1983 Wild Heart Interview with Jim Ladd
(Sisters of the Moon starts playing in background)
Good evening everybody. Tonight I am very proud to present the first half of a two part interview with Stevie Nicks. Now I've had the pleasure of interviewing Stevie many times before on this show and each experience whether for Fleetwood Mac or her solo work has always been both honest and poignant, but this session was so absolutely different from anything else that I must begin with a brief explanation. Now, this interview took place at my home on a beautiful Southern California. evening. An evening that began at two o'clock in the morning. Accompanying Stevie were the two ladies who do the wonderful background vocals on her solo albums and stage shows., Lori Petty and Sharon Celani. Also, Sandy Stewart co-writer of three of the songs on the Wild Heart album and Rebecca Alvarez who set up this taping session. So, there I was. One guy and five beautiful and talented ladies arriving at my house at two o'clock in the morning.
Stevie-We see through the fog, Jim Ladd walking into his house high above the hills of Ca. with five girls. (Twilight zone music starts playing) Enter Jim Ladd into the Twilight zone. (all the girls giggle)
Sandy-We walk into a candle lit room. The mood is set.
Stevie-The mood is set. (laughs)
Stevie and Sandy-(laughing)five girls and one guy.
Jim Ladd: Gee, I'm hating every minute of this.
Stevie- Enchante' means I am enchanted
Jim Ladd: Really?
Stevie-Yes, so you should use that.(laughs)
Sandy- Oui, Enchante'
Stevie-I said Enchante' you should use it, it's on tape
Jim Ladd: Say it again. Enchante'?
Stevie- Enchante' means I am enchanted with you
Jim Ladd: I'm Jim Ladd. Welcome to part one of a most enchanted two part interview of Stevie Nicks.
(Enchanted plays in Full)
Jim Ladd: For Stevie Nicks, her new album the Wild Heart is the latest result of a vocal collaboration born from friendship, A friendship that has been going on for quite some time. We will begin with how Stevie, Sharon. And Lori first met and how this most harmonious vocal sound began.
Stevie: I met Lori through Gordon Traslin through Keith Olsen. Who produced Buckingham Nicks. When Lindsey and I first moved to Los Angeles and lived with Keith Olsen, which was in 1971. So I met Gordon right after that and then through Gordon I met his not yet wife, Lori. So I've known Lori forever. I met Sharon, "Sharon you'll have to help me, many many years ago. I was in Hawaii. (Sharon says 1977) and Sharon was singing at the Blue Max and she was singing Poor Poor Pitiful Me and I know Warren Zevon very well so I love any songwriter that can write a line about a Waring Blender and get away with it. And I walked up to Sharon and said "My name is Stevie Nicks" and of course she knew I was there and she was totally dying of embarrassment cause I was there and not knowing how much I was enjoying listening to her sing and I walked up and said "So Sharon, what's happening and I know that you love being in Hawaii and everything but.. if I ever have a band, if I ever do a record; will you consider coming and singing with me?" And I didn't know this girl, so it's not like......... this could have been an unpleasant person...... you know that I had just nailed myself into a relationship with here. I didn't really know. I took it solely, completely on the way that she sang Poor Poor Pitiful Me.
Stevie: Just sitting there in the audience. We wrote this song in Hawaii called Blue Water and it went (Stevie and Sharon start singing Blue Water) I said "This is it. This is happening." This girl and I sing together for the pure love of singing. If it never reaches anybody else's ears, we're sitting here looking at this incredible ocean and suddenly all my problems have become minimal and we are singing to the sky at this point. (Edge of Seventeen plays in full)
Jim Ladd: To me, one of the most important and engaging aspects of Stevie Nicks as an artist, is her gifted ability as a poet. She is famous for being one of Rock and Roll's most prolific songwriters. So you would think that working with another composer would not be a first priority. Well that was until she met Sandy Stewart.
Stevie: I have file cabinets of words. You want to write a song about it? Let me tell you, I'll send a truck over tomorrow with enough words for you to wallpaper your entire (??????) So all I do is get out all my words, sit on the floor play Sandy's music real loud and I just go "if anyone falls in love... somewhere the twilight.. you know, it's just poems.
Sandy: Actually, I've written this song about three years ago and it was the first time I'd ever played a synthesizer and it was the first thing that ever came out and totally it changed my style. It was like the new thing. It had been packed away for a long time and with Gordon we were working on some demos hoping to get an album with my band and it was one of the demos we were doing I said "I have this track, I have no words. I have like a couple of lines, that's it." And they heard the music and said well let's go ahead and do it. So we recorded it.
Lori: She still had writer's block.
Sandy: I tried.
Stevie: Such an incredible song.
Sandy: It took such a turn, I mean when I got the tape and I heard it I went whoa. I had to listen to it about three times before I went WOW. It went from Whoa to wow. And I loved it and I thought well God this is great. (If Anyone Falls plays )
Jim Ladd: One recurring theme that appears over and over again in Stevie's lyrics is an internal struggle that most of us go through, and that is; At what point and to what extent do people....
Jim Ladd; That's a good way to put it,, yeah. Yeah. Now it seems like Ms. Nicks that the lyrics in this album are talking about another person. You singing about someone else. I'm beginning to wonder however, Stevie, if this is not a giant..
Stevie: collaboration of many people?
Jim Ladd: No
Stevie: Ask the question again.
Jim Ladd: The question is how much of this unwillingness that you are perpetrating on the American Public as being a man's unwillingness to take a stand is actually Stevie's
Stevie: You're absolutely right. Probably it's all about my unwillingness to compromise.
Jim Ladd: Is that too personal to ask you why you can't do that?
Stevie: Because I'm 35 years old and I have been in Fleetwood Mac since I was 27 and I moved to Los Angeles with Lindsey when I was God knows, 1971, however old I was then. And I didn't understand nor did I like this world in Los Angeles. I didn't like the Buckingham Nicks cover. I didn't like the fact that I had to sit there with Lindsey with no blouse on. I spent my last $111 on this blouse.. Right? I didn't eat for days because of it (laughter..) I wasn't smiling on this picture. This started a long time ago.
Jim Ladd: Stevie? Why is it that you would write a song, many songs on this album, many songs have the same theme in it, that a person comes up "I love you. I need you. Good bye." There's something happening here that I don't understand, and I'm trying to understand about you.
Stevie: Okay. Do you remember the song I wrote called the Highwayman. It was written about the Rock and Roll men musicians right. All my pals. You see I was trained by the best to be as independent, as cold as you could possibly be. (Highwayman plays in full) Now I do believe in love and I am the biggest romantic I mean if I'm Kathy and Heathcliff walked by, I'd jump out the window absolutely not a chance, Sir Lawrence Olivier here I come, for sure. So I think I probably write down the conflict of "Oh yes I do want to be in love, and yes I do want to be a loving loving person and yes I do want to be the mother of many children but at the same time there's a part of me that says but I'm also Lillian Hellman and I want to write the great novel of all time and I want to go on the beach with my silent typewriter and I don't want anybody to bother me, because I want to enhance this planet. I came here for a reason. I didn't come here to be a mother. I didn't come here to be a nun and I did not come here to be a cleaning lady. I came here to be a poet. (Sara plays in part)
Jim Ladd: We're back now with part one of our special two part interview with Stevie Nicks. And we're going to pick up with Stevie talking about the motivation for what she does.
Stevie: I came here for a reason. I didn't come here to be a mother. I didn't come here to be a nun and I did not come here to be a cleaning lady. I came here to be a poet.
Jim Ladd: Then why does a poet?.....
Stevie: Nobody likes poets Jim.
Jim Ladd: Wait a minute bullshit. Why does a poet who supposedly gets their inspiration from life and truth... Would you buy that? People in the room buy that? ...(others in room: yes yes yes) why is it, unless I'm misreading your lyrics now and that's certainly a good possibility. Why is it that it is someone else in your song that is walking away and not you?
Stevie: Probably because I am in love with the people that I write songs for. My love is donated and dedicated completely to my audience. It's very difficult for me to give. You know when I walk out on the stage it's like that's when I'm really me. When I walk home and go back into my hotel room, I don't even want to talk about anything else, you know. In my heart, the love that I have for the people that I play for and write songs for, those kids that I jump off the stage and attack security guards for, (unintelligible) That they matter so much to me that's it's difficult for anything else to matter to me. I'm not willing to compromise. Anything that comes into my life is a compromise to me. I don't even, I can't go to the dentist or the doctor or anything because I have no time. So anything that comes into my life is a compromise, except my singing and my being there for rehearsal and my being there on Monday morning for that airplane and I am into the sea Tuesday night. You know that's that Jim. That's it. That's the end.
Jim Ladd: And that's fine.
Stevie: That's what I want. I want to go to Tennessee now. I want to be with those people now. They almost had to take me off the stage with a hook to pull me off the stage at the US festival. People say to me there's never a look on your face like there is the look that is on your face when you're on that stage. Cause that's where I belong and I'm not near as good at home or at a party on an airplane or anywhere else. I'm at home on a stage with those kids....(Rhiannon plays)
Jim Ladd: The vocal harmonies on both Belladonna and the Wild Heart albums are the culmination of endless hours of work and practice. The result of which is a, one of a kind blending, of three very beautiful voices.
Stevie: Sharon, Lori and I have a special thing that we have perfected. And we have really perfected it from sitting around the piano and, like I said, "Hey Crosby Stills and Nash did not sing Sweet Judy Blue Eyes by walking in together one night. They must have practiced. They had to have." And that's what I wanted. I wanted a sound of vocals and I wanted Sharon to be Sharon and Lori to be Lori and me to be me and I wanted , because I told you this before, I don't think that anybody is that cute. On my gravestone it's going to say " Nobody is that cute." Because I don't think anybody is cute enough to carry a two hour show. I don't think anybody is cute enough to keep everybody interested for that long. I think that everybody needs help. I'm not going to go sing on stage alone. I don't want to. I want to be able to walk away and let them take it. Because there is nothing in the world that I would rather hear than beautiful singing. And so I have worked and worked to get a sound that is not like anybody else. That is really beautiful. That is strong. That is dedicated and devoted. (Sable on Blond plays)
Jim Ladd: There's a song in here that reminds me of gold dust woman meets the Lady of the Lake. This is Sable on Blond.
Stevie: You're a dog. You're a dog.
Jim Ladd: Am I a dog again?
Jim Ladd: And now the conclusion of part one and we're going to begin with how the Wild Heart Album was recorded.
Stevie: Now I have to tell you Jim this album took us approximately twelve days and because we waited around for all these musicians for one year to come in
Jim Ladd cuts in: If there are all these people playing on this album, how did you do it in twelve days?
Sandy Stewart: Well crowded.
Stevie: Because all these tracks were basically live.
Jim Ladd: She's lying to me right?
Stevie: And you want to hear the best thing? We video'd it. (unintelligible) We video'd Beauty and the Beast. It's a live take. The voice and the orchestra and (unintelligible). Is live. The girls went in right after we finished, three hours later and put their beautiful harmonies on it and we were done. (Stand Back starts)
Jim Ladd: What I'm trying to get here and the thing I'm trying to understand is you have all these great musicians who want to play with you.
Stevie: Well sort of. They have two or three days every three or four months.
Jim Ladd: Right . Right. I know they don't dedicate their whole life to you or anything but they do in fact appear on your album. Can we establish that?
Stevie: Yes. They appear. In fact when they appear we are so knocked out that it's like we go through like five hours getting ready to even walk into the studio and then we go straight to the bathroom to brush our hair again because these guys are so difficult to even... we do...we cut a track one night and we get vocals and everything and then we go and wait for them for six months to come back in and put a drum overdub on it. These songs were done in one night basically. Stand Back; one time we played it. That's it. That's what you hear on the radio. Once. Me and Sandy and the drum machine. Period. (Stand back plays in full)
Jim Ladd: At this point the conversation turned from how the album was recorded to the title cut itself.
Stevie: The song the Wild Heart is really kind of an abstract song because I decided to call this record The Wild Heart before Belladonna came out. Wild Heart the "where is the reason, don't blame it on me" that was written in New York. At the same time Enchanted was written. A long long time ago. Right at the time that Belladonna came out. The verses something in my heart died last night. one more chip on an already broken heart I think the heart died, broke long ago. That's when I needed you. The second verse. "I run around like a spirit in flight. Fearlessness is fearlessness. I will not forget this night. Dare my wild heart." That was written a good year later. Probably what I'm saying "One more chip in an already broken heart that's when I needed you" is probably saying that some of the love that I probably search for always was what I needed a long time ago, probably when Lindsey and I were in love. That's when I need to know it was all right. That's when nobody told me. And so that's I think what the "one more chip in an already"... cause that came out very quickly I mean I went to my piano at noon with a glass of wine and I was really unhappy. Turned on my tape. And I sat down and started playing this thing Sharon.. you were there. And I said to Sharon, I started playing this thing on a piano.....I wish I had a piano to show you....it goes da da da da. Da da da ...Something in my heart died last night. It's one more chip off an already broken heart. I think the heart broke long ago. That's when I needed you. I turned around to Sharon and I said, it's noon mind you. I hadn't been to bed., and I said "Sharon this is the verse of the Wild Heart."
Jim Ladd: This song fascinates me. You say.. I'm gonna quote a little bit here.. it says "wild in the dark....."
Jim Ladd: Yes thank you. Wild in the darkest the ......would you like to recite it.
Stevie: Well I know it.
Jim Ladd: well I see cause I thought I wrote it. But you go ahead.
Stevie: You did. I'm sure you did write this.
Jim Ladd: It may have gotten through if that's what you say. Yeah.
Stevie: Certainly you've been in the wildest darkest places of your mind;
Jim Ladd: Not me. I'm just yeah. Okay it's true. That's why this song blows my mind because in those darkest places where you say "That's where I needed you, where I needed you the most, was in those places." That's different than needing someone in....
Stevie: The obvious places.
Jim Ladd: Yeah. Yeah. Can you really expect that from...?
Stevie: When I say wild in the darkest places of your mind, I mean the things that you think about in the wildest places of your mind that you don't ever tell anybody about. Only the children lie hopelessly enchanted. That's the way we are hopeless ly enchanted. Wild in the darkest places of your mind. Don't blame it on me, blame it on my wild heart. Yeah. That's those places that many people don't even have but you see my audience has it. (Wild Heart plays)
Jim Ladd: well we must stop here until next week, but before we say good bye there is one person who you have not heard from at all this evening. And that is the lady who set up this taping session and her name is Rebecca.
Rebecca: Is it over?
Stevie: (to Rebecca) You and I with our laughter have taken up about an hour of this interview and it's not really over yet. Cause he has not gotten to some things that I know he needs to get to and this is the last chance we have cause we're leavin. So this is the only interview we're doing. So if this takes us until 12:30 tomorrow afternoon I don't care. Cause we're not doing another one.
Jim Ladd: I love you.
Jim Ladd: So join us next week for part 2.
Stevie: For me to be a gypsy, for my to write about the gypsy and for me to really the live the life of the gypsy that I love, I sort of almost have to be cold and insensitive. To be able to remain that gypsy. It's not easy to be a hippie gypsy when you're rich and when you're a rock and roll star. You know, I said to someone "I do walk around in a flannel nightgown and I am into the comforts of home." I'm into the blankets. I'm into the soft pillows. I'm into the boots that feel wonderful on your feet. I'm into the soft Bonnie Dune socks. I love. I'm a sensualist. I love my raggy chiffon. I love my old velvet things from ten years ago. You can't change that in me. You can't take that away from me, because that's mine.
(The song "Gypsy" plays in full.)
Jim Ladd: Stevie's solo career has grown from the pure love of singing with her friends Sharon and Lori, to a whole new breath of creative life for Stevie, but not at this point to the exclusion of Fleetwood Mac.
("Stop Draggin My Heart" around plays in the background)
Stevie: Fleetwood Mac is as elusive as a butterfly. Fleetwood Mac is not dependable. Fleetwood Mac is not predictable. One day I can walk in and I can dislike everyone of them intensely . The next day I can walk in and if anybody even says a word to one of them I'll kill him. It's like the love affair between me and Fleetwood Mac is so deep that I don't know really if anybody can really rip us apart. In Wild Heart it says "Not even you can tear us apart you say you don't even know how to start." You know what that means? That means when someone looks at you and kind of pushes you up against the wall and says "You say you're leaving me?" Well I'm telling you, you don't even know how to start to leave me. And that's kind of how Fleetwood Mac is. (The Chain plays in the background) It's like you know I quit every day, I join back up every day. It's one more link in the chain.
("The Chain" plays in full)
Jim Ladd: I asked Sandy Stewart, the lady who writes with Stevie, to tell me what it was like to work with her. Well this, it seemed made Stevie more than a little uncomfortable.
Sandy: Well in knowing Stevie the short time that I've known her, she's very warm and giving and what I wasa going to say is that a person in her position would tend to create a wall of protection and not know the real intentions of certain people. This is an understatement. (Stevie's voice in the background says "A good understatement.") (unknown female voice in background says "Shut Up")
Jim Ladd: It must be the truth because somebody's over here's having a hard time dealing with this stuff. So......
Sandy: Maybe I'm being too frank, I don't know.
Jim Ladd: No no no no. Hey, we don't need honesty here. (Everybody laughs)
Sandy: We're going through an awkward period, everybody's giggling.
Stevie: Okay we're not laughing. Rebecca? Rebecca.
Sandy to Stevie: Why don't you leave for a second while I talk about you. (unknown voice says "Yeah, go to the bathroom")
Stevie: Okay, I'll go to the bathroom. Good idea.
Voices: "Go to the bathroom upstairs."
Jim Ladd (very low) Why don't you guys keep the good mood okay?
Jim Ladd: (loudly) So Stevie who, obviously has a hard time taking a compliment and Rebecca who has gone beyond laughter and into hysteria, left the room so I could continue with Sandy and Lori......... All right now thank you. We were talking about working with Stevie. Just for a minute, I don't need to drag this down into being real serious but I would like to hear your opinion on that because obviously you are the first person, other than Lindsey that's she's collaborated with.
Sandy: Well, the first Fleetwood Mac album that I really loved was the one that Stevie and Lindsey became a part of and she's always been one of my main influences so, of course it was like a dream come true. You have somebody that you really admire like a superstar and you're this person who wanted to become like her and then suddenly be thrown into her life, I mean for real. And then become a friend. ("Nothing ever Changes" starts playing in the background) And it's been real meaningful because like she was speaking about not wanting to share it, but yet finding someone that maybe sharing it could add a little.... If you do it all yourself, sometimes if you don't have someone to nudge in your side when it gets there and gets right and go "hey we did it together." And that's what's neat, to be able to share a lot of the things.. Also when you were talking earlier about doing all these things with really hip musicians that had a name and then doing it with your friends. I think that's really neat to be able to be with people that you can relate to in your personal life and share a musical thing. There's no way she could need anything. She does not gain from me being involved with her. She could do all this on her own. And yet she, chooses to share it with me and with Lori and with Sharon. The one innocent thing about Stevie is that she never needed anything from me. When I look at her I think she has it all. So why does she want to add me and that innocence makes me really trust her.
("After the Glitter Fades" plays in full)
Jim Ladd: What you are now about to hear is a most interesting and classic exchange between a group of friends discussing their future careers. Sandy Stewart, the rookie, and Lori Perry and Stevie Nicks the Rock and Roll veterans.
Stevie: I dragged Sandy into this. And I know that and I'm hoping and praying that I've not done her a disservice by doing this to her, by dragging her into this limelight so quickly; like I was. I was drug into Fleetwood Mac. Like I had a month to adjust from being no one to being very much somebody. I'm hoping that what I'm doing to all these women is not like changing their lives, because the girls sitting in this room with you...they're wonderful women and they're smart and they're cute and they're fun and their like intelligent. And this life gets to you. This Rock and Roll life gets to you. It's the one who sing at night the ones that run away. I hope that in bringing them into this as deeply as I have because misery loves company. And I don't want to be alone. I don't want to do this by myself. You know, as I drag them in I hope that they are strong enough to survive.
Sandy: I think Stevie. I don't think anyone of us are being dragged in. I think that we're coming in willingly because we want to be a part of your life. I was not dragged. I was given the opportunity to join and I wanted to and it has changed my life. And it is a lot different and you do have to adjust and compromise and things like that..I don't feel dragged into anything. It has been a dream. (Stevie's in the background saying "I just want it to be wonderful for you')
Jim Ladd: What is your fear for her though. That's what I'm trying to say.
Stevie: My fear for her is that I hope that she is strong enough to fight off the people that will tell her things that aren't true and think that are not right and tell her that she is wrong and she is selfish and that she is self centered and that she thinks only of herself and that she disavows things that she has lived by. Because, believe me, they say those things to you. And only if you really love to write and really want to play for those people out there do you fight through this. Otherwise you walk away.
Sandy: But let me tell you something Stevie. I have the edge on you because I have you as a friend who has been through the whole thing to help me out. (Stevie and Sandy both talk at the same time arguing)
Jim Ladd: Stevie, Jesus Christ come on. You are the worst person to take a compliment that I've ever met in my life and that was a very nice thing and it rings very true.
Sandy: One thing I want to say is that even if I had not had this opportunity this is a dream that I would try to fulfill and work harder and harder at. (Stevie says "Sandy")
Lori: It's like a parent that bears a child. The parent is technically not responsible for that child's life. But you show me one parent that doesn't feel responsible. (Stevie says "feel responsible" at the same time Lori says it) because they brought that child into this world. If Stevie Nicks helped Sandy Stewart to become a big Rock and Roll star, I don't care what anybody says she's going to feel responsible whether logically it is true or not.
(Belladonna plays in full)
Thanks to Renee and Bill for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for formatting and sending it to us.