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The moonlight confessions of Stevie Nicks

By Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Nicks cares about her appearance and has been on Weight Watchers since 2005. She's never considered being a spokeswoman for the brand because she prefers to follow one of the company's now-defunct plans from 15 years ago. One of the biggest reasons she wants to stay in shape is because her stage clothes are custom-made, and she says it would be too costly and annoying to have them remade.

She traces the origin of her style - an amalgam of goth hippie, bohemian Californian girl and Victorian priestess - to 1970, when she and Buckingham were still an eponymous duo. Before their show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Nicks saw a woman walk by on the street. She was a vision in mauve and pink, with an edged-out layered skirt, riding jacket and cream-colored platform boots. Her hair was done like a Gibson Girl. And Nicks wanted to be her.

"This girl obviously had some money, because this was not a cheap outfit. It was beautiful, and I went, 'Oh, that's exactly how I want to look,'" she remembers. Still, she wore her street clothes on stage for another year until a friend introduced her to a designer who helped her bring her vision to life. On paper, Nicks sketched a stick girl with bell sleeves and a top hat. She has never gone on stage without some version of this uniform since - save for a stint in the early 2000s, when she hurt her hip and was forced to wear tennis shoes.

She put on some of these clothes for the first time a few nights ago, filming the music video for her new song inside her home. Without her makeup artist on hand, it took her three hours to put on her face. The eyeliner, she says, was the most difficult part, because she had to redo it "about 50 times." But the experience made her feel like herself again: "It was like, 'Oh, I'm still alive.'"

"Show Them the Way," due Oct. 9, was born out of a dream Nicks had in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. In it, she was invited to perform at a political benefit for icons of history. Martin Luther King Jr. led her by the arm into a ballroom where John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and John Lewis were seated, awaiting her. The dream was so vivid that the instant she awoke, she wrote it down and within days, put it to music.

But it was only this year that she decided to record it for release - viewing it as a hopeful balm during this "very strange and dangerous time." And though she expresses displeasure with the current political landscape, she stops short of endorsing any candidate.

"As we get closer to the election, I probably will state who I am for," she says. "But not now. Well - I'm not for Trump, so that's that."

She says she has been "brokenhearted" since the death of Ginsburg. Nicks believes that people like Ginsburg go to heaven, where they continue to look down on us. After the death of her mother in 2012, Nicks started to believe that the dead send signs to the living. Five months after her mom passed, Nicks contracted a head infection. Her doctor instructed her to drink electrolytes, so she began "pounding" Diet Gatorade. Before long, she was also suffering from acid reflux.

"It was burning up my chest and my throat," she says. "And all of a sudden, I felt this little tap on my shoulder and heard my mom go: 'It's the Gatorade.'"

There have been countless other moments like this since. If she can't find something - an errant earring, a pack of matches, a book of poetry - she voices the item aloud and her mom helps her find it.

"It's so real and creepy, and I always just go 'Thank you, Barbara.' I sometimes feel I have more of a relationship with my mom since she's been dead than I did before she died."

Nicks has long felt a connection to the spiritual world. For years, one of her goals has been to make a movie about the mythological Celtic deity Rhiannon. When she wrote the song "Rhiannon" in 1973, she had little knowledge of the folklore behind the name. But five years later, a fan sent her four paperback novels in a Manila envelope - author Evangeline Walton's adaptation of the ancient British Mabinogion. Nicks was so transfixed by the literature that she eventually bought the rights to Walton's work in the hopes of bringing the epic to the big screen.

 

Because of the scope of the story, it was later decided that the movie should be a television miniseries, and earlier this year Nicks says she finally signed a deal with a studio to make it. She has 10 songs that she's never released, still on cassette tapes in a suitcase, set aside specifically for the project.

Despite her 2014 turn on "American Horror Story," Nicks has no plans to play a major role in the miniseries, though she's not opposed to the idea of "riding by on a white horse or something." She won't dish on her dream cast but says that Harry Styles "is definitely in the running."

"I'm going, 'Harry, you cannot age one day. You have to stay exactly as you are,'" she says with a laugh. "I've already sold him on it."

Styles is one of the many young artists who counts Nicks as both a mentor and an inspiration. Before he finished his latest record, "Fine Line," he invited Nicks and five of her friends to his home to listen to it. They sat in his living room and listened to the whole album three times, sharing opinions until sunrise. When the 26-year-old debuted the record at the Forum late last year, he invited Nicks to join him on stage for a rendition of "Landslide" - "a huge thrill, because he made a choice to be a rock 'n' roll star and not a pop star," she says. "That was a risk for a guy from a boy band. That was like Fleetwood Mac doing 'Tusk' after 'Rumours.' I was very proud of him."

Asked if an older version of Styles would be her type, Nicks chuckles.

"Well, that would be a good thing," she says. She hasn't been in love since the early 2000s but has no plans to "sit in a bar with a bunch of my friends and wait for some weirdo guys to come over and buy us drinks" once the pandemic ends.

"Now, if I was even, like, 30 or 40 or 50, I would never use a dating app. I find that to be totally desperate," Nicks says. "I watch all those crime shows. Are you setting yourself up with an ax murderer or something?

There's a big part of her that believes you'll never find something if you're looking for it. But at her core, Nicks is a romantic - a woman who says she's fallen in love at first sight four times and thinks her next paramour might always be around the next corner. "It's not ever out of the realm of possibility. It's just not very probable," she sighs.

For now, love lives on in her music.

"I can sit down at the piano and take out a poem that I wrote right in the middle of a really great relationship and make it into a song. Right now, at 72 years old. So when people say, 'Can you still write romantic songs?' I absolutely can."

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