Sonicnet: There's some interesting production on the record, and you delve into country and reggae a little bit as well. Were a lot of your new sounds inspired by working with Sheryl Crow and Macy Gray and Sarah McLachlan?
Nicks: Actually, for the five songs I did with Sheryl Crow [as producer] we used her people. And so yes, she was very responsible for the instrumentation of those songs. "Candlebright" was written in 1970; it was one of the demos Lindsey and I moved to L.A. with, and so I have an incredible demo of just me and Lindsey. And it's exactly like what's on the record except that it's me and Sheryl. Singing with Sheryl is very much like singing with Lindsey — she's a real great duet singer, and so we had a great jumping-off point from the beginning. I went in, it was her band and a couple of extra people that she brought in for different sounds — violins, Chamberlin, all her little visions. I pretty much let her run with it. I said, "Here's the demo, now you put your magic on it. All you have to do is make it so that we both think it's better than the demo." And we did.
Sonicnet: How did it feel to have Sheryl Crow write "It's Only Love" for you and about you?
Nicks: Well, she came up the stairs carrying her guitar, and she just sat down and played it for me. And she told me, "I went home and I just was really thinking about all your stories and all the stuff you've been through" — because now that we've been friends for four years I've just about told her all the great stories, she knows them all — and that's really what she wrote the song about, all my different relationships and the men that I was with and the men that I'm still good friends with and really care about. They're all still out there and around me, and she finds that pretty amazing. I think that's what inspired her to write the song — you know, "sometimes lonely is not only a face that I have known." And she sees my life: I am not married, I don't have children, and I made that choice. I knew if I had children I would have to take care of them and I couldn't hand them over to a bunch of nannies. So I knew if I had a baby I would stop making music and I would start being a mom. And I decided in my life, that my mission was to make people happy. It was more important. I only just got a dog two years ago, and trained her myself. And that's the motherliest thing I've ever done.
Sonicnet: What about the song "Sorcerer"? Although it was written many years ago it feels like it comes from the perspective of a wise woman.
Nicks: "Sorcerer" was written in 1974, a year before we joined Fleetwood Mac. It was really about the city of Hollywood and how strange it was to us. It was all about models and rock 'n' roll and drugs and scary people. I was a very, very prudish little girl from San Francisco who had strict parents, I had not had a lot of freedom, and coming into this town was freaky. "All around the black ink darkness, and who found the lady from the mountains." The lady from the mountains was me. I did a [nude] photo session for the Buckingham Nicks album and I was horrified about that cover. I did not want to do that, and I was really made to feel like, "Don't be a child, don't be a baby, this is art, this is your future." And I did do it, and I never forgot that. It was the one time in my life that I did something that I felt was not morally right for me to do.
Sonicnet: Sheryl Crow has said, "There's always a male producer who wants to make [Stevie] into something that is maybe not as intimate as what she sees her music as being."
Nicks: Sometimes people want to change things just for the sake of change. Not because they need changing. That's a problem that I have. It's like, we're all in the studio rockin' out, everybody loving the track, and then [after a break] I come back in and the drumbeat has been changed. What is that? You have to be very tough with these producers or it will be their record. I decided that there was not gonna be a song on this record that I did not love. There were two that didn't come out right; I pulled them and gave them to Lindsey. We're gonna put 'em on a Fleetwood Mac record, probably next year.
Sonicnet: Could you talk a little about that?
Nicks: Sure. Lindsey and Mick were here two weeks ago. I went back through the song vaults and I pulled 17 songs from a hundred years ago all the way up to now. We listened to Shangri-La, and we listened to the 17 demos, and Lindsey was knocked out. He really hadn't heard all these songs; I guess I just never really played them for him. He had no idea that I was going to present him with 17 songs; he thought maybe we were gonna work on a song. So he called me the next day and said, "I'm driving up the coast and I'm taking notes and I'm very happy with all these songs." So that's about the nicest thing he ever said to me, really. "I'm very happy with all this music" was like, "Oh my God, I can't believe he said that!" So you know, I will follow my Trouble in Shangri-La through as long as it goes, and Lindsey and Mick will work on [the new Fleetwood Mac songs] when I'm gone, and I'll come back and we'll go in the studio and polish it all up. And
Sonicnet: Do you think it was inevitable that you and Lindsey would make up or did it involve a lot of work and effort on both your parts?
Nicks: It involved a lot of work and effort on both of our parts. And now we are good. We are actually friends. He has two children, a little
Sonicnet: Do you think going out on your own as a solo artist will make for a better upcoming experience with Fleetwood Mac?
Nicks: I think that my cohort in crime Lindsey Buckingham thinks that my album is really good, or so he told me. He told me that this is the best thing that I have ever done, and he said it with a look on his face that I believed him. I think that he has a little more respect for me now, and I think that when we start working next year it will be better. You see, he was so angry with me for leaving him that he hated me and lost all respect for me, and that made it very hard to work on my songs. He's beyond that now. And I think the fact that Chris won't be there is very interesting, too. It'll be just Lindsey and me singing again, so that really goes back full circle to where we started in San Francisco.
Nicks: Yes. I mean, how else could we possibly listen to 12 songs from Trouble in Shangri-La and 17 demos? You know, Mick walks into the room and I still look up. He's awesome. And I love being in an awesome band. I will always love the fact that I am in Fleetwood Mac. And the chemistry will always be there. I think when we're all in rocking chairs it will be there. Which is really nice to know. It's nice to know that something lasts.