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Stewart, Nicks make a classic combination

Double bill keeps focus on greatest hits

Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks performing Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks performing Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. (Cory Schwartz/Getty Images)
By Sarah Rodman
Globe Staff / March 29, 2011

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Chivalry is not dead in classic rock. Rod Stewart makes a point on his current “Heart and Soul’’ tour with Stevie Nicks, which hits the TD Garden tomorrow night, to introduce the Fleetwood Mac songbird. “It gives things a sense of unity,’’ says the ever rooster-coiffed Brit, who got the idea from his daughters to team up with Nicks for a hits-packed night. We caught up with the 66-year-old new father — he welcomed his eighth child, Aiden, last month— by phone to chat about the raspy rocking double bill, how to get to Carnegie Hall, and a new record with old buddy Jeff Beck.

Q. Stevie tells a tale of meeting you at a New Year’s Eve party at your house in the ’70s. Do you remember that?

A. Briefly, yeah. Stevie and I go back a long way, a lot of which I can’t remember because of the alcohol intake. (Laughs).

Q. When you announced the tour, you floated the idea of doing some of her famous duets, but thus far she’s joined you on a couple of your songs.

A. I have to look at the setlist but, apparently, she doesn’t do those duets. But she asked to sing two of my songs [“Passion’’ and “Young Turks’’]. And I said well if that’s what you want to do. One has to give way to the gentler sex. But she makes a very good job of them and it’s a start.

Q. I’m assuming you’re also a fan of her hit “Stand Back’’ since you covered it in the ’90s.

A. Yeah, I would love to sing “Stand Back’’ but she hasn’t asked me yet! You know she suffers from nerves so I don’t want to push her in a direction she doesn’t want to go in . . . When we get ’round to it we’ll add a couple more and hopefully she’ll ask me to sing “Leather and Lace.’’

Q. She’s described you as fearless when it comes to performing. Is it because you still love doing it or have you always been that way?

A. I do like doing it. I’m sure she does, too; it’s just that we’re different animals. I don’t believe in rehearsing too much. I always think there should be the element of risk involved in rock and roll. I tell the band what they’re going to play and if it messes up, it messes up. We’re all human. In fact, I like a nice big mistake. (Laughs).

Q. While this tour focuses on your greatest hits, what’s the status of doing some “Great American Songbook’’ shows at Carnegie Hall?

A. Yeah, that would be the next project. I’d love to do it because the other night I tried to put in one of the American Songbook [songs] and it went down like a lead balloon. I don’t know who buys these records, there’s nearly 24 million sold but they don’t seem to be in the audience! (Laughs). I’ve played all the great venues of the world, but I’ve never played Carnegie Hall so that’s on my wish list.

Q. Well you know the old saying, maybe it means you haven’t practiced enough?

A. Yeah. (Laughs). Who came out with that line? It’s a wonderful line.

Q. Tell me about the Jeff Beck album.

A. It’s still pretty tentative. I’m going to lay my tracks down at the end of this tour. With Jeff you never know. I think he’s 100 percent keen on doing it but there’s a way that he wants to do it and a way that I want to do it and hopefully it will come together.

Q. Is this a covers album? New material? A combination?

A. Probably a combination, we’re both steeped in Chicago blues, that’s where the first two albums came from, so that would be the starting point I would imagine and then we’ll just add a few novelties, for want of a better word.

Q. Congratulations on the new baby. Is eight enough?

A. I’m finished now, it’s all done. Aiden’s great. He’s had an outbreak of acne so all of his public appearances have been canceled. (Laughs).

Q. Good to know that there’s still lead in the old pencil though?

A. I’ve got plenty of lead in the pencil and I’ve got someone to write to, that’s the most important thing!

Interview was edited and condensed. Sarah Rodman can be reached at srodman@globe.com

ROD STEWART AND STEVIE NICKS At the TD Garden tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $49.50-$149.50 at 800-745-3000 and www.ticketmaster.com