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Las Vegas Journal-Review (05/13/2005), A Vegas Natural < Stevie Nicks < Main Page

Las Vegas Journal-Review (05/13/2005), A Vegas Natural

Las Vegas Journal-Review, May 13, 2005

A Vegas Natural
Stevie Nicks has spent a long time trying to get a gig in Las Vegas
by Doug Elfman

Stevie Nicks is more psyched about performing four nights in Las Vegas this week than you can imagine. Not just because it's Vegas, but because she can go back to her hotel room after each show, instead of jumping on a bus or a plane.

"For the last two years, I've been thinking: Wouldn't it be great if I could play Vegas once in a while? Because when you travel, a lot of your energy really goes into your travel," she says. "Packing, unpacking."

Getting booked here took a while.

"It's not so very easy to get a slot in Vegas, so it's taken a long time. This is really a special thing. I'm very, very excited about it."

Since March, Nicks and her crew have been working on a show big enough to fill the Colosseum at Caesars Palace with its 110 foot-wide stage and gigantic video screen. They've been sifting through every video Nicks has ever been documented in, plus unrelated movie clips, she says.

"I'm just hoping to do well, so I can continue to do this," she says.

Vegas is a natural for Nicks. On her Web site some months ago, she wrote that she loves Vegas most of all, but that she couldn't live here. It's just too hot, she says. In fact, she lives in Arizona and L.A., but she doesn't spend much time in Arizona in the hot months.

She almost got seriously injured in Vegas, once. Several years ago, she played a private concert at the Hard Rock for the clothing company Kenneth Cole. But at the end of the show, she fell treacherously backward over a bass amplifier. A band mate caught her. It was a startling moment.

"Those are the things you don't forget," she says. "I almost did break my neck."

She also almost died from being badly medicated, as anyone knows who has watched the VH1 rockumentaries on Fleetwood Mac and Nicks.

"I think I've told everybody the story. There was a lot of cocaine in the beginning, and then I got off of that, and then a psychiatrist put me on a drug called Colonapin, which is basically like more-complex Valium."

She was on Colonapin for eight years.

"And that was even worse, because I really did almost die. I woke up one day going, like, `This pill is killing me. What are these people trying to do?' "

Her doctor tried to keep her on Colonapin in an effort to keep her off cocaine, but Nicks says she didn't need anything to keep her off cocaine.

"I went straight to a hospital for 47 days and came off of (Colonapin), and since then everything's been fine. I always like to throw that in, in case anybody's on their way to the doctor right now and somebody's gonna say, `Let's do a trial run of Colonapin.' "

This was quite a few years ago.

"It's been a long time, but you never forget. In my heart, it was yesterday. So you never get over it. I try as hard as I can to let people know so they don't make that same mistake."

If Nicks had died, she would have sort of orphaned a lot of women who have been named for her song, "Rhiannon." Several Rhiannons have written words of devotion on Nicks' Web site.

"There's a lot of little Rhiannons out there, and I met them when they were babies. And now they're all grown up. It's pretty trippy to go back into Madison, Wisc., and meet a little girl that you picked up and swung around onstage when she was 1, and now she's 25.

"But I feel pretty blessed. I feel like there were angels just taking me through all this and letting me have such an amazing success. I appreciate it every day. I don't take it for granted."

Nicks says she remembers the writing of every song she's created. She writes a song structure in about 10 minutes, then spends days playing it and editing it. She always starts with lyrics, then usually moves to piano with a module, or sometimes to guitar, to work out instrument parts.

"Every once in a while I'll go to a piano without a poem, but usually I have a full-on, formal stanza poem, and I go and sit down at the piano, and I put on a recorder and record it.

"And usually, the very first thing out of my mouth is the best thing. I don't ever go back and change anything. And if somebody suggests I change something, I don't have a very good reaction to that."

Songs penned on piano are generally more intricate than songs written on guitar, "unless you're Eric Clapton," she says.

Nicks used to suffer vocal problems from singing, because she wasn't trained properly. But she's been taking better care of her vocal chords for eight years.

"I do 40 minutes" of exercises "three hours before I walk onstage every single show, and I've been doing that since 1997," she says.

"It's like going to the gym every day. You go to a vocal coach, and you study, and you go through every vowel sound, and you work with your vocal chords so they're all stretched out, like a ballerina would do, or a Vegas showgirl would do."

Date: 2005-05-13         Number of views: 1967

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