Stevie Nicks, New Age selfie queen, released a new album this week, titled 24 Karat Gold — Songs from the Vault. This means more songs to twirl wistfully around your bedroom to (a mild joint and a throw blanket worn as a shawl are optional accessories). But it also means that Stevie has been making the press rounds, giving TMI interview after TMI interview. Out of context, her salacious quotes about the past can seem a little disconcerting — if you don’t understand that this is just how Stevie Nicks is. She has often volunteered personal information with little prompting, both in interviews and in her brilliant songs about drugs, men, and living some Santa Monica take on the bohemian life. You get the sense that there’s very little she feels self-conscious about in her wild and weird past, and why should she? She’s Stevie Nicks, and she survived to see the other side, damnit!
Of course, the whole schtick with 24 Karat Gold is that these songs span the last 45 years on Nicks’ life, with one dating back to her pre-Fleetwood Mac days in Buckingham Nicks (technically, pre-dating Buckingham Nicks). With this in mind, it makes it easy for reporters to ask Nicks about her past — and she easily offers up these candid quotables in return. Her most common subjects are her past drug abuse, her lifetime of passionate romances with famous men, and now as she’s grown older, beauty and body issues. Let’s delve in to some recent ones from rock’s wisest fairy godmother.
How do you feel now? “I’m extremely lucky. I’ve been in a famous band for a very long time and because of that I’ve taken very good care of myself, except for the eight years I was on Klonopin and I got really fat, but that wasn’t my fault. You have to keep yourself youthful. And I don’t mean looking 22 and going to plastic surgery and looking like a caricature of yourself, a stranger that nobody recognizes so that you can’t even get a table at a restaurant because you really don’t look like Stevie Nicks anymore. I wear the right clothes, age-appropriate clothes. But I can still do some of the things I could do when I was really young and pull it off as a 65-year-old chick.” You got a lot of attention in the press when you gained weight. “I just kind of went underground. Understand, I was on Klonopin. It’s a tranquilizer. You’re tranquil. I stayed home in a really beautiful house, watched a lot of TV, and ordered from Jerry’s deli. I went from 125 up to 173 pounds. I did a couple of tours and everyone talked about my weight, but I managed to do pretty good shows so people gave me that. One day I woke up and said, this doctor is insane. He’s a groupie who wanted to have me come in a couple times a month to talk about rock ‘n’ roll. I learned a valuable lesson. Never trust doctors, ever. I called up my best friend and said come get me and take me to a hospital. I spent 45 days there and got over it.” — The New York Times , 2014
“Botox makes everybody look like Satan’s children. You’d have to tie me down to get me to do it again.” — The Telegraph , 2013
“I do this long dance during ‘Gold Dust Woman’ — we call it the Crackhead Dance. It’s me being some of the drug addicts I knew, and probably being myself too — just being that girl lost on the streets, freaked out with no idea how to find her way. Years ago Lindsay would have said, ‘You can not do the Crackhead Dance onstage. Lose that.’ But now he likes it, because it gives him a chance to jam and play guitar. When Christine saw it, she said, ‘Wow, we’ve always known that “Gold Dust Woman” was about the serious drug days, but this really depicts how frightening it was for all of us and what we were willing to do for it.’ We were dancing on the edge for years.” — Rolling Stone, 2014
Didn’t a doctor warn you in the ’80s that if you did one more line of coke, you might have a heart attack? “He said I’d have a brain hemorrhage, actually. The documentary really scared me, because I saw this beautiful girl go downhill so fast. Sometimes you can’t see it in yourself, but you sure as heck can see it in someone else. And suicide was never my MO. I’m basically a happy person. I was a happy person back then. I just got addicted to coke, and that was a very bad drug for me. It was obviously a very bad drug for Mabel [Normand, the 1920s actress who inspired a song on 24 Karat Gold] too. She had a gang of rich kids, like Lindsay Lohan today. That same bunch of girls comes around every 15 years.” — Billboard , 2014
“If I bought coke for me, I also bought it for 500 of my closest friends. And if you’re buying drugs for you and all your friends, and you’re the only one who has money, and then somebody’s trying to get you off drugs, the seedy side of the drug-dealer world isn’t happy about that.” — Rolling Stone , 2014
“[Nicks] knew she was a drug addict when she started buying her own cocaine. ‘When you’re just using other people’s drugs, you’re not really doing it, but as soon as you start buying it, you’re doing it,’ she says.” —Vulture, 2014
“The strongest substance in her house these days is coffee, but it’s nearly impossible to steer her away from the topic of drugs. ‘There wasn’t any ecstasy around when we were doing drugs, which I’m really happy about,’ she says. ‘I’m very careful. Very careful. If I break my ankle and I need to take a pain pill, then I’m taking a pain pill. But I’m not going to take a pain pill if I don’t need it, ever. I’m past that, you know. I’m 65 years old. And I don’t drink. I quit smoking cigarettes. I don’t do any recreational drugs. And I’m really pretty happy. Sometimes I’m up onstage and I’m going, “I can’t really believe you are actually up here, sober as a judge, having a great time.”‘” — New York Magazine , 2013
You were prescribed Klonopin after completing rehab for cocaine addiction [in 1986], right? “I had gotten out of Betty Ford three months before I went to see him and I was doing great. But everyone was worried I was going to start using cocaine again. So I lost eight years of my life. Think of what could have happened during those eight years. I might have gotten married, I might have had a baby, I certainly would have made more albums.” — The New York Times , 2014
“They’re called ‘tranquilizers’ for a reason. You stop being so committed. This doctor had me on it for eight years. Forty-seven days in rehab to get off Klonopin was way more horrific than 30 days to get off coke. The word ‘tranquilizer’ should scare people to death. Xanax should scare people to death. My godson died three years ago at a frat party — Xanax and alcohol, goodbye.” — Rolling Stone
Stevie + Lindsey forever.
“She describes her yearlong affair with Mick Fleetwood as ‘The crazy accidental affair. Never shoulda happened. And we knew it from the beginning … If there’s anything I learned from that relationship, it was, ‘Don’t go after other women’s husbands,’ because it never works out. You are never gonna be the woman if you break up a marriage. You’re just the home-wrecker.'” —Vulture, 2014
“…I walked away going, you do not mess with a married man. Don’t do it. There’s lots of men in the world. You don’t have to go after another woman’s husband. Because it will only come back and destroy you. So, be very careful.” — Stevie’s SXSW 2013 Keynote
“Friends, including Fleetwood, have worried about Nicks’s loneliness. ‘Most women would not be happy being me,’ Nicks says. ‘People say, “But you’re alone.” But I don’t feel alone. I feel very un-alone. I feel very sparkly and excited about everything. I know women who are going, like, “I don’t want to grow old alone.” And I’m like, “See, that doesn’t scare me.” Because I’ll never be alone. I’ll always be surrounded by people. I’m like the crystal ball and these are all the rings of Saturn around me.'” — New York Magazine, 2013
I notice you haven’t said which of your ex-boyfriends “Hard Advice” is about. That reminds me of a story Don Henley told years ago, about your [Fleetwood Mac] song “Sara.” He said you got pregnant while the two of you were dating, and Sara was the name you gave the unborn baby. “Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara. But there was another woman in my life named Sara, who shortly after that became Mick’s wife, Sara Fleetwood.” — Billboard , 2014
“During the tour’s New York stop on October 6, Stevie dedicated ‘Landslide’ to Matthew Anderson, her stepson from her one brief marriage. His mother, Robin Snyder Anderson, was Stevie’s best friend and tragically died of leukemia two days after giving birth, well before full term. Three months later, a grief-stricken Stevie married Robin’s similarly grief-stricken husband, Kim Anderson, with the idea that she would raise Matthew as her own. They divorced three months later. ‘It was a terrible, terrible mistake,’ Stevie has said. ‘We didn’t get married because we were in love, we got married because we were grieving and it was the only way that we could feel like we were doing anything.’ She left to continue being a rock star and didn’t see Matthew again for eight years, but later put him through college. Now they have a really sweet, easy rapport. And, it seems, a lot of love between them.” —Vulture, 2014
Why haven’t you written a memoir? “Because I wouldn’t be able to tell the whole truth. The world is not ready for my memoir, I guarantee you. All of the men I hung out with are on their third wives by now, and the wives are all under 30. If I were to write what really happened between 1972 and now, a lot of people would be very angry with me. It’ll happen some day, just not for a very long time. I won’t write a book until everybody is so old that they no longer care. Like, ‘I’m 90, I don’t care what you write about me.’ I am loyal to a fault. And I have a certain loyalty to these people that I love because I do love them, and I will always love them. I cannot throw any of them under the bus until I absolutely know that they will not care.” — Billboard, 2014
“We write about each other, we have continually written about each other, and we’ll probably keep writing about each other until we’re dead.” — Rolling Stone , 2014
“We’re dramatic. Lindsey and I will always be dramatic. When you were almost married for seven years, and then you’ve been in a band for 30 years, it’s never not going to be dramatic. We are who are are and we were dramatic kids going together. That never really goes away.” — Rolling Stone , 2013
“Had we not joined Fleetwood Mac we would’ve continued on with our music but we probably would’ve gotten married, and we probably would’ve had a child.” — Oprah, 2013