Some chains are unbreakable, even after nearly four decades: Fleetwood Mac announced today that they will embark on a 34-date tour in 2013, beginning April 4 in Columbus, Ohio, and wrapping June 12 in Detroit; tickets go on sale Dec. 14.
EW spoke to the legendary, always loquacious Stevie Nicks about heading back out on the road with bandmates Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie – and what she’s been up to since we last talked to her.
EW: You spent most of 2011 promoting and touring behind your most recent solo album, In Your Dreams. How different is that experience from touring with Fleetwood Mac?
Stevie Nicks: My solo career is more like an intimate gathering, an intimate beautiful party at your home, and Fleetwood Mac is like a big, huge Christmas ball at a big huge ballroom somewhere. Fleetwood Mac is just way bigger and way grander. And I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s always been so good for me to be able to go back and forth. Because what I do is very, very different than what Fleetwood Mac does and vice versa. So when I come out of one and go into the other, it’s very new for me.
And I always try to make sure, I put my foot down, on a three-year time allowance. I think that Fleetwood Mac should not go out any sooner than every three years. Because I think that we need to get out of the spotlight. And it’s the same with me. It’s like, I was out for the last two years, actually promoting a record. And then Fleetwood Mac really wanted to go out at the beginning of 2012 and I said ‘No, I’m not doing it. I will give you 2013. 2013 will then be the year of Fleetwood Mac.”
Three years is a great amount of time to be away. Because Fleetwood Mac is a big-ticket item, and if you just saw us last year, or a year and a half ago, we may not be the one when you choose when the five or six big bands come through your city. And it’s always really good to give people that rest from you. To let them get away from you and you from them. So when that tour starts up, everybody’s super excited. And you’re not gonna be near as super excited if you just saw us at the beginning of last year. I think that it’s really worth it to do that. I will always feel that way, so I have to take a little bit of flak for it.
After all these years and tumultuous relationships within the band, have you figured out how to get along with each other while you’re touring?
Well, in Fleetwood Mac there’s always gonna be drama [laughs]. You’re never gonna get away from that. And I think if we ever got away from that everybody would be very bored. The audiences would certainly be bored. So it’s never gonna happen. But what we have done is, I spent almost a week up at Lindsey [Buckingham]’s house two or three weeks ago. We were working on some music. But we spent probably 70% of the time just talking. And talking about all our old stories. And telling my assistant all the old stories, going all the way back to 1966, when I first met Lindsey. And she’s there, her eyes as big as saucers listening to all this.
It’s really good therapy for Lindsey and I too, you know, and we have stories for hundreds of years that we can tell you. It was great for us. It really reminds Lindsey and I of how far we’ve come and how hard we worked. And how lucky we are to be where we are today. And that Lindsey and I are always gonna be that dramatic couple on stage. Because we just are. It’s who we are.
We’re never gonna be, there’s that French word, laissez faire, we’re never gonna be that. We’re always gonna be tumultuous and we’re always gonna be crazy, and because there’s a part of Lindsey’s and my relationship that is so ultra-special from back in the day, that you can never, no matter how old we get, it’s never gonna go away. He’s married now, he has three beautiful children, and a really lovely wife. He lives in girl world! Between his wife and his two daughters, he and his son are like, they’re a minority. It’s like, these are beautiful little girls and they have little beautiful girlfriends that are all over at the house all the time. So he lives in a world full of women.
They probably don’t know him as a rock star, he’s just Dad.
Absolutely! They don’t know anything about all that. They are from a new generation. So they have softened him.
Do you find that with things like Rumors charting again after those songs were featured in a Glee episode last year, that much younger people are coming to the shows?
Absolutely. When you look out over our audience, you’d be very, very surprised to see how many younger people there are there. And I think that’s not just Glee. It’s mainly because their parents played Fleetwood Mac. And played Stevie Nicks. And those kids heard the music. And they caught onto it a long time ago. And so little kids that were listening to it that are now 25, they’re there.
And at first, when we first went back out in 1998, after not touring for almost 10 years, we thought, “Well really, the only people that are gonna come see us are gonna be people that are our age.” And that was really kinda true, for like the first half. And then, all of a sudden, there’s like tons of really young people, and I can remember Lindsey saying, “Oh my God, I thought that only people our age would come. And I said to him, “Lindsey, build a field and they will come. They are here. So lucky you, you’re not playing to an audience of totally older people. Half of this audience is not even 20!”
I know that you keep up with current pop music – you did the intro for that Katy Perry video last year, and dueted with Taylor Swift at the 2010 Grammys. What have you been listening to lately?
Honestly, I listen to so many people that I couldn’t even… My mind goes blank. I’m walking around singing “Call Me Maybe” all the time. And I can’t help it. It’s like a curse. And I love it. I totally love it. And I kinda like it when I’m singing it by myself and I love it when she’s singing it. I have it on my iPod. And it’s gonna go on my future treadmill tape that I’m getting ready to make.
I listen to Rihanna, I listen to Mary J. Blige – I kinda go toward R&B, and always have, strangely enough. And all my music tastes are about music I play before I get ready to go on stage for three hours, and music that I play when I’m walking on the treadmill and that I want to dance to. I love ballads, and I love the slow wonderful love songs, but they’re not the stuff I listen to that much, because I need energy, I don’t need to curl up in a ball and cry.
So I go more for the soul music, modern and un-modern, all the way back to the ‘50s. Because that’s when I first started singing. I started singing to Top 40 music when I was in the 4th grade, and that was all R&B. That was black girl groups, and the Ronettes, and the Righteous Brothers. That’s kinda where my heart went, strangely enough, since I had a grandfather who sang country music for real, as a job. And everybody in my family would go, “Who are you? Really, why do you like this R&B music when you have a total country background.” And I’m going, “I don’t know. But I do. And I wish you guys would all be quiet because I’m singing.” [Laughs]
What about this tour will be different than your last one?
You know, we always do probably 20-21 songs, and so there’s always those 10 songs that we have to do. Which are the hits. The audience came and bought their ticket to see those songs. But then we have the other 10-11 songs to play with. So what we do is we know the songs we have to do, so we put them all in one column. And then we put all the songs from all the different records, from you know, Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, Tusk, Mirage, Tango in the Night, Behind the Mask, all those, and then we start choosing, well what song have you always wanted to do, John? And Mick? Is there a song you have a soft spot for? So then we start making a list of slightly more unfamiliar Fleetwood Mac songs.
And then, once we’ve made that list, we start sitting around with acoustic instruments and we start playing them. And you never know what’s gonna stick. Because something you might have tried in 2009 or 2003 that didn’t work, and everybody said “No, that’s not gonna go.” And all of a sudden, when we go into rehearsal in February, might totally work. And I think that’s because, it’s just the time. There might be something going on in the world that might really speak to a song on Tusk that we’ve never done on stage before. And so that’s always a really super exciting part. Because we know what 10 songs are gonna be, but we don’t know what the other 12 are gonna be.
Do you feel stuff out on the road at all?
Not so much. If there’s a song where the first night we play we’re like, that didn’t work, we drop it immediately. It doesn’t even get another chance. Because it’s worked out and played beautifully the first night. So when we go up through our first show, we are, and I always say, as Michael Jackson said, in that last film of his rehearsals, when they ask if he’s ever nervous, and he said, ‘No, because if you know what you’re doing there’s no reason to be nervous.” And that’s really true.
So when we walk on that stage on that first night, we have played that show twice a day for six weeks. And we know it. And we are playing all those songs really beautifully. And we know all our parts. It just depends on, you can kind of feel what ticks the boxes of the audience and what doesn’t. There’s a song that we kinda feel was a little bit of a lull – it’s gone. It’s just gone. And then we have, we always have that extra five songs, that we know, and we know people love, and we can always pull a song back. So it’s very exciting.
I mean, because it is big, and because it is grand, it’s almost like it’s more dressy. It’s not casual. There’s nothing casual about it. It’s not casual Friday. It’s fancy Saturday. So you put on your black velvet and your high black velvet heels and you do your hair and you put on a lot of beautiful makeup and that’s Fleetwood Mac. Everybody knows they’re going to a big, dressy party.
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