I've heard Trouble in Shangri-La compared to Carlos Santana's Supernatural in terms of the concept and the comeback. What do you think about that?
Stevie Nicks: I have never heard that comment, but, boy, do I like it! I loved Supernatural, and I also loved the fact that I stood on the stage with Carlos Santana in 1970 and watched him play in the very, very beginning. For me, that was one of the first really big, live, San Francisco bands I ever actually saw. Because we—Lindsey and my band [Fritz]—opened for them, we actually got to stand on the side of the stage and watch them. Two weeks later, the movie Woodstock came out. Then I got to see them on the big, huge screen, and I think that's when I said to myself, "Oh, I'm going to do this. This is me." [Laughing.] "I'm definitely going to be a rock star. This is what I want to do." So to see Carlos have this huge album is just wonderful, because it's watching one of the really great people, who I actually saw in the beginning, come full circle. I was just very, very proud of him.
Some of the songs seem to be about your relationship with Lindsey Buckingham.
SN: Well, several of the songs are about my relationship with Lindsey because I've just had magnificent things to write about. My life is incredible. It is exciting. I'm not married, I don't have children. I'm very free. I travel. I do stuff. I love my life. But Lindsey and I have come through this whole thing, and we are still friends somehow. He lives 10 minutes from me. I can jump in the car and go over there. He knows these songs are about him. He's been hearing these songs since they were written. I wrote "Candlebright" before Lindsey and I left San Francisco. That was one of the songs we came here with to get our record deal for Buckingham-Nicks. "Candlebright" isn't really written about Lindsey, it's written about Lindsey and me, both of us. "Planets of the Universe" is written about when Lindsey and I really broke up after the Rumours record. "Sorcerer" is written about Lindsey and I coming to Hollywood from San Francisco. Lindsey had lived at home. He moved out of his parents' house, in with me, in Los Angeles.
So those songs are about us. He knows that. He looked at me the other day and said, "A lot of these songs are about me." And I said, "Aren't you just so flattered that you've been such an inspiration to me my whole life?" [Laughing.] And you know what? He is flattered. But there's nothing in those songs that you can't know, because if there were, it wouldn't be in the song. I write from a specific experience and make it as general as I can so it will be able to reach out and be understood by a lot of people.
It seems like "Shangri-La" might also describe Fleetwood Mac.
SN: Well, that's very interesting that you would say that because, even though I didn't set down to write any of it about Fleetwood Mac, in fact, some of the verses actually did touch on Fleetwood Mac. The first verse is absolutely about Lindsey and me. When I was writing it I really wasn't conscious of that because I just write long poems. I write poems with about 20 stanzas and then some of them have to go when you actually put it to a song. But "I remember him, he was very young / No one spoke like him, he was someone / And I carried on, like I couldn't stop / All of it for us baby." All of it for love basically. That verse is about him and that is how the verses started out. The rest of the verses are all about separate people. But they'd all come down to a very common thing, trouble in Shangri-La.
"You will never love again the way you love me," the chorus to "Planets of the Universe," is reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain."
SN: "The Chain" was my song. It was my words and my song put together with an instrumental Fleetwood Mac had going that had some of the same chords in it. Lindsey had heard me play the song on my guitar before and asked me, "Could we use this, because that song will fit into this song." Of course I said, "Cool."
What inspires you?
SN: Experiences inspire me. I wrote the words to six or seven of the songs while on tour with Fleetwood Mac. When you're on tour it's very inspiring because the shows are huge and totally exciting and everybody there is totally excited. The whole environment becomes very romantic, and a romantic environment is the best environment for writing. You do the show, everybody has a great time, you go back to your hotel, and for me, I go back and write. Seven of the poems were written during that four-month tour.
In "Candlebright" you sing "I am something of a dreamer." What are you dreaming about now?
SN: It was written in 1970, so I was only 22. I think I was always dreaming about now. I had never lived away from my parents when I wrote that song. I had no idea what was coming. But I think that song is a pretty amazing premonition, because it really is about how I would always travel and basically keep the light in the window so I could find my way back.