If you follow my blog, you know that the theme generally focuses on food, drink, and travel. Well, it’s also my blog and that means I can authorize myself to deviate from my self-imposed subject matter boundaries. Just to be sure that this was within the scope of a “blog,” I confirmed the definition of “blog” and selected from dictionary.com the following: “a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Weblog, Web log. Examples. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.” This fits. But it’s going to be longer than usual… (and the photos here are ones I actually took myself during concerts I attended). Ok, enough of this prologue to the blog. I’m a musician, and in addition to my food, drink, and travel obsessions, I naturally have some musical obsessions. One happens to be Stevie Nicks. I was inspired to write a little Stevie Nicks blog after seeing her on tour this fall…twice. I know, a bit decadent, but so are truffles. Feel free to just tune in next time if this isn’t your taste, no judgment here, but I wanted to take my own liberties to write about why I think I fell for her as a second generation fan. She has become an icon of rock, girl power, and cool. Like fine wines, I believe she has become even greater with age…
Born in the 70s, I obviously knew who Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks were when I was younger. My parents played Fleetwood Mac plenty, from Rumors’ in the ‘70s (I was a tiny tot, but surely it musically imprinted) and on into the ‘80s. It was great music to sing and dance to. But I didn’t have any particularized interest back then (although having long blonde hair and brown eyes, even at age 5 there was some physical resemblance, I suppose). I remember someone telling me I resembled her back when I was in high school and did those Glamour Shots with a black hat on (I don’t wear hats now other than baseball hats) and not really thinking much of it. But now when people draw a likeness, I squeal with glee on the inside and play it cool on the outside. Or try to, anyways.
It wasn’t until I was in college and the reunion tour, “The Dance,” went down in 1997. My Dad had the video of the concert, played it for me one weekend when I was visiting him, and I was totally HOOKED! OMG, the passion, the history, the sound and the fury among the members, the hidden meanings behind all the songs. Lashing out at each other through lurid lyrics, bringing peace to turmoil for the greater good of the band and the love of making music. I never really got that into watching music videos back when that was what MTV was (who remembers “I want my MTV?”), but this video of the whole concert was captivating. And their front woman – Stevie Nicks – was the center stage queen. I realized the songs I was most drawn to were hers. The voice, unmatched anywhere, anytime in music, and the look. Gorgeous. I’m not gothic or lacey or flowy or anything like that, but for her, it makes sense. I made mix tapes of all of their songs I loved most to listen to while walking between college classes on my beautiful campus. And then came the Enchanted Box Set. Three disks of her “best of” and, coincidentally, those three CDs happened to be the perfect soundtrack for my home-to-school drive time!
I would listen to the songs, the musicality, the lyrics, the stories, and forget how long my drive was. Considering I have automobile-induced narcolepsy (self-diagnosed of course), this service that her songs provided was much appreciated, and if you think about it, really a life-saver on those drives. I sang along in perfect harmony, we could totally duet someday (call me, Stevie). I was sad I missed the Mac’s tour in 1997. But lucky for me, that reunion tour reignited their passion, resurrected their name recognition, and hers as well. From about 2001 forward, she toured, they toured, and I attended indiscriminately. My seats got better and better as my career permitted such, as did the distance I’d travel. No, I don’t go to every show, but I catch them at least once or twice. But back to her…
Here’s what I like:
1) The voice. Her voice is just so unique and pure. In an industry of auto-pitch, auto-tune, auto-harmony, auto-everything via sound effects and studio enhancement, and mockingbirds, this songbird is in a world of her own. I myself have trouble finding my own voice and instead tend to inadvertently copy others. But hers is so different, so gravely even in her youth, but always pitch-perfect. It’s not the wild ad lib soaring beyond reasonable octaves or the diaphragm-bursting belting that blows the roof off a church, it’s just a natural resonance like a diamond in the rough. It is always identifiable and with 100% certainty. Amazingly, I find that her tone has become even more clear, rich, and resonant over time. Her tour this year made me bow my head.
2) The melodies. Some are so catchy that they become earworms, others are more like a story set to music, but they are always identifiable to her. I like that delicate balance – enough diversity in melody to not all sound the same, but enough recognition factors to authenticate the source. Several I have covered in my own musical endeavors, and I hope the original artist takes that as flattery.
3) The words. There are so many of her lyrics that stand out as absolute poetic and metaphorical brilliance. “In the midst of a sea of dreams lies the perfect storm” (New Orleans)… “Players only love you when they’re playing” (Dreams)… “What’s warmer than a sun-drenched land? Your hand.” (Cheaper than Free)… “Rulers make bad lovers, you better put your kingdom up for sale” (Gold Dust Woman)…I could literally go on forever…
4) The person. At least what you see in her interviews and on-stage commentary, she is simultaneously serious about her craft and adorably humorous about herself. Obviously overcoming a sordid past (luckily before such rampant “gotcha-style media” took off) replete with addictions and affairs, she is amazingly composed and accepting of the fact that everything that was made her as she is. Which is fabulous. We should all keep that in mind when judging each other’s pasts, because we all have a past. None of us landed on earth today. And her look is classic, spanning decades with flowy, lacy, gossamer attire that plays perfectly with her style.
Anyways, I’m sure if we met we’d be friends. Or at least maybe I could sing back up with her for a few seconds before security tackled me to the ground. And that’s my ode to Ms. Nicks!
(…perhaps somehow on the information superhighway, this might find her?)