Stevie Nicks talks about compiling first retrospective box set, new solo album, and the future of Fleetwood Mac
Anyone who was paying attention during Fleetwood Mac’s reunion tour last fall could tell that Stevie Nicks, 49, was still the star of the show. Trim and healthy, she got the biggest cheers and entranced the audience just as she had two decades before when the Mac was riding high on the mega-million-selling success of the album Rumours. Now, with Fleetwood Mac taking a breather, Nicks is going her own way once again, with her most prodigious display of wares since she began her first solo career in 1981. On Tuesday she releases Enchanted, a three-CD box set that contains her solo hits, choice album cuts and a bunch of rarities including soundtrack songs, collaborations with Kenny Loggins and John Stewart, outtakes and a haunting, spare piano version of “Rhiannon.”
She begins a tour May 27 in Connecticut, with Boz Scaggs opening. When that wraps up in early August, she plans to finish her first solo album in four years — and her first release for her new label, Warner-Reprise.
Q: This is quite a productive period for you.
A: It’s almost like I didn’t ask for any of this; it just happened. I was truly started on a record of my own when the whole world changed, upside down.
Q: You had started on your next album when the reunion popped up?
A: Yes. All of a sudden this thing about Fleetwood Mac happened, and as the days went by there was more talk and then somebody from Warner Bros. actually came up and said (Lindsey Buckingham) really is going to put his record on the shelf to do this. I said, “Well, I don’t believe that,” because he said that a million times before. So I called him and I said, “Lindsey, I need you to tell me what’s happening because if we really are going to do this I’m not even going to start my record.” And he said, “I’m going to do it.” I said, “You’re sure? You promise?” He said, “Yes.” And then when I got home from the Fleetwood Mac thing I was told Atlantic felt this was a good time to do the box set, since I was going to Warner-Reprise. So all of these things just sort of happened, to my surprise.
Q: You were so clearly the fan favorite during the tour. How does the rest of the band deal with that?
A: I think probably it’s fine and fairly easy for everybody in the band except Lindsey. I think it’s hard for Lindsey because we started out together. I think he goes, like, “When did you do all this? Why do you get this kind of reaction?” And I think that is hard for him. So I don’t talk to him a lot about it. I don’t want to make Lindsey unhappy. I care about him and want him to be happy.
Q: Do you foresee another Fleetwood Mac project?
A: I feel that what we did this last year, it was great. Everybody had a great time. It was a little hard on Christine (McVie), but I think she will change her mind and she will get bored and say, “Oh, I want to do this one more time.” There’s no way this band won’t play again. I just know that when the time is right it’ll come back together. It’ll probably be in two years, two and a half years.
Q: What was it like compiling Enchanted?
A: It was like going through the photo album that went along with all those records, that went along with my life. Those songs are the photo album of my life because each one of them really was about something pretty heavy, for me to write a song about it. And when you put them all together it’s a pretty tumultuous bunch of songs.
Q: Will this tour be different from your others?
A: It’s going to be a great set, and it’s not going to be like any other set. On a regular tour basically you just go back and get the tour you did last time and change it around a little and add two new songs off of whatever new record you’re going out with. This tour is going to be a story. Because it’s the box-set tour, it’s OK for me to pick songs that people aren’t familiar with. This will be kind of a special show, I think.
Q: What’s the next album going to be like?
A: The title song is written — “Trouble in Shangri-La.” It’s like Bella Donna; it’s a definite concept album. It’s about achieving Shangri-la and not being able to handle it.
Q: Sounds like a true story.
A: (laughs) Oh, yes. I understand it all pretty well. Going through all these songs (for Enchanted) made me take a walk back through my life and made me think about things I’d forgotten, and think about experiences that were pretty strong and really touched and changed my life. I look back on all that now and really see what were the good things and what were the bad things — just wisdom, you know? I think I’m really smarter than I used to be, and I don’t take anything for granted now.
Q: Any regrets?
A: No, because the things that I’ve wanted to do and haven’t done, I will do. I want to do a children’s cartoon movie. And I want to do a Rhiannon record with just the songs of Rhiannon — because there’s “Rhiannon,” but there are also nine other songs I did right in that period of two years, when I was reading the books of Rhiannon.
Q: You once talked about adopting a child. Is that still an ambition?
A: I don’t really need children. I have a niece who’s 6, who certainly fills my life up as far as a child goes. I’m going to just work on my work. I don’t think the world is going to have that much of a problem with me not being married or having a family. I don’t think that’s why I came here. I have something that’s really important to do, and I don’t think I’ve done that yet.
Gary Graff (Special to The Chronicle) / San Francisco Chronicle Datebook / April 26, 1998