Through countless exotic travels over a 47-year career, Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stevie Nicks still has fond memories of her early-1970s years living in the Bay Area with her then-beau, Lindsey Buckingham, whom she met in high school.
“For a few years, we lived in Atherton, Menlo Park, and then I had an apartment at San Jose State, and an apartment in Cupertino,” she recalls. “So I drove from San Jose to Lindsey’s house to practice in the band that we were in, a 45-minute drive, back and forth, on the Bayshore freeway. We loved it up there, and we didn’t really want to move to L.A. The music was in San Francisco, but the record deals were in L.A., so we had to make a decision….”
Wise choice. As Buckingham Nicks, the duo signed to Polydor and released an eponymous 1973 debut that got them invited into Fleetwood Mac by drummer Mick Fleetwood in 1975, and the rest is rock history.
The couple broke up, but their new supergroup soared to dizzy heights with the 45-times-platinum “Rumours”; The Mac returns for two local shows Tuesday and next week with its “On With the Show” tour, now featuring former anchor Christine McVie, who just rejoined after a 16-year retirement.
“These shows with Christine are just amazing – it’s great that she’s back,” says Nicks.
Nicks, 66, has been reflective lately. In April, with Mac rehearsals looming on Aug. 6, she jumped into a pell-mell project with producer Dave Stewart – “24 Karat Gold – Songs From the Vault.” The new solo disc, her eighth, including vintage tracks she penned from 1969 to 1995, was recorded in Nashville using session vets in only three weeks.
“It was an amazing experience, because everybody knew that come August, I was being handed over to Fleetwood Mac,” she says.
For a last-minute cover-art concept, Nicks dug up hotel room Polaroids she had taken of herself while on tour in the ‘70s. The candid shots perfectly enhanced “Bella Donna”-retro songs like “Gold,” “The Dealer” and “Hard Advice,” which details a lecture she once received from her old friend Tom Petty when she proposed a collaboration. “He said, ‘No, you write your own songs – you’re a great songwriter, so just sit at your piano and do what you do best,’” she says.
Add to this the singer’s recent campy appearance on “American Horror Story: Coven” – playing a top-hatted, balladeer witch – and Nicks reckons she’s experiencing a full-blown renaissance.
What truths has she learned since leaving the Bay Area? “That time passes,” she says. “And that things you think you’ll never get through? You’ll get through them, come out on the other end and go ‘That wasn’t bad at all!’”
IF YOU GO
Where: SAP Center, 525 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 25
Tickets: $46.50 to $196.50
Contact: (408) 287-7070, www.livenation.com
Note: The band also appears at 8 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland.