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Family Ties:


blackcat Your brother Jimmy* . . . I know he did about a million album covers, including Stevie Nicks' TimeSpace, and Crosby/Stills/Nash's album . . . [*some of Jimmy Wachtel's professional credits appears at the end of this piece]

Waddy Yeah and he did that famous Joe Walsh one [But Seriously Folks].

blackcat And he also did Buckingham Nicks . .

Waddy Buckingham Nicks! And he did both of those Joe Walsh ones . . . the underwater one, and Barn Storm and Bruce Springsteen-The River, a lot of Jackson Browne ones, all the Warren Zevon ones . . . .


Waddy & Stevie Nicks, 2001
Photo kitten
www.purplemoon.com
blackcatIs he still working?

Waddy Oh yeah, yeah . . . he's got a company now called "Dawn Patrol" and he's doing movie ads and stuff. He did really well. He's got a real successful company going. He's more of a graphic artist, now. He doesn't really do much shooting any more.

blackcatYou told me your father died recently?

WaddyA few years go . . . he made it to a week before his 96th birthday. But unfortunately he developed Alzheimer's a couple years back, and so it was really tough luck. And then all the sudden my old man was like GONE.

blackcat Was he a powerful man?

Waddy He was a loved man. He was very loved. He was a very young spirited guy-I mean nobody could believe he was his age. His favorite thing to do was to come around all the shows I was doing, and come back stage, and be treated nice . . . and he loved it. And everybody loved him. It drove me completely crazy! [laughing] But everybody loved him. Eric Barrett, who was Linda Ronstadt's tour manager, called him "The Duke." "HEY, Waddy, The Duke is here!" I'd go, "NO! Not again!" [laughing] But he was very loved. He was very funny, and very, very energetic.

And he'd do things like . . . at one point, when I was on a tour with Linda Ronstadt, and there was a great musician playing with us named Don Grolnick-who has since died. My father was standing next to Grolnick-who he had just met.

They were watching the opening act, which was Bernie Leadon and Michael Georgiades, and they're playing some song, and my father just said to Don, who he didn't know . . . and he just goes, (with a classic New York accent) "Saddest thing I ever heard."

And Don goes-- "What the song?" And he goes-- "No, the act!"

blackcat (laughing)

Waddy He was that kind of guy. He really made no bones about speaking his mind. He was rather something.

blackcat That's great. I am glad to hear that . . . cause you know you are a bit of a mystery . . . people know you are on all these albums, but they don't know anything about you, so it's kinda cool you are doing this. I appreciate it.

WaddyCool. Likewise.




What is apparent when you speak with Waddy's family and friends is the love and pride they have in him. One of his childhood friends, Mrs. Bob Hanson says, "he never forgets where he came from. He isn't snobby or caught up on his accomplishments. He's very down to earth." His wife agrees.

Annie "Waddy is the most humble, unassumingly modest person I have ever met. When someone thinks they recognize him in line at the market, and they say, "I know you . . . what do you do?" He always says, "I play music"... end of sentence. He says nothing else. Amazing isn't it? But there you have the most important thing in his life, THE MUSIC. It is his whole world."

Waddy is married to a lovely woman named Annie. They don't have children together, but Annie has a beautiful daughter, who I met in NY during Stevie's Trouble In Shangri-La tour. "I'm glad you met Shannon. We love her very much." (Waddy has many friends and family living in NYC. September 11, 2001 was personal.) Annie told of Waddy introducing her daughter to Stevie: "This is my daughter Shannon. Well, she's actually Annie's daughter. I couldn't have ever produced something this beautiful." "NOT TRUE," says Annie, who sees Waddy's beauty. Annie says they still celebrate their anniversary every month. "It took us a long time to find each other."

A small menagerie can be found at the Wachtel home-including a couple of birds, and dogs:

Waddy "Doctor Lou" . . . a standard poodle. The other one is "Irie," like the word in Jamaica for "everything is cool." They go, "Everything is Irie." She's a female German shepherd. My wife Annie was afraid of German shepherds, as a lot of people are . . . she never wanted one. When I brought her to the kennel, and she was overwhelmed by the love these dogs have and possess . . . and now Irie is like HER dog. That dog is at her side, wherever she goes.

blackcatUsually a shepherd will take to one person. They'll put up with another person-but they usually take one person . . .

WaddyShe takes her orders from me, but left to her own devices, she is at Annie's feet. Always. It's the cutest thing in the world.


Annie Wachtel related another fact about Waddy: he's always on the hunt for food. A few fan reviews mention having seen Waddy out on the food hunt during Stevie Nick's "Trouble In Shangri-La" tour. Waddy perhaps shows his gastronomic inclinations on a song co-written with Warren Zevon and LeRoy P. Marinell. Waddy wrote the first verse of the classic


I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain
He was looking for the place called Lee Ho Fook's
Going to get himself a big dish of beef chow mein
Aah-Ooo! Werewolves of London.
Warren Zevon, "Excitable Boy," 1978.

blackcat Waddy, Bonnie Raitt once said, The highlight of her day, "aside from performing, is heading out on a bike path or exploring a botanical garden or museum" and mentions she still feels like she ran away and joined the circus. ("Rosie", August, 2002, Vol. CXXIX, No. 10). Do you feel like that . . . do you feel like your life is really different . . . and how do you live your life apart from performing.

Waddy Well . . . I don't have a bike. (laughing)

blackcat (also laughing . . . at the imagery of Waddy on a bike!) :o) I know, and you're not running everyday.

Waddy I walk a lot, actually. Well, you know-this is a different kind of job. It can have the illusion of not being a job, and that can really play with your confidence and state of mind, and state of being. But it is easy to forget that it is just a job. When I am not working I watch TV, I play with my dogs, we rent movies. I do human things. I do lots of normal things. Well, I don't know about "lots" of normal things . . . I was never a really big "hobby" person, you know.

My hobby, luckily for me, was the same as my vocation. So, they are all tied in together. And it's different, because—. Sometimes that plays on your head— because you want to look at music as "music." But sometimes-like in times of unemployment, for example-it becomes very difficult to be free musically. You sit down to write and all's you can think is: "I've got to get some money for this. I need to make some bread. I've got to write something that's really going to score." And by the time you've said those three things, you're not going to write anything—because you're not creating. To create, one has to just "be." And that's a hard thing to do sometimes. The best thing is when, well, for example: if I am producing somebody, my goal when I am working with singers is to throw them off. Not be mean, or anything-but distract them from the thought processes. So all the sudden they are going, "What the hell . . ." And when it's time to sing, instead of being able to think about what they are going to do, they just sing. And when you just "do"— that's real.

When you are really just giving, that's what it's all about, and that's when you sit in the studio and go, "Man, I don't care how many notes in that vocal are out of tune, I believed every word of it." And that's what you're looking for. And that comes from just giving and being and doing.

A good example of this is when I did a lot of extensive touring with Linda Ronstadt and James (Taylor). We would wind up at these county fairs. State fair gigs, you know? And after a night of playing at some arena, you'd ride on a bus all night and get completely twisted. Everybody would be. And you'd have to show up and be at some light-sunlight afternoon gig, where they've just swept up the hog shit, you know, where they'd picked the "prize hog," and then we guys would come in and do our show, and everybody either was just hung over, or completely exhausted. And you think it's going to be horrible, but actually—because everyone is in such a physically spent state-nobody is "thinking", so they are just "doing"-and those shows are always musically wonderful because there is no pretense involved. Everyone is just so weak, all's they can do is just do what they do. So James would sing gorgeous, I would play effortlessly-everybody, all the musicians would just give. And it would be funny, because you'd just think, "Man, that show was like great" because no one was hung up on "we gotta do this, and we gotta do that," which is where it bogs down.

Now I don't know what the hell you asked me in the beginning.




"Maybe it's all a dream..." -- Stevie Nicks:


blackcat (Laughing!) It's okay. You've more than answered. You mentioned Linda Ronstadt. Do you think she'll be out on the road again-I mean apart from the Nelson Riddle music. I was there (PNC, North Jersey) . . . she was unbelievable.

Waddy She is unbelievable.

blackcat Her voice is still as powerful as can be.

Waddy Her voice is incredible. I don't know. We haven't spoken that much lately. We're good friends. I mean we don't stay "in touch" unfortunately, but there's never been much time between us. Last time I saw her . . . well, we did those two songs on her album, "We Ran," two songs of mine. Then we did a concert for our friend Nicolette Larson, who had passed. And Linda . . . you should have seen it. She came to that show-and there were all these people at that show-and out comes Linda Ronstadt, and she hits "Blue Bayou" and the whole audience just completely melted. And it was-the sound of her voice is just remarkable. I don't know if she will go out like that again. Like I said, I haven't spoken to her. She loves her Howard Hughes kind of lifestyle, and she has her kids. She's earned it. I just hope she can maintain it.

blackcat Are Linda and Stevie friends?

Waddy They're not "not friends." I don't know that they really know each other really.

blackcat You mean all musicians don't know each other? (laughing) Those two ladies just have so many similarities.

Waddy I would love to get my two Arizona girls together.

blackcat Absolutely! Hey!

Waddy I've got one in Phoenix and one in Tucson. I don't know that they've ever really come together.

blackcat I know that they have met because they were at a show together.

Waddy What show was that?

blackcat I read this in a magazine article a while ago . . . It was at a show for Louise Goffin. Stevie and Linda were sitting next to each other, both being blown away by Louise's voice, and Stevie kind of leaned over to Linda and said something like, "Well, do you think we can still get a job singing back up for Joe Cocker?" (By the way, Louise has a new album out called Sometimes A Circle, and it's amazing!)

Waddy (laughing)

blackcat It is pretty funny.

Waddy Yeah. She has been out-that's right, it was the orchestral thing, and she's got the glass whistles and stuff. She likes that stuff. She's amazing, and a very, very unique person. She's very funny. Very unique. There's no one like Linda.

blackcat Both Linda and Stevie-they both seem like they have a pretty good sense of humor. They should be together some day.

Waddy Oh yes. They would love each other. It's like when Dolly (Parton) met us all. We were just in love. We were just in stitches, and in love. Dolly just has this incredible energy. (Dolly has a new album out called "Halos & Hornes")


blackcat I'm just going to jump about on your discography a bit, Waddy. Melissa Etheridge. You were on quite a few of her albums when she started. How do you see her as a guitarist?

Waddy She is a rhythm guitarist, and she's a good rhythm player. She supported herself only that way for years. She's a very strong rhythm player. She is a hell of a singer. My friend Niko (Bolas) and my friend Craig Krampf produced that first record, and brought me in on that. The last record that I did with Melissa was on Yes I Am on "Come To My Window." When we were doing that record, I come in and I overdub, usually. And that's what I was doing. I did one song, and did another. I met Hugh Padgham, who is a great, great producer and a good friend. They put up "Come To My Window," and I just went, "Well, hello." And she went, "What?" And I said, "Well, here it is, Melissa." And she says, "What do you mean?" And I said, This is the hit." And I said, "Let me get special on this one. Let me do some extra shit on this one. This is your hit, right here." And she went, "Do you think so?" And I said, "I know so. This is the one."

blackcat It's amazing that you can just see that.

Waddy It just happens sometimes. I wish I could do that on my own material! (laughing)

It's sort of like, "Oh, I see, this is the hit!" It's like when we did "Betty Davis Eyes" (with Kim Carnes). I just walked into the booth and I just looked at Val Garay, who produced it, and said, "You know that this is a number one smash, right?" And I said, "I bet you a hundred dollars . . ." and I never bet, and he knows that. I said, "I don't bet anybody anything, but I bet you a hundred dollars this is number one." It was just so mind blowing! It happens now and then. Sometimes I'm wrong.


blackcatSpeaking of other hits, I want to talk a bit about Stevie Nicks' work. Imagine that! :o) Did you think "Edge Of Seventeen was going to be a hit when you heard it? To me it's Stevie's solo signature song.

Waddy It is her signature song, but I didn't know what the hell we were doing with that one. I dug it. I really liked it. I didn't know what was coming out on that record. She and I had just gotten back together at that point-after a long time of being apart.

blackcat You mean just apart because you were busy on the road?

Waddy Well, they went into Fleetwood Mac, and I was on the road.

blackcat There's something I've wanted to ask you about, Waddy. Way back, in April, 1999 you did an interview with Musician Magazine, with a writer named David Simon. You familiar with that?

Waddy Yeah.

blackcat Okay . . . it was a great interview. He said something to you like—
"One of your more famous 'guitar statements' is that staccato opening riff to Stevie Nicks' Edge Of Seventeen. Where you aware of the similarities between that song and the Police's Bring On The Night?" And you said, "I had never heard Bring On The Night, and at that session they told me they were going to do a song based on this feel. I had heard something about the Police, but I didn't know what they were talking about. Then about two years ago, I had the radio on, and on comes what sounds like Edge of Seventeen."

Waddy Right.

blackcatOkay. My question is . . . I know of something called "sampling." Was this a case of "sampling" or what was this? I know Stevie doesn't write guitar riffs. Somebody did, but obviously it wasn't Stevie.

Waddy No, no . . . it was The Police. It was whatever that song is . . . "Bring On The Night."

blackcat Okay, in the interview you said, "We completely ripped them off."

Waddy Yes, well, basicially, that's what we wanted to do. But let me say in my own defense, being a respectable thief anyway— if you listen to the Police's song, Andy Summers performs it with some sort of echo unit. There is some sort of artificial "repeating" mechanism going on. And when I heard that, I just said, "I'm not going to do it like that. I don't like that kind of crap. I'll just play the thing." So I just did it the way I still do it, with the hand, as opposed to falsifying it with an echo machine. So it's all dig-a-dig-a-digga. The chords, and everything totally start to move differently. And that drum feel is that same thing. It's that off-off bass drum, against the guitar. So that is what I said. "What? We're doing what? Well, I ain't gonna do that. I'm doing it my own way." And that's how we did it.

blackcat Edge of Seventeen is absolutely amazing, Waddy. I think you already know many, many Stevie fans see that particular song as an anthem.

Waddy Well, I'll tell you, it makes for quite a strong right hand, after a few shows. You can break walnuts open with your right hand after that one.

blackcat (laughing) We have all seen you playing diligently while waiting-and waiting-for Stevie to come back to the stage! And heard the roar of the crowd with just the opening riff of that song. By the way, how did Stevie get all of you, the Bella Donna band together?

Waddy I just got a call. At that particular time, Russ Kunkel, myself, and Bob Glaub, and like, Lee Sklar and Danny Kortchmar-we were all working non-stop, constantly doing sessions. Two or three a day, almost. And we got a call one day. "Russ, you and Bob" they wanted us over at studio 55 to play on Stevie Nicks' solo album. And I went, "WHAT?! Wow, how cool! I haven't seen my girl in so long." And that was it. We went over there. I don't even remember what the first song was . . ."

blackcat Bella Donna?

Waddy Yeah, could have been. That's a wild tune, "Bella Donna." I tried to get Stevie to do that one . . . but there is a lot of stuff to remember in that one. I mean on the last tour (Trouble In Shangri-la tour) I kept saying, "we need something unique, something that you don't do often, like 'Bella Donna.'" Then we listened to it, and went, "Too much work! (laughing) Too hard." Then I was like, "Did we actually used to perform this?"


blackcat What is your favorite song to play with Stevie on tour?

Waddy Hmmm. It's hard to say. I enjoy them all. Some of them I get to blow a bit on . . . like on "Enchanted," I like when I play on "Enchanted"-it's fun. But I like playing the pretty stuff. I like them all. "Edge of Seventeen" is fun to do, but, like I've said, it takes two and a half to three weeks to get my arm in shape for that one. As you know it goes very long on stage (this is when Stevie is taking her break!), the length of the record is over before she even sings. But I like that. And I like playing "Stand Back" because I like playing slide, and she and I get to prance around on the stage, and do our little thing.

blackcat I love watching you both interact on stage. You are both very funny with your interactions on "Stand Back." It's a joy to watch.

Waddy Yeah. We like that.

blackcat Okay . . . "Trouble In Shangri-la." Tell me about that tour.

Waddy Hey, any tour where the world blows up is going to be tough. You know it was the most fucked up . . . .

blackcat And Stevie was sick.

Waddy Stevie was sick a lot in the beginning. It was very tough in the beginning. The monitors sucked for her. She's using what they call "in ear monitors," and we weren't getting' it right. And I didn't know enough about them to communicate what was wrong and Stevie didn't either. And she didn't feel good, so every night it was either a combination of "I don't feel good," or "The monitors stink," and she wasn't having fun. She just wasn't having a good time. And it was really sad.

blackcat that seemed to come across in LA. I heard that Stevie practically cried, as she was so glad to be home.

WaddyIt was a tough gig. I mean we were out there when the world blew up. Our gig was we would do a show, and we would fly, she and I, and Karen and some other people-Stevie had a little plane, and we would fly, and the band would bus. And we were in Toronto. And everything seemed to be back on track, I think by then, by then, I'm not sure . . . .

blackcat It seemed after Reading, PA, the sound got better, after Stevie returned from being sick, things were better.

Waddy By the third sound mixer, when Lori came out. Lori Nicks is the one that saved our asses, basically, on that tour. She came out and put inner ear monitors on her head. She said, "Turn the fuck . . . turn fucking Stevie's vocal down!" It was so loud, and that was the problem-and we didn't know; we couldn't tell. And as soon as it was turned down, everything started to focus. It was like, "Ahhhhh, great." Then we started having a good time. And then we got to Toronto, and we did a show on September 10th. And I was ill. So it was decided that I wouldn't fly with her, because we had a day off. The 11th was supposed to be a day off. The 12th was supposed to be in Rochester, NY, and then another day off-and then Radio City on Friday. We were revving up, because that was a big hunk of the tour there. We were really heading for the major market.

And we did Toronto, and I said, "Stevie, I ain't well-so I'm going to stay back. I'll just sleep in Toronto tonight, and I'll meet you in Rochester on the day after tomorrow." So that was what we planned. And it was wild, because all of the sudden, at the end of the night I was saying, "Where is she, where is she? I want to say goodbye to her." This is the first time we weren't flying together. "Where is she?" And we never did see each other. And I was saying, "I don't like this." And so I went to bed kind of uncomfortable. And woke up-much more uncomfortable like we all did. Annie called me about 6 in the morning, and said, "Turn on the television. You're going to fucking die." And then I realized "My Stevie, she's in fuckin' New York. Is she all right?" And you couldn't get through to anybody in New York.

blackcat I know.

Waddy So then we went down . . . it was very tough. Nonetheless there was no show. But they were like, "You've got to go to the show." And I was like, "What are you, fuckin' crazy? Just what they need is a bus full of us there. And they said, "Just in case there is going to be a show." And I said, "Hey man, I'm a New Yorker. Take it from me, there ain't gonna be a show. Friday? No way." And they said, well, we have to go anyway. And I was really glad we did, actually, even though I bitched and moaned all the way, but as soon as I got into the city I was born in, I was so proud to be there, and so emotionally moved by it. Excuse me.

(Waddy stopped, momentarily choked up with emotion over the memory.)

blackcat I think you were right. And I am glad that you did come to Atlantic City. (It was one of the most moving shows I have ever seen: The Star Spangled Banner opened this show. The feelings were so mixed: overwhelming sadness, and just that sense of being glad to be able to be together-and feeling the need to express those feelings. People in the audience had American flags that they brought with them to the venue. We weren't told to do that. People wanted to do that. When Stevie came to the stage, it was as if she reached out and embraced the audience. Watching her, I wondered how she did it. I remembered an interview that she had given just before the entire tour started. She was talking about touring at this point in her life. She said something like, "What would you have me do? This is what I do.") Clearly, touching the audience is what Stevie felt she needed to do that night.

Waddy Yes. But I was just going to say that was the hardest performance anyone has ever given. We were like the mud people up there. And it was so difficult to even get the notes out of her mouth. She did great. We did really well. It was the most difficult show ever. And the audience helped so much. I saw you there. We were all just about to expire. It was tough. But it was great. We did great. From then on we were having the fun we had on stage. And that's all you can hope for.

In the very beginning, I would want Lindsey to come and rock and roll with me, and leave the girls behind. But after one solo Stevie show (Bella Donna/White Winged Dove Tour), I became a Stevie fan. She impressed the hell out of me and I was in love with her-and I still am. I told her, "I am a fan now," and I still am —still to this day. When we would have trouble on the road, I'd always say something nice to make her laugh. I'd have to get the band out of their funk. Especially on this tour. But after awhile, I am about out of nice remedies. I told this to the band. And I'd talk to her the same way. "You know, Stevie, I'm just all out of nice remedies."

blackcat Who could have ever imagined what would happen on this tour. Trouble In Shangri-la. Sheryl Crow came along for parts of the tour. Did that help Stevie? Did that help you? Did having Sheryl along take some of the stress off?

Waddy I don't know about taking stress off, but it helped. It was fun musically to have Sheryl there. She's a pro. She's a total pro. And I like her a lot.

blackcat You know, speaking of Sheryl Crow, she has a new album out, C'mon, C'mon and I also picked up one of the European singles (German). Sheryl's done a song written by Stevie Nicks. I have a copy of your single, 45. The one called, "You're The One." Well, Stevie's is called "You're NOT The One." (laughing)

Waddy Is that right? On the new album?

blackcat Yes! And you can hear Stevie singing back up on it, but I was just cracking up that Stevie wrote a song called "You're Not The One," and it's on Sheryl's album.

Waddy (laughing) I'll have to point that out to her. You know that song of mine was called "Beirut" for a million years. I don't know why really. That was always the title of it until I got to the studio. Then I didn't like the chorus. It's too sing-songy, and I just wanted it to be rock & roll. .

blackcat Speaking of "Unfinished Business" (Waddy's unfinished solo work) . . . and I know I keep pulling back to that . . . where are you going to go with that?

Waddy It's funny you say that. "WW1. A work in progress." I just got a letter from my old friend Dan Dugmore, who I used to work with. Anyhow, I sit around here, and when I can't think of anything to write, I work with Beach Boys songs because I can sing 'em. And so I put "Surfer' Girl," and "The Ones In The Sun" and "Barbara Ann" on it. I can sound just like Brian with this device that I sing through. It's ridiculous. It's very wild. However, it's not like I can sing with it on stage that way, but it's like I sing it, and then transpose it up an octave, and this thing will transpose it and it sounds just like a human voice, instead of a chipmunk. I love him (Brian Wilson) so much, and I know his music so well that I can sing it the same way. And to hear it up the octave, in his range-it sounds exactly like him. Wait a minute . . . I'll give you an audio.

blackcat (Waddy is playing Surfer Girl!)

Waddy That's what I do when I can't write songs - I work on songs that I love.

blackcat That's neat! That goes back to what your teacher told you when you were a kid.

(Waddy is tinkering with a new band . . . and we might be hearing a Waddy Wachtel album in the future!)


And The Band Plays On:


"We don't remember days, we remember moments."~CesarePavese

blackcat We've been talking a bit about Stevie Nicks. I wanted to ask you about the role of "music director" for Stevie. What exactly does that entail? I know it means you are in charge of getting the band up and running, but what else does it mean? (Question courtesy of Marty.)

Waddy You know, years ago the title used to be called "bandleader." Now all of a sudden it's musical director. I look at it as being a bandleader. To me, that means . . . my version of the term . . . I do everything for that artist that I can. In other words, I make sure . . . and again, this is my concept of the term . . . I make sure that everything sounds, feels and looks the way it ought to. And that's why I used to bitch at Sharon and Lori (when Lori was on the road with us) and they would be over there doing these "moves" . . . I'd go over there and say, "Girls, cut that shit out!"

blackcat (Laughing) [Ladies, you know we fans love you!]

Waddy And Lori (Laughing) . . . she'll totally respond and remember this: I went, "Keep that fuckin' arm of yours down or I'll cut it off!" She's pointing up in the air and dancing. I went, "This is not a disco." I've got this kind of Bob Fosse thing up my ass where I think I'm in charge of all of it . . . so therefore I am in charge of all of it. And I can't look over at my singers and see them like flailing around, you know? "Get a grip. Keep that arm down!" (Laughing)

blackcat Doing Temps moves, huh? (Laughing)

Waddy Yeah, you know doin' them Chi-lites moves and stuff. I have to make sure . . . well, first of all, I have to work on the material, the "set list" with Stevie . . . get it the way she wants. I've got to make sure the band knows every intro, every ending, every chord, the singers know their parts . . .

blackcat Do you practice apart from the singers? Do you have band practices without Stevie being there, focusing on just the music?

Waddy Yes, well for example, to put that last tour together ("Trouble In Shangri-la") we did a couple of days without Stevie. Because there was a new drummer [the incredibly energetic Mark Schulam] . . . so yes, we basically kind of run shit with Sharon for a little while— Sharon will sing the leads . . . and we just run them through that way. Then Stevie comes in, so the band is versed. It's always been like that. It's like my first gig . . . in LA my first gig was with the Everly Brothers. When I went to the rehearsal, the audition . . . they weren't there. And I was went, "What?! Where the hell are the Everly Brothers?" And they went, "Well, they're making a record." And I went, "They're making a record, and you're their band? What kind of band are you? You must be . . . you guys must be great. They're not even using you?" (Laughing) But that's how it is. Unfortunately, with the Everly's I didn't even meet them 'till the first gig, really. It was really scary . . . so. But yes, we do a little bit of time without Stevie, if there is someone new-if you're breaking in new people.

blackcat Okay. As far as music selection, we touched on that a little bit earlier, where you were talking about you wanted to do something different on the "Trouble In Shangri-la" tour, you considered doing "Bella Donna," and that just didn't pan out.

Waddy Yes, the song ["Bella Donna"]. Well, I was looking for tunes that would be a good surprise. I don't know that we wound up with any, actually, did we?

blackcat Well, yes, the songs from the new album were a big surprise-that there were so many!

Waddy Well, as the shows went on, as you noticed, there were less and less of them, because you just don't . . . do that. You don't hit the audience with a lot of new material because, hey, like you and me, you want to hear the songs that you come to hear. You don't want to hear this new shit . . . but I'll tell you a very great, funny thing with Stevie, that I noticed. Because she . . . and she'll right away agree with me . . . she is of the same mind: You don't lay a bunch of new material on your audience. You just don't do that because they don't want to hear it. Unless you're Stevie I learned. Because with Stevie Nicks music-like "Rhiannon," like "Stand Back," like "Edge Of Seventeen" — all these songs, they are based on a similar chord progression. And Stevie . . . she can use that chord progression a lot. Like that fast song, what was the name of that fast song?

blackcat "Fall From Grace?"

Waddy Yes, "Fall From Grace" has those chords, a lot of Stevie's material does have those chords . . . and . . . what was that one, the one with the name of a gin company . . .

blackcat "Bombay Sapphires."

Waddy Yes, "Bombay Sapphires." And one other one . . . what was the name of that?

blackcat "Sorcerer?"

Waddy No . . . not "Sorcerer." "Sorcerer" is a great Stevie tune, but that's not the one . . . now wait, there was "Bombay," "Fall From Grace," and there was another one . . . . Now normally, when you do a bunch of new songs, the audience just looks at you and goes "Eh?" Their eyebrows kind of curl up and they go, "Do I know this? Do I like this? Do I want to hear this? I want to hear "Stand Back." I don't want to hear this!"

blackcat Did you see that sort of response from the audience?

Waddy No! Here's the thing: with Stevie's music and Stevie's audience, those chords, that chord progression that she-in my mind-can overuse . . . because she uses it so much. I said to her one night on the tour, (laughing) "You know Stevie, once again you amaze me, because we get out there and normally if one plays new songs for people, they go, 'Get outta here, we don't want to hear that.' But your songs, because they embrace those same chords . . . those people as soon as they hear those chords and your voice on top of them . . . you're in! It doesn't matter what song it is, they are rockin', they are swingin' back and forth, they are swooning to it . . . and they are looking at you and they start mouthing the lyrics and I'm going . . . and I'm watching them going . . . "

blackcat They know them.

Waddy Yeah, but wait a minute, they know them . . . or even if they don't know them . . . it doesn't stop them! They love her so much, and they love the sound of her over those chords, that she can even get by doing what no one else can do . . . which is to play a lot of new material.

blackcat I don't know . . . I can only talk as a fan. People do like to hear Stevie bring new stuff out. But they also like to hear her to grab back for some of the old stuff that she hasn't played in a while.

Waddy Like I'm saying, with Fleetwood Mac she's got much more of a hesitation to bring out new stuff. You know what I mean? Like with Stones [The Rolling Stones] and stuff, you don't want to slam bang the new material down people's throats. They've come to hear "Jumpin' Jack Flash," they want to hear all those things . . . you know, "Street Fighting Man," they want to hear "Midnight Rambler". They don't wanna hear something new. They want to hear what they are familiar with.

But with Stevie because of those chords . . . and it's so funny because it's always been like a criticism between her and I . . . "Stevie, you gotta get off those fucking chords!" But afterwards, I had to say to her, "Well, I'm wrong again!" (Laughing)

blackcat Yes, "Planets Of The Universe" . . . people went crazy for that one too.

Waddy Yes, that's the other one! "Planets [Of The Universe]," Bombay [Sapphires]," "Fall From Grace" . . . they all have those same chords.

blackcat Yep. That's funny, because I am not a musician . . .

Waddy But you recognize what I'm saying.

blackcat Yes.

WaddyWith Stevie, though, it's a comfort factor for her fans. It's a security blanket-like. It's the blue blanket, Linus's blue blanket. It's something they want. It's something they love and want; whereas, with most artists they reject the new material.

blackcat That's interesting, because I just thought it was a voice range issue as to why Stevie sort of hung with certain songs. But I've heard Stevie sing on that Don Henley/"Stormy Weather"/AT&T thing (1998, Walden Woods Project) . . . she did "At Last." She blew me away. Her voice can reach out.

Waddy Oh yeah. This girl can sing . . . believe me, this girl can sing.

blackcat Okay, so you do have a bit of a role in helping to pick out the music . . . but Stevie's got the final . . .

Waddy Hey, it's her show. I do what I can. Like for a while I was saying, "Stevie . . . what I think would be great . . . you know you haven't been out for a while. I think you would fuckin' kill people if you opened with "Talk To Me." They would have gone incredibly insane." However, "Talk To Me" is a strain. It is a tough tune for her vocally. Not that she isn't in shape . . . and she's more in shape now than she's ever been. And actually, the funniest thing is that she could do "Talk To Me" in her sleep . . . but she still has this built in fear about it. So she didn't want to do it. So I was like, "Ah, shit . . .." So then I went . . . well, we gotta open with "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." "We gotta open with something different. We can't do that same thing anymore. Forget "Outside the Rain." It's gotta go!" And that was a fight. But finally we got rid of it.

blackcat I understand. And I appreciate your role in trying to make a change.

Waddy So getting the Petty [Mr. Tom Petty] tune to open . . . that was me, that was my insistence. It had to start strong. "You gotta start with a big hit, a rock and roll song, Stevie. You've gotta start Rock&Roll." And it gave us a great way to go. Band leader, "musical director" . . . you work on every aspect of it with your artist, because I want her, when she walks out on that stage . . . I want her to be comfortable. She's got to be comfortable or we're going to be in trouble. She's got to feel like singing, feel like entertaining, feel like smiling . . . or no one is going to be smiling.

blackcat Do you believe Stevie is going out again?

Waddy What do you mean? With Fleetwood Mac?

blackcat No, with herself, as a solo artist.

Waddy Do I think she will? Yes! I think she will. Oh yeah, I think she will for sure. She'll do her time with Fleetwood Mac . . . this is her life, blackcat. This is her life. Stevie is married to that microphone. She can't do without it. She loves it, she needs it . . . and it's her. It's an incredible reality.

blackcat I am so glad to hear that.

Waddy Stevie is married to that tour, she is married to her fans . . . and married to the responsibility of being that girl for all those people. That is a big job. People think that artists are selfish . . . but they are really selfless, is what it is. Stevie Nicks is selfless. Stevie is a natural and I am very proud of her. Hey, her only vice is in wanting a fine hotel room, since she spends so much time out on the road.

blackcat She really is pretty incredible.

Waddy Yup.

blackcat Okay Waddy, if you are going with her on the next tour, I'm putting a request now. [Hey, I'm talking to Waddy Wachtel!]

Waddy (laughing) Okay, let's hear it.

blackcat "Long Way To Go."

Waddy "Long Way To Go?" Which album is that on?

blackcat The Other Side Of The Mirror.

Waddy Oh, that's the album she made in England, right?

blackcat Yes. You'll probably have to re-do it some, but yes.

Waddy Fleetwood Mac is probably going to be on the road for a couple years with this new album . . . but remind me. (Laughing)



Lindsey, Don, & The Rock N' Roll Dude:


blackcat I want to ask you about Lindsey Buckingham and hear your thoughts about him as a musician.

Waddy Well, you know my feelings about Lindsey. Lindsey was my interest in the beginning. I tried to quit Stevie, and get him to go out on the road. He is one of the greatest guitar players of our time. He is probably the greatest finger picker that's alive today. He is a brilliant guitar player and a gorgeous singer. When I decided to quit them (Buckingham Nicks), when we were working together, I pulled a meeting with Lindsey and Stevie and me. And I said, "Look you guys, I gotta quit. I can't . . . I just can't back up these songs anymore." It was Stevie's lyrics that were driving me crazy, actually. (Laughing) And she knew it, you know. I said, "I just can't do it. I'm a dude! I'm a fuckin' Rock&Roll dude! I can't stand here and be doing "the fountain and the velvet"-

blackcat (laughing)

Waddy You know, in 1970, I just really didn't get it. I was trying to figure out the words to "Street Fighting Man" [Rolling Stones], not the "velvet fountains" . . . I didn't know anything about women at this point. So I said, "And here's the deal you guys. I am the best singer you'll ever meet. But you guys have the best voices I have ever heard. And that's how it is. I have a shitty voice . . . but I am a great singer. But you guys . . . you have the greatest voices in the world."

And that's how it is . . . they have incredible voices and harmonies. Lindsey is a great talent . . . he is a beautiful talent. He is an incredible guitar player. In the beginning, I'd say, "Lindsey, come on man, play guitar with me. Let's go play Rock&Roll. Let's go do something. How can you back up these fucking lyrics?" (Laughing) It drove me crazy. But after just one show with Stevie, the Bella Donna first show . . . I told her, "Stevie, I've gotta tell you. I am a fan. A fan now." And she says, "What? No!" And I said, "You're a rocker girl. You killed me."

blackcat (laughing) [You hear that Keith Richards? You hear that?!] Hey, you played with Don Henley . . . and you've played with Lindsey. Calamity wants to know this. She worded it a bit differently, but, here goes: Who is the fussiest or most exacting in terms of getting music out, Don or Lindsey?

Waddy What is the last thing he did . . . I guess it's been about 2 years.

blackcat "Inside Job" . . . and I saw him on tour and he was great.

Waddy Hey, he's Don Henley. (Laughing)

blackcat Yes, he is Don Henley. (Laughing)

Waddy He's my friend "Ron Henman," that's what I call him. He calls me "Thing" and I call him Ron Henman. We've worked together for years. I've known Henley a long time. He shows up and he goes "Hey Thing," and I go, "Hey Ron." Henley is very particular. Well, you know . . . look at the track record and you can answer it! (Laughing) Tell Calamity that would be a good pissing contest. I don't know. But Don can be very fussy. But Lindsey is more of a producer. Hmmm, I think Don! Yeah, I think Don is. (Laughing)

blackcat Is it fun playing with Don Henley?

Waddy I have fun with Don. Don Henley and I . . . my ear is very good . . . his ear is very good. When it comes to making vocals . . . when doing vocals in the studio there is a thing called "comp-ing," where you sing a song a bunch of times, then you sit down and pick out the best parts of all the tracks, and you put them together. I don't know if you know this process. Don and I love doing that. It drives other people out of their minds. Especially when people like Don and I do it . . . because our ears are so fine. We're really like, "Oh that note is a little bit off . . . oh that note is not quite right." And you can drive people insane. So Don and I have fun working together, but it can be a painstaking process.

Recording studios, even when things are going perfectly, can be very hard. Even when everything's are going right . . . you're tittering on disaster at all times. It just is that way. You're dealing with people, you're dealing with feelings, and you're dealing with sounds and notes. One wrong word can upset the entire thing. You can look at someone wrong, and you might as well cancel the day's recording. Because if you've got a singer who's about to go sing something, and you might make one comment to them that could fuck them up so badly that they won't be able to sing all day. And it's just that way. It's a very delicate art.

But back to the point, Don and I have always had a good time in the studio. Always.

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