It can sometimes be a double edged sword when interviewing famous people, because when it comes to the ones that you’ve always loved and adored, occasionally when your big ‘moment’ arrives, the bubble bursts when you realise they’re not quite as nice as you’d hoped.
Or not during your moment anyway!
So when I was asked recently if I’d like to interview Stevie Nicks, my YES came almost as an outer body experience. It was loud, it was direct and I’m not sure my lips even moved. To put it mildly, I love her.
Oh where to start? What was she like as a young woman? Before the fame, and before the pressure? A lifetime of questions with a fifteen-minute interview window.
She began by her telling me that back in the seventies she had read a book called Forever Amber and had thought if she’d had a daughter she would call her Amber.
Was I having a candid camera moment here or was this really Stevie Nicks talking about my name? I may possibly combust.
I mentioned I’d read she and Lindsay Buckingham both aged about twenty, with the world yet to know them, had opened a show for the legendary Janis Joplin, and I wondered as she sat side of stage, what went through her young mind as she looked on?
“I had sung along a hundred times to ‘Take a Little Piece Of My Heart’ into my hairbrush a hundred times.” As have I to your songs Stevie, I thought to myself.
“And so I got to sit on the side of the stage, and actually the band that went on before Janis had overstayed their time on stage and Janis Joplin, unbeknownst to me, because I’d never seen her in person, I’d only seen her on her first album cover, and she was all curly hair and feathers, so who knew? And out came this girl, who wasn’t spectaculary attractive, goes out on the middle of the stage and tells this band to get the &%$# off her stage!”
Young Stevie at this point is looking on, not realising its Janis Joplin, and she can hear her screaming above the music. “Get off my stage she was yelling. The band as you can imagine, wound up their set fairly sharply and got off ‘her stage’’
“So then twenty minutes later, here comes this girl, who’s all feathers and lace, and silky bell bottoms, and high heels, and on she comes with a little funny hat, and I was like wow, so this is her. And then for the next hour and a half I saw her take hold of that audience and just have them in the palm of her little tiny hand, and charismatically take that audience onstage with her.”
And what impact did Janis have on what would become the superstar that we know now as Stevie Nicks? “I learned from Janis how to really walk on stage with a big attitude. That’s what she did. She was small and she walked out there with a big attitude. She was not going to take no for an answer.”
“And the whole other side of the rock equation we opened for Jimi Hendrix to 75,000 people. And Lindsay and I, we’re only just twenty. So we’re sitting again on side of stage, and Jimi Hendrix comes out and he’s drop dead gorgeous and he’s in this white chamois leather, fringed pants and fantastic shirt, and he is gorgeous. But what he is super humble, and he very different from Janis, doesn’t walk on that stage with a big attitude, he walked on the stage incredibly humble. And incredibly peaceful. And incredibly appreciative.”
“He starts to play that guitar and you’re like ok, so on the other side of having a big strong attitude, let’s hear it for having a lot of humility also. So between the two I found my place.”
And thanks to the rock gods for us, that Stevie’s place is back in Adelaide on November 23rd, 2011 at Acer Arena.