Stevie Nicks
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The Other Side of the Mirror turns 25

(Photo: Neal Preston)
(Photo: Neal Preston)

By the end of the ’80s, Fleetwood Mac fans had grown accustomed to enjoying a round of solo releases from band members between solo projects, with singer Stevie Nicks establishing herself as the most prolific artist outside the confines of the group.

Starting with 1981′s Bella Donna, Nicks spent the decade see-sawing between her solo career and Fleetwood Mac projects, and the market seemed perfectly willing to bear the extra music; both Donna and its followup, 1983′s The Wild Heart, made the Top 10, and 1985′s Rock a Little extended her streak of platinum releases. But after finishing three records in five years, Nicks put her solo career on temporary hiatus — partly because of her obligations to Fleetwood Mac following the massive success of the band’s 1987 Tango in the Night album, and partly because personal problems put a crimp in her creativity.

As she explained in a 1998 interview with People Magazine, Nicks’ cocaine dependency came to a head in 1986, when a plastic surgeon reportedly warned her, “If you want your nose to remain on your face, stop right now.” She entered rehab to deal with her addiction, but as she put it, “after I quit cocaine, things got even worse” — mainly because she left treatment with a prescription for the powerful sedative Klonopin, which she said “changed me from a tormented, productive artist to an indifferent woman.”

Even without chemical woes in the way, Nicks’ solo career faced another critical stumbling block in the mid-to-late-’80s: the frequently turbulent personal dynamics between the members of Fleetwood Mac. Pointing out that the tour for Tango in the Night went on for months, Nicks later recalled the difficulties of dealing with her Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham’s lack of support. “When you work with Lindsey he pretty much demands that you’re there,” she recalled. “And I was also touring. We’d tour for six weeks and come home for a week then I’d bang into the studio to try to be there as much as I could. But Lindsey was not very understanding about that. He felt that I shouldn’t have a solo career. It was like, ‘Oh, thank you so very much for giving us another week of your precious time!’ So it was never a very pleasant experience.”

Stevie Nicks The Other Side of the Mirror 1989Fortunately, she’d reached the stage of her career where she no longer needed to keep recording to pay the bills, and whatever urgency she felt to finish the album was solely creative. “At my age and after all I’ve been through, what I really need is to love the music that goes out,” she insisted. “I have everything I need on a living basis, so whatever the sales, I want the music to be true to me and my songs.”

To that end, Nicks sought out a new producer when she got down to work on what would become her fourth solo album, The Other Side of the Mirror. “I started out with Rupert Hines, who is an amazing keyboard player, so that whole album sort of went the way of the airy, surreal keyboard and synthesizer thing,” she explained in a 1994 interview with Music Connection. But it wasn’t just Hines’ keyboard playing that led Nicks to hire him — more importantly, he was willing to listen.

“The thing that I told him was most important to me was that my songs came through,” she later recalled. “I have archives of demos, and I have many, many friends who prefer the demos — who have them and listen to them, and that’s kind of really hard to take when it costs you nothing to do a demo and it costs you $500,000 or $1 million to do a record, and people come to you and say, ‘Can I have a cassette of the song when it was just a demo?’…It’s very important to me that what I’m saying comes through. I’m not a musician. More than musically, it’s very important that what I have to say comes through and so on this record, he did what I asked. He let me put my demo feeling through.”

Released on May 11, 1989, The Other Side of the Mirror was presented as a sort of loosely constructed song suite based around Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, although Nicks herself could be somewhat evasive on the subject. “I’m not ready to tell everybody exactly what the songs are all about,” she demurred when asked about the inspiration behind the album, “because I’d rather people interpret them in terms of their own lives, as opposed to thinking the songs are just about me.”

During an interview with Record Mirror, however, she admitted that the songs often are about her. Discussing the inspiration behind leadoff single “Rooms on Fire,” she said, “I guess the single is about when you’re in a crowded room and you see a kind of person and your heart goes, ‘Wow!’ The whole world seems to be ablaze at that particular moment. You see, I don’t write fantasy songs. Everything I write is based on personal experience. I guess I’m quite an intense, romantic person. Of course, selling lots of records means you can live a privileged, glamorous lifestyle, but it becomes very lonely as well.”

Speaking with Revolution later in 1989, she opened up further, saying The Other Side of the Mirror started out as a tribute to her grandmother. “I called her Crazy Alice; I lost her three months ago and I just loved her so much,” she explained, adding that as the album developed, it took on several personalities.

1989_tosotm_back_cover“I love making up little fantasy things,” Nicks admitted. “All the characters in my songs — the Gypsies, the Saras, and on this album, Alice and Juliet — they’re all me. But they’re all different sides of me. It’s a great way to write about what’s going on in your life without telling it in a real serious way, but the point comes over and I think people understand that. I don’t think I started out intending it to have much to do with Alice in Wonderland, though I read it when I was little. But I kept thinking about how I go back and forth from one side of the mirror to the other. And then I have a little space in between, which is when I do other things which nobody really knows about; my painting, my art, my writing.

“That’s my sanity life,” she added. “That’s when I’m pretty serious and sane. And my Fleetwood Mac life and my Stevie Nicks life, both of those are pretty heavy and I have to scurry back and forth constantly. For the past seven years I’ve been running two straight careers pretty solid, and they’re both big and they’re both demanding.”

It could get a little confusing at times. “Much of Alice in Stevie Nicks’ Alice is Stevie writing about Alice in parallel back to Stevie, so I’m really writing about Alice’s adventures as in comparison to my adventures,” she explained in a separate interview. “For Alice to run back and forth between the looking glass is kind of what I perceive my whole life to be, running back and forth between two places — which is obviously my career with Fleetwood Mac and my career by myself. And then of course, there’s the other part of my life, which is my own life, which there isn’t very much of. But I always seem to be running to one place or the other.”

She’d soon find herself running to all kinds of places, courtesy of an extensive tour that found Nicks visiting Europe as a solo artist for the first time. Although she later confessed that her growing Klonopin dependency had obliterated most of her memories of the tour, ‘Mirror’ still did well, both overseas and in the States; “Rooms on Fire” was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, and the album reached No. 10 on the Billboard charts, eventually selling more than a million copies in the U.S. alone.

In spite of its success, The Other Side of the Mirror represented the end of Nicks’ time as a platinum-selling solo act. Shortly after wrapping her tour for the album, she drifted back to her duties with Fleetwood Mac, and although she departed the band shortly after the release of 1990′s Behind the Mask LP, personal issues continued to stunt her creative output until the mid-’90s; it wasn’t until she underwent another round of detox (and got a little tough love from her old friend Tom Petty) that she really started writing again, and by the time a reinvigorated Nicks released the well-received Trouble in Shangri-La in 2001, the radio landscape had tilted away from artists of her generation.

Still, Nicks remains active, both within and without Fleetwood Mac; the band reunited with keyboard player Christine McVie for a highly anticipated 2014 tour, and her most recent solo release, 2011′s In Your Dreams, broke the Billboard Top 10. Once a rock ingenue, she’s now looked up to by younger artists the same way she looked up to her own influences — a role she clearly relishes.

“I would say I am a very romantic person and very intense,” Nicks mused of her songwriting in general. “I don’t write real happy songs, but I don’t ever write a song that leaves people with no hope. Everything I write comes from reality, and then I throw a handful of sparkle-dust over it and try to make it so that people can accept it and say, ‘Life goes on no matter how bad or what kind of tragedy you’re involved in, a heartbroken love affair or whatever it is.’ You will make it. Because I’m proving it. I’m telling you that I’ve been through it all and I’m still here.”

Jeff Giles / Ultimate Classic Rock / Sunday, May 11, 2014



LIVE IN CONCERT (2023-2024)

Billy Joel and Stevie NicksStevie Nicks

FEB 10, 2024
Mark G Etess Arena
Atlantic City, NJ

FEB 14, 2024
UBS Arena
Belmont Park, NY

FEB 17, 2024
CFG Bank Arena
Baltimore, MD

FEB 21, 2024
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, SC

FEB 24, 2024
Hard Rock Live
Hollywood, FL

FEB 28, 2024
Smoothie King Center
New Orleans, LA

MAR 3, 2024
CHI Health Center
Omaha, NE

MAR 6, 2024
Simmons Bank Arena
North Little Rock, AR

MAR 9, 2024
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX
Billy Joel

MAY 3, 2024 – MAY 5, 2024
Lovin’ Life Fest
Charlotte, NC

MAY 7, 2024
Enterprise Center
St Louis, MO

MAY 10, 2024
WinStar World Casino & Resort
Thackerville, OK

MAY 14, 2024
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, TN

MAY 18, 2024
Frost Bank Center
San Antonio, TX

MAY 21, 2024
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino – Yaamava’ Theater
Highland, CA

MAY 24, 2024
BottleRock Napa Valley
Napa, CA

MAY 27, 2024
Delta Center
Salt Lake City, UT

MAY 30, 2024
Ball Arena
Denver, CO

Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, IN

JUN 9 
Mohegan Sun Casino
Uncasville, CT

JUN 12
MVP Arena
Albany, NY

JUN 15 
Hersheypark Stadium
Hershey, PA

JUN 18
Van Andel Arena
Grand Rapids, MI

JUN 21, 2024
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL

Two Icons One Night presented by Live Nation
^ Non-Live Nation show

Previous 2023 dates

March 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Los Angeles, CA
SoFi Stadium

March 15, 2023
Seattle, WA
Climate Pledge Arena

March 18, 2023
Las Vegas, NV
T-Mobile Arena

May 12, 2023
Raleigh, NC
PNC Arena

May 16, 2023
Knoxville, TN
Thompson-Boling Arena

May 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Nashville, TN
Nissan Stadium

May 22, 2023
Atlanta, GA
State Farm Arena

May 25, 2023
Orlando, FL
Amway Center

June 16, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Philadelphia, PA
Lincoln Financial Field

June 20, 2023
Toronto, ON (Canada)
Scotiabank Arena

June 23, 2023
Chicago, IL
United Center

June 27, 2023
Louisville, KY
KFC Yum! Center

August 5, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Columbus, OH
Ohio Stadium

August 8, 2023
Milwaukee, WI
Fiserv Forum

August 12, 2023
Houston, TX
Toyota Center

August 15, 2023
Austin, TX
Moody Center

August 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Kansas City, MO
Arrowhead Stadium

September 23, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Foxborough, MA
Gillette Stadium

September 27, 2023
Pittsburgh, PA
PPG Paints Arena

October 1, 2023
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden

October 4, 2023
Buffalo, NY
KeyBank Center

October 7, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Baltimore, MD 
M&T Bank Stadium

October 28, 2023
Memphis, TN
FedEx Forum

November 1, 2023
Savannah, GA
Enmarket Arena

November 4, 2023
Allentown, PA
PPL Center

November 7, 2023
Detroit, MI
Little Caesars Arena

November 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Bank Stadium

November 29, 2023
San Diego, CA
Viejas Arena

December 2, 2023
Inglewood, CA
The Kia Forum

December 5, 2023
Palm Desert, CA
Acisure Arena

December  8, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Phoenix, AZ
Chase Field

December 12, 2023
Sacramento, CA
Golden 1 Center

December 15, 2023
San Francisco, CA
Chase Center

2022 Tour

Stevie Nicks

Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Snowmass, CO
Labor Day 2022

Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL
September 8, 2022
September 10, 2022

Pine Knob Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI
September 13, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sea Hear Now Festival
Asbury, NJ
September 17, 2022

Xfinity Center
Mansfield, MA
September 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Maine Savings Amphitheatre
Bangor, ME
September 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sound on Sound Festival
Bridgeport, CT
September 24-25, 2022

Ohana Festival
Dana Point, CA
September 30, 2022

Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA
October 3, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion

Phoenix, AZ
October 6, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Woodlands, TX
October 9, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Alpharetta, GA
October 12, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ascend Amphitheater
Nashville, TN
October 16, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Credit One Stadium
Charleston, SC
October 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

PNC Music Pavilion
Charlotte, NC
October 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tampa, FL
October 25, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
West Palm Beach, FL
October 28, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Orion Amphitheatre
Huntsville, AL
October 31, 2022


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
The Woodlands, TX
November 2, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion
Phoenix, AZ
November 5, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton