A Three-Way with Stevies Williams, Nicks, and Wonder
My favorite person on my Favorite People of all Time list would have to be Stevie Williams. His skating and style had a huge impact on me during my formative years. I wore gigantic pants, skated strictly in his DC shoes (which were basically just basketball sneakers), and dreamed about heelflipping trashcans at Love Park. The point here is that Stevie WIliiams is the fucking man. When I first found out I was going to do this interview, I had a ton of questions lined up to ask him. Unfortunately, a few days before our meeting I read a bunch of other interviews with Stevie and realized all of my questions had already been answered. So instead, seeing as how I have two other Stevies on my Favorite People list (Wonder and Nicks), I decided to ask Stevie Williams questions from interviews with them and compare answers.
(By the way, I didn’t tell Stevie I was doing this, so I hope he finds my experiment amusing.) (Also, I am not on acid.)
VICE: Did you really do so much coke your nose fell off?
Stevie Williams: I have never done cocaine a day in my life. [straight faced]
Stevie Nicks: No, but I did used to joke that I couldn’t drive in convertibles because if a big wind came up it could just blow my nose off the side of my face. I have a hole through my septum so big I could put a cigarette through it. Or a cigar. It’s horrible. To this day, I say, “Thank you, God, for not letting my nose collapse.”
Rap is real music?
Stevie Williams: Rap’s all right. Rap or hip-hop? What?
Stevie Wonder: When we were growing up and listening to our music, the older people said, "That's horrible!"
When you were a teenager, how did you know if a girl was pretty?
Stevie Williams: Got a boner. [cowboy accent]
Stevie Wonder: I once met a girl, and I said to myself, She must be fine. Later someone said to me, "That's a bug-a-bear you've got." I said, "She's beautiful." And he said, "No, man—you ain't got it right." [Stevie and Oprah break into laughter]
If you walk up to a wall, can you hear it?
Stevie Williams: Maybe if I'm on shrooms. [laughs]
Stevie Wonder: Yes.
Do you like your voice?
Stevie Williams: I don't have a voice [in the skateboard community]. One minute they like you and one minute they don't. I speak through DGK—my voice is through my brand. We talk through our videos and our products. Once we drop the DGK video and after mother fuckers see my video part... everybody talking whatever but I got something for everybody. Trust me. I have a full part—full Stevie part! It's poppin’, dog.
Stevie Nicks: Yeah, I do. I love the fact my voice doesn't sound like anyone else’s. I would describe it as a little gnome-like voice.
I hear it's not unusual for people who work with you to get a call at 4 AM.
Stevie Williams: Absolutely. Yeah, I can call you at four in the morning… pick up.
Stevie Wonder: Yes. But you know, some of these people are just talking stuff, using me as an excuse. It's like, "Honey, where are you?" "I'm just here with Stevie. He's playing 'Fingertips' or whatever."
Did you think you might be famous when you were younger?
Stevie Williams: I didn't know if I was ever gonna be famous, but I thought it would be cool to be famous, yeah.
Stevie Nicks: I think I absolutely knew I was gonna be famous. I knew from when I first wrote my first song about the first love of my life, and sat there on my bed and watched myself play it in the mirror with tears running down my face. It was my 16th birthday—my mom and dad gave me my Goya classical guitar that day. I sat down, wrote this song, and I just knew that that was the only thing I could ever really do—write songs and sing them to people.
Do you have plans to tour North America soon?
Stevie Williams: Yeah, we got a tour out here in New York, and then that tour rolls over into another tour with Supra. So yeah, I love home, I love our land, but I definitely love to travel, too.
Stevie Nicks: I do, like more toward the end of the summer when it's even hotter. Then we're off to Australia in November. We'll do probably two months here. I would hope and love to do a few shows in Europe. I don't know whether that'll happen or not. We're leaving tomorrow to do press in Europe and to do one big, huge show in [London's] Hyde Park, 55,000 people on the 26th of June. That's exciting. My band hasn't played that big of a show since like I don't know, Peace Sunday. That's a lot of people.
You're an artist that people really miss. In this day and age, so much of what is out there revolves around teens. What does that feel like for you? Because the music (skateboard) world has really changed in the last seven years.
Stevie Williams: It’s the same. It’s not an individual sport. It’s still like a team thing where my brand, DGK, is a team of people who damn near grew up together or grew up in the same way. You understand what I’m saying? Only thing I can really say is that if the companies aren't keeping it real with their riders and aren’t giving them the right information, then there is no "team." It's just a bunch of skaters and not a team. But if everybody collectively skates for the same message and mission then it’s a fucking team, and that’s what my team is.
Stevie Nicks: The biggest difference is that when I put Street Angel out seven years ago, I had been so ill on Klonopin for that eight years that that record was just a disaster. It was not clear. Since then, I went to rehab, came out, went to Phoenix, and started writing the songs for Trouble in Shangri-La. Everything on this record is what I really wanted to say, and I'm back to being the poet I always thought I was. For a long time I was terrified that I had lost that. I'm so delighted with the fact that I'm OK, and that this record really tells everybody that I'm OK.
What are the biggest lessons your mother passed on to you?
Stevie Williams: Don't sweat the small stuff and everything is small.
Stevie Wonder: To persevere. To never be ashamed. To not let my past bury me. When I was a child, kids used to make fun of me because I was blind. But I just became more curious: "How can I climb this tree and get an apple for this girl?" That's what mattered to me. We had these woodsheds in the backyard, and we played a game where we'd jump from the top of the woodshed into the alley. Who could jump the farthest? The kids were like, "Go, Steve, go!" but I guess I missed the moment when my brother Larry whispered, "Momma's home." So I'm on top of the shed saying, "Are you ready? Here we go!" And I jumped right into my mother's arms.