Hanging Out at Stevie Nicks' House

The iconic singer tells us about her new documentary and Christine McVie's return to Fleetwood Mac

Stevie Nicks
Donald Kravitz/Getty Images
Stevie Nicks performs in Atlantic City.
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We recently visited the Los Angeles home of rock goddess Stevie Nicks, and while we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a dedicated shawl closet and a tambourine vault, we can report that the kitchen TV was tuned to HGTV and the chandelier was fabulous. That house is featured throughout In Your Dreams, the entertaining film documenting the recording of Nicks' underrated 2011 solo album of the same name. Album producer Dave Stewart (of the Eurythmics) is also a compulsive videographer; he and Nicks are named as codirectors, although she dismissed the credit, saying, "It was very nice of them, but I didn't direct this." The documentary, recently released on DVD, was spurred by Dave Grohl: when Nicks lamented to him that her album had died, he told her that the only way to revive it was to release a film. "Go home and call Dave Stewart right now," he instructed her.

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Nicks, who is still just like the white-winged dove, was holding court in the front stairwell of her house, in the same location where she and backup singers Sharon Celani and Lori Nicks recorded all their vocals for In Your Dreams. "This was the house where we had more fun than we've ever had in our whole lives," she said. "It was like amazing summer camp that lasted all year for adults — who got to be children for a year, with no adults around to tell us what to do." Performers on the album included guitarists Waddy Wachtel, Mike Campbell, and Lindsey Buckingham (Nicks' Fleetwood Mac bandmate and former paramour). "Even Lindsay felt like he had a big cashmere hug when he was here for a few days," Nicks reported. "He couldn't help it."

To make the album, Stewart would come over around 2 p.m.; they would then work until dinner, which was cooked by Nicks' goddaughter. "We would break for an hour, an hour and a half, and we would do what they used to in the Twenties, when they had Hemingway and Coco Chanel and Nureyev and Man Ray, and they would have dinner every Sunday night," Nicks said. "They would talk and gossip about politics and the world and people, and talk about music and photography." After dinner, Stewart would go home to his two young daughters, while Nicks and her singers would work late into the night on the next day's vocal parts.

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Nicks compared Stewart to an array of Lewis Carroll characters. "Sometimes he's the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. Sometimes he's the Mad Hatter. Sometimes he's Alice. You're never quite sure who Dave is. But whoever he is, he's the master of ceremonies." And Nicks? "I'm Alice when he's not being Alice. Or I'm the Rabbit. I'm whoever character I need to be." She considered her grammar. "That was a very bad sentence. But in Alice in Wonderland's world, it would be a perfect sentence."

The film shows glimpses of some of Nicks' books of poetry, which she entrusted to Stewart, who combed through them looking for potential lyrics. Nicks explained that she writes journal entries on the right-hand page; if she feels like turning the entry into a poem, she'll write that on the accompanying left-hand page. In her youth, when she was learning to play guitar and writing her first songs, Nicks learned a lot of poetry by other people: Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde. "I did memorize a lot of it in high school and in the beginning of college, because if I couldn't think of words, I would just go to the poetry book, and open it up and use their words." That was the genesis of "Annabel Lee," an In Your Dreams adaptation of the 1849 Poe poem.

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Nicks discussed the most recent news in the world of Fleetwood Mac: Christine McVie's public declaration in late 2013 that she was interested in rejoining the band. "She came in for the second of two nights at the O2 Arena in London and she had a great time. She was a wreck, a nervous wreck. She hasn't been onstage since 1998. Talk about starting at the top, to walk out in the O2 Arena; I think it's 19,000 people. She was really nervous, but she was well-rehearsed," Nicks said fondly.

And in the future? "All I can say is, Chris has so nailed it into our head that she would never come back. And it's been thirteen years. And she has literally, so many times, extensively told us why she would never come back and why it was not a part of her life anymore and why she wouldn't know what to do in that situation anymore. You finally let it go — and that's when we really started on our quest to make Fleetwood Mac relevant without her. Because that was hard. We didn't really want to have Fleetwood Mac without Chris. But we finally decided that we also didn't want to not play. So I'll be interested to see, along with the rest of you, what Christine will do," Nicks said.

Nicks concluded, "When people say, 'Did she ask if she could come back?' It's her band, for God's sake. If she wants to come back, it's her band. Fleetwood Mac-Vie. She started the damn band. So wouldn't it be great? Yes, it would be. I'll believe it when I see it."