When Stevie Nicks comes at you, shawl in hand, with a quibble about the institution you’re running, you best sit back and listen. Maybe even offer to buy her another shawl for her shawl vault in gratitude. Because as Nicks explained during her induction speech into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Friday evening, she believes soloists who break out from their bands have a more difficult time getting recognized by the Hall for their artistic and creative achievements, given that, well, bandmembers might be reluctant to try a solo pursuit to begin with.
“This is the problem of getting in. I started Bella Donna in 1979. I had been in Fleetwood Mac for not even four years, more like three and a half years,” Nicks recalled. “This is a hard thing to do. Because you have to, the times are different. It’s going to be hard, But I know there’s somebody out there that will be able to do it because I’m going to give you all the directions and I’ll do enough interviews and say what to do.” She’s even encouraging all bands — all bands! — to embrace creative hiatuses in favor of solo work:
I’m like, “Hey man, I can do it!” Now I’m telling all my friends. The girls in Haim? I’m like, “Okay you guys, you gotta really get it together now. One of you needs to step away. And don’t break up your band, just do an album so you have it. Because it’s gonna take 20 years before you get recognized, again! So you’ll already be like, 60.
The way bands can make this type of arrangement work, Nicks insists, is to always assure they’ll be the top priority at the end of the day. You can do both, you can have both, with that aura of transparency and ego-checking always present. She also reminisced about how her longtime friend and former record executive Paul Fishkin was instrumental in her transition from Fleetwood Mac to a solo star, and the words of wisdom he imparted:
I said to him, [whispers] “Do you think there’s any way that I could do a discreet solo album, that would not break up Fleetwood Mac?” I’m going like, “It’s a secret.” He’s like, “I think so. I think if you’re kind and loving, and you tell them that you will always put them first, and they will always be at the top of your priority list, they will understand and they will stay. Go do what you want to do and have fun. We’ll see you later. That’s what we eventually did. Yes, my amazing band is still together and very strong today.”
Besides that lingering dilemma, Nicks was effusive in how much this Rock Hall honor meant to her — especially as the first woman ever inducted on two occasions. “It’s not hard for me to go and play for you, but it’s very hard for me to try to tell you, thank you for this,” she said. “If you ever need a keynote speaker, somebody to talk to, someone to talk to a group of people — I am your girl.” The Vulture offices are always open on weekdays, FYI.