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Macleans, May 14, 2009 by Elio Iannacci

Stevie Nicks blasts Lindsay, Britney

The Fleetwood Mac icon has harsh words for certain younger ‘messy’ and ‘dippy’ singers

If anyone has the right to give advice to the Britney Spearses and Lindsay Lohans of the world, it’s Stevie Nicks. In her more-than-30-year career as a solo singer and as one of the lead vocalists of the rock group Fleetwood Mac, the 61-year-old icon has paved the way for women in the music industry. And she has the war wounds to prove it. From battles with drug addiction to notorious love affairs, her life is tailor-made for a Hollywood film. Which is probably why Lindsay Lohan keeps telling reporters about her burning desire to play Nicks in a yet-to-be-made Fleetwood Mac biopic. This has Nicks a little concerned. Via phone from a presidential suite in New York City, she repeats the words “over my dead body” when the mention of a Lindsay-as-Stevie movie comes up. “That girl is the antithesis of everything that I don’t want for younger girls to be. I don’t want anyone as messy as her messing with my history.”

The legacy Nicks is so protective of is still going strong. This spring she has been busy promoting her latest two projects—a DVD called Live In Chicago and a live CD titled The Soundstage Sessions—as well as reconnecting on stage with Fleetwood Mac on its current greatest-hits North American tour. Packed with five remaining Canadian concert dates, the tour has Nicks performing more than 50 shows, many of which are sold out. Which explains why Hollywood execs have been banging on her door. “Most of them,” she says, “want to focus on when I first joined the band and the three fun, crazy years after that. Quite frankly, I don’t blame them—they were a roller-coaster ride!”

To clarify, Nicks is talking about when she and her then-lover, guitarist-vocalist Lindsey Buckingham, became members of Fleetwood Mac in 1975 (joining drummer Mick Fleetwood, vocalist Christine McVie and bassist John McVie). Shortly after the group’s first album together, Nicks experienced the side effects of being in a band with three Top 20 singles. “I was a waitress and Lindsey was a telemarketer back then,” Nicks recalls. “By the end of the summer, we were millionaires. It transformed our lives completely. Then Rumours happened and everything went berserk.”

Nicks is referring to Fleetwood Mac’s hit 1977 disc, which sold more than 30 million copies. According to Nicks, the title of the disc was prophetic on many levels. “I fell in love with Mick [Fleetwood] at the end of the Rumours tour in 1978 while I was still on rocky ground with Lindsey. Fortunately Mick and I ended it for the sake of the band. Around that time, people began saying that I was performing witchcraft—which I never did—and that the band had orgies—which we never had.”

On top of the widely reported false accusations, Nicks had to deal with a growing substance abuse problem. The miracle of it all was that she was still able to write songs (chart toppers Edge of Seventeen, Stand Back and Landslide) while maintaining a sense of mystery about herself. That secrecy is something Nicks feels is missing in the pop stars of today. She points to Britney Spears as a prime example of a singer who has overexposed herself beyond repair. “For her, it’s all about TMI: too much information. She needs to stop sharing. Period. After that toxic reality series she did, I decided I will never buy another one of her CDs because now I know how dippy she is.” When Nicks hears that Spears cursed about wardrobe malfunctions while performing on stage during her recent tour, her voice begins to thunder. “You do not tell the audience about your stupid-ass problems,” she says. “You will never, ever see a sweat drop start to fly off of my face—even if my heel is broken. I’ll do the song heel-less. People paid good money for you to take away their problems and inspire them.”

Other than her beef with Britney, Nicks has a record of embracing the newer divas on the block. “The fact that Etta James got so angry about Beyoncé singing At Last at President Obama’s first dance is tragic. C’mon Etta, just let Beyoncé sing it—she’s the new thing. [James] is still selling concert tickets so she should move over for a moment.” And with that, Nicks pipes down, takes a breath and begins to reflect. “In music history, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Elvis were all called the kings of rock and managed to be quite amicable to each other. They even did shows together! There is no reason why us women can’t do the same. Besides, I don’t want to be known as a queen of rock. When you start having to tell people that you are the queen, you’re done.”