nicks' Australian tour with The Pretenders, we take a look back at Bob Gordon's interview with her, first published in The West Australian in August, 2011...
It says something about the modern music industry that, despite being a huge solo artist in her own right and in spite of the fact that Fleetwood Mac are an ongoing icon (the Glee episode of the band’s 1975 album, Rumours, sent it back to the top of the charts), that Stevie Nicks was discouraged from making an album for half a decade.
“I had wanted to make a record in 2005 but I got such a negative feeling from the industry and from my management team and everybody,” she says down the line from her home in California. “Not because they didn’t think I could make a good record, but because it’s so hard to make a record and sell it these days.
“So they were trying to protect me, but when they said that, I was touched by the finger of doom. So I said, ‘okay. We’ll tour, we’ll do projects’, not even knowing that would be over a four-year period.”
It was during Fleetwood Mac’s 2008 tour of Australia, however, that something had to give. Inspired by a screening of Twilight: New Moon earlier in the day, Nicks took to the piano in her hotel suite and wrote Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream), the first step towards her new album, In Your Dreams.
“I was thrilled because you know what? I was really waiting for the spirits to come in and tell me,” Nicks says. “Going to the piano that night was, like the start of my moment, where I said, ‘I don’t care. I don’t care what the state of the music business is. I’m making a record and if it’s just for me then that’s fine’.”
In keeping with the universal nature of Nicks’ career, however, the response to In Your Dreams seems to indicate it’s for everyone. And given the attitude to a new album from industry wisdom that had preceded it, it’s all been very affirming.
“It’s the most positive response since I’ve had since The Other Side Of The Mirror,” Nicks says, referring to her multi-platinum 1989 album.
“When I listen to it I think that there’s something on this record for everybody. When it was released here on May 3 and I just thought to myself, ‘this record is going to climb up through the muck of the record business, float up into the clouds and float down into everybody’s living rooms’. Because I just feel it’s that good.”
In Your Dreams finds Nicks teaming with former Eurythmic Dave Stewart, who worked at her house on the album over a nine-month period in 2010.
“Every little bit of laughter and love and genius from him all went on this record, it all went onto the tape, “Nicks says fondly. “I think people feel that. It’s a magical record. It’s not like any record I’ve ever made before.”
It is indeed diverse, from the American folk of Soldier’s Angel and the sophisticated rock of Secret Love to the ‘60s balladry of Ghosts Are Gone and the first song co-written by Nicks and Stewart, Everybody Loves You.
“We started with that one,” Nicks recalls. “Dave sent that over to me and asked me to write the verses. When I started I knew, in a way, that this was about Annie Lennox. It was definitely a song written by a dear old partner about another dear old partner.
“Dave and I have Annie and Lindsey,” she says, referring to Fleetwood Mac paramour, Buckingham. “We have the four of us to write about.
“It was exciting every day and we would have dinners for 10 every night at 7.30 where we would break for an hour-and-a half and talk about politics and music and the world. It was like the 1920s, with Coco Chanel and Man Ray, we really had a very old-fashioned vibe going all the way through this. Everybody who came along to help would be like, ‘can I come back tomorrow?’.”
For an artist who has long worn her art, heart and suffering on her sleeve, Nicks seems to have found a positive creative sphere with producer Stewart, who will join her on tour in Australia.
“There was no suffering over anything we were doing,” Nicks states happily, “none of that at all. “Dave gets up every day and looks forward to the day and that rubs off. A lot of people don’t and even I don’t a lot of the time. His childlike way of looking at the world is very catching. He told me when we started that this record would take me places I’d never been before and he was totally on the money. He dreams big and his big dreams come true.
“We’ll show you some of what happened. I’m so glad that this record started there. I give Australia the credit for this record, I really do.”
Steve Nicks & The Pretenders Australian Tour Dates (via ticketmaster.com.au)
Hunter Valley, NSW Australia
Mount Cotton, QLD Australia
Yarra Valley, VIC Australia