Fleetwood Mac singer talks making history as first woman to become a double inductee into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Stevie Nicks was two shows away from wrapping up the 2018 leg of Fleetwood Mac‘s world tour when the news came in that she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist, making her the first woman in history to enter the institution twice. “It’s a lot to take in emotionally,” she told Rolling Stone the following evening. “I’m kind of really emotional now. If I have to cry, you just have to let me cry and then we’ll get back to this.”
Nicks managed to avoid crying during our 20-minute conversation, but she did explain why this honor is so meaningful to her, why she’ll miss Tom Petty and Prince that night along with her parents, how she hopes this will inspire younger women in the industry, how the other members of Fleetwood Mac reacted, what she told the members of Haim after a recent show and how she hopes to finally meet Janet Jackson at the ceremony.
Walk me through the moment of when you found out you were in.
I obviously found out about the nomination [in October], but I never believe anything is going to happen until it actually happens. I believed that the nomination was happening because the nomination happened. But I didn’t give it that much thought because I was out on the road working extremely hard with an extremely hard schedule for a little old lady like myself. I was just like, “Okay.”
But I’ve always been that way, ever since I was a little girl. When something big or fantastic happens, I never go there in my mind. I just go, “That’s really great.” And I really appreciate that. But I don’t really believe it ever. That’s because in my whole life I’m the type of person where I don’t want to get my feelings hurt, so I’m not going to believe it until it actually is. That’s in every type of part of my life, from family to friends to projects to whatever. I don’t know where that came from, but it started a long time ago, that way of accepting things.
When I found out yesterday that it was for sure I was getting ready for the second big show at the Forum, so I was super tired and super wanting to walk onstage and for all of us to just be spectacular. And then I’m trying to process the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so it’s a lot for one brain to take in. I was just like, “That’s great. That’s amazing. I’ll be there.”
But then when we went onstage… I never would have expected anybody in the band to have said anything about it. But I was standing right in front of Mick [Fleetwood] and all of a sudden he did say something about it, but I had one of my ear monitors out. I thought he said something about the Hall of Fame, but I wasn’t really quite sure. I turned around and looked at him and I could hear he was saying, “Congratulations. We’re really proud of you.” It was something like that. I couldn’t really tell what he said.
And then I turned towards Christine [McVie] and she was like, “Congratulations sweetheart” or something and I’m just standing there and thinking that this was not anything that would have been mentioned onstage before. [She seems to mean before Lindsey Buckingham left the group, but she was unwilling to field questions about that situation.]
I was a little bit verklempt and I didn’t know what to do. And then we were getting ready to go into the song that Neil [Finn] and I do [“Don’t Dream It’s Over”] and then during the “Landslide” dedication I said, “I wouldn’t have said anything about this, but because Mick and Christine said something about it, you’ve opened the doors.”
Then I made a dedication to Jimmy Iovine for making this Gemini able to have two careers, which for somebody like me was so wonderful because I like bouncing from one thing to the other back to the other back to the other. I’m never bored, ever, and if I want to take a vacation, I told the audience, I don’t want to go to Hawaii for a year. I really just want to go to Hawaii for like two weeks and then come back and start on another project. That’s how I’ve always been. I would be bored stiff.
The fact that I’ve been able to have these two careers my whole life… I joined Fleetwood Mac at the beginning of 1975. We started talking about the solo album at the end of 1979, so my solo work was just a little over four years behind Fleetwood Mac. It has made my life amazing because I’ve been able to have these two amazing careers and live in two completely different worlds. I did dedicate it to Jimmy Iovine, him and several others. But it was Jimmy that said, “I will produce your record and we’ll make you a Tom Petty record, expect it’ll be a girl Tom Petty record.” I found that very exciting and I was jumping off the walls.
That’s how it all started. The people around me in my solo career were all very much like, “This is not going to mess with Fleetwood Mac. You’re going to be able to do both. It’s what you do. You’re a Gemini. You want two lives.” And then it just took off, both things. So I’m very grateful to all the spirits that it was made easy for me to do this and nobody was angry with me and saying, “You shouldn’t do this.” Everybody backed up the whole thing. That was really wonderful because it could have gone the other way, but it didn’t go the other way.
How do you feel about being the first woman to enter the Hall of Fame twice?
Well, that’s probably the biggest part of it. After the show last night I was talking to the Haim girls. I was saying to them, “Okay, now I’ve opened the door for you. Now each one of you need to go do a solo album really fast and get your solos going so in the next 20 years you’ll be able to do this too and maybe I’ve opened the doors to all the girls in my life that sing and write and play and are amazing.”
My biggest hope is that I have opened the door due to the fact that there’s 22 men who have gone in twice and zero women. I think that’s really a little off balance. That’s what I’m hoping, that what’s happened here to me will give all the little rock and roll stars that are just waiting out there a little hope that they can also do what I do. Mind you, it took a long time. I’m 70 years old. It took a long time for this to happen, but maybe because of this it won’t take so long for all the other incredibly talented women that I know and that I respect and that I listen to and that I’m friends with. That’s really the nicest thing.
I didn’t have children. I would have loved to have had a house full of daughters. I would have ended up having a house full of sons, which would have driven me crazy, so I probably made the right decision. But I sort of do have a house full of daughters since I have so many women singers around me that are in their twenties all the way up to not quite as old as me that are friends of mine. We discuss music and we talk about it and we’re friends. Every time I play a show they come. Every time we play the Forum we shut the Forum down with all the girls that have come to see me. We are sitting on the couches at 2:30 am when even the crew is almost gone. That’s because we have so much to talk about and so much to share, just about being women musicians and what we love and what we want to do.
I still have so much I want to do and they have so much they want to do. It’s like we have a mutual admiration society that goes on after every one of these, especially the last shows, whether they are my shows or Fleetwood Mac shows. That’s what I’m mostly happy about. I don’t think that I have exactly accepted the actual ceremony and the whole thing that will happen in March or whenever it is because in my world that’s a long time. When it comes down to a month away from that and trying to figure out what I’m going to say and what I’m going to do, then it’s going to hit me in more of a weepy, emotional way because I’m already feeling really emotional today and as you can hear, I can hardly even talk.
I am feeling really emotional that my mother and father aren’t here. My father would have said, “Well, I knew you’d do it.” And my mother would have said, “I told you when you were 15 and a half that you better be the boss of your own company since you don’t like being told what to do. You’re going to school. You might be a singer/songwriter and you may do great things, but you’re also going to be an educated singer/songwriter so that you can always be in the boy’s club and so you can never be treated like a second-class citizen by a bunch of guys.” That’s what she told me when I was 15 and a half. So I’m so sorry that my little mom isn’t going to be seated on the side of the stage going to everybody, “Well, I knew she’d do it.”
My sadness is there are a few people that won’t be there. Had Prince not passed away, Prince would have come and played on a song with me because I get to do one or two or three songs. He would have come and played on his and my song for the first time in history since we never got to play [“Stand Back”] together on stage. If Tom Petty had lived, he could have come and played “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” with me. And that breaks my heart that those two people aren’t alive for this. But you know what? They are in my heart. They walk with me onstage every night. That’s the sadness that there are a few people that I would really loved to have shared this with, but life goes on and they are in my heart, so it’s okay. I have to let that part go.
I am super excited. I am super grateful. I really didn’t expect this to happen, honestly. I just thought it never was going to happen. I’m really thrilled and I’m really grateful.
It’s a pretty cool class with you, the Zombies, Roxy Music, the Cure, Radiohead and Def Leppard. Are you fan of these people?
I’m a huge fan of Def Leppard. I know them and they always come to our shows. I know them pretty well and I really love their music, actually, and I have their music on my road tapes that I make and I listen to every night between 5:00 and 8:00 every night that I do a show. That’s my inspiration, a lot of my favorite groups.
I’m a huge fan of Janet Jackson. She’s also all over all my tapes. I listen to Janet almost every single night. And the Zombies, from my past, I was a huge fan. I love the Zombies! And the Cure, I don’t know much about them because I really wasn’t a punk girl, not that I wouldn’t have liked to throw some punk into my life, I probably would have, but I can only do so much in one life. And then Radiohead. I have much respect for Radiohead and the beautiful voice of Thom Yorke. I think this is a great bunch of people. This is going to be a really fun night.
Are you thinking much about who might induct you and what three songs you might play?
I’m not really there yet. I have to really give that some thought. Tomorrow is our last show until the end of January and right now I’m in a hotel because I can’t get out of road mode while we’re still playing, so I’m five minutes from my house, but I’m going home tomorrow night after the show. And then the next day I’ll start thinking about all that.
I can’t tell you, but I pretty much know who those people are going to be, but I don’t want to hex it before I make my final decision and talk to some people about it. I want to make the right decision and I want this to be really perfect. But this is a great group of people to be going in with. I’m thrilled about that. I don’t think I’ve ever met Janet Jackson even though I feel like I know her like she lives next door because I’ve been listening to her music since she was a baby. I’m super excited about that and I think she should be in, absolutely. She’s amazing.
I’m happy this is a great bunch of people that get to walk through this little heavenly rainbow with me and I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t be more honored to be going in twice. First of all, to be going in once was amazing. Everybody that I know over the last 50 years, people that aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are like, “Well, I don’t really care.” And as of 1998, when Fleetwood Mac went in, I always cared since I’m all about ceremony. I would say to myself, “Yeah, you don’t care because you’re not in it. But when you do go in it, you’ll totally care.” It’s that kind of thing. Nobody expects to ever go in it. But when you get that little invitation, you’re dancing around your house because there is nothing better than being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Being inducted into it twice, for your own work out of the band, there really isn’t anything better than that, to be able to be in both clubs. It’s the “you’re in it because you’re in a band club” and the “you’re in it because of your solo work” club.
I’m glad it happened now before I was like 78 or something. I would have had to walk in with my walker and my feathers and my sequins and my long, flowing grey hair. (Laughs) So I’m glad it happened now and not in another five or six years. What a visual!
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