Stevie Nicks - the Fairy Godmother of Rock

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Stevie Nicks - the Fairy Godmother of Rock
Interview by Jada Yuan; Photo by Danny Clinch

Look to the shawls; let them show you the way. All night you’ve been ­anticipating their arrival on the Fleetwood Mac stage: the witchy moment when Stevie Nicks, that blonde chanteuse, abruptly dis­appears from view and, with a simple costume change she’s perfected over 35 years, reemerges a woman transformed, wrapped in fringed silk signaling a visitation by Rhiannon or Gold Dust Woman or the livid spurned lover of “Stand Back,” fine fabric unfurling from her delicate shoulders like the banner of an advancing army, heralding not just a song but the coming of an event. There may also be a wind machine, or perhaps you’re just imagining it. This was all to be expected, and somehow it still thrills. Twirling in the outstretched arms of Stevie Nicks, those shawls have magic in them.

No one rocks a shawl like Stevie Nicks. That much was evident at Madison Square Garden this spring, the third stop of a constantly extending, sold-out Fleetwood Mac world tour (coming to Jones Beach on June 22). Everywhere in the arena were homages to Stevie: top hats, feathers, flowing black fabric. And, of course, shawls. ­Fathers and daughters danced enthusiastically side by side, and the air was thick with the smell of furtive intergenerational pot smoking. Chances are, you or someone next to you was weeping during “Landslide,” with that chorus you might casually dismiss as cliché until you find yourself singing it in unison with 15,000 fans: “Time makes you bolder / Children get older / I’m getting older, too.”

Nicks’s 65th birthday was May 26, and she spent it twirling onstage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Stevie Nicks, her generation’s great California girl sex symbol, who very publicly fought her way back from drug addiction and weight gain, now an aging rock star unafraid of the passage of time and, having long ago married her music, still an undefeated romantic searching for love. “She’s like your fairy princess godmother,” Courtney Love has said, “who’s gonna save you, and lives in a magical kingdom somewhere, and has, like, fabulous romances.”

Onstage, she’s still an aesthetic pioneer—her near-butt-length hair, fingerless gloves, knee-high black suede platform boots, and finely tailored dress in tatters all adding up to what she herself calls “the Stevie Nicks thing.” It’s a persona she’s said is drawn from the slinkiness of Grace Slick, the “humbleness” of Jimi Hendrix, and the attitude of Janis Joplin. Nicks had observed all three and opened for Hendrix and Joplin just out of high school in the late sixties as part of Fritz, her first musical partnership with Fleetwood Mac’s intense virtuoso guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. Buckingham is, with toweringly tall oddball drummer Mick Fleetwood, one of two ex-boyfriends Nicks performs with every night, a five-foot-one pixie singing with raspy conviction about her own heartbreak and resilience on the same stage as two men who’ve caused her pain. Or is it vice-versa?

Read the rest of this extremely long, but awesome interview at the source: