Stevie - ABC w/ Molly Meldrum (1986)
Molly: Now even though you were singing with your family in itself and doing duets, in your school days what did you aspire to be? Was it to be a singer or a musician?
Stevie: Well it was always to be a singer. I think I always knew that I was not… that I did not have the innate talent like say, Lindsey at 8 years old laying around playing the guitar. I mean, he plays the guitar all day long. Well, I played the guitar from when I was sixteen until I was about 25, 26 and I still play a little, but, it never came in that innate ability to be Eric Clapton, and I waited for it to come in and it didn't, so I started to play the piano.
Molly: Going back to the first song that you wrote, you said you got the guitar and wrote a song. What musical influences were going around in your mind?
Stevie: Everly Brothers. I would say The Beatles except for the fact when I met Lindsey he was so insistent that I listen to The Beatles for form, for like, here's your verse, here's your one bar, and I'm going "this is a bar down the corner - right?", I mean, two bars, and then there's another verse, and then you have to have a chorus, and now you have to have a bridge, and I'm going over to a blotter, and I don't understand this, so I got a little upset with people that I was forced to listen to. So, I was not forced to listen to the Everly Brothers and I was not forced to listen to R&B or The Supremes or The Beach Boys, The Four Tops.
Molly: But forced to listen to The Beatles?
Stevie: Forced to listen to The Beatles - and as much as I love The Beatles it's like, you know - nobody likes to be … "and did this"… also the Kingston Trio. So somewhere between The Beatles and the Kingston Trio I kind of burned out a little bit and said in my own self, quietly, I'm going and find what I want to sing and listen to, even though I'll sing what YOU want me to do, and YOU want me to do, and what YOU want me to do when I'm with you. But in my own private
Molly: When did you then start taking it seriously, in the essence that it was going to be your career and that you would have to work extremely hard, to even make something of it, especially in America where everyone wants to be a star?
Stevie: But, you see for me, it was never… OK, I met Lindsey, I love to tell this story, I met Lindsey at a religious meeting called "The Young Life" that they used to have at high school, when I went to high school, and cause everyone just went cause to get us out of the house and really go to a party, and I met Lindsey and he was sitting there just gorgeous, playing his guitar and I walked over to him and we sang California Dreaming and we sang it perfect and I'd never met him before. He was a year younger than me, so he was a junior and I was a senior. I didn't see him again after that night until about two years later. I was like two years into junior college, and he called me up and asked me if I wanted to be in a rock and roll band and I had been of course, very much Joan Baez, and very much (sings) "and I never got over those blue eyes" but I was also going (sings) "take another little piece of my heart now baby" cause I was also really into Janis Joplin and I was really into Jimi Hendrix, and like nobody knew this, my parents knew because my room was like dancing all the time - and I said sure, I had no idea. For the next 5 years of my life, not only would I have this relationship with Lindsey Buckingham but I would also go to college, 5 years going straight through junior to upper college and have to drive from Stanford University down to
Molly: So what was your motivation?
Stevie: I wanted to be in a rock 'n' roll band, and I also realized that I had found in Lindsey a duet singer. Which was my grandfather, right? Which was that close Everly Brother thing that I have, which is what Lindsey and I are really famous for is that 5th… If he's singing this one then I'm singing just ever so slightly, a tiny bit higher than him. It's Scottish almost, sort of. And
Molly: OK, so there's this relationship with yourself and Lindsey as far as performers are concerned. To go into and get a recording contract, how did you do that?
Stevie: We moved to Los Angeles at the beginning of 1972, in my Toyota which Lindsey named "The Pocket" for in the pocket, right in the… and we drove to LA and we lived with Keith Olsen, who was our producer, who basically kind of like saw us on the only little tour we ever did with Leon Russell which was four shows, with Leon Russell, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Los Angeles…
Molly: How did you get that gig?
Stevie: I don't know, but however we got it, I was going if I had to carry the piano, it didn't matter. So I got to stand on the side of the stage for four nights and watch Leon Russell play. That's an influence, he was very much an influence of mine, and so Lindsey and I were singing, by Keith Olsen, the whole band came down to Los Angeles and we stayed at the Tropicana Hotel, right? (laughs). Which is the worst place in the world, that is the scheme of the rock and roll life, everyone needs to stay there for a night, and we got…
Molly: So the initial success of that album, then it starts
Stevie: OK - I'm going to conceptualize this and put it into a small [gestures box shape]… I love these stories. Lindsey and I lived in an apartment on Fairfax and Orangegrove, in Los Angeles and Richard Dashut who ended up to be one of our producers because we took Richard with us, we weren't going alone. I guess Mick Fleetwood just went out to our studio in Los Angeles, it was out in the valley, that's called Sound City,
Molly: So Mick Fleetwood takes on Lindsey and yourself, you certainly then are becoming a band…
Stevie: And not even suddenly. The reason I told you we lived
Molly: You go into a situation then, where an album is to be done - Fleetwood Mac. How the hell did it happen, and did you ever imagine what was going to happen after that? I know you would probably hope it, but..
Stevie: No, no, Fleetwood Mac "Fleetwood Mac" only took three months from beginning to end. That's 5 wild Indians in one room, all going "I'm the producer", or "listen I know I'm right" and I didn't even ever say that, so were talking only four. And Lindsey, is once again radically perfectionistic and it's like, you know, well, I don't want to be on it
Stevie: So no, we're not very aware of what's happening as far as charts go, if you even mention the word single to Lindsey he'll get angry with you. It's like "don't tell me what a single is, cause I don't write singles". And of course, so that rubs off on me from 20 years ago also to everybody its like don't tell us to write singles, ever. Don't tell Fleetwood Mac to be commercial, don't tell Stevie Nicks to be commercial. I mean Lindsey gets mad at me now, it's like "I'm telling you to be commercial" and I'm going "but nobody told Fleetwood Mac to be commercial" Fleetwood Mac never tried to be commercial, ever.
Molly: Well, knowing Lindsey after the Fleetwood Mac period when and he was doing his solo thing, and getting to know him fairly well, he seems an utter perfectionist. Is he?
Stevie: Utter. To the point of "why can't you just come and play?", and its like, "well I can't just do that". And that's the reason, and I love Lindsey, but that's the reason that Lindsey and I aren't together. It's because I'm radical, you know, it's like, I just want to play, I just want us all together here, and set up some microphones, and a camera and I just want to play. And Lindsey, it needs to be perfect for Lindsey and so his perfection drives me crazy because I think he doesn't have any fun, and my radicalness drives him crazy because he thinks I'm not as good as I should be.