Mirror, November 21, 2003 STEVIE NICKS HAS SURVIVED DRINK AND DRUGS TO TOUR AGAIN WITH FLEETWOOD MAC By Gavin Martin
Mirror, November 21, 2003
STEVIE NICKS HAS SURVIVED DRINK AND DRUGS TO TOUR AGAIN WITH FLEETWOOD MAC
By Gavin Martin
Curled up on the sofa at Fleetwood Mac's Los Angeles rehearsal studios, Stevie Nicks looks every inch the ageing rock chick survivor. At her feet is her Yorkshire terrier Sara, the size of a large rat with a fringe cut just like Stevie's. As her mistress offers me an outstretched hand, Sara bares her teeth and snaps at my heels.
"She thinks she's really a German shepherd and is always on patrol," rasps Stevie as she banishes the dog to its basket.
Nicks' trademark husky voice is indelibly marked by years spent ingesting mountains of cocaine, downing brandy by the bottle and smoking 60 cigarettes a day. Her tempestuous love life has featured affairs with the Mac's ultra-sensitive mastermind Lindsey Buckingham, drummer Mick Fleetwood and The Eagles' Don Henley.
All of these former partners are now enjoying late-flowering fatherhood, but at 55 Stevie is alone and childless. She insists she is content to be "a rock 'n' roll mama", providing inspiration and advice to her pals Sheryl Crow, The Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines and Courtney Love.
"I live all by myself in a beautiful house on a cliff by the ocean," she sighs. "I love being single. I don't regret never having children because I wanted this life. I would have been a very jealous mum if I'd had to turn my babies over to a succession of nannies.
"The first time I would have walked into a room and seen my baby girl walk over to somebody else would have broken my heart. I knew that and I knew I would have to take a five-year sabbatical to be a mother, but I didn't want to give up my career."
Trouble is something she knows all about. In the late '80s, a post-cocaine addiction to the prescription tranquiliser Klonopin proved almost fatal. She also suffered long bouts of chronic fatigue syndrome following the removal of her silicone breast implants.
"They made me very, very sick," says Stevie gravely. "I had them done in December 1976. I'd only been in Fleetwood Mac one year and I was getting a lot of attention. I had always thought my hips were too big and that I had no chest.
"I reckoned it would look better onstage, but I would advise every woman against having them. They will backfire on you, you'll have to take them out and that leaves you scarred. Pamela Anderson is going to be so sorry when she's 60.
"I think it's gotten worse these days. Nearly all young girls think they have to have bigger boobs. The unfortunate part is that the women who really have great boobs and a little waist are just the same as everybody else, so who cares? But I can't get mad at all these people because I did it, too."
The Mac are embarking on a world tour to promote Say You Will, Nicks' first original album with the group in 16 years, and it sees the reconvening of four-fifths of the classic Rumours line-up - Stevie, Fleetwood, guitarist Buckingham and bassist John McVie. Despite much persuasion, John's ex-wife, Christine McVie, declined the invitation to join them.
As a solo artist and with the Mac, Nicks has sold close to 100 million records. Although her relationship with Buckingham is obviously a lot better than when he stormed out of the band in 1987 - after calling her "a schizophrenic bitch" and throwing her over the bonnet of the car - time has not healed all the wounds. Shortly before I met Nicks, Buckingham seemed close to tears when he told me that she had never thanked him for all the work he'd done on the album.
"Did he say that to you?" replies Nicks incredulously. "My God. All I can say is he worked his butt off. I give him all the credit. He took my little skeleton songs and turned them into fully finished pieces. The way we work hasn't changed and he is an immense talent, a craftsman beyond belief. I knew that the first time we met."
That was back in their San Francisco high school in the late '60s. The pair played in the same band for three years before falling in love and forming the duo Buckingham Nicks. Their fateful meeting with Mac founder member Mick Fleetwood inaugurated one of the most infamous - and lucrative - soap operas in rock history.
"We did have a great relationship at first," says Stevie. "I loved taking care of him and our house. I washed his jeans, embroidered stupid moons and stars on the bottom of them, and made it so he was perfect.
"But the day we joined Fleetwood Mac that all changed because we were famous and we were rich. The world really got in the way. I left him and he was torn up, but he wouldn't have been nearly so torn up if we hadn't been in a band together."
While the group's other marriage, between John and Christine McVie, also fell apart, Fleetwood Mac's cocaine consumption reached legendary proportions.
"I was really badly damaged from it and lucky to survive," Stevie admits. "Lindsey did the least but Christine, Mick and me really did a bunch of it. With something like that you wake up one morning and decide, 'I can continue doing this and I'll be dead in a year or I can stop and have a good musical life until I'm 90'.
"One day I woke up and I made that decision. It was pretty simple because I was sick. I was in detox for 28 days. Since I got out of the Betty Ford clinic in 1986, I haven't even seen any cocaine. People know not to bring it anywhere near me."
Nicks may be glad such excess is all in the past but admits she will sorely miss the companionship of Christine McVie, who barely featured on Say You Will and refused all of the group's exhortations to sign up for the forthcoming tour.
"Through all the ups and downs in the band, Christine and I stuck together," Stevie says. "I miss her funny English humour every day. It is lonely for me without her, but she just didn't want any part of the rock lifestyle anymore.
"We all tried everything we could to make her change her mind. We even offered to build her a kitchen on the road to make it feel like home, but she wouldn't have it. She was done."
Nicks has many plans for future solo career projects but she's now relishing the thought of raking over the ruins of her failed relationship with Buckingham. All in name of rock 'n' roll of course.
"Going onstage is my favourite part," she says. "When we play something like Go Your Own Way, of course it takes me right back to when we broke up. That never goes away.
"We know it stops when we come offstage. It's a lot of fun - we get to yell at each other and argue out a lot of things we never got to argue out in private. It certainly makes it exciting for the audience."
Thanks to WelshWitchPMD for posting this to the Ledge.