Nicks and Buckingham moved to L.A., put out the well-received album "Buckingham Nicks" in 1973, and two years later joined Fleetwood Mac. On their road to becoming one of the country's most successful acts ever, the band learned some bad habits. "Lindsey and I didn't drink before Fleetwood Mac. We couldn't afford it," remembers Nicks. "We drank when we joined because everyone else did. We'd get on a plane at 9:30 in the morning, and John would have a Bloody Mary, and so would we." As the band started to become Fleetwood Mac, Inc., they started doing coke, and lots of it. "We were tired and against the wall, and cocaine was energy in a bottle," she says. "We needed more energy to do more stuff."
Then there was the "Melrose Place" aspect of the band, for which they were notorious: Buckingham and Nicks were a couple, but they had a volatile relationship, as did John and Christine McVie. The romantic tensions, exacerbated by the drugs, made life a tad difficult. "In the first five years, Christine and I only had each other during the breakups and the upheavals," Nicks recalls. "We would hide out in each other's rooms so that Lindsey and John wouldn't know where we were if they wanted to get into an argument."
After Nicks broke up with Buckingham, she took up with Fleetwood. "That was just too much for everybody to take," she says, shaking her head. "My sister-in-law found my journals from the "Tusk" tour." She raises one eyebrow. "Tragedy and drugs make incredible writing. Would you like to see them?"
Yes, I would.
She brings in a pile of velvet-covered books. She opens one and flips through the pages, some of which are tearstained. Others have drawings of birds, flowers, stars.
"August 24, 1977," she reads. "One more time, on the plane. As usual, Lindsey is his usual asshole self. I am slowly coming to the conclusion that Lindsey and I are at an end. So sad to see good love go bad." She leafs through a few pages. "Seattle. Worried about Christine. Wishing some spiritual guidance would come from somewhere. Where are the crystal visions when I need them?" She studies a page and says, "As I'm writing prose, I'm also writing songs. 'Gather the curtains, gather the darkness, gather me if only for a moment, gather the seconds for soon it could be going, gather the blessings, for the years are showing.'"
Buckingham left the band in 1987; Nicks in 1993. "We've been offered reasons to re-form ever since Lindsey left," she says. "When I heard that we all might get together for "Rumours'" 20th anniversary, I finally called him myself. I hadn't talked to him since last summer. I said, 'If we're not doing this, then I'm starting my record. So you need to tell me, because unlike you, I can't do both a solo record and Fleetwood Mac at the same time.' And he said, 'Stop the record.'"
Recording "The Dance" went smoothly. "It's stupid to be mad at each other now," she says. "We are way too old. And how many people get an opportunity like this? To be on MTV at my age?"
"Would you like to see the video for 'Silver Springs?'" she says. "Let me find someone who can play it." She jumps up and goes to the hallway. "Karen?"
As the video plays on the gigantic TV, Nicks' voice a mighty wonder, Sara, Karen and Kim come in and slip onto the couch. Together, rapt, we watch.
"I first met him [Billy Corgan] when he came to Phoenix last year," she says. (She has a house there that has fireplaces going all the time, for atmosphere—she just jacks up the air-conditioning.) "The Smashing Pumpkins did a concert there, and we all went out to dinner." Afterward, she played him her demos. "He spent four hours listening to them and playing piano and working out some things," Nicks reports. "He's a little bit like Lindsey, a little intimidating, because he has definite ideas about music. If we work together, I'm going to have my work cut out for me."