Fleetwood Mac began the final portion of a world tour that started over a year ago last night at the TD Garden in Boston. The show was previously supposed to take place in April but was postponed due to Stevie Nicks‘ battle with the flu. Monday’s concert featured a bevy of the group’s greatest hits along with a few deep cuts and more.
The legendary band’s current lineup consists of longtime members Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks along with newcomers Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) and Neil Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House). Both Campbell and Finn joined in 2018 ahead of the current tour after Lindsey Buckingham was fired from the band.
Last night’s setlist followed a similar path as others from the now 80-show-old tour. Fleetwood Mac opened with “The Chain” and then played hits “Little Lies,” “Dreams,” “Second Hand News” and “Say You Love Me.” The band honored their early days by performing their 1968 single “Black Magic Woman” penned by former member Peter Green. Fleetwood Mac also paid tribute to Finn and Campbell’s roots via performances of Split Enz’s “I Got You” and Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” as well as Petty’s “Free Fallin’.”
The band also fit in the recently busted out “Man Of The World” and “Oh Well” from Peter Green’s time in Fleetwood Mac. Last night’s show concluded with a run of hits that included “Landslide,” “Hold Me,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Gold Dust Woman” and “Go Your Own Way.” For the encore, Fleetwood Mac followed “Free Fallin’” with “Don’t Stop.” The tour concludes in Las Vegas on November 16.
An Evening with Fleetwood Mac: Fleetwood Mac at TD Garden
Oct 28, 2019, Boston, MA
Second Hand News
Say You Love Me
Black Magic Woman
I Got You
Man of the World
Don’t Dream It’s Over
You Make Loving Fun
Gold Dust Woman
Go Your Own Way ENCORE
Scott Bernstein / JamBase / Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Forty years after its release, the group’s improbably cohesive follow-up to Rumours remains the blueprint for what comes after astounding commercial success
One rumor goes that Stevie Nicks threatened to leave Fleetwood Mac if they actually called the album Tusk. “There was nothing beautiful or elegant about the word ‘tusk,’” she later said. She’s right: It’s a grunt, a jab, a thudding monosyllable that has none of the musicality of the title Nicks was already dreaming up for her first solo record, Bella Donna. It was also, at least according to another rumor, a dick joke: “I don’t recall it being Mick’s joke about a …,” she trailed off in that interview, as if she couldn’t even bring herself to say it. “That went right over my little prudish head. I wasn’t even told that until after the record was done, and then I liked the title even less.”
Another way of thinking about the title, though, is as an outgrowth of the decorative, costly excess that birthed it: Before Fleetwood Mac even arrived at Studio D at L.A.’s Village Studios in 1978, all sorts of exotic knickknacks were imported onto the premises, transforming the space into a simulacra of an obscenely rich rock star’s home. In the liner notes to the album’s 2004 reissue, Nicks set the scene: “shrunken heads and leis and Polaroids and velvet pillows and saris and sitars and all kinds of wild and crazy instruments and tusks on the console.” Photographs by the nature artist Peter Beard were scattered around for inspiration. “Rare woods from Brazil and volcanic stones from Hawaii went into the decor,” Nicks’s biographer, Stephen Davis, writes. All this ambiance—and Lindsey Buckingham still insisted upon recording some of the damn album in a bathroom.
Such is, as Mick Fleetwood aptly puts it in his biography, “the duality of Tusk.” A sprawling double album, it’s rife with contradictions and ironies. It was, at the time of its release 40 years ago this week, the most expensive album ever made (and the first album ever to cost more than $1 million to record), but its rough edges and experimental ethos have since made it a source of inspiration within the indie-rock world. (In 2002, art-rockers Camper Van Beethoven released a great, imaginative full-album cover of Tusk.) An intentional departure from the coiled energy of Rumours, Tusk is a record large, strange, and varied enough to contain its exact opposite: It is at once sprawling and intimate, masculine and feminine, successful and failed.
It is also the rare album that could sell more than 4 million copies, spawn six hit singles, and, relatively speaking, still be considered a flop. “I say this without hesitation; as a band we really didn’t give a shit,” Fleetwood writes of the record’s commercial prospects. “Not at all.” Not many artists have to confront the mixed blessing of following up what was then the best-selling record of all time, and no one in Fleetwood Mac would have felt creatively satisfied had they just made Rumours II. Still, few listeners or record executives could have quite anticipated the strange sprawl of Tusk, a record that over the years has earned numerous comparisons to the Beatles’ White Album. (Fleetwood, in his memoir, refers to the group’s 1975 self-titled release as their “‘White’ Album”—but he means that in a different sense.) But time sands all edges. Forty years after its release, Tusk feels not so much like an anomaly as an archetype, the urtext of the Difficult Follow-Up Album, and—wild as this would have seemed at the time of its release—increasingly the consensus choice for Fleetwood Mac’s finest record.
The year before he entered the studio to begin recording Tusk, Lindsey Buckingham saw the Clash live in London. The experience left him electrified, challenged, and a little bit personally offended. In late-’70s Britain, writes Nicks’s biographer Davis, “Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Elton John, and all the older musicians were mocked for being out of touch with their audience and reviled as ‘dinosaur bands’ and Boring Old Farts.” Buckingham was then not even 30; he wasn’t about to live up to the Boring Old Fart stereotype. So he chopped off his flowing Led Zeppelin locks and traded in his bell-bottoms for skinny jeans and tailored suits. He started hearing beauty in dissonance, like the way recording on a boom box could give music a stark, compressed sound, or the tone you got from playing percussion not on a drum kit but an empty box of Kleenex.
An underappreciated aftershock of punk’s first wave is the kick in the ass it gave to some of the previous generations’ heroes, pushing some of those “dinosaur bands” to make their most adventurous music in years. Punk dared the Stones to make 1978’s Some Girls, their best and most brash record since Exile on Main St. It’s also the inspiration for some of the great Buckingham compositions on Tusk, from the taut, sneering “What Makes You Think You’re the One” to the haunting, oddly dissonant last-call dirge “That’s All for Everyone.” Buckingham was constantly experimenting in Studio D, searching for undiscovered tones and textures: He got the grumbling, blown-out sound of excitable punk ditty “The Ledge” by tuning his guitar down to sound like a bass. (“It sounds to me like it was put in a cement mixer and almost spat out,” he later said, proudly.) “I remember Lindsey used to make such a horrible sound,” the album’s co-producer, Ken Caillat, said in Ryan Reed’s book Fleetwood Mac FAQ. “He would physically make me distort the guitar so that it sounded like fingernails scraping across a chalkboard. I remember when he was recording ‘Not That Funny,’ he insisted he wanted a really weird-sounding vocal, so he made us tape a microphone to a tile floor, and he was doing a push-up over the microphone, singing, ’Not—that—funny—is it?!’ Anything to make it weirder was better on his songs.”
The Beach Boys, too, cast a long shadow over Tusk, and for several different reasons. Ever the studio rat, Buckingham spent the months leading up to the Tusk sessions listening obsessively to Pet Sounds, trying to deconstruct the production techniques behind that innovative masterpiece. It’s also been reported that Buckingham was granted access to the elusive master tapes of the Beach Boys’ then-unreleased Pet Sounds follow-up Smile, and that the Tusk tracks “That’s All for Everyone” and “Beautiful Child” bear the influence of Brian Wilson’s cutting-edge production. During the Tusk sessions, though, Christine McVie went even straighter to the source—she actually started dating a Beach Boy, the dreamy but ultimately troubled drummer Dennis Wilson.
As a counterbalance to Buckingham’s punk outbursts, Tusk showcases some of McVie’s most straight-forwardly lovely compositions: opener “Over & Over” sets a rose-colored tone, while the understated “Never Make Me Cry” is a perennial tear-jerker. Perhaps the most Rumours-reminiscent cut is McVie’s rousing “Think About Me”—one of Tusk’s few full-band jams. Tusk wouldn’t have confounded listeners if even half its songs sounded like this, but restless shape-shifting was also a consistent part of Fleetwood Mac’s ethos, even from the Peter Green days. “They had been a blues band, then a jam band, then a rock band, then a soft rock supernova,” Davis writes. “The Rumours groove had to be part of a progressive continuum, not the endgame.”
One of the most acrimonious fights during Rumours was over the exclusion of Nicks’s masterpiece “Silver Springs.” The band had to make some cuts to keep Rumours confined to a single LP, and when it came time for the final sequencing, the languorous, slow-tempo-ed “Springs” was first on the chopping block. “I started to scream bloody murder and probably said every horribly mean thing you could possibly say to another human being and walked back in the studio and completely flipped out,” Nicks said years later, recalling the conversation with Fleetwood when she first learned the song’s fate.
She got her revenge on Tusk. While Buckingham often approaches songwriting like a code to be cracked (“I’ve learned more about the mathematics of songwriting—how to fit pieces together, line length, timing chords and melodies,” he said around the time of Tusk’s release), Stevie’s process was more intuitive, her songs less rigorously structured. She thrived in open space and sprawl, something Tusk generously supplied. Her songs on the record are loose, unhurried, and exploratory, from the poignant ballad “Storm” to the meditative confessional “Beautiful Child.” The bluesy rocker “Angel” showcases a gravely, newly mature tone of Nicks’s voice that she’d explore further on Bella Donna, while the fan-favorite “Sisters of the Moon” furthered her witchy self-mythology: “A black widow spider makes / More sound than she,” Nicks sang, “and black moons in those eyes of hers / Made more sense to me.”
Her most enduring offering, though, is “Sara”—more of an incantation than a pop song, though it was still Tusk’s highest-charting hit. Her first demo of the track was 16 minutes long; a gorgeous nine-minute take was included on Tusk’s 2004 reissue. In his biography Gold Dust Woman, Stephen Davis calls “Sara” “the most asked-about song by Stevie’s interviewers, even more than ‘Rhiannon.’” Their first question, of course, was almost always, “Who’s Sara?” but that was a misleadingly literal thing to ask of a Stevie Nicks song. “It’s not about Sara [Rector], who was one of my best friends—even though everybody thinks it is,” she said many years later. “But it was really about what was going on with all of us at the time … some songs are about a lot of things.” “Sara” is an impressionistic swirl of all that was happening in Stevie Nicks’s mind in the heady days of 1978, from her ill-fated affair with bandmate Mick Fleetwood to her indecision about whether or not to pursue a solo career. It was a blustery brew but, as she’d tell us a few songs later, she had always been a storm.
While she believed Tusk to be “a spectacular record,” soon-to-be solo star Nicks resented the time its recording required of her. “Tusk took us 13 months to make, which is ridiculous,” she said when promoting Bella Donna in 1981. “I was there in the studio every day—or almost every day—but I probably only worked for two months. The other 11 months I did nothing, and you start to lose it after a while if you’re inactive. You see, Lindsey, Chris, John, and Mick all play, and I don’t. So most of the time I’d be looking at them through the window in the control room. After four or five hours, they’d forget I was even there, they’d be so wrapped up in little details. It was very frustrating.”
One of the approximately 3 billion things I adore about Tusk is that it contains maybe the greatest, and definitely the most petty, album credit of all time:
I completely forgot the production credit on Tusk is “Fleetwood Mac (Special Thanks from the Band to Lindsey Buckingham)” !!!! I will love this petty messy band until I die pic.twitter.com/l3gCk0RciY
Buckingham was, more than anyone, the sonic mastermind behind Tusk. But the very fabric of Tusk is also variety, collaboration, and bricolage—an alchemy he never could have achieved alone. If Rumours was the result of a handful of passionate, often-inebriated people standing elbow-to-elbow in a too-small room, Tusk is the sound of them stomping into their respective corners. To love Fleetwood Mac is to marvel at the beautiful absurdity that these five very different people were ever in a band together, let alone a band whose songs could hang together so well. In this sense, the improbably cohesive Tusk just might be their defining record.
Maybe it was just ahead of its time. Tusk’s double-album breadth might have stunted its commercial prospects in 1979—the 2XLP retailed for $16.98, around $50 adjusted for inflation—but in the more-is-more logic of the streaming era, it seems downright normal. (Drake’s mammoth-selling 2018 album Scorpion, for one example, is 15 minutes longer than Tusk.) Forty years later, it remains the blueprint for what comes after astounding commercial success, if an artist is too itchy and creative to simply rest on their laurels. Its forward-thinking ethos has kept it fresh all this time. “Tusk is not going to sound dated in five or 10 years,” the writer Blair Jackson predicted all the way back in 1981, “and I would be willing to bet that a lot more people will slowly be convinced of the album’s greatness than will forget all about it.” You can say that again.
Lindsay Zoladz / The Ringer / Monday, October 14, 2019
REVIEW: It’s a weird feeling to walk from a concert of an international headliner, with a song from home in the front of your mind.
And so it happened after the final of an 80 concert stretch for Fleetwood Mac when they headlined Dunedin”s Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night.
While there was no support act on the undercard, the more than 30,000 punters were treated to a Kiwi version with Neil Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House) front and centre with his new band.
And that band featured the waistcoat duo of Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass, and Christine McVie on keys and vocals, and frontwoman Stevie Nicks, alongside new member, guitarist Mike Campbell (of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers).
Before they took the stage at the early (not complaining!) time of 8.20pm, the crowd entertained themselves with a series of Mexican waves,
Right from the outset the band shows their chemistry, opening with crowd pleaser “The Chain.”
McVie, who has an assortment of children toys on her keyboard, wins the key to the city for saying the band had an amazing time, before launching into “Sweet Little Lies.”
Raiding the back catalogue did not let up, with “Dreams,” with the fingerless glove wearing Nicks entering full gypsy mode to the delight of the crowd.
By now many of the crowd were on their feet, and were suddenly treated to the Neil Finn show, which began with a “Kia ora Dunedin”.
Finn, who tells the crowed “I used to be in a band called Split Enz”, has obvious crowd-pleasing chemistry with Nicks.
The pair sing together on “I Got You,” featuring a nicely done backing video of Frankestein’s monster.
But an early highlight would be “Rhiannon,” with Nicks, who is now in fine voice, acknowledging the crowd with a trademark deep bow.
Finn takes lead on “World Turning,” which usurps into Mick Fleetwood taking centre stage. And take it he does.
An eye-popping 15 minute drum solo includes the band’s namesake asking the crowd if they want to “release the hounds”.
It’s Campbell’s turn next to show his fretboard wizardry on “Oh Well,” which sets up the stage for Finn.
It’s arguably the biggest song of the night when Finn, armed with just an acoustic guitar, starts to sing Crowded House classic “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”
“I can hear you Dunedin,” he tells the crowd, who don’t remind him that a third of the audience is from Christchurch, and then “I can see you” when thousands of lights illuminate the venue.
He is joined by Nicks, who later tells the crowd of her love for that Kiwi classic, “a song like that only comes around once in a life time”.
Not to be outdone she later launches into “Landslide,” with the lyric “And I’m getting older, too” resonating for many.
Fleetwood himself shares a yarn over his admiration for Finn, which allows the Kiwi to raid some of his back catalogue at a concert for one of the world’s best selling bands.
So your tour downunder may be finished Fleetwood Mac, but don’t dream it’s over.
This was the last of five concerts as part of Fleetwood Mac’s 2019 New Zealand tour.
Hamish McNeilly / Stuff (New Zealand) / Sunday, September 22, 2019
Last night, Fleetwood Mac descended on Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena. The band treated fans to a career-spanning setlist that proved that though 50 years into their career, the band are not one to rest on their laurels.
The show was Sydney’s first taste of Fleetwood Mac in their new form. Last year, longtime singer, guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham was “let go” from the band after they reached a boiling point over touring disagreements. Buckingham was replaced by New Zealand royalty, Neil Finn of Crowded House and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers guitarist, Mike Campbell.
Whilst it would be futile to deny that the absence of Buckingham was not felt; the new lineup revitalized the band in other ways. The addition of Finn on vocals has ushered in a new era for Fleetwood Mac, one that feels fresh and exciting. The Fleetwood Mac of today is not some hodge-podge operation tenuously thrown together in an attempt to ride the coattails of former glory. Rather, they are a band with a passion that feels tangible, that reinvented themselves out of necessity.
There is nothing mutton-dressed-as-lamb about Fleetwood Mac. Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks ooze the same impossibly cool, bewitching energy that they possessed in 1977. To be in the presence of these two magical women was nothing short of transformative. The pair worked their way through Christine’s romantic proclamations (“Little Lies,” “Everywhere,” “You Make Loving Fun”), and Nicks’s haunting musings (“Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” “Gold Dust Woman”) with chemistry that felt otherworldly.
Midway through the set, Mick Fleetwood delivered a drum solo that sent the arena into a trance-like state. Commanding the stage with his bellowing confidence and infinite mojo, he barked the orders, “unleash the hounds! unleash the hounds!. It was chaotic and hypnotizing.
Finn fans left satiated after the band delivered not one, but two cuts from his back-catalogue. The first came in the form of Split Enz track “I Got You”. A performance that Finn prefaced, revealing that when the track broke international waters, Stevie Nicks would watch it on MTV and weave her own harmonies.
The band’s cover of Crowded House anthem “Don’t Dream It’s Over” incited the most passionate sing-a-longs of the evening. To hear Nicks and Finn perform a track that is so deeply ingrained in the DNA of Australia was monumental.
Mac took a moment to honour the legacy of the great Tom Petty. Performing a heart-rending cover of his perennial song ‘Free Falling’, the track was backed with a slideshow of the late musician through the decades.
The concert was a welcoming haven for all walks of life. Teenagers who had ruthlessly pre-gamed with Passion Pop and old men in their Zimmer frames all united in song and dance to the beckoning call of “Go Your Own Way.”
Fleetwood Mac’s Australian tour is set to continue with a second show at Qudos Bank Arena on Saturday. Catch the band at one of their remaining tour dates below.
Fleetwood Mac 2019 Australian Tour
Thursday, 29th August
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Monday, 2nd September
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Wednesday, 4th September
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Saturday, 7th September
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Saturday, 9th September
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
S. B. Williams / Tone Deaf / Friday, August 16, 2019
‘It’s a love story really’: Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks on wooing Neil Finn; Fleetwood Mac brought ‘secret weapon’ Finn into the fold after an ‘incredibly sad, incredibly challenging’ time
Mick Fleetwood described Crowded House frontman Neil Finn as a “secret weapon” he held onto for two decades, before asking him to fly to Hawaii to audition for Fleetwood Mac.
In April 2018, it was announced that longstanding member Lindsey Buckingham would be leaving the band, to be replaced by Finn and Mike Campbell, the guitarist from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Ahead of the band’s Sydney stadium show on Thursday night, Fleetwood told a small industry audience the “magical” story of how he met Finn.
“It’s a long story — it’s over 20 years long. But it’s a lovely story. It’s a love story, really,” he said. “I’ve always, right from the beginning, loved his songwriting — especially one song that drove me over the wall — ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ — years and years ago.”
Fleetwood had been a Crowded House fan “right from the beginning”, he said, but the pair didn’t meet until 1999 at Concert for Linda: a benefit tribute to Linda McCartney held at Royal Albert Hall. Finn was playing with the Pretenders; Fleetwood Mac was on hiatus.
“I didn’t know him from Adam, but later on that night just happened to be sitting with him,” Fleetwood said. “And I wasn’t doing anything, so I said, ‘Would you like to form a band?’ Drummers say that when there’s nothing happening,” he laughed.
“We had a great night, and broke a couple of glasses — so to speak — and then wandered off. And it never went anywhere.”
Finn and Fleetwood didn’t meet again until “I don’t know, 15 years later”, at the New Zealand Music awards in Auckland. “Going down the corridor I see him, and he said, ‘Do you remember me?’, and I said, ‘Of course I do! I’m your superfan!’. We went to dinner, and ever since then have remained and are incredibly close friends.”
Fleetwood told Finn that if he ever needed a drummer, “just let me know” — so when Finn and his son Liam began planning their collaborative 2018 album Lightsleeper, Finn cashed in the offer: “He said, ‘Are you serious?’ and I said, ‘Absolutely’.”
Fleetwood and his partner Chelsea rented a house in Auckland for six weeks. “We became a very, very close family [with the Finns] and helped out with their family album, which was totally cool. And that was that. And then this happened,” he said, referring to the departure of Buckingham.
The decision to hire Mike Campbell came easy — “both Mike and Tom [Petty] were very close to Stevie [Nicks]” — but finding a vocalist was harder. “We went through some suggestions — some of them were great, but they just weren’t right,” said Fleetwood, who admitted it nearly ended with the band saying “we can’t find anyone”.
“But then to be really truthful, I had my secret weapon … I said, ‘I would like to suggest that Neil Finn flies to Hawaii’, where we all were doing this.”
When he called Finn, he told him, “It’s not really an audition” — but it sort of was. Finn — who was at a soundcheck at the time — said “let me just take a breath … I’ll phone you tomorrow.” Fleetwood thought the jig was up.
“I thought, well, it was worth a try. But he phoned back and said, ‘Look. I’m not worried about all this thing about is it an audition. Who wouldn’t want to come — whether they succeed or not — and just play with Fleetwood Mac?'”
“It’s not a shaggy dog story,” Fleetwood said. “It is huge. And it’s magical. This funny relationship that I had with Neil, neither of us knowing why it was that we had passed in the dark so many times. And now we know.”
The current lineup is the 19th iteration of Fleetwood Mac, each of which Fleetwood described as “incredibly different musical episodes in this Shakespearean play we blundered into”.
Fleetwood — the only remaining founding member — didn’t reveal what was at the heart of the split with Buckingham, but he described it as “incredibly sad, and incredibly challenging. And incredibly — just — nowhere else to go.
“I’ve said it before: we were not happy. And that was really the crux of all the details that don’t need to be known,” he said.
“We decided as a band, are we continuing or not? … And I’m doing what I always do, which is, you know, keep the band together.
“Sometimes I look back wondering whether I’ve done the right thing. I think we did.”
Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks is also a longtime fan of Finn’s. Back in the 1980s she would make up her own harmonies to “Don’t Dream It’s Over” when it was played on MTV.
“A song like that comes around once in a lifetime,” she told the crowd from the stage on Thursday. “If you have one of those songs you have to sing it all the time, and you truly forget how good it is. So I have to remind him — and then I have to follow it up.”
The pair performed “Don’t Dream” together, and followed it up with “Landslide.
* Fleetwood Mac’s Australian tour continues through August and September, before the band head to New Zealand on September 14
Credit: Composite: Paul McMillan/Samir Hussein/Paul Miller/Getty/AAP
Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, and new Fleetwood Mac band member Neil Finn.
Credit: Photograph: Duncan Barnes
Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Neil Finn performing on the Australian leg of Fleetwood Mac’s 2019 tour.
Steph Harmon / The Guardian (UK) / Friday, August 16, 2019
The soundtrack of my youth was eclectic. Seattle grunge bands. Alan Parsons Project. Chemical Brothers. Tchaikovsky. Spice Girls. The Doors. Radiohead.
But it was my dad who introduced and captivated my ears with the signature sounds of the 60s and 70s. The Beatles. Pink Floyd. America. Simon and Garfunkel. And of course Fleetwood Mac.
It was Perth in the 80s. Dad would hit the road in our orange Datsun 180B, cassette tape playing, as we set off on the de rigueur summer holiday down south.
I sat squished between my siblings. A towel splayed across the back seat, protecting the backs of our legs from third degree burns threatening to percolate from the vinyl seats on a scorcher.
A lot has changed over the decades, including for the legendary Fleetwood Mac who kicked off the Australian leg of their tour at RAC Arena on Friday night.
The Grammy award-winning band has sustained more melodrama than an episode of The Bachelor over the past 52 years.
Most recently the unceremonious dumping of guitarist Lindsey Buckingham who reportedly reignited his feud with ex-lover Stevie Nicks on the eve of their world tour.
Enter the new line-up of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Nicks, and Christine McVie, along with newcomers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and adopted Aussie Neil Finn of Crowded House fame.
Fleetwood Mac kicked off their Perth gig with “The Chain” released on their critically acclaimed, best-selling album Rumours. It was followed by hits “Little Lies” and “Dreams” before Finn took the lead vocals on “Second Hand News.”
Say You Love Me was followed up with Black Magic Woman. It seemed apt with Nicks dressed head-to-toe in black, long blonde locks flowing over a shawl, working the stage like a mythical occult leader.
“Everywhere” was followed by the Finn-fronted Spit Enz hit, “I Got You.”
Finn appears a left-field choice. An unlikely coupling, but a match made in heaven. Like a great Kiwi pinot with a hunk of nutty gruyere.
Mike Fleetwood said the group has always been about an amazing collection of songs performed with a unique blend of talents. And the chemistry with Campbell and Finn really works, It’s something new, yet it’s got the unmistakable Mac sound.
“Rhiannon” drew huge cheers from the crowd, but “World Turning” didn’t appear to be a fan favourite with a mini exodus for the bar.
The nostalgic swaying started when “Gypsy” played and was followed by “Oh Well” recorded by the band in 1969.
With Fleetwood Mac 63 shows into their world tour the fatigue was at times palpable notably from Christine McVie and Nicks. But then these seasoned rockers are no spring chickens with most of the band firmly in septuagenarian territory.
With a little help from Nicks, Finn dug out the Crowded House anthem “Don’t Dream It’s Over” prompting a sea of mobiles to come out in a flickering tribute to one of our nation’s favourite songs. Nicks told the crowd that a “magnificent” song like this comes along once in a million years.
While “Go Your Own Way” is rapidly becoming a licensing tragedy courtesy of an overplayed car commercial, the rousing rendition delivered a standing ovation.
The night took a sombre turn as a slideshow of the late Tom Petty played on the screens while the band played “Free Fallin’.”
The night was nearly over but it couldn’t end without an encore. It was time for “Don’t Stop.”
As the haunting guitar-based instrumental “Albatross” filled the Arena, concertgoers took their cue and flocked to the exits. A wave of nostalgia washed over me and I couldn’t help wishfully thinking it seemed only natural that Crowded House should reunite for a tour. It’s been too long.
Fleetwood Mac will perform their second Perth show tonight, Sunday, August 11.
Sarah Brookes / Western Suburbs Weekly / Sunday, August 11, 2019
If Lindsey Buckingham must be replaced, best to do it with the likes of Neil Finn and Mike Campbell. In the legendary band’s latest incarnation, the magic of the music lives on
**** (4 out of 5 stars)
Fleetwood Mac at RAC Arena, August 2019
RAC Arena, Perth
The tracklist featured highlights from the band’s long career – with nods to Crowded House and the Heartbreakers too. Photograph: Duncan Barnes
Fleetwood Mac are a lore unto themselves. While the Rumours-era line-up holds the romance (mostly broken) for the majority of its fandom, it is the 11th line-up in a total of 19. This is a band who, aside from the rock-solid rhythm section footing of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, has weathered more life and loss than most. Anyone else, no matter how famous or beloved, has come and gone … some returning, and then going again.
So despite the uproar that followed the 2018 announcement that Lindsey Buckingham had been let go, it was, in the context of history, less of an anomaly and more a case of showbusiness-as-usual. The regard held for new members Neil Finn and Mike Campbell is clear and present all evening on the opening night of the band’s Australian tour – from the sentiments offered from the stage by Fleetwood, vocalist Stevie Nicks and vocalist/pianist Christine McVie, to the time given to showcase the talent of the new breed.
Mick Fleetwood walks out onstage first to a legion of cheers, promptly applauding the crowd before his bass drum brings in “The Chain” and his bandmates take the stage. It’s spine-tingling from the get-go; Stevie Nicks is reassuringly draped in black with sleeves, long lace, braids and beads on her microphone stand and arms, while John McVie’s classic bass intro to the song’s outro is just well, classic. Notably, Neil Finn on guitar/vocals is immediately a strong presence as is former Heartbreaker Mike Campbell, who owns the lead break.
“Welcome Perth. We’ve done 62 shows in the US and Europe and this is show 63,” Nicks says by way of greeting. The singing icon sounds worryingly hoarse, but her voice warms to the occasion within a few songs.
Stevie Nicks and Neil Finn Crowded House’s Neil Finn looks ‘like a kid who cannot believe his luck’. Photograph: Duncan Barnes
Christine McVie’s “Little Lies” raises spirits and hands, and “Dreams” is suitably dreamy: Nicks’ voice folds warmly into it, her hands exuberantly working a tambourine. A huge chandelier hangs from above, its grandeur complemented by video screens switching from noir-framed mansion staircases to sunny Californian coastlines in washed-out ‘70s colour.
Fleetwood Mac, as such, are augmented by keyboardist Ricky Peterson, guitarist Neale Heywood, percussionist Taku Hirano and backing vocalists Marilyn Martin and Sharon Celani, though everyone is working up a storm onstage. Second Hand News finds Finn on lead vocal, turning slightly sideways to face Nicks as they sing, similar to the time-honoured manner she did with Buckingham.
“Say You Love Me” brings the smiles, but when Nicks introduces Black Magic Woman claiming that she initially thought it was by another big band (that’s Santana, by the way), she takes band-founder Peter Green’s vocal and sings it “from the eyes of a woman and here she comes now”. The song becomes an extended blues jam, all personnel shining, all giving each other perfect space.
“Okay now for a complete contrast,” says Christine McVie, as the pop feel of “Everywhere” is followed by the Finn-fronted Split Enz hit, I Got You. The contrast continues with “Rhiannon” immediately bringing the crowd to its feet. There’s tingles aplenty as the older voice gives new weight to this dark, Welsh tale and Nicks receives absolute applause for her signature song.
Live set mainstay, “World Turning,” is led vocally by Finn and McVie but remains Fleetwood’s showcase, from the video montage of the man through the years to his wild, lively call-and-response drum solo, which features master percussionist Hirano. He soon comes to the front of the stage armed with his beloved African talking drum, shouting joy at the crowd before the band closes the song, and Fleetwood delivers some loving band introductions, notably for Campbell and Finn, the latter’s name almost bringing down the roof. McVie is described as “the songbird”, Nicks the “eternal romantic” and lastly, bassist John McVie as being “always on my right-hand-side, no doubt the backbone of Fleetwood Mac”.
Nicks’ eternal romance is showcased in “Gypsy” and “Landslide,” though those two songs are split by Campbell fronting a mean and dirty run through Peter’s Green’s “Oh Well”: all riffage and world-weary with angry-young-man attitude.
From rock to jewel, Fleetwood gives a heartfelt introduction to Finn’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”. The Crowded House staple is delivered with expected tender gusto from Finn, but as Nicks takes the lead on the final verse it steps into a previously unexpected dimension. “A song like that comes along once on a million years,” she says at the end. “It’s magnificent.”
In 1982, “Hold Me” – from the band’s album Mirage – was quite the hit single, but over the years seems largely forgotten in the haze of decades of multi-platinum success. Tonight it returns, a compelling soft-rocker that allows each member to shine. It’s followed by Christine McVie’s Rumours-era track “You Make Loving Fun,” about the man she left John McVie for in 1977. One wonders what he makes of it all, playing this irresistibly giddy love song every night on tour.
From Rumours’ happiest moment to perhaps its most ominous, “Gold Dust Woman” find Nicks in a golden shawl, delivering a trademark dark Hollywood Hills evocation. It’s a bravura performance that inspires a fair few arms-undulating “Stevies” in the audience, too.
“Go Your Own Way” provides a majestic and rousing end to the main set, with Finn – having completed a winning lead vocal – ending the song on the drum riser, eye-to-eye with Fleetwood, looking for all the world like a kid who cannot believe his luck.
Campbell, meanwhile, continues to bring a raw swagger to the lead breaks. With a slideshow of the late Tom Petty through the decades showing on the screens, the man’s sterling single “Free Falling” features Nicks on lead vocals. The whole thing is just poignancy personified, and there’s eyes out there just bursting to water.
“Yesterday’s gone,” as the final song for the night, “Don’t Stop,” accurately reminds us. Buckingham’s gone too, and while his name is not uttered from the stage, his mark is still there. If an icon must be replaced, best do it with those who have excelled in their own 40-plus year careers. This is yet another worthy incarnation of the band called Fleetwood Mac, and as the members – older and newer – sauntered offstage it was a rather emotional Fleetwood who farewelled the full-house with the words, “be kind to one another. We love you so much”.
The saga that continues to be Fleetwood Mac suggests that kindness may have taken a backseat on occasion, as it does for us all. However as the Peter Green-penned instrumental Albatross echoes across the arena upon exit, it’s another reminder that what truly remains is the music: from all of those Fleetwood Mac members, and for all of us.
Fleetwood Mac’s Australian tour continues through August and September, before the band head to New Zealand on September 14
Bob Gordon / The Guardian (Australia) / Friday, August 9, 2019
Fleetwood McDonalds workers meet Fleetwood Mac after Stevie Nicks campaign goes viral
Crew members at a McDonalds in Fleetwood have met Fleetwood Mac, after thousands of Facebook users joined a campaign calling for singer Stevie Nicks to work a shift at their restaurant.
The event on Facebook by ‘Be Reet’ called upon the legendary singer to head to the Lancashire branch of the fast food chain, which is almost the namesake of her iconic band.
While the petition prompted 20,000 signatures, it was the band who instead invited the McDonalds workers to attend their sold out show at Wembley Stadium last night (June 18).
A photo taken backstage (see above) shows the crew hanging out with the likes of Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, John McVie, Christine McVie and the rest of the band, before being given the chance to watch them from the side of the stage.
“It was a fantastic evening seeing Fleetwood Mac live and to have the opportunity to share the experience with some of the Fleetwood team,” Nigel Dunnington, the franchisee of Fleetwood McDonald’. “I’m still amazed the band got in touch – we’re lucky our restaurant shares a name with such an iconic band.
“Going down to the concert has been an incredible way to recognise some of our amazing employees. And, if Fleetwood Mac ever find themselves in the Fleetwood area, we’d love to return the favour and invite them back.”
Chelsea, a crew member at the restaurant, added: “I can’t believe we met Fleetwood Mac before they performed tonight. We listen to their songs all the time but nothing beats seeing them live – it’s been incredible!”
“After ‘Fleetwood Macs’ met Fleetwood Mac, the restaurant team left the stage wings and enjoyed a night of live entertainment. Needless to say, they were lovin’ it.”
Meanwhile, it was recently rumoured that Fleetwood Mac could be set to headline Glastonbury 2020.
As the backbone of rock legends Fleetwood Mac for more than 50 years, Mick Fleetwood has enjoyed more debauchery, hard living than just about anyone else.
Now 71, he became renowned as one of the wildest men in music, and in an exclusive interview during Fleetwood Mac’s world tour he even confirms a long-standing tale about a seven-mile line of cocaine.
Chatting in a dressing room, where his only indulgence is a glass of red wine, drummer Mick says: “We could sit here and I go into some war story about snorting seven miles of cocaine.
“I guess we figured we did X amount a day, and then some goofball got out a calculator and came up with that seven miles figure and said, ‘Isn’t that funny?’ And it sort of is. But not in the context of where I want to end up.
“There was never a conscious decision on my part to stop that lifestyle. I think it naturally just drifted away.
“I speak for myself, although Stevie (Nicks) has been outspoken about some of the choices she made too.
“It came to an end, thankfully. Because, God forbid, it could easily have ended the really bad way — for sure, that could have happened. In some ways I’m happy I got through it and didn’t bite the big bullet. But I just had a profound awareness and a realisation that enough is enough.”
Larger than life, both in personality and physically, 6ft 5in Mick laughs as he recalls the tale about coke — known as gak — that was first made by a former sound engineer. But he adds: “I’m conscious that I want to speak appropriately about this. Because the romance of those war stories can adulate something which is not a good idea.
“The truth is the truth. But in many ways we shared too much information. Looking back, I can see an element of responsibility which I now regret not seeing before.”
The band’s world tour arrived in London last night, as they performed to a capacity 90,000 crowd at Wembley Stadium, with a second date tomorrow before they head to Australia, having already crossed much of North America.
The gigs pack in decades of hits and have received rave reviews for a band that is renowned for its ability to reinvent itself after a string of line-up changes sparked by internal feuding.
But as Mick Fleetwood admits, the acrimonious exit of guitarist Lindsey Buckingham 18 months ago after he refused to go on tour could have marked the end of one of rock’s great names. Instead he was replaced by two newcomers — Neil Finn of Crowded House and guitar virtuoso Mike Campbell.
I don’t think there will be a point where the band’s former members all end up back in a good place together.
Mick says: “Lindsey’s departure was traumatic and a major change for the band, but we decided we wanted to carry on. We made the decision together. Of course, we could have just stopped and it probably would have been an easy point to stop, but we definitely didn’t want to.
“Lindsey left fairly acrimoniously and we weren’t getting on well any more, and yes, it is a happier ship to be on. We have two new people in the band who have been hugely accepted and welcomed, but in many ways it does amaze me that we are still here all these years later, after all of the ups and downs.
“Me and John (McVie) sometimes talk about it — we look around and say, ‘How did that all happen?’”
Mick confirms to me bluntly that he has not spoken to Lindsey since their bust-up, and adds: “I don’t think there will be a point where the band’s former members all end up back in a good place together.
“If you’d asked me that years ago I would have said so, being the old dreamer that I tend to be.
“But now I just accept things how they are, and try to be civil and open. All of these lovely people have put their hearts and souls into Fleetwood Mac, and the franchise should absolutely honour those people in every way, and it does.
“The music comes back to haunt everyone afterwards anyway — and usually that wins out in the end.”
He continues: “There’s no doubt those were hard-lived days. For a while within Fleetwood Mac there were romances and that lifestyle you mention and the other stuff got forgotten — and we really asked for that trouble.
“We were too open about who we were and what we were doing — probably very naïve.
“All anyone ever asked about was ‘Who is sleeping with who?’ or ‘Who is angry with who?’ And you start to feel it’s a shame.
“Now they intelligently talk about what we did musically. That’s import- ant to us. We never wanted to make fools of ourselves too many times.”
Today Mick accepts the band will not last for ever and says: “We’ve had a hell of a ride and we continue to, it’s amazing, really. We know that there’s an end in sight.
“People ask, ‘When are you going to hang it up?’ I’m asked, ‘Why are you still doing this? Need the money?’
“But imagine asking Paul McCartney or Elton John, the Rolling Stones — hugely iconic people, and you know they don’t need the money. It’s simply a case of that’s what they do.
“And this is simply what we do. It’s a huge privilege — and it isn’t really any more complicated than that.”
Musician alleges breach of fiduciary duty and breach of oral contract, among other charges, after firing earlier this year
Lindsey Buckingham has filed a lawsuit against Fleetwood Mac for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of oral contract and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, among other charges, according to legal documents obtained by Rolling Stone. The group parted ways with Buckingham in January and replaced him with Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Neil Finn of Crowded House. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, states that he asked the group to postpone their tour three months so he could play shows with his solo band. He says plans were in place for the Rumours-era lineup to play 60 shows across North America when he was let go without warning.
“This action is necessary to enforce Buckingham’s right to share in the economic opportunities he is entitled to as a member of the partnership created to operate the business of Fleetwood Mac,” the complaint states.
The complaint offers a detailed look at the buildup to Buckingham’s departure from the band, going back to late 2017 when the group began plotting a 2018/19 world tour. It claims that Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Christine McVie wanted it to begin in August of this year, but Buckingham wanted it to start in November so he could tour behind his new solo release. When the others refused to delay the plans, the suit claims, he reluctantly agreed to postpone his album for a year to accommodate their wishes.
The suit alleges that a deal was made with Live Nation that would earn each member of the group an estimated $12 million to $14 million for 60 concerts. When Buckingham learned the group only wanted to play three shows a week, he asked permission to book his own shows during off-days. The band played the MusiCares benefit on January 26th, 2018 and two days later Buckingham learned they were carrying on without him.
“By excluding Buckingham from participating in the 2018-2019 Fleetwood Mac tour in breach of their fiduciary duties of loyalty and good faith and fair dealing,” reads the complaint, “the Defendants intentionally acted to interfere with Buckingham’s relationship with Live Nation and the prospective economic benefit he was to receive as a result of his participation in the tour.”
The complaint also states that “there has never been a written agreement among Christine McVie, John McVie, Buckingham, Fleetwood and Nicks,” but California’s Uniform Partnership Act of 1994 says that “absent a written partnership agreement, no partner in Fleetwood Mac may be terminated from the Partnership without cause.”
It ends with a copy of an e-mail that Buckingham sent to Mick Fleetwood on February 28th of this year where he tried to hash things out. “In the month since MusiCares I’ve tried to speak to both you and Stevie, to no avail,” he wrote. “I’ve only gotten radio silence this whole time. I haven’t tried Chris as I thought she might be feeling a bit fragile. I even e-mailed John, who responded that he couldn’t have contact with me … All of this breaks my heart.
“After 43 years and the finish line so clearly in sight, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that for the five of us to splinter apart now would be the wrong thing,” Buckingham added in the e-mail. “At the moment, the band’s heart and soul has been diminished. But our center, which had seen us through so much, is only laying dormant.”
“Last January, Fleetwood Mac made the decision to continue to tour without me,” Buckingham said in a statement to Rolling Stone regarding the suit. “I remain deeply surprised and saddened, as this decision ends the beautiful 43-year legacy we built together. Over the last eight months, our many efforts to come to an agreement have unfortunately proved elusive. I’m looking forward to closure, and will always remain proud of all that we created, and what that legacy represents.”
A spokesperson for Fleetwood Mac provided Rolling Stone with a statement on the lawsuit: “It’s impossible for the band to offer comment on a legal complaint they have not seen. It’s fairly standard legal procedure to service the complaint to the parties involved, something that neither Mr. Buckingham nor his legal counsel have done. Which makes one wonder what the true motivations are when servicing press first with a legal complaint before the parties in dispute.”
Buckingham left Fleetwood Mac for the first time in 1987 shortly after the release of their hit album Tango in the Night, but rejoined in 1996 along with the rest of the Rumours-era lineup for the lucrative Dance reunion album and tour. He remained in the lineup over the next two decades, though old tensions remained, especially in the past few years when Nicks refused to record a new album with the band.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to spend a year and an amazing amount of money on a record that, even if it has great things, isn’t going to sell,” Nicks told Rolling Stone last year. “What we do is go on the road, do a ton of shows and make lots of money. We have a lot of fun. Making a record isn’t all that much fun.”
Buckingham had a very different read on the situation and wanted the band to be an ongoing creative unit. In 2012, he attempted to rally the group to record a new album, but was unable to get anything more than a four-song EP. “Stevie wasn’t really into doing it,” he told Rolling Stone. “She wasn’t into it at all. But I went ahead and got John [McVie] and Mick [Fleetwood] over from Hawaii and we cut eight new songs of mine. All of them were done in the proper key for Stevie’s voice, if she were to sing the songs …That didn’t happen. I really just think she didn’t want to do an album.”
The group toured in 2013 and again the following year when Christine McVie returned to the band after a two-decade break, but things grew tense when they began plotting out another tour for this year. “We were supposed to go into rehearsal in June and he wanted to put it off until next November,” Nicks told Rolling Stone in April. “That’s a long time. I just did 70 shows [on a solo tour]. As soon as I finish one thing, I dive back into another. Why would we stop? We don’t want to stop playing music. We don’t have anything else to do. This is what we do.”
The group then recruited Campbell and Finn into the lineup to take his place. Despite that, they were unwilling to say that Buckingham was fired. “Words like ‘fired’ are ugly references as far as I’m concerned,” Fleetwood told Rolling Stone in April. “Not to hedge around, but we arrived at the impasse of hitting a brick wall. This was not a happy situation for us in terms of the logistics of a functioning band. To that purpose, we made a decision that we could not go on with him. Majority rules in term of what we need to do as a band and go forward.”
Earlier this month, Buckingham broke his silence about the situation in an interview with Rolling Stone’s David Fricke. In his telling, he learned he was leaving the band on January 28th when Irving Azoff, the group’s manager, called him while he was watching the Grammys. Two days earlier, Fleetwood Mac played the MusiCares benefit show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. According to Azoff, Nicks was angry that Buckingham smirked while she delivered a speech at the event. She was also upset over his angry reaction to the decision to play a recording of “Rhiannon” while they took the stage. “Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again,” Buckingham said Azoff told him.
The guitarist thought that meant that Nicks was leaving the band. It was only a few days later when nobody in the band would return his e-mails that he feared something else was going on. He phoned up Azoff and learned that he was “getting ousted” from the band and they were going to carry on without him. “I don’t think there was ever anything that was just cause to be fired,” he says. “We have all done things that were not constructive. All of us have worn on each other’s psyches at times. That’s the history of the group.”
UPDATE (10/12): “Fleetwood Mac strongly disputes the allegations presented in Mr. Buckingham’s complaint and looks forward to their day in court,” a rep for the band said Friday. “The band has retained Dan Petrocelli to handle the case.” Petrocelli, a Los Angeles attorney, had previously represented the Eagles’ Don Henley and Glenn Frey in their lawsuit against Don Felder, who was fired from the band in 2001.
Andy Greene / Rolling Stone / Friday, October 12, 2018
The singer-guitarist on his new anthology, solo tour and getting fired from the band he helped make famous.
Lindsey Buckingham and his wife, Kristen, were at home in Los Angeles on January 28th, watching the Grammy Awards ceremony on television, when the phone rang. Fleetwood Mac’s manager Irving Azoff was calling with a message for Buckingham from Stevie Nicks. The gist of it, Buckingham says, quoting Azoff: “Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again.”
Two nights earlier, the most popular and enduring lineup of Fleetwood Mac — Nicks, Buckingham, singer-keyboard player Christine McVie, bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood — performed in New York at a MusiCares benefit show honoring the group. “We rehearsed for two days, and everything was great,” Buckingham claims. “We were getting along great.”
But on the phone, Azoff had a list of things that, as Buckingham puts it, “Stevie took issue with” that evening, including the guitarist’s outburst just before the band’s set over the intro music — the studio recording of Nicks’ “Rhiannon” — and the way he “smirked” during Nicks’ thank-you speech. Buckingham concedes the first point. “It wasn’t about it being ‘Rhiannon,’ ” he says. “It just undermined the impact of our entrance. That’s me being very specific about the right and wrong way to do something.”
As for smirking, “The irony is that we have this standing joke that Stevie, when she talks, goes on a long time,” Buckingham says. “I may or may not have smirked. But I look over and Christine and Mick are doing the waltz behind her as a joke.”
At the end of that call, Buckingham assumed Nicks was quitting Fleetwood Mac. He wrote an e-mail to Fleetwood assuring the drummer that the group could continue. There was no reply. A couple of days later, Buckingham says, “I called Irving and said, ‘This feels funny. Is Stevie leaving the band, or am I getting kicked out?’ ” Azoff told the guitarist he was “getting ousted” and that Nicks gave the rest of the band “an ultimatum: Either you go or she’s gonna go.”
Asked if those were Azoff’s exact words, Buckingham responds, “Pretty much. I don’t remember his exact words, but that was the message.” In April, Fleetwood Mac announced a major North American tour with two new guitarists: Neil Finn, formerly of Crowded House, and Mike Campbell, from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Azoff and the other members of Fleetwood Mac declined to comment for this story on Buckingham’s account of his dismissal. But in April, Fleetwood — who co-founded the group in 1967 with original guitarist Peter Green — told Rolling Stone that the band hit an “impasse” with Buckingham. “This was not a happy situation for us in terms of the logistics of a functioning band.” The drummer did not elaborate but said, “We made a decision that we could not go on with him.”
Nicks — Buckingham’s romantic and musical partner when the two joined the Mac in 1975 — cited a disagreement over tour plans, saying Buckingham wanted too much time off for solo work. But, she added, “Our relationship has always been volatile. We were never married, but we might as well have been. Some couples get divorced after 40 years. They break their kids’ hearts and destroy everyone around them because it’s just hard.”
Buckingham confirms that, at a band meeting in late 2017 — shortly after a series of shows with McVie to promote their project, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie — he asked for “three or four months extra” to do solo dates. There was “stonewalling,” he claims. “I left the meeting because there was nothing else to talk about.”
But he insists that Fleetwood Mac always “came first. And I don’t think there was ever anything that was just cause to be fired. We have all done things that were not constructive. All of us have worn on each other’s psyches at times. That’s the history of the group.”
It is a warm late-summer morning, and Buckingham, who turned 69 on October 3rd, is sitting on the patio behind his house in a hilly neighborhood in West Los Angeles, giving his version — on the record for the first time — of his exit from Fleetwood Mac. Later in the day, he will rehearse with his own band for a fall tour to promote Solo Anthology: The Best of Lindsey Buckingham, a compilation drawn from records he has made outside the Mac since the early Eighties. The guitarist had completed a new solo album, tentatively called Blue Light, when he was cut loose. It will come out next year.
“Am I heartbroken about not doing another tour with Fleetwood Mac? No,” Buckingham says, “because I can see that there are many other areas to look into.” But, he goes on, “The one thing that does bother me and breaks my heart is we spent 43 years always finding a way to rise above our personal differences and our difficulties to pursue and articulate a higher truth. That is our legacy. That is what the songs are about. This is not the way you end something like this.”
Buckingham says he tried to contact Nicks, without success. On February 28th, a month after first writing to Fleetwood, Buckingham sent the drummer another e-mail expressing those sentiments and his frustration with the band’s “radio silence.” There was no response. Since their last show together, at MusiCares, Buckingham has not spoken to any of his former bandmates.
On September 5th, Fleetwood Mac’s new lineup made its television debut on Ellen. Buckingham did not watch it. His wife did. “I was just sad,” Kristen says. “I was thinking, ‘How did they get here?’ ” Kristen and Lindsey met in 1996, not long before the guitarist — who quit Fleetwood Mac in 1987 — rejoined, leading to the 1997 live reunion album, The Dance. “Even though we didn’t see them very often,” Kristen says of the other members, “it was still a family of sorts.” The Buckinghams’ three children “called them aunts and uncles.”
It is still a small world. But it has become awkward. The husband of Lindsey’s niece is a drum technician on Fleetwood Mac’s road crew. Buckingham’s advice to him: “Mick is still a great guy. Don’t be anything other than a centered, grounded person for him. Do your job well.” Also, John McVie and the Buckinghams are neighbors. The bassist’s home is “literally 300 yards from here,” the guitarist says, pointing through his house to the other side of the street.
Kristen recently ran into John’s wife, Julie, at a local nail salon. “My heart sank a bit,” Kristen says. “She said hello. I asked about her daughter — it was neutral ground.” But when Julie mentioned the tour, “She must have seen my face: ‘Oh, how is Lindsey doing?’ I didn’t want to sugarcoat it. I just said, ‘You know, not great.’ ”
“I had a visceral reaction to it for a long time,” Buckingham says, “completely hurt. I’d be fine for a while, and then it would come back.” He was also “disappointed” in what he calls “the disproportion in what happened and anything you can put on me in terms of behavior and the scale of what went on.”
Buckingham is not the first member of Fleetwood Mac to be fired. Guitarist Danny Kirwan was canned by Fleetwood in 1972 for alcoholism and violent behavior. (Kirwan died in June.) In 1973, singer Bob Weston got his pink slip after he had an affair with Fleetwood’s then-wife. Buckingham, in turn, has a long-standing reputation as a hard case, uncompromising and quick to ignite. He took over Fleetwood Mac’s musical direction after the megaplatinum sales of the group’s 1977 album, Rumours, pushing for the New Wave risk of 1979’s Tusk. After that record’s muted success, the guitarist made his first solo album, 1981’s Law and Order, because, he says, “I was pissed off” at what he saw as the band’s creative retreat. “Was I biting the hand that fed me? Oh, yeah.”
Kristen acknowledges that Lindsey was “definitely edgier when I met him,” adding that marriage and fatherhood “softened” that. Still, she admits, “He’s always been a prickly guy. That’s the truth.”
Practicing for his solo tour at a studio in Burbank, Buckingham is relaxed and chatty as he runs down the opening numbers in a 23-song set list with two members of his band, keyboard player Brett Tuggle and bassist Federico Pol. (Drummer Jimmy Paxson will arrive in a few days.) Buckingham is also focused on the details in the music, singing with his eyes shut tight in concentration and looking intently at his guitar as he picks the Bach-like introduction of “Don’t Look Down,” from 1992’s Out of the Cradle.
Buckingham is literally a solo artist in that he records mostly at home, singing and playing virtually all of the parts, and he is an obvious perfectionist in rehearsal as he stops songs to resolve the timing of a part or the volume in his monitors. It is easy to see how, in a historically dysfunctional setting like Fleetwood Mac, that kind of intensity could spill over into dissension and stalemate.
Ironically, when Buckingham starts his solo tour in early October, in Portland, Oregon, it is within days of the new Fleetwood Mac’s opening night, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The latter are playing arenas into next spring. Buckingham is appearing in theaters such as New York’s Town Hall. “That’s the story of my solo work: You lose nine-tenths of the listeners,” Buckingham concedes. The set list he rehearses in Burbank includes songs that he could be playing with Fleetwood Mac right now: “Big Love,” “Tusk,” “Go Your Own Way.” But the encores are from solo albums. One, from 2008’s Gift of Screws, is called “Treason.”
“It is not my place or intent to open that door,” Buckingham says of his former band. “I’ve done my best to reach out to them.” He has not “technically closed the book on anything. Nor would I. But I am not planning that anything will change from what it is now.”
Buckingham knows there will be moments on his solo tour, backstage, when well-meaning fans will hand him a copy of Rumours to sign. And “that’s OK,” he says. “Somebody handing me Rumours has no effect on anything more than it ever would have. It is just an affirmation that we’ve done our job right.”
Live Review: Fleetwood Mac Revisit History and Try to Move On at Chicago’s United Center (10/6)
Neil Finn and Mike Campbell work hard to replace the magic of Lindsey Buckingham
Return of the Mac? Earlier this year, longtime singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter Lindsey Buckingham was fired from Fleetwood Mac — or rather “let go,” if we want to be cordial. “Words like ‘fired’ are ugly references as far as I’m concerned,” drummer Mick Fleetwood told Rolling Stone of the departure. “Not to hedge around, but we arrived at the impasse of hitting a brick wall.”
In the same interview, singer, songwriter, and tambourine maestro Stevie Nicks cleared things up, saying: “We were supposed to go into rehearsal in June and he wanted to put it off until November . That’s a long time. I just did 70 shows [on a solo tour]. As soon as I finish one thing, I dive back into another. Why would we stop? We don’t want to stop playing music. We don’t have anything else to do. This is what we do.”
And so, the official story is that Buckingham wanted to chill, they wanted to go, but then you hear Buckingham’s side of the story: “I think what you would say is that there were factions within the band that had lost their perspective. The point is that they’d lost their perspective. What that did was to harm – and this is the only thing I’m really sad about, the rest of it becomes an opportunity – it harmed the 43-year legacy that we had worked so hard to build, and that legacy was really about rising above difficulties in order to fulfill one’s higher truth and one’s higher destiny.”
In other words, nothing has changed over the last 40 years with these folks.
It Takes Two: Well, that’s not exactly true. Some things have changed, particularly the addition of Crowded House frontman Neil Finn and former Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, who both get the rewarding journey of trying to make everyone forget about Buckingham. Not surprisingly, the rest of the band turned a cold shoulder on their old friend, partner, and lover, leaning curiously heavy on their salad days, as if to say, “Look, this band’s always been more than Lindsey,” which, look, they’re not wrong, but it also seems a tad convenient.
But convenience has been king in this situation for the band, as Fleetwood cheekily told Billboard: “It’s ironic that we have a 50-year package coming out with all the old blues stuff with Peter Green, all the incarnations of Fleetwood Mac, which was not of course planned. But that’s what we’re feeling, especially myself and [bassist] John [McVie], having been in Fleetwood Mac for 55 years. So it’s exciting, totally challenging in the whole creative part of it, and we’re really loving it.” It’s a nice coincidence that works wonders for the outfit right now.
Still, the addition of Finn and Campbell only stresses the impossibility of replacing Buckingham, seeing how it took two musicians to swap out one. Granted, Finn gets the job done (especially on the harmonies for hits like “The Chain” or “Go Your Own Way”), and you even get to hear him duet his band’s biggest hit (“Don’t Dream It’s Over”) with Nicks, but it’s impossible to buy any of the band’s theatricality, which has always been one of their on-stage trademarks. Even when they were phoning it in, you at least knew there was a history there.
Perhaps that’s why Campbell is the easiest new face to consider. Given his ties with the band, the legendary Heartbreaker actually makes sense, and there’s at least some narrative to be felt — even outside of the Mac. After all, here’s a guy who’s still reeling from the tragic passing of his brother-in-arms Tom Petty, and so, this gig actually winds up being the perfect opportunity for him to grieve the loss. Seeing him up there, bouncing around and adding a curveball to Buckingham’s signature riffs and scales was admittedly quite an enigmatic experience.
Though, when it came time to actually pay homage to Petty, the band more or less fumbled. Instead of covering “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” or “Insider” or “I Will Run To You” or any of the multiple Petty-Campbell-Nicks options out there, they stuck to the predictably simple sing-a-long of “Free Fallin’”. Sure, it was “nice” to hear Nicks take the reins on the legendary FM hit, but c’mon, this was a chance to dig deep and do something really special. Instead, it all felt so lazy, and it didn’t help that Getty-stamped photos were flashing in the background throughout the cover.
The True Mac Daddy: Nicks sounds straight off the vinyl. Fleetwood can bang a drum like he’s in his thirties. John McVie is still John McVie. Hell, we’ll even give a round of applause to Finn for giving the second-best Buckingham impersonation after Bill Hader. But, the true Mac Daddy of the night was Christine McVie. The band’s oft-forgotten vocalist and keyboardist has only been back with the gang for a little over four years, after retiring from the stage in 1998, and she proves on this tour why her loss is paramount.
Not only does she lead the group’s more accentuated hits — ahem, “Everywhere” and “Little Lies” — but she also oozes with character, opting to go off-script in ways that felt incredibly natural and jamming out like the biggest fan in the room. She also hardly took a break like, say, Nicks, who would vanish from time to time. (That’s no dig on Nicks; this writer would have passed out 15 minutes into the show.) No, McVie’s a trooper from beginning to end, and blame it on Buckingham’s absence, but her presence is far more defined on this go-around.
So much so that the entire set ends with an unlikely duet between McVie and Nicks on “All Over Again”, a deep cut off of 1995’s Time, the first album at the time not to feature Nicks since 1974’s Heroes Are Hard to Find. It’s a bold move by the band, given that it’s hardly an epic closer or anything, but it’s a smart move. Seeing the two of them setting aside their differences and sharing the spotlight felt like a proper moment to end on. If anything, it feels emblematic of a time when women have never been more united.
It was beautiful.
That One Song: It’s a tossup between “Little Lies” and “Rhiannon”. The former is one of those bops you tend to forget, only to hear again and say, “Oh my god, I love this fucking song,” while the latter is a legend in its own right. When Nicks began singing the mesmerizing ballad, which dates all the way back to 1975, she had the support of every single soul in the audience. Those who were leaving to get beer or hit the john quickly ran back to their seats. Those who were waiting to hear it all night bled their lungs out. Those who have loved this band forever and ever were in tears. It’s the song and always will be the song, and as long as Nicks is around, it’ll always be the song of the Mac.
Lindsey, Can You Ever Forgive Them?
Second Hand News (Neil Finn on lead vocals)
Say You Love Me
Black Magic Woman (Stevie Nicks on lead vocals)
I Got You (Split Enz cover)
Tell Me All the Things You Do (Neil Finn lead vocals)
World Turning (with drum interlude by Mick Fleetwood)
Hypnotized (Neil Finn lead vocals)
Oh Well (Mike Campbell on lead vocals)
Don’t Dream It’s Over (Crowded House cover) (Neil Finn & Stevie Nicks on lead vocals)
Isn’t It Midnight
You Make Loving Fun
Gold Dust Woman
Go Your Own Way Encore:
Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty cover) (Stevie Nicks on lead vocals)
All Over Again
Michael Roffmanon / Consequence of Sound / October 08, 2018
United Center, Chicago
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Every instance when the current members of Fleetwood Mac chanted “chains keep us together” at the United Center on only the second night of a North American tour that stretches well into 2019, it seemed to be much more than a chance for the audience to sing-a-long to what’s become its standard opener “The Chain,” but rather an internal commitment that no matter the degree of drama transpires, at least some version of the band will always exist. For those who missed the latest soap opera episode of what could easily be dubbed “As Fleetwood Mac’s World Turns,” the core four of drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, vocalist/keyboardist Christine McVie and singer Stevie Nicks are continuing for the second time without Lindsey Buckingham, who’s been let go this round (and touring solo through the Athenaeum Theatre on October 17), but once again replaced by two players.
Chances are even those who weren’t keeping up with the saga could instantly recognize the fresh faces, Neil Finn (of Crowded House and Split Enz fame) and Mike Campbell (from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), who dived head first into the Fleetwood Mac fold, despite Buckingham’s integral contributions being noticeably absent and missed. Then again, this is an act that’s been through numerous editions and incarnations (including most recently Christine McVie’s temporary retirement with merely Nicks and Buckingham out front in the 2000s), so it really wasn’t that far of a stretch to accept, at least as far as the venue’s sold out status was concerned.
Shaking up the line-up was accompanied by the unexpected inclusion of several rarities in between the main classics for well over two hours, which between all the players collectively and individually, meant there were tons of choices. “Little Lies,” “Dreams,” “Say You Love Me,” “Everywhere” and “Rhiannon” were just a handful of the Stevie and Christine notables that came across as sweet as ever, bathed in a wall of harmonies that may have sounded a bit different than the original records given the adjusted configuration, but were nonetheless textbook Fleetwood Mac.
The new recruits also had many chances to make the acquaintance of longtime fans in this format, with Finn excelling on Split Enz’s “I Got You,” Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” in an enchanting duet with Nicks, plus the set list shockers “Tell Me All The Things You Do” and “Hypnotized” representing Danny Kirwan and Bob Welch’s contributions long before Fleetwood Mac made a commercial splash. Campbell gave listeners from the days of Peter Green and “Black Magic Woman” (resurrected earlier by Nicks) another bluesy surprise with the snarling “Oh Well,” while a tribute to his pal and former employer Tom Petty via “Free Fallin’” with Stevie singing earned a hefty appraisal.
Even with the front line’s massive appeal on their own, Fleetwood Mac mega-hits such as “Landslide,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Go Your Own Way” and “Don’t Stop” called to mind exactly how valuable the group’s extensive songbook has become well beyond its main run throughout 1970s and ‘80s, alongside the forgotten ‘90s cut “All Over Again” popping up unexpectedly as the debut duet between the ladies to neatly tie up the night’s theme. Now in operation for more than 50 years, it’s probably safe to say that no matter what goes down between personnel or who winds up making the final roster during any given season, these Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will likely “never break the chain” as they “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”
Andy Argyrakis / Illinois Entertainer / October 8, 2018
Lindsey Buckingham announces solo tour, which begins four days after Fleetwood Mac’s tour; first-ever solo anthology due in November.
The 40-plus-year saga of the Lindsey Buckingham–Stevie Nicks incarnation of Fleetwood Mac took another turn today, when Buckingham — who recently parted ways with the band — announced not just a three-disc compilation of his solo material but a tour to support it… which will begin four days after the Fleetwood Mac tour that he didn’t want to be on.
To be fair, according to Nicks, Buckingham said he didn’t want to be on the road for a year, and his tour lasts just two months (and in a deft bit of routing, does not visit any city at the same time as the Mac tour). Buckingham’s tour launches in Portland, OR on Oct. 7 and wraps in Pennsylvania on Dec. 9 (see the full dates below). Fleetwood Mac’s tour begins Oct. 3 in Oklahoma and is scheduled through April.
“This team wanted to get out on the road, and one of the members didn’t want to go out on the road for a year and we just couldn’t agree,” Nicks said in April. “And when you’re in a band it’s a team, I have a solo career and I love my solo career and I’m the boss. But I’m not the boss in this band.”
“It became just a huge impasse,” drummer and cofounder Mick Fleetwood said. “We hit a brick wall where we decided we had to part company.”
Buckingham’s Solo Anthology: The Best of Lindsey Buckingham will be released as a 3-disc set on CD and digital, along with a 6-LP vinyl release in November. Studio recordings, live cuts, and alternate versions of songs from solo albums and collaborative works will be featured, including soundtrack cuts from “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Time Bomb Town” from Back to the Future,” along with live versions of Mac’s “Tusk” and “Go Your Own Way,” as well as two brand new songs: “Hunger” and “Ride This Road” will debut.
Last summer he released a duet album and toured with Fleetwood Mac singer-keyboardist Christine McVie; the two also played a pair of festival dates with the band.
Tickets for the North American tour go on sale Saturday, Aug. 18. Every ticket purchased online includes a CD or digital copy of the single-disc version of the new Anthology.
US TOUR DATES:
Oct 07 – Revolution Hall – Portland, OR
Oct 09 – Palace of Fine Arts – San Francisco, CA
Oct 12 – Orpheum Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
Oct 13 – Spreckels Theatre – San Diego, CA
Oct 15 – Boulder Theater – Boulder, CO
Oct 17 – Athenaeum Theater – Chicago, IL
Oct 18 – Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead – Munhall, PA
Oct 19 – Warner Theater – Washington DC
Oct 21 – Knight Theater – Charlotte, NC
Oct 22 – The Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College – Wilmington, NC*
Oct 24 – Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater – Peachtree City, GA
Oct 26 – Capitol Theater – Clearwater, FL
Oct 27 – Knight Concert Hall – Miami, FL
Oct 28 – King Center for the Performing Arts – Melbourne, FL
Nov 05 – Paramount Theater – Austin, TX
Nov 06 – Majestic Theater – Dallas, TX
Nov 08 – Brady Theater – Tulsa, OK
Nov 09 – Riverwind Casino – Norman, OK
Nov 10 – Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts – Salina, KS
Nov 12 – Lyric Fine Arts Theatre – Birmingham, AL
Nov 13 – Walker Theatre – Chattanooga, TN
Nov 14 – Bijou Theatre – Knoxville, TN
Nov 16 – Centre in the Square – Kitchener, ON
Nov 17 – Michigan Theater – Ann Arbor, MI
Nov 26 – Palace Theatre – North Canton, OH
Nov 27 – Riviera Theatre – New Tonowanda, NY
Nov 29 – Garde Arts Center – New London, CT*
Nov 30 – Appell Center for the Performing Arts – York, PA
Dec 01 – Scottish Rite Auditorium – Collingswood, NJ
Dec 04 – Town Hall – New York City, NY
Dec 05 – The Wilbur Theatre – Boston, MA
Dec 06 – Paramount Hudson Valley Theater – Peekskill, NY
Dec 08 – Capitol Center – Concord, NH
Dec 09 – Sands Event Center – Bethlehem, PA
*These markets are not included in the Anthology ticket bundle promotion
Mick Fleetwood opens up about his rock photography, Fleetwood Mac’s tour without Lindsey Buckingham, and a new 50-year retrospective.
The 71-year-old rock drummer, who has been taking his own cameras out on the road with him since the early days of Fleetwood Mac, has always had an affinity for a great rock and roll shot. In order to share that with the public, he teamed up with the Morrison Hotel Gallery in 2016 to open a gallery space inside his Maui-based restaurant, Fleetwood’s General Store, which features a rotating array of fine art music photography.
On Saturday night (Aug. 4) in Los Angeles, Fleetwood — who is in town rehearsing for the upcoming Fleetwood Mac tour — popped by the Sunset Marquis Hotel in conjunction with the Morrison Hotel Gallery to showcase a selection of his favorite music shots, which included candid photos of the likes of Keith Richards, John Lee Hooker and bandmate Stevie Nicks.
Billboard caught up with Fleetwood on site to discuss his love of rock photography, his secret mission to infiltrate the stash of early Fleetwood Mac shots that McVie has been holding hostage and what he’s most looking forward to about his band’s upcoming tour.
We’re celebrating our sixth year with my Fleetwood’s, and in a restaurant that’s a lot. That’s another way to lose your hair but we’re part of the fabric there now, which is great. We opened up with the Morrison Hotel Gallery about two years ago and it’s been a huge success. Pattie Boyd, who was married to George Harrison and Eric [Clapton], did a little tour with Peter Blachley, one of the owners of the gallery. I met them in Australia years ago when Pattie was doing a show and I went to support. We were on the road and Christine, myself and John went to a gallery opening to support Stevie who was showing a Polaroid shot. She doesn’t really do that but Peter approached her and she said, “Okay. I’ll do it.” I met Peter again. We talked about one day doing something and then he came on holiday to our gallery. We had a regular gallery with open art at Fleetwood’s and I decided to go into partnership with Morrison Hotel Gallery. I said, “This is it.” For me, it’s a perfect fit. It makes a lot of sense because this is my world. We have a lot of fun. Whenever I’m at the restaurant, I pop down into the gallery and talk about some of the pieces that I know and introduce some of the people in the photographs that I was inspired by.
What is it about rock photography that speaks to you?
Photography-wise, I do bits and pieces on landscapes and stuff, which is what we used to have in the gallery. Am I a serious dude? No. I just have fun doing it. And then a guy who owned a gallery in Maui was like, “You should put some of these up. People would love to see them.” So that’s how it started, showing photos, and I have fun doing that. I have a reverence for great photography. But I don’t consider myself in that league.
John McVie, who is the bass player in Fleetwood Mac, is a really good photographer and he never did anything with it. It’s just like, “John, why don’t you show somewhere?” I don’t think he can be bartered. But I actually referenced him in terms of buying good cameras back in the day and learning a little bit about stuff. I was the annoying guy with the camera way back in the day when I first started touring with John. Everyone used to go “Ah! Here is the busy body with the camera. This joker. Get out of here.” But now they appreciate them. It’s like being in a family where you’re like, “Thank God dad forced us to take all those pictures.”
I have a lot of respect for these rock photographers. You realize that some of them were really led into the inner circles of some of these artists and bands. And you see how those photographs really capture the artist, the moment. You really have to give these people kudos. There is something about them as people that allowed this type of thing to happen and that doesn’t seemingly ever really get referenced.
Are the walls in your home covered with rock photography?
I have a very sweet and lovely home but my place hasn’t got much wall space — but I keep buying art. I go to my own gallery and I say, “Oh I want one of those.” I’ve got this whole load of photographs in storage. During this tour, I’m building a barn that is going to be a drum room and I have great aspirations for my overload of rock photography to be up on the wall there. And I will probably insist that John McVie gives me some of the shit he’s got on Fleetwood Mac.
What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming Fleetwood Mac tour?
We’re very excited. Obviously this is a huge change with the advent of Lindsey Buckingham not being a part of Fleetwood Mac. We all wish him well and all the rest of it. In truthful language, we just weren’t happy. And I’ll leave it at that in terms of the dynamic. And he’s going out on the road more or less the same time I think — not in the same places, I hope (laughs). So we’re with Mike Campbell from Tom Petty and Neil Finn from Crowded House — both really credible gentleman and really talented. We are a week into rehearsals and it’s going really well and we’re looking forward, in true Fleetwood Mac style. If you know anything about the history of this band, it’s sort of peppered with this type of dramatic stuff. It’s a strange band really. It’s ironic that we have a 50-year package coming out with all the old blues stuff with Peter Green, all the incarnations of Fleetwood Mac, which was not of course planned. But that’s what we’re feeling, especially myself and John, having been in Fleetwood Mac for 55 years. So it’s exciting, totally challenging in the whole creative part of it, and we’re really loving it. We’re just looking at a whole 18 months on-and-off of trekking around the world like we normally do and having it be fun.
While the news last month of Lindsey Buckingham’s departure from Fleetwood Mac (with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ veteran Mike Campbell and Split Enz/Crowded House’s Neil Finn taking Buckingham’s place) came as a shock to many Mac fans, this is hardly the group’s first major lineup switchup over the past half-century. Buckingham actually didn’t join Mac until 1974 (following the departure of co-founder Peter Green) and left the group once before, in the late ‘80s (he was replaced by Billy Burnette and Rick Vito at that time).
As drummer Mick Fleetwood the lineup’s one consistent member since the beginning, says, “If anyone out there has a sort of a track record of the history of this crazy band known as Fleetwood Mac, it is certainly peppered with changes through the years. … We’ve had probably four, five, six, seven major changes!”
Fleetwood is reluctant to go “into all of ups and downs and the details of where we ended up” with Buckingham this time around, but he gives “huge kudos and respect, forever and before and now and into the future, of what Lindsey Buckingham has always been within the ranks.” He also reveals that he and longtime bandmates Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie (who took a hiatus from the group from 1998-2013), and John McVie “thought very, very hard and long about going forward.”
In fact, they even considered not going forward at one point, but it didn’t take long before they realized they wanted to stick together.
“Well, it was a huddle, really. It was a team huddle of the existing band members to really not panic into anything, other than really following our hearts as to what this meant — which was huge, any which way you look at it,” Fleetwood muses. “And once we had galvanized that approach amongst the four remaining folks, the ladies and the guys in the band, we took the bull by the horns. It was really as simple as that. But it certainly took a real, meaningful breath. All of us, probably in our various ways, came to that decision that we want to, we need to, we feel good about it.
“And once we all felt that we really wanted to do that, it got hot and heavy as to how this is going to be really musically uplifting for the existing band — the band that we have now — and have it be believable for everyone out there that has been loyal and taken that journey with the crazy band Fleetwood Mac.”
The answer was to recruit Campbell — not a major surprise, considering his long history playing with Nicks — and, as more of a curveball, New Zealand singer-songwriter Finn. Fleetwood seems thrilled to be working with both “lovely gentlemen,” describing the new lineup’s dynamic as being “like a bunch of teenagers doing their thing, coming out of the garage.” He hints that Campbell and Finn’s respective catalogs will factor into the forthcoming Fleetwood Mac tour’s “huge” setlist (“their heritage and their background is going to be appropriately part of the show”), and he even says it’s likely that the Campbell/Finn collection will record new tunes together.
“I don’t think you can keep the horse in the trap, so to speak, when it comes to Christine and Stevie,” Fleetwood says of the possibility of new Mac music. “They’re still connected to everything about writing and having a whole new approach to it. Mike is hugely conversant with production and has written way more than I ever, ever knew. And he’s worked with Stevie, writing and producing and a lot of stuff that Stevie did through the years with Tom and of course the Heartbreakers. And Neil is a given; he’s just a hugely connected songwriter that really covers a huge gamut. … I truly believe that [new music] will happen. I’m hoping that we can throw out a couple of calling cards before we go out on the road. I’m not quite sure that we can apply ourselves to do that, but all of that is to look forward to. It’s hugely important, whichever way you look at it, for a band to remain being creative, not treading water.”
While Fleetwood is enthusiastic about his band’s future, he reveals that Mac’s tour, which officially kicks off Oct. 3 in Tulsa, Okla. (after the new lineup makes its live debut at Las Vegas’s iHeartRadio Festival in September) and will continue into 2019, will delve deep in the band’s archives — dating back to before the famous Buckingham/Nicks era. “We’re really looking forward to doing some spotted revisiting of some of the old blues-based, rock ‘n’ roll stuff we did back in the day,” he says, “like ‘Black Magic Woman’ and ‘Oh Well.’ And I think Stevie’s even threatening to sing ‘Black Magic Woman,’ which sounds more than exciting! … I think everything is just open, looking at what we’ve done since the beginning and no doubt touching on some of the blues stuff that Campbell, very specifically, is insisting that we do. And happily so.”
Fleetwood and his new and old bandmates are still hashing out the setlist (“We’re all exchanging lists, emailing madly backwards and forwards”), but regardless of which songs make the cut, the upcoming tour is bound to be a fascinating look at Fleetwood Mac’s complex and ever-evolving history. And it’s going to be a marathon event. “I was around Stevie’s house the other night with Campbell, and we quietly realized that we were heading towards a three-hour show! It was a sort of comedic moment,” Fleetwood chuckles, adding more seriously: “We’re looking forward to putting on an incredibly vibrant show that is truly groundbreaking, for us, and that’s about as good as it can get for a musician to be in that sort of noncomplacent place.”
Singer, songwriter and guitarist with Fleetwood Mac in the late 1960s and early 70s who brought great creativity to the band
Although he was only 18 when he joined Fleetwood Mac in 1968, Danny Kirwan, who has died aged 68, rapidly became a significant creative force within the group in their early years. It was the guitarist Peter Green who achieved enduring “guitar hero” status with the band, but Kirwan was also a fluent and accomplished player with a delicate touch, his playing particularly recognisable for its use of vibrato.
He was also a prolific songwriter whose compositions would help to move Fleetwood Mac away from their strictly blues roots towards the more melodic soft-rock that turned them into one of the world’s most successful acts.
Kirwan had been in the group for two months when he made his first recording with them, playing on their Green-composed single “Albatross,” a lilting instrumental assembled from contrasting guitar parts. It was an auspicious beginning, since this would be the band’s only UK No 1 hit. His first album with them, Then Play On (1969), contained seven of his songs, including the string-accompanied ballad “When You Say” among more conventionally bluesy material.
He had more writing credits on Kiln House (1970) – the group’s first album after the departure of Green – including the bouncy rocker “Tell Me All the Things You Do,” and he wrote the single “Dragonfly” (1970), with lyrics from a poem by WH Davies. Green considered “Dragonfly” to be the best song Kirwan ever wrote.
Future Games (1971) included the Kirwan-penned opening track “Woman of 1000 Years,” a piece of dreamy California-style psychedelia, and his proto-country rock effort Sometimes. Bare Trees (1972), the last Mac album Kirwan appeared on, featured five more of his songs, including the almost Eagles-like “Child of Mine” and the poignant soft-rock of “Dust” (the latter taking its lyrics from Rupert Brooke’s poem of the same name).
Kirwan can thus be seen as the missing link between the original Fleetwood Mac, planted squarely in the British blues boom, and the band’s megastar LA-based incarnation featuring Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham , when it would sell 40m copies of its 1977 album Rumours.
But Kirwan was unable to cash in on the band’s subsequent commercial bonanza. He had always been emotionally fragile, and Green recounted that Kirwan would often be in tears while he was playing. The strain of touring and performing drove him to drink and drugs, and he often neglected food altogether. He finally quit during a US tour in 1972, when he flew into a rage in the dressing room before one of the shows, smashed his Les Paul guitar and refused to take the stage with the rest of the band. Afterwards Mick Fleetwood told Kirwan he was out of the band.
Kirwan was born in Brixton, south London, though obscurity surrounds his upbringing. At 17 he was playing in a three-piece band called Boilerhouse, and after he persuaded Fleetwood Mac’s producer Mike Vernon to come and see them, Vernon recommended them to Green, who invited Boilerhouse to be the support band at Fleetwood Mac shows. Green had not been happy with his co-guitarist Jeremy Spencer and was looking for another guitar player, so Kirwan was invited aboard, joining the lineup in August 1968.
“I was lucky to have played for the band at all,” Kirwan told the Independent in a rare interview in 1993, after he had stepped out of the limelight. “I did it for about four years, to about 1972, but I couldn’t handle the lifestyle and the women and the travelling.” At this time he had been living in a St Mungo’s homeless hostel in central London, but had been tracked down by Fleetwood, who had last seen him in 1980.
After leaving Fleetwood Mac, Kirwan had put in a blink-and-you-missed-it stint with a band called Hungry Fighter, who played one solitary gig and made no recordings. He made three solo albums on the DJM label in the 1970s, Second Chapter (1975), Midnight in San Juan (1976) and Hello There Big Boy! (1979), but though the music was often melodic and attractive, Kirwan’s absence from live performance and lack of public visibility meant that the discs sold miserably and failed to chart.
He subsequently drifted away from music altogether, spending 10 years living rough and in a basement flat in Brixton, surviving on social security and royalty payments from his Fleetwood Mac work. In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Fleetwood Mac, but did not attend the ceremony.
He is survived by a son, Dominic, from his marriage to Clare Morris, which ended in divorce.
Daniel David Kirwan, guitarist, singer and songwriter, born 13 May 1950; died 8 June 2018
The band has parted ways with Lindsey Buckingham, but that isn’t stopping it from launching a huge tour this fall.
EARLY THIS SPRING, most of Fleetwood Mac – Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood – gathered at a theater on the Hawaiian island of Maui with their future in doubt. The band had secretly parted ways with Lindsey Buckingham, the voice and guitar behind many of its most enduring songs. According to the group, the split came down to a scheduling conflict surrounding an upcoming tour. “We were supposed to go into rehearsal in June, and he wanted to put it off until next November,” says Nicks. “That’s a long time. I just did 70 shows [on a solo tour]. As soon as I finish one thing, I dive back into another. Why would we stop? This is what we do.”
So the bandmates invited Mike Campbell, former guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Neil Finn, best known as the frontman of Eighties hitmakers Crowded House, to spend a few days workshopping songs and see if they could press forward without Buckingham. “I immediately felt like I’d known them for years,” says Christine McVie, “though we’d only just met.” The lineup will embark on a 52date tour beginning October 3rd in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that will run until mid-2019.
Buckingham’s ousting marks the latest messy chapter in the ongoing 50-year Fleetwood Mac drama – or, as drummer Fleetwood tells it, business as usual. When key early members like Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer left in the early 1970s, Fleetwood got on the phone and recruited new members. The group never stopped working, even when Nicks left in the early 1990s and a new lineup found itself opening for the likes of REO Speedwagon on the amphitheater circuit. “My instincts have always been to gravitate toward going forward,” Fleetwood says. “But I’d be lying if I didn’t literally say to myself, ‘This one needs a lot of thought.’ ” (Buckingham has not responded to interview requests.)
On February 1st, Fleetwood called Campbell, who was in Hawaii. It was the guitarist’s 68th birthday. “I was sitting by my pool contemplating my future without my partner [Petty], which was going to be a dark place,” he says. “I said, ‘Give me a day to think it over.’ The more I thought, the more I thought it could be great. Stevie and I have always been very creative together.” After getting Campbell’s commitment, Fleetwood called Finn, whom he played with at a 2016 fundraiser in New Zealand. “I was stunned,” Finn says. “I’m relishing this beautiful gift given to me.”
The new version of Fleetwood Mac soon starts two months of rehearsals. They’ve decided to draw from their entire catalog, not just the Buckingham-Nicks run from 1975 to 1987 that gave them nearly all of their hits. “We were never able to do that because certain people in the band weren’t interested,” says Nicks. “Now we can open the set.”
For Nicks, carrying on without Buckingham is bittersweet: “Our relationship has always been volatile. We were never married, but we might as well have been. Some couples get divorced after 40 years. They break their kids’ hearts. This is sad for me, but I want the next 10 years of my life to be really fun and happy. I want to get up every day and dance around my apartment and say, ‘Thank God for this amazing life.’ ”
PHOTO (COLOR): GO YOUR OWN WAY McVie, Finn, Fleetwood, Nicks, Campbell, McVie (Randee St. Nicholas)
Andy Greene / Rolling Stone / Thursday, May 17, 2018
Copyright of Rolling Stone is the property of Rolling Stone LLC
The latest, and possibly the last, in Rhino’s series of deluxe boxed Fleetwood Mac albums (they’re not really going to tackle Behind the Mask and Time, are they?) sits in a most peculiar position.
On the one hand, 1975’s eponymous LP features some of the band’s most beloved songs — “Rhiannon,” “Landslide,” “Crystal,” “World Turning”; three more sizeable radio hits — “Say You Love Me,” “Over My Head” and “Monday Morning”; and, of course, the most seismic new additions the group’s ever-changing lineup had seen, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.
On the other hand, however, Fleetwood Mac is so dwarfed by what came next, the mega-platinum double punch of Rumours and Tusk, that it is often… not overlooked, but certainly underrated. A fate which this box loudly declares to be utterly without merit.
The original album is problematic, it is true. The lineup was still finding its feet in the studio, still figuring out its capabilities. The songs which would probably have made it onto the record regardless of who the new kids might have been — McVie’s “Sugar Daddy,” “Over My Head” and “Warm Ways,” and Michael and Richard Curtis’s “Blue Letter” — could have been recorded just as successfully by at least the last couple of incarnations, while “Say You Love Me” escapes that definition only by virtue of a distinctly Buckingham-esque arrangement.
Sonically, too, it felt a little underwhelming, a bit too nice. A bit easy listening. Nothing like the aural feast that tears from the grooves of Rumours and beyond. Or maybe that’s just hindsight talking, because the first thing you notice this time around is, just how aggressive it can be.
Four discs (plus remastered vinyl of the original album) serve up Fleetwood Mac and four attendant single edits (disc one); early versions and a live appearance on the Warner Bros. sound stage (disc two); a compilation of tracks from the accompanying tour (disc three) and, finally, a 5.1 surround sound mix that brings a whole new ambiance into play.
Remixed, the album feels tougher, wilder. Buckingham’s guitar is seldom less than in-yer-face, while it feels as though the original mix was completely set aside, in favor of what the early versions and the live tracks reveal to have been the group’s natural sound.
Not every track has been re-envisioned, not every change is for the best — the added laughter and effects appended to “Sugar Daddy” do not raise the song above its customary mawkish demeanor, and the vocals on “I’m So Afraid” feel thinner than the song demands.
But “Over My Head” suddenly touches Tusk‘s “Warm Ways” in the quest for all-encompassing perfection; “Landslide” and “Crystal” feel more raw than ever; and “World Turning” is simply unhinged. Again, you catch hints of this in the alternate versions, and extensions of it in concert… the seven minute “Rhiannon,” taken from the Sound Stage tapes, is a tout-ensemble peak that Mac in general, and Nicks in particular, never recaptured. History itself might not have been rewritten had this mix been deployed back in 1975, but the album’s reputation may well have been.
With just one of the non-album tracks, the aptly-named “Jam #2,” having seen release in the past, the box is generous. The live discs afford us the opportunity to hear this lineup tackle selected highlights from the past (“Hypnotized” is a genuine treat), and though the liner essay feels a little too rote, the booklet itself packs some terrific photos. Indeed, no matter how much you love the other box sets in this series, Fleetwood Mac might well be the one you need to hear the most.
Reprise R2 559454 (1 LP/3 CDs/1 DVD). 1975/2018. Fleetwood Mac, prods.; Keith Olsen, prod., eng.; David Devoe, Dan Hersch, others, engs. ADD? TT: 3:27:04
PERFORMANCE **** 1/2
I’ll never forget the first time I heard this album. I’d been a keen fan of Fleetwood Mac since its early days, and each release was greeted with great expectations. Like a lot of British blues bands of the late 1960s, in the mid-’70s the Mac seemed to struggle toward a difficult career coda; lineups didn’t last, and we even had to endure a completely different band touring under the Fleetwood Mac name.
But from the first joyous moments of Fleetwood Mac, it was clear that this new version of the band was something special. I’d heard and liked the California power pop of Buckingham Nicks, but had no inkling how well that duo could complete an entirely new Fleetwood Mac identity. Hearing Lindsey Buckingham’s “Monday Morning” ring out of my speakers was akin to hearing “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” for the first time. The extraordinary harmonies of Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, and Christine McVie were the sound of angels, as yet another British singer found her true roots in California.
The shock of how good this record was accumulated as the disc played out and it became clear that the Mac had changed stripes. Always a guitarist’s guitar band with some great songwriting but vocals that were secondary to the overall sound, this Fleetwood Mac was all about the songs and the singing. Buckingham’s inspired guitar work was in support of the whole meal, but was not itself the main course. For the first time, the band featured three outstanding singers and songwriters, who balanced each other fully in all the compositions. The stalwart rhythm section of Christine McVie on keyboards, her husband, John McVie, on bass, and Mick Fleetwood on drums kept the core identity of the band on course.
Perhaps most important, the new lineup brought Christine McVie into focus. By this time, the Mac had long been a guy’s band, with Christine a featured element. Now she was the fulcrum between the old and new lineups, her dusky soprano the anchor between Buckingham’s jolly, effusive tenor and Nicks’s soaring alto. With Buckingham and Nicks as her band partners, McVie, one of the greatest R&B singer-songwriters England has ever produced, upped her writing game. She delivered soulful expressions of sexual emotion in “Say You Love Me,” “Over My Head,” and “Sugar Daddy,” and of abiding tenderness in “Warm Ways.” What’s more, it was now a woman’s band, with Christine and Nicks contrasting brilliandy. Nicks countered McVie’s earthiness with an ethereal, otherworldly quality in her writing epitomized by her self-branding vehicle, “Rhiannon,” and the timeless life metaphor of “Landslide,” still so apt today. Buckingham’s shimmering pop songs, including “World Turning,” cowritten with McVie, fit perfectly.
What we hear here is the magic of discovery. This band hadn’t even played together live when they began work on these tracks with producer Keith Olsen, and they were all finding something new about themselves. Perhaps one can’t attribute spirit or emotion to the technical job of recording sound, but I believe that Olsen’s original analog vision for this music can’t be improved on by a digital remastering. The 180gm vinyl of this new set is heavier than the original LP, and lovingly mastered by Dan Hersch in what might be called a modernization. Fleetwood’s drums are now closer to the front of the mix, but something unexplainable is missing from the sense of how it all hangs together. Instead of the music surrounding Buckingham’s voice, now it shoots past. Playing the new LP, I kept wanting to turn the volume up, but that only further diluted the song’s emotional core. If you want an LP of Fleetwood Mac, get an original pressing.
The real pay dirt is in the three CDs. The remastering, though inferior to the original CD, sounds appropriately bright, and fuller than the previous digital transfers in 1984 and 2004. Disc 1 also includes mixes of the singles “Over My Head,” “Rhiannon,” “Say You Love Me,” and “Blue Letter.” On Disc 2 we hear ideas being worked out in early takes, as well as live tracks from a Warner Bros, soundstage, where “Over My Head,” Rhiannon,” and “World Turning” hint at the concert staples they would become.
On disc 3, Fleetwood Mac morphs before live audiences into the band we still recognize today. The foundation jam tracks “Oh Well” and “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Pronged Crown),” from the Mac’s Peter Green era, still strut their stomp but are clearly not where this group is headed. The beautiful, hypnotic “Station Man,” a relic from the wonderful Kiln House, does manage to fit within the contours of the New Mac, and the expanded set list, which includes the soulful “Spare Me a Little,” emphasizes even more how much the new lineup has begun to orbit Christine McVie. Disc 4 is a DVD with a 5.1-channel surroundsound mix of the original album and two-channel, 24-bit/96kHz mixes of the four singles from disc 1. The music is also available as digital downloads and from streaming services.
Following the Jan. 22 announcement by Neil Diamond of his retirement from touring due to his recent Parkinson’s diagnosis, the music legend’s catalog grew in sales and streams during the week ending Jan. 25.
Diamond’s overall album sales jumped 157 percent to 6,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen Music. His total equivalent album units earned grew 121 percent to 10,000, while digital song sales vaulted 197 percent (to 14,000) and on-demand audio streams rose 41 percent (to 3.3 million).
His All-Time Greatest Hits album re-enters the Billboard 200 at No. 86 — its highest rank since 2014. It earned 7,000 units during the week (up 119 percent). The set also zooms 27-4 on the Catalog Album Sales chart with 4,000 sold (up 164 percent).
Also on Catalog Album Sales, Fleetwood Mac‘s self-titled 1975 album re-enters the list at No. 7 with 3,000 sold (up 3,528 percent). The set, which was the band’s first No. 1 on the Billboard 200, rebounds thanks to its deluxe reissue on Jan. 19. The album was available in various remastered editions, some with multiple bonus tracks, all of which are tracked together for sales and charting purposes. Fleetwood Mac also reenters the Billboard 200 at No. 132, the first time the set has been on the list since 2012, and its highest rank since 1981. The Fleetwood Mac redux is the latest expansive archival reissue from the act, following Rumours (in 2013), Tusk (2015), Mirage (2016) and Tango in the Night (2017).
Keith Caulfield / Billboard / February 3, 2018, p. 58
That was the memorable question poetically posed in the song “Crystal,” a gorgeous composition written by Stevie Nicks, featuring a moving lead vocal by Lindsey Buckingham that was first recorded for their 1973 debut effort as a duo, Buckingham Nicks; and then more famously redone for Fleetwood Mac, the game-changing 1975 release that will forever hold a special place in the enduring history of this legendary band.
Fleetwood Mac — also commonly known as “The White Album” — would ultimately prove in the best possible way that hood things do indeed come to those who dare to trust their first initial feelings. Whereas The Beatles’ “White Album” captured a brilliant band just as it was starting to splinter in separate directions, Fleetwood Mac’s own “White Album” marked the opposite — that notable moment when another genuinely fabulous band’s most beloved and successful lineup first came together. In a sense, Fleetwood Mac stands as the late-breaking origin story that tells the true tale of how a dynamic but little-known duo from America joined forces with what was left of a better-known but somewhat struggling blues band from England, then somehow all simultaneously becoming international superstars in the process. And to think, it all happened because Mick Fleetwood took a giant leap of faith and trusted a gut instinct as if it was pure crystalline knowledge.
“Thankfully, the undeniable musical genius of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks struck an instant chord with me when I first heard them,” Mick Fleetwood says today, with a laugh. “So I trusted my first initial feeling, and believe me, that has made all the difference.”
“This Fleetwood Mac album represents a magical time to remember when the planets all aligned for us,” adds Christine McVie, still sounding extremely grateful, all these years later. “This is where the goose bumps all began.”
Long ago and far away in the distant time called the middle ‘70s, Fleetwood Mac was an established veteran band that had already survived numerous incarnations and dramatic personnel changes since their early days in the British blue-rock scene of the late ‘60s, initially fronted by Peter Green, a notable guitar god who had left the group back in 1970. There were times when one really needed a scorecard to keep track of who was on the Fleetwood Mac team. Then in late 1974, Fleetwood Mac hit another significant bump in the road when the group’s latest lead guitarist, frequent lead singer and songwriter Bob Welch, announced he was leaving. And now there were just three band members left in the ranks of Fleetwood Mac — name partners Mick Fleetwood on drums, John McVie on bass, and Christine McVie (former Christine Perfect) still there and still perfect on keyboards and vocals, and by now married to her bandmate.
It is what we’re discussing here. It is what made Lindsey’s guitar and that vocal blend with Stevie stay with me. It is whatever makes music and people connect. Ultimately, It is what it’s about.”—MICK FLEETWOOD
A sudden departure like Welch’s might have ended up causing some lesser bands to throw in the towel, but not a band with an endlessly energetic and optimistic drummer and then-manager like Mick Fleetwood. Rather, Mick instantly flashed back a few weeks to a tip he had taken in search of a relatively inexpensive place to record Fleetwood Mac’s next album — their tenth — in the Los Angeles area. At the behest of Keith Olsen, an excellent producer and engineer acquaintance of his, Fleetwood took a little time to go check out the Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California, much later to become legendary thanks to Dave Grohl’s documentary of the same name. While there, Olsen demonstrated Sound City’s sonic potential by playing Fleetwood a few tracks from the Buckingham Nicks album he had produced there. Though the release had already come and gone commercially, something about the music stayed with Fleetwood, particularly the unusual and impressive guitar work from this Lindsey Buckingham character. “Lindsey’s style was so stunning and unique, it was what hit me first, and it hit me hard.”
“Mick has a sixth or seventh sense about these things,” Christine McVie says, before adding, “He may have made a few mistakes in band personnel over the years, but this was definitely not one of them.”
“That hour and a half spent in Sound City changed everything,” says Fleetwood. “I think Keith Olsen played me ‘Frozen Love,’ ‘Crying in the Night,’ and ‘Crystal’ — which we ended up re-cutting for Fleetwood Mac — by Buckingham Nicks. I do not believe I even heard the whole album. Bob Welch had not left yet. So I was not looking for a new guitarist or other band members at the time. It was purely the music that, by some miracle, made such a vivid impression. And I give myself kudos there because the music Lindsey and Stevie were making was very different — it wasn’t blues or the sort of thing I’d been brought up on. But what it did have was something that from the start in this band, Peter Green — who taught me so much — me, and, John used to call simply ‘It.’ We’d always say, ‘Yes, but does it have It.’ It is what we’re discussing here. It is what made Lindsey’s guitar and that vocal blend with Stevie stay with me. It is whatever makes music and people connect. Ultimately, It is what it’s about.”
And yet it all almost didn’t happen because, as Stevie Nicks still loves to jokingly remind Mick Fleetwood, his initial call was to Lindsey Buckingham to ask only him about joining Fleetwood Mac, and not her. “In my defense, our pressing need at the moment was for a guitar player,” Fleetwood recalls with a laugh. “To Lindsey’s credit, Buckingham made it immediately and eminently clear that he wasn’t going anywhere without Stevie Nicks.” Thankfully, Buckingham’s bold insistence on this matter led to Fleetwood Mac making perhaps the single greatest package deal in all of musical history. Yet before this wildly successful musical merger could happen, there were a few matters to attend to, like these young Americans getting to know the current British band members to see if they could work and play well with another.
The now-legendary Fleetwood Mac chemistry test took place at El Carmen, a Mexican restaurant on 3rd Street in Los Angeles. “We already loved the music,” remembers Mick Fleetwood, “but the dinner was the audition. Because the only thing Chris said to me was, ‘There’s nothing worse than two women who don’t get on. And I’ll know right away.’ So that was a very pivotal dinner. Luckily, Chis loved Stevie, straight away — this sparkling, little high-energy lady. And that was that. Lindsey and Stevie were asked to play with us without ever playing a note with us. It’s almost insane in retrospect considering the high risk, but somehow Christine and all of us knew.”
As Christine McVie remembers, “What Mick said to me before the meeting was, ‘Chris, if you don’t like the girl, then it’s not going to happen.’ I had never been in a band with another girl before, so it was important. So we met for Mexican food. First, right from their entrance, I was so struck by the way Lindsey looked when he in walked in the door — I said to myself, Wow, this guy is a god. And then Stevie walked in laughing, so cute and so tiny, and I took an instant liking to her. She has this wonderful laugh and a fantastic sense of humor. So by the end of that evening, I said, ‘Mick, let’s do this.’”
For Christine McVie, the key moment came a little later when the group finally gathered for their first musical rehearsal. “I had written a new song called ‘Say You Love Me’ that ended up being a bit of a hit,” she explains. “So I just started playing the song, and when the chorus came around and I sang, they started piping in with these perfect three-part harmonies. We carried on singing, but we all got enormous goose bumps. I looked at Mick, and he looked at me, and we went, ‘This is it.’ We would talk a lot about ‘The It Factor’ then, and this was It all over. Right from that moment, we went straight into making this album, and the whole experience was this wonderful giant discovery. We all had the best time, and I think that joy comes across even when you listen to it today.”
“As soon as Christine heard the Buckingham Nicks music she knew there were musical and harmonic possibilities she could not deny,” says Fleetwood. “A huge switch went off in her head, and by hearing all the harmonies and layering, there was something thrilling here to explore. We’d only touched a little on harmonies with Bob Welch, but these two new voices exploded in our heads, and suddenly, all these possibilities opened up because these two were so good, such powerhouses. When I first heard Lindsey and Stevie, it was like hearing The Everly Brothers on steroids, where they know instinctively what they are doing at any given moment. Christine adding her own earthy tones and soul to that made for some extreme magic right away. Hearing us all together for the first time is the reason we’re all still talking about this album after all this time.”
For Christine, the addition of Buckingham and Nicks was not simply a golden opportunity, but also the best kind of artistic challenge. “I was excited by their talent, but I also sensed I had to upgrade my game as a songwriter to keep up with them after I heard the Buckingham Nicks album,” she explains. “I thought, Crickey, these two can really write. So I got on my piano — one of those transistorized Hohners — in a tiny bedsit that John and I rented in Malibu, right on the ocean. And I sat there and wrote ‘Over My Head,’ ‘Warm Ways’ — those two at least. And I also found Lindsey, and I could co-write — ‘World Turning’ was our first song together and a strong start.”
Even all these years later, the overall strength of the material featured on Fleetwood Mac remains astounding, with McVie singling out “Monday Morning” and “I’m So Afraid” by Buckingham, and “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” by Nicks as just a few of her many favorites. And somehow, despite all the change and the new infusion of talent, including Buckingham’s growing strength as an arranger and producer, there remains the pulse of Fleetwood Mac, thanks in large part to the distinctive pulse of the group’s rhythm section. “If you change members in a lot of other big bands, I don’t think they change the essence, the musical identity as much as we have,” says Mick Fleetwood. “Put on this album and put on Live At Chess Records with Peter Green, and it is stunning to think that can be the same band, but somehow it is. I feel like there are other bands that have survived, but no other that changed as much, and despite or perhaps because of that somehow survived as well. I think perhaps John and I hanging in there allowed this funny diverse band to keep changing and evolving. It was really all three of the writers’ songs — and our balls — keeping it going. And the album you’re writing about that is that line in the sand where you can see the biggest and most significant change. It came along at a time when it could have the end, but instead it became a new beginning.”
With the initial sessions for Fleetwood Mac proceeding so well in Sound City, Mick Fleetwood couldn’t wait to take this new version of Fleetwood Mac on the road. As he recalls, “At that time I was the manager — or the nearest facsimile to a manager we had — so I remember going to see Mo Ostin at our label, Warner Bros., while we were making that album, and it was so evident to all of us that something was happening. So I took some of the tracks, and I remember I went around the corner for two brandies to pluck the courage before seeing the big head honcho. I sat down with Mo and said, ‘I’m just saying, if you don’t hear something special here, will you let us go? Because I really believe this is something special.’ It was a kind of naive threat, I think. And of course, Mo loved it. Then I said, ‘This is so special, I think we need to go out as a band because I knew when the record came out, we had to be ready for whatever came. Also we really needed a little pocket money.”
Right from that moment, we went straight into making this album, and the whole experience was this wonderful giant discovery. We all had the best time, and I think that joy comes across even when you listen to it today.” —CHRISTINE MCVIE
Thinking back now, Mick Fleetwood says, “We were literally knowing but unknowing about what lay ahead for us. But I wanted to make sure we were tried and tested and ready for whatever was coming. Lindsey and Stevie walked onstage with nobody knowing who they were as part of Fleetwood Mac, playing some of our old music, a few songs of theirs, and of course, some of the stuff on our album to come. Yet when we walked on the stage together, we instantly saw our audience coming alive, as something new unfolded onstage. So we did a short tour like that, went back and finished the album already knowing that we were ready for whatever came. We knew there was this tremendous chemistry onstage. We became very aware of what a remarkable player Lindsey is and of young Stevie’s amazing stage presence, and how that changed the game. And the rest is history.”
As Christine recalls, “Obviously, we started out in some half-empty halls, but right away there was something happening onstage that ignited between the five of us. Even back then before all the social media, there was word of mouth and good reviews, and gradually the audience heard the buzz and started showing.”
Fleetwood Mac was released in July 1975 by Warner’s Reprise label, and shared that minimalist title with the group’s 1968 debut. Gradually, the new album became a slow-burning sensation — reaching #1 on the Billboard 200 more than a year after entering the chart. Ultimately, the album would spend 37 weeks in the Top Ten and more than fifteen months in the Top 40. The “White Album” became the second-biggest album of 1976, outsold only by Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive. As singles from the album, “Over My Head,” “Rhiannon,” and “Say You Love Me,” all went Top 20, “Monday Morning” became an FM favorite, and “Landslide” slowly but surely emerged as an enduring standard. Another radio favorite was “Blue Letter,” a song with a lead vocal by Buckingham, which Lindsey and Stevie had demoed with their former Polydor labelmates, The Curtis Bros., making it a rare cover for this lineup of Fleetwood Mac.
In the end, the goose bumps were only the beginning. “There was such a sense of excitement, you didn’t want to leave the studio,” say Christine McVie. “We are so diverse in so many ways, including that we have men and women, Americans and Brits, and three main writers with very different styles of writing. We all sing on each other’s songs. And the songs themselves are diverse. Yet there’s always a thread that catches all the songs together and makes all the pieces fit. Even before there was ‘The Chain,” there was something tying us all together.”
David Wild / Fleetwood Mac – Deluxe Edition / January 19, 2018
Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood Mac — Deluxe
** (two stars)
Do you need another expanded copy of Fleetwood Mac? We’re not so sure. There’s the remastered album, though arguably it has always been a mixed bag, carried on the strengths of Stevie Nicks’ and Christine McVie’s excellent contributions.
There is a disc of demos which, in truth, don’t stray too far from the finished products, with only slight alterations being generally noticeable, such as some added guitar work on “Say You Love Me” or a fully acoustic “Landslide.” Similarly extras such as Jam #2 and single versions of the hits were all issued on a 2004 package.
The remainder showcases previously unreleased live takes from the Jorgensen Auditorium in Connecticut, among other venues and while overall enjoyable, versions of songs like “Rhiannon” reveal that at their worst, the band are given to bloated pomp; with chief offenders being the indulgent guitar playing of Buckingham and Nicks’ clumsy lyric changes.
There are some interesting live cuts of “Why” and “Hypnotized” (Mystery To Me); “Station Man” (Kiln House); “Spare Me A Little Of Your Love” (Bare Trees); “Don’t Let Me Down Again” from Buckingham/ Nicks and Peter Green’s “Oh Well” and “The Green Manalishi With The Two Pronged Crown” — clearly performed with love but still best heard when performed by early Mac.
Completlsts will want It but better was to follow, and this set is overall a reminder of that.
FLEETWOOD MAC singer Christine McVie says she doesn’t know if the band’s seminal album Rumours would have been possible without the influence of drink and drugs.
The 74-year-old songwriter tells Desert Island Discs how their hit “Songbird” came to her in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep, but that it likely wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t binged on cocaine.
She said: “I don’t know if I would have written ‘Songbird’ had I not had a couple of toots of cocaine and a half bottle of champagne and I just couldn’t sleep. Or written any of the songs that were on that album because, I mean, I think we were all pretty loaded.”
Christine joined her then husband John McVie’s band back in 1967, contributing to their folky, blues-inspired sound.
“For me, I think I was probably the most restrained of the lot of us but I was no angel.”
She added that it is amazing that they have all survived: “Everybody does look great, clean and sober and happy. Somehow we crawled through the cracks, all five of us are healthy.”
Rumours, which came out in 1977, was famously made in a tense environment.
Christine and John were in the process of splitting up, while songwriting couple Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were also separating.
McVie and her husband divorced in 1976, but she didn’t leave the band until 1998.
She took a 15-year hiatus, during which time she bought a large house in Kent and a Range Rover in an attempt to get back to her English roots.
She said of that time: “I had this wild image in my mind that I was going to become a country lady. Everything had to be really English, the Aga, the Range Rover, the Hunter boots, the Barbour jacket. I think because my dad was ill to start with and later died, I think I wanted to be closer to my family and that’s why I moved to Kent.
“I developed agoraphobia, a dreadful fear of leaving my front doorstep. I couldn’t even get in my car. That’s how bad it was. So then this therapist said, ‘Well, first of all you have to get someone to drive your car out of the garage so it is closer to the house, go touch the car and the next day sit in the driver’s seat’. I did that for about two weeks and within two weeks I was driving again.”
The star says she had been reluctant to play music and write again.
“There was a beautiful piano there in the study and I never played it. It is like the blank canvas again. The perfectionist in me. Every time I sat down at this piano I wanted to write ‘Songbird’ again. So I was afraid to sit down and try.”
The British/American rock band, formed in London, have sold more than 100 million records.
She chose the Beatles’ hit “Roll Over Beathoven,” the “Four Seasons” by Vivaldi and “Angel Come Home” by the Beach Boys as her music with which to be marooned.
Her book was a biography of Henry VIII. And her baby grand piano that she wrote “Songbird” on was her luxury item.
Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4 today, 11:15 a.m.
Jaymi McCann / Express / Sunday, December 17, 2017
One of the laws of the universe is that galaxies cluster and are bound together by gravity.
They rarely escape from each other, and such is the case in the unlikely, but thoroughly lovely, gravitational attraction between Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie.
The legendary Fleetwood Mac members — McVie rejoined the once-volatile fold in 2014 after a 15-year hiatus — brought their acclaimed Buckingham/McVie tour to the Majestic Theatre on Tuesday. They are on the road promoting a new duo album.
Both were in incredibly good voice – Buckingham much more powerful and emotional than on record; McVie as velvety voiced and wistful as ever — and their pairing is a reminder of what they brought to Fleetwood Mac in its heyday.
Buckingham is all about kinetic passion and exquisite precision. McVie adds simmering soul and something of a genteel British hippie vibe.
Some 1,500 fans took it all in.
The show opened with the two walking onstage and performing a slowed down, acoustic version of Buckingham’s “Trouble.”
Buckingham finger-picked the familiar hook. At times, like the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn used to do, he managed rhythm and melody simultaneously.
McVie, standing behind her keyboard rig, added the faintest hint of synth behind the muscular vocal. Then it was her turn on Fleetwood Mac’s “Wish You Were Here.”
The two were setting the stage to introduce the new material. But Buckingham was not going quietly into the night, easing the crowd into the show. His take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” achieved a new level of defiance.
It garnered the first standing ovation of the night.
The first new song, the chiming “Sleeping Around the Corner,” was song number five in the set and was performed with four additional musicians.
Buckingham talked about the duo’s album.
“It’s not something we saw coming,” he explained, describing it as an unlikely but “very happy occurrence.”
Obviously, it’s impossible not to conjure Fleetwood Mac with the new songs. It’s in the bounce, the arrangement and the Buckingham sheen.
But other elements sneak in. There is a poppy Talking Heads/Blondie/R.E.M vibe to “Feel Around You,” and “In My World” recalls, at times, Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” with a little Hall & Oates.
McVie stepped out from behind her keyboards to shake maracas and belt out the blues rocker “Too Far Gone.”
The two kept the energy up with “Hold Me,” a reminder of how their vocal blend was a touchstone of mid- and late ’70s pop.
“Little Lies” and a raucous take on “Tusk,” with McVie on keyboard accordion, found Buckingham singing as if under a spell.
The new “Love Is Here to Stay” made the case that the duo’s pairing was, as Buckingham put it, a karmic gift.
These are adult love songs of the highest order, and evidence that the project was collaboration of music and emotion.
Buckingham and McVie prove that it’s possible to follow one’s muse, take a chance and make some great pop and folk-pop music. That they’re also able to gift-wrap it with monster hits like “You Make Loving Fun” and “Go Your Own Way” is part of the magic and history of their universe.
Hector Saldana is curator of the Texas Music Collection at The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.
Hector Saldana / My San Antonio / Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie revive Fleetwood Mac magic, minus the drama, at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.
Here’s the beautiful thing about a concert by Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, as opposed to a concert by Fleetwood Mac: There’s no drama. There is no forced theatricality, no overwrought play-acting, no nostalgic dance to dance for the graying, paying Boomers in the crowd.
Instead what you get is two old friends playing music – some of it old, some of it new, and all of it, more often than not, with a smile.
“This is not something we really saw coming,” Buckingham said during their Thursday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. “It was kind of a surprise.”
Indeed it was, McVie’s return to Fleetwood Mac in 2014 after a 15-year-absence. Rejoining the band rekindled McVie’s creative spirit, and she and Buckingham – two of the Mac’s primary songwriters, along with Stevie Nicks – paired off for this year’s album Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, and a smaller-venue tour as a duo. Call it Halfwood Mac – not the full experience, but pleasantly different and fulfilling.
Buckingham, 68, and McVie, 74, opened with four acoustic duets, him on guitar and her on keys, an intimate staging that showed off the husky humanity in their voices. There was Buckingham’s delicate solo number “Trouble”; Fleetwood Mac’s rarely played 1982 track “Wish You Were Here,” the newer Buckingham single “Shut Us Down” and the iconic Rumours single “Never Going Back Again,” with Buckingham’s voice flaring from a whisper to a snarl in an instant. Together they harmonized with the ease of old partners, every so often you’d catch one grinning or clapping for the other.
Certainly, Buckingham’s showiest tendencies at times overwhelmed the stage – “I’m So Afraid,” for example, which ballooned and bloated into a monstrous, bluesy shredfest, with the singer kicking, vamping and screaming until he was left hunched and panting at the end. But when it works, it definitely works. “Tusk,” that furious, tribal freight train of an anthem, got people dancing in the aisles down front, so much so that an accordion-rocking McVie shimmied over to dance with them.
McVie’s voice bore a touch of rust from her years off the road, but she wore it honestly on “Little Lies,” “Everywhere” and “You Make Loving Fun,” gamely enlivening their sweet, springy spirit. And it fared better on songs from the new album. Two of the album’s best – the sock-hoppy “Feel About You” and gentle, California-coastal “Red Sun” – sounded like classic McVie.
“Exchanging ideas across the ocean,” Buckingham said of the demos that led to their dual album, “we knew right away that there was something, that there was a spark.”
Watching McVie and Buckingham play together, it seemed like that spark hadn’t dimmed. Buckingham sidled up to McVie on the spry and springy “You Make Loving Fun,” and she gave him a happy little pat on the back. He did so again on “Go Your Own Way,” leaning into her until they embraced in a brotherly-sisterly hug.
This tour may be the only time Buckingham and McVie play their new duets live, but when Fleetwood Mac reconvenes for what could be its farewell tour in 2018, they should bring that camaraderie with them. All the drama gets old after a while. Just a few good songs and a few genuine songs between old friends, well, that could be a beautiful thing.
Jay Cridlin / Tampa Bay Times / Friday, November 10, 2017
Review: In Clearwater Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie’s attack features plenty of Mac at Ruth Eckerd Hall (w/photos + setlist). They’re both every bit as charming as ever, too.
The impact of a popular, beloved rock and roll band is felt when its solo members have the pull to draw large crowds to see them perform alone, and the mighty Fleetwood Mac is no exception. Whetting the appetite of dedicated Mac fans while the band is on what appears to be an indeterminable hiatus is the fine, sleek, pop-driven collaborative album that two of its key members released earlier this year, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie. In light of the record’s unpredicted creation and success, this duo embarked on a limited run of tour dates to support the record and, luckily, Clearwater’s exquisite Ruth Eckerd Hall was included as a tour stop and hosted the pair (alongside its magnificent backing band) on Thursday night.
Kicking things off early, after an abbreviated set from up and coming California rock outfit Wilderado, Buckingham and McVie quietly walked out together onto the expansive, dark stage to begin their performance. Both clad in black, the pair emerged and quietly jumped into a hushed version of Lindsey’s solo hit from 1981, “Trouble.” With the aid of the acoustic guitar he’d strapped on and some subdued keyboard work from Christine, the poppy, rockabilly-inspired tune took on a darker, more somber edge but sounded magnificent. Buckingham is an ace guitarist and an emotive singer (which he’d more than prove for the duration of the 100-minute set) and he made that more than known right from the get-go. Utilizing the duo-only format for the first four songs of the set found the pair touching on some classics from its Mac days as well as on another Buckingham solo track. The focus was on the two headliners for the night’s prologue and McVie certainly made her presence known with her lovely, delicate reading of “Wish You Were Here,” the ballad that closes Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 album, Mirage.
Before shifting gears into full-band mode, Buckingham spoke at length of how this duo project came together and how wonderful it was to have Christine McVie back in the spotlight after her extended decade-and-a-half break from music and a live concert stage, a statement that drew wild applause. And, with that, the full ensemble consisting of hard-hitting drummer Jimmy Paxson, and three guitarists rounded out the sound and added flourish to the performance. Diving head first into selections from their collaborative album, Lindsey and Christine instantly served up the two opening selections from the album, the catchy “Sleeping Around The Corner” and “Feel About You” back-to-back while sharing lead vocal duties and harmonizing together. A superb mix and the hall’s impeccable sound made the songs really come alive and, although some in attendance seemed unfamiliar with the material, the new stuff seemed to go over well.
But the audience really showed its appreciation when the long-missed McVie came from around her bank of keyboards to the front of the stage to show off her still sweet and soothing vocal abilities for the upbeat “Too Far Gone” on which she shook a pair of maracas while crooning. Though her vocals are a little aged and not quite able to reach the highest notes she used to hit, McVie, now 74, is still a gifted player and performer, and she can still belt out a hit song like few other veteran singer/songwriters can. And speaking of hits, the fierce reactions for the Mac mini-set that followed sure served to engage the nearly sold-out hall. The pair’s vocal harmonies were in fine shape for its reading of the pop classic “Hold Me.” A fever pitch was hit when the band tore into a ferocious version of quirky 1979 rocker “Tusk.” McVie strapped on an accordion and Buckingham nearly stole the show with his almost psychotic, desperate delivery of the song’s opening lines which helped to accentuate its deep, dark paranoia. His maniacal laughs throughout and his frantic pacing while playing made this the first of many show-stopping moments.
McVie ran into some vocal troubles during her solo spotlight on early Mac classic “You Make Loving Fun,” but quickly recovered and made the song a truly memorable part of the program. Another Buckingham jaw-dropping moment came on his extended, super-charged version of “I’m So Afraid,” a track from the first Fleetwood Mac album he appeared on in 1975. Showing off his indescribable skill and prowess as one of the most gifted and unique guitarists to ever play. and under a flood of beaming red lights, Lindsey entered other-worldliness with his passionate and possessed reading of the claustrophobic rocker.
A moment of heartfelt levity came during an inspired rendition of another Fleetwood Mac classic, the cutting, callous sentiment enveloped in a guise of a catchy pop song, “Go Your Own Way.” Buckingham worked his way to behind Christine’s keyboards and lovingly wrapped his arm around her shoulder and the two shared what appeared to be a sentimental smile which could have served as a nod to the collective fine job they’ve done of carrying on their musical legacy with this, their newest project.
A three-song encore included thorough, detailed individual band member introductions courtesy of Buckingham and closed with “Game Of Pretend,” one of McVie’s best ballads from the pair’s recent album and, arguably, her finest and most delicate and gorgeous vocal performance of the night. The hushed, shimmering beauty of the tune reminded everyone in the hall of the pop elegance she’s still capable of conjuring and how sorely missed she’s been missed from a live concert stage. It made for a fitting close to an enjoyable night filled with familiar classics, some surprises, and a hint of the fine material this talented pair of artists can still produce.
See more photos from the set below. Listen to a playlist featuring songs Buckingham & McVie played here. Read an interview with McVie here.
Wish You Were Here
Never Going Back Again
Shut Us Down
Sleeping Around The Corner
Feel About You
In My World
Too Far Gone
Love Is Here To Stay
You Make Loving Fun
I’m So Afraid
Go Your Own Way
Lay Down For Free (encore)
Game of Pretend (encore)
Gabe Echazabal and Tracy May / Creative Loafing Tampa Bay / Friday, November 10, 2017
Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie talk Fleetwood Mac’s ‘dysfunctional family’ before Clearwater show
Certainly, you are advised against it before hopping on the phone with Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, the singer-songwriters who were — all due respect to Queen Stevie Nicks and the founding rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie — the primary architects of the classic Mac sound.
Keep the focus on the new album and tour, you are urged by a publicist. Not on the old days.
Which is, of course, much easier said than done. Forty years after their all-time breakup album Rumours, the mythology and romance — literal and otherwise — of Fleetwood Mac still towers over the band’s imposing legacy. You cannot discuss Buckingham and McVie’s new album, and the tour that brings them to Ruth Eckerd Hall Thursday, without breaking it down through the lens of Fleetwood Mac.
And, it turns out, neither can they.
“Obviously, there’s been so much written about Stevie’s and my relationship, and the underpinnings of the romance that go along with that and create that part of the musical soap opera that was Fleetwood Mac,” said Buckingham, 68. “Unlike with Stevie — with whom I did have a romantic relationship, and with whom we had a great vocal blend — Christine and I had the kind of bonding that comes from both of us being grounded in our craft as musicians.”
“It’s a strange one, really, because we’re not really the best of chums,” McVie, 74, said in a separate call a little later. “We don’t really hang out very much together. But we have a really strong musical bond with each other. Once we’re in the studio, we work as a team really well. We inspire ideas with each other. It is quite amazing, really, that I can listen to something he’s playing and tooling around on, and then we link up off each other very well. It’s been like that over the years — we come up with different ideas, and cooperate in a very natural way.”
Cooperation? Bonding? Working together as a team? This is Fleetwood Mac we’re talking about, right?
Not exactly. It’s Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, the title of their new album and the one coupling within the band left mostly unsullied by discord. That they found harmony with one another in the year of Fleetwood Mac’s golden anniversary is probably not a coincidence.
• • •
It was 1970 when the former Christine Perfect married Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie and joined the band as a singer, songwriter and keyboardist. She was instrumental in the band’s evolution from a British blues-rock combo to a transcontinental pop-rock phenomenon — as were Buckingham and Nicks, who joined in late 1974.
The next year, Fleetwood Mac’s breakthrough self-titled album featured seven songs written by McVie and/or Buckingham, including “Say You Love Me” and “Monday Morning,” and nine where they traded lead vocals.
“I think it was from Day 1,” McVie said. “When we got into the studio, it was like, I get what he’s playing, and he gets what I’m playing.”
Buckingham, an assiduous studio wonk known for sonic perfectionism, fleshed out and spit-shined McVie’s indelible melodies. While they rarely shared songwriting credit, between them, they penned many iconic hits — Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way,” “Never Going Back Again” and Tusk; McVie’s “You Make Loving Fun,” “Everywhere” and “Little Lies.” They shared lead vocals on “Don’t Stop,” a McVie composition that became their signature, show-closing hit.
Over time, Nicks, Buckingham and McVie all found themselves pulled in different directions away from the band. McVie, long divorced from John, quit for good in 1998 out of a crippling fear of flying and a desire to stay closer to family in England. The band soldiered on, with Nicks handling her vocals. But in 2014, after years of self-imposed isolation, McVie asked to come back.
“It catapulted Fleetwood Mac back into another kind of stratosphere, really, because then the original Rumours five were back onstage again,” she said. “The chain was complete, if you like.”
McVie met with Buckingham in the studio to jam out some new demos, partly as “a great welcoming gesture to get her into another familiar arena,” he said, “prior to just getting dumped into rehearsals with all the politics that exist within the band.”
“Fleetwood Mac is absolutely a dysfunctional family, but it is a family.”
What he means by that isn’t explicitly clear — but it is true that Fleetwood and John McVie were in on some of those sessions, and for a time, at least, it looked like Fleetwood Mac might be working on its first classic-lineup LP since 1987’s Tango In the Night.
“As far as Stevie’s involvement, there was never really a clear-cut time where she said, ‘No, I’ve got other commitments,’” Buckingham said. “In the same way we weren’t saying it was a Fleetwood Mac album, I don’t think anyone was saying it wasn’t a Fleetwood Mac album. But Christine and I recognized this enhanced rapport, this unbelievable sort of connection that seemed to have only gotten better over time, and we did get protective over it rather quickly.”
McVie quibbles with that word, “protective” — “It’s not quite the word I would use,” she said. But, she adds, “One had to wonder what Stevie would have sung, and where she would have sung. … It sounded like me and Lindsey singing duets. It just sounded lovely.”
That it does. Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie isn’t Rumours or Tusk, but it’s a collection of sweet songs that show off the singers’ easy chemistry. For McVie, who spent all those years off the road, it was such a fun experience that she’d like to do it again — either with Buckingham or with all of Fleetwood Mac.
“One lives in hope, but I just have no idea,” she said. “I’m no spring chicken. But hey, I feel pretty darn good, so yeah, I see no reason why not.”
• • •
For all the positive vibes Buckingham and McVie are feeling in 2017, the politics of Fleetwood Mac still do come into play at their shows, which are split about evenly between new songs and old. Picking the latter has led to some curious choices (like the 1982 rarity “Wish You Were Here”) and omissions (like their iconic duet “Don’t Stop”).
“Even though it’s Lindsey and I singing on the record, I think we just thought, Nah, that’s very Fleetwood Mac. We can’t do that,” McVie said of “Don’t Stop.”
Fleetwood Mac will tour in 2018, but it’s unknown how that will play out. A lesser band, one without so much pre-existing baggage, might split over two members — or four, if you count Fleetwood and John McVie’s studio contributions — splintering off on their own. Buckingham doesn’t think it’ll happen here.
“Fleetwood Mac is absolutely a dysfunctional family, but it is a family,” he said “There may be a time when people start wanting to pare down that part of their lives. That hasn’t really happened yet.
“It is nice to know that Christine and I are having such a good time,” he adds. “One of the things I think has been so eye-opening for her about the tour is that she had gotten used to the dysfunction of Fleetwood Mac, and the politics being so convoluted within the band, as the norm. And then we got out there and she saw this group of people who had no issues with each other, who all wanted to be doing the same thing for the same reasons. She saw that there was this sense of family that doesn’t really exist in that way with Fleetwood Mac.
“So who’s to say? It would surprise me if she and I didn’t want to do this again in another year or two. I don’t think it’s necessarily an either/or with Fleetwood Mac. I think Fleetwood Mac will have the life it has until people start dropping out.”
He laughed. The band has survived much tougher times than this. At this point, they’re likely all in it for life. Two of them, at least, sound sure of it.
Contact Jay Cridlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.
Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie
Wilderado opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. $63.25 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
Jay Cridlin / Tampa Bay Times / Tuesday, November 7, 2017
NORTHFIELD, Ohio – Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie may just be two-fifths of Fleetwood Mac, but the pair are dandy as both halves of Buckingham-McVie.
Stevie Nicks, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood don’t need to practice fetching carts for Walmart shoppers just yet, but the fact of the matter is that guitarist and co-lead singer Buckingham and keyboardist and singer/background vocalist McVie are just fine as a duet.
More than fine, actually. The two wowed a nearly sold-out Hard Rock Rocksino Friday night, rocking through eight of the 10 songs on their new collaborative album, along with nearly a dozen Mac attack hits.
In a large way, the 2,600-seat venue was a perfect place to showcase the “new” old sound from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band mates. I say new because the album Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie is all songs written by the pair, and I say old because on the recording, the rhythm section is bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. On top of that, the union of their voices is reminiscent of the pairing first heard on “Hold Me” nearly four decades ago.
And yet, you can’t call this hybrid “Fleetwood Mac Lite,” because while the MacDNA is clearly evident, songs like “Sleeping Around the Corner,” “Feel About You,” “In My World” and “Too Far Gone” are anything but “lite.” Buckingham kept saying it is a newfound chemistry, but really, it’s more like post-graduate chemistry, the kind that only comes from time and experience.
To be fair, the electricity and pizazz of the full band is irreplaceable, so this new pairing just doesn’t have time to eclipse the marks that the group has set in a career that began 1967 and really jelled with the addition of Buckingham and Nicks in the mid-’70s.
That doesn’t belittle in any way, shape or form what McVie and especially Buckingham have done.
The Rocksino is an interesting venue, largely because of its clientele. Few fans stand throughout an entire show – something commonplace at arenas and amphitheaters. The comfy seats get a lot of action, so to speak. Add that the calendar usually boasts legacy acts (frankly, like the two Fleetwood Mac stars) and you come up with a concert hall that’s just right for “veteran” music lovers who prefer to listen, remember and relive rather than party.
To their great credit, while Buckingham and McVie are touring to promote their new duets album, they still gave Fleetwood Mac aficionados plenty of opportunities to “listen, remember and relive,” too.
McVie’s voice at 74 isn’t as strong as it once was, but her unique delivery scored in turns as lead vocalist on “Wish You Were Here” and “Little Lies,” and her underneath alto added just the right seasoning to 68-year-old Buckingham’s frontman vocals on “I’m So Afraid.”
It’d be kind of tough to pick a highlight in the short evening, not because there were no highlights, but because there were so many. But “Go Your Own Way” and especially “Tusk” showed off just why the band was inducted into the Rock Hall in 1998. And any time Buckingham went into a lead guitar riff with his finger-picking style — why on earth did he even bother to put picks in the holder on his mic stand, anyway — we all knew we were getting a master class in guitar virtuosity.
Because of that, none of the night would’ve worked with a lesser band. Bassist Federico Pol perfectly captured John McVie’s celebrated, driving bass line for “Go Your Own Way,” and Jimmy Paxson could be Mick Fleetwood’s drummer brother from another mother. Guitarist Neil Heywood and multi-instrumentalist Brett Tuggle rounded out the band, with background vocals from Pol, Heywood and Tuggle providing the lushness the Fleetwood Mac tunes required.
In dandy fashion, natch.
Chuck Yarborough / The Plain Dealer / Friday, November 3, 2017
The legendary drummer chronicles the first chapter of his band in Love That Burns.
Any music fan with a working knowledge of Fleetwood Mac can probably name at least five of the classic-rock titans’ hits: “Landslide,” “Rhiannon,” “The Chain,” “Dreams,” “You Make Loving Fun”—that is, the omnipresent radio fare that dominated airwaves in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, bolstered by Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar and Stevie Nicks’s and Christine McVie’s vocals. But that band was really the American sequel to Fleetwood Mac. Their origins trace back to 1967 and London’s mid-century blues explosion, with guitarist Peter Green at the helm and guitarist Jeremy Spencer, bassist Bob Brunning and percussionist Mick Fleetwood (the only member to survive every lineup change) at his side.
The newborn Fleetwood Mac played a well-crafted facsimile of Chicago blues, plus some faithful covers of its progenitors, mostly Elmore James and Howlin’ Wolf. The group’s lineup would famously turn over in the years ahead, with John McVie assuming bass duties and his then-wife, keyboardist Christine McVie, coming on board later. Once Buckingham and Nicks joined up in 1974, the California edition of Fleetwood Mac found overwhelming mainstream success with celebrated records like Rumours (1977), Tusk (1979) and Mirage (1982).
It’s too much to fit in one book, so Mick Fleetwood has essentially written Chapter 1 with Love That Burns: A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac, which came out Wednesday via Genesis Publications. It chronicles the band’s blues era via essays and photos, and pays homage to Green, who left the band in 1970 and has struggled off and on with mental illness in the decades since.
Paste caught up with Fleetwood, who turned 70 in June, for a conversation about his role in the formation of Fleetwood Mac, what Green said to convince him to join, and what’s kept him invested in the band after half a century.
Paste: What inspired you to discuss the genesis of the band in this way, and why did you choose to do it with the visual aspects of this book?
Mick Fleetwood: More than 20 years ago, I saw one of the lovely presentations of George Harrison’s original book. George used to be my brother-in-law, so that’s how I blundered into seeing the book. Beautiful, it was like a piece of art. The book itself started the original fantasy of, “One day, I’ll do that,” type of thing. It went off the radar, but that’s how they’re connected to this book. I wanted to do “Part 1,” or whatever you want to call it. I was totally unaware of the fact that, apart from the original members, in August, it’s 50 years [since Fleetwood Mac formed]. Totally not a part of why we were doing this. Now it’s hugely relevant.
And you intend to put out a second volume, is that right?
It has to be. That’s what’s so cool about this. Whether that happens or it [doesn’t], Genesis were super, super focused and cool with saying it, and that has real value just in it—If we never did another thing, this existed. Most people would say, “I want the whole thing.”
Why do just the band’s earliest days?
It’s too much information [otherwise]. Fleetwood Mac’s had so many incarnations and have delineated lines that are so clear, you go, “it should be done like this.” That’s what we did, and it’s been revealing. The title itself is a song that Peter [Green] used to sing.
And why choose Love That Burns for a title?
None of this would’ve happened without Peter. At all.
When the band took off commercially in the mid-’70s, did it feel strange that somebody who was your reason for being in Fleetwood Mac was no longer involved?
Someone else framed the question in a way that was very similar, but in truth, I’ve never been asked that before. You have to understand that when we started the band, very shortly after it, unbelievably quickly, the first album we made was a No. 1 album. The funny blues album we made, all the Elmore James stuff, that was Peter. Then he started writing even more stuff.
Peter’s experience was from nothing, although he had a great reputation as a guitar player already with John Mayall. A little earlier on, we were totally unknown. I worked with Peter in a small instrumental band. Then he joined John Mayall, took over from Eric [Clapton], and he became “the dude,” the gunslinger. He saw and experienced huge success from that early band, so it’s all relative. Not on the level of what you’re talking about, I get, but it is all relative. In our world and his world, we went from nothing to the biggest band in our world, which was Europe. The band was huge, and there was some joke—which I still think is a joke, but it actually was true—that there was a period where we were outselling The Beatles—which you go, “Well, who cares?” It wasn’t true—well, it sort of actually is true, but probably for about five days or something. Whatever it was, Peter wasn’t devoid of his own realization of huge success. The reality is that he didn’t want that, and it became his nightmare, so he certainly wouldn’t have been comfortable with the journey that we were later to take. With the dynamic of his personality, and what happened emotionally to him, which is truly another book. It’s touched on, but Love That Burns, the title, is about that.
You collected the essays in the book from different people in your orbit at that time, as well as from Peter. What was the process like when you reached out to him?
We spoke on the phone over a couple of hours, and we taped it all. It was very hard to listen to it, really. I was not dreading it, but I was going, “Oh my God, he’s like my mentor.” It’s like an ex-lover; it’s sort of more major [than other interviews].
So I get on the phone, and it was powerful. Some of his memories were unbelievably accurate, and at some I was going, “Wow, I never thought that.” He was almost forced to form a band, he didn’t really want to do it. He probably had agents going, “You gotta do this, you gotta do that!” So he asked me to do it with him, and I don’t remember even being asked, it just sort of happened. But in this phone conversation, when I asked him [why he decided to start a band], I thought it would be more of a musical thing. I don’t know what I was thinking. I wanted to know, “What was it that you reckoned that we put this band together?” And it had nothing to do with music at all. He said, “You were so sad and unhappy.” I had just broken up with my girlfriend, who he knew, Jenny [Boyd], who I’d later marry. I burst into tears after the phone call. That’s Peter. He was concerned about that. The irony and the joke would be, if I hadn’t have been sad and fucked up and unhappy, Fleetwood Mac would never have happened. [Laughs.] And that struck me as unbelievable. There wouldn’t have been a Fleetwood Mac if Jenny hadn’t [broken up with me]. So I phoned Jenny up, and I said, “Jenny, good job you left me, or none of this would’ve happened! Thank you!” It’s probably the truth. How about that? I found out all these years later [it] had nothing to do with, “Well you’re a pretty good drummer, and you’re my mate.” It was to do with pain.
The best art often comes out of the worst pain.
It’s certainly the inception of what we were doing. It was a bunch of guys led, certainly at that point, majorly by Peter. I was the last in line to be a real blues player. John was so conversant, having played with John Mayall, and his whole life was playing blues. Peter, no wonder, he was wired to be blue. And later on, it really manifested in a way that wasn’t great for him, and there’s nothing more we can do about it.
So many members rotated in and out of Fleetwood Mac through the years. What was it that kept you there year after year?
Fear of losing a job! [Laughs.] No, it was my nature I think, and also what I had to do. It [would’ve been] a pretty lonely entity; you can’t exactly drum on your own, you know. By nature of the rhythm section, me and John go like, “Shit, we’re still here!” After you put the humor into it and say, “Well, you know, we needed someone to play with,” there’s sort of some truth to that: We don’t do what we do without other people. I don’t sit in a room and sing and write songs, that’s just the way it turned out. But as a team player, I’m “it.” I was wired to keep that around me, because I love it, need it, want it. It became a part of my expression.
When Peter left, we were all frightened. Really, it was a form of fear. But John, Jeremy, Danny and myself made Kiln House, that funny little album. Christine [McVie], who was now married to John, she watched us all and suddenly, after we made the album, we were like, “Would you like to join?” She didn’t even play on the album—I think she played one bit of piano, didn’t sing—but it was about holding together. My version of that was: When you’re a little fearful that the structure is falling apart, it’s human nature. You’ll even make friends with some of your enemies quickly, if the overview is saying, “You’re in trouble, you better start rowing the boat, or we’re all going to die.”
Did you ever feel like you were keeping at it for someone else, or was it always for you?
No, I think it was just my instinct not to give up. I do think it was a combination of how I was wired anyhow, and being a drummer and part of something Peter predetermined. He gave the name of the band to the rhythm section. All these things came out, and I found out a lot later, in an interview, I never knew, he said, “Well, I always thought that I would leave, but I wanted Mick and John to have the band.” This is him. It was almost like he knew what was going to happen.
Fleetwood Mac in 1968: Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and John McVie.
Do you think that you’ll keep in contact with Peter more going forward?
No, I don’t think Peter is interested in that. I know when I go to England—I saw him on the last [Fleetwood Mac] tour, and he was happy enough to come. He came to two shows which, for him, was a lot. You can tell he has no interest. Lindsey [Buckingham], who has total respect for who Peter is, doesn’t know Peter, but knows of him through me and through John, had more than a couple at certain shows in London. Lindsey said, “Did you see Peter?” I said, “Yeah, I said hello to him.” I [used to] be like, “God, I just want Peter to say that he really enjoyed it, something.” We had played a great show, and Lindsey just said, in good humor, “I don’t know whether [Peter] liked it or not, he just talked about something that had nothing to do with anything, really.” But that’s Peter. He’s sort of disconnected from ego. That part was only really revisited after that phone call. I was realizing that Peter truly is not coming back from his particular change of life. It’s selfish, but I don’t have what I used to have, and I was re-reminded of all the withdrawals that we had as a band. The good graces of that was that it led to an ability to keep going.
I think the tragedy of losing [Peter] enabled me and my connection to this band. It’s not him we’re [following] with that fucking flag; who’s picking the flag up again and going, “C’mon, we can do this?” It’s like that Monty Python skit where you go, “You ain’t got no legs! You’ve got nothing! C’mon, c’mon, get me!” And in the end you say, “I got no teeth, but I’ll gum you!” I think that I suffered from a bit of that. But in the end, who cares really? We are where we are. A lot of those sensibilities come from these days and all the changes.
The drummer also discusses why we shouldn’t romanticize drugs and what Fleetwood Mac taught him about compromise.
It’s been two days since Fleetwood Mac played in front of a sold-out crowd at Citi Field in New York City and drummer Mick Fleetwood is leaning back in a chair high up in an Upper East Side suite hotel room marveling at the fact that the group pulled the gig off. With the exception of a show at L.A.’s Dodger Stadium two weeks earlier, they hadn’t played since the final show of their 2015 tour. “With all due respect to John [McVie], I doubt he picked up the bass more than five times in the past two years,” he says with a chuckle. “But that son of a gun was like a Rolls Royce, that smooth. The rest of us had been working like slaves.”
One project that has taken up his time since the last tour is the new photo history bookLove That Burns: A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac Volume One, 1967–1974. It tells the epic saga of Fleetwood Mac from their earliest days as a blues rock band all the way to their first meeting with Stevie Nicks in 1974. “For the most part, this is not a horrible well-known story, at least in America,” he says. “It’s time for the story to be told.”
As part of Rolling Stone’s Last Word interview series, Fleetwood shared wisdom about aging, fatherhood, drugs and money. He also spoke about Fleetwood Mac’s future plans.
What’s the best advice you ever got?
It came from my father. He was a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force. When I started to be what could be construed as famous-ish, he said, “Never forget you get up and go to the toilet in the morning, Michael.” Which means, just keep it in perspective and have a good sense of humor and remember that you are a human being, and keep it in line. If he had added, “And don’t take too many drugs,” that might have been helpful too.
What’s the most indulgent purchase you ever made?
I bought a thousand-acre farm in Australia in the early 1980s. It was this whimsical decision to start a whole new life. The property had about eight houses on it and a fishing lake. I cashed out about 3 million bucks and bought it. I actually immigrated to Australia and gave up my green card. I thought it was a great place for all my friends and family, but it was also a pipe dream that literally took me to the poorhouse. I went broke. It was beautiful, and I don’t bemoan the fact that I did it. I also don’t bemoan that I’m not sitting there right now getting eaten by toxic spiders.
What have 50 years in Fleetwood Mac taught you about compromise?
I don’t think it would have been possible without the wit of healthy compromise. My father was a fine officer and in charge of organizing large groups of people. He said, “No matter what, as long as you get it done, you don’t need to take the credit.” Some people say, “You’ve had to suck eggs to keep some elements of your story going.” John [McVie] and I can say in good humor we’ve caused some pain, but it turned out pretty good.
Your philosophy seems to be “No matter what, the band carries on.” That was true even when Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham left for a time.
That’s the nature of being in a rhythm section. You need someone to play with. John and I can’t do this in our living room. Also, John and I sticking it out comes from abject fear. What the hell would we do if there was no band? For the most part, amazingly, it worked out, which is a form of alchemy and magic that I will never really truly understand.
“What the hell would me and John do if there was no band?”
You raised teenage girls in the 1980s, and you’re raising teenage girls now. How is it different?
They are frighteningly well-informed now, first of all. If I say something as a parent or a friend – I like to think of myself as both – it puts you on your mark because they can, in 40 seconds, see whether or not you’re full of shit. But I’m way better at being a dad now than I was with my first lovely two daughters. That’s because I’m not as crazy as I used to be, and hopefully not as selfish.
What do you understand about drugs now that you didn’t understand when you started out?
They end up being a nightmare. Maybe we would never have cut certain songs if we hadn’t been up for five days. But you think now, “Does that make it OK?” And it wasn’t OK. You shouldn’t romanticize those things. I’m lucky to be sitting here talking to you now.
What do you wish someone had told you about the music business before you started?
Look out for charlatans who will send you down the road. Yet actually, the real nuts and bolts is I am quite happy that I didn’t have that advice. I’d like to think I could have handled the warning, but if I had been warned, I might not have even signed anything.
Stevie Nicks told me she has no interest in making another Fleetwood Mac album, since it takes too long and nobody would buy it. How do you feel about that?
I’m not super keen on getting into all of that. But what I do know is that the music of Fleetwood Mac, and the music from everyone that coexists in and outside of that band, is everyone’s prerogative. She is gonna be there next year when we begin a tour and spend the better part of 18 months wandering the planet. And this band has to be able to [allow] that and have no blame game at all. If you want me to say, “Hey, the utopian dream would be that before we hang it up, we all play [new] stuff [in the studio] …,” but we play onstage! God knows we’ve sacrificed huge chunks of time for this strange animal known as Fleetwood Mac, so I’m OK with it.
Christine McVie has hinted that the tour in 2018 might be a farewell. Is that true?
No. I don’t know where that is coming from. In my mind, it’s not, and everyone in the band has decided that it’s not. But we thought we were finished 30 years ago. And so it’s a Rolling Stones model. I don’t know if morbid is the correct word here, but when everyone is in their seventies and you think about five years from now … You know, at some point I wish I’d seen Frank Sinatra. And I didn’t. And lo and behold, one day Frank’s dead. Phil Collins is calling his tour “Not Dead Yet.” Well, we’re not dead yet, but god forbid, we might be, so you could be like, “I better go and see them!” But you will not see a poster saying this is our farewell tour that I could dream of.
Are you thinking at all about the set list yet? Will it be very different than the last tour?
Yeah. I was in Italy recently and met Stevie out there. Actually, she was in Capri and I was close to there. She said to me, “Let’s sit down and really listen to some stuff that sort of almost got forgotten.” So I know she’s already thinking she wants to do some things we haven’t done in years. I always think that Stevie and Lindsey should do a Buckingham Nicks song in the set. And have Christine should do a blues song. I hope it certainly won’t be the same show as we did before. We always played nearly three hours, and we cut it back a little bit for the wear and tear, but we do over two hours. And when you got three singers, which is, like, three bands, really, to get that perfect set, it’s a trip.
“I think people invest in Fleetwood Mac because there’s an intrigue there. We put our dirty laundry out there for everyone to see.”
You play nearly every Rumours song in the set. Ever think about just playing the album straight through?
It would be fantastic. But we’d have to be like Bruce Springsteen, out there for seven hours. Then it could be the last tour. You’ll see wooden boxes onstage. Five of them.
You turned 70 this year. Does it feel different than you imagined it would?
Yeah, it does. Physically, I think I’m healthier than I was at 50. [Grabs chest, fakes a heart attack before laughing hysterically] But I am surprised that, like Phil, I’m not dead yet. I hardly know the date of my own birthday. This is an awful admission, but I don’t know my children’s birthdays. When I was young I never remembered anything either. I was just talking to my daughters in the car, saying that when they are 24 or 25 I’ll be 80. Whatever happens, in 15 years I’ll probably either be dead or sitting in a chair somewhere near a spittoon. Maybe by some miracle I’ll be like my mom, 98 years old and then you just drop.
No matter how clever you are, however fit you are, you’re doing going to die someday. It hits me when someone asks me about Fleetwood Mac’s future plans. It hits me that if we tour and then maybe do something else and then possibly live out a pipe dream of a Broadway play, that’ll take five or six years. I’ll be on the red carpet and 76, even closer to death than I am now. You start thinking about things like that at 70.
Let’s not wrap up on your inevitable death, so I wanna go somewhere lighter. I feel like I hear Fleetwood Mac’s music more often now than I ever have, and young people seem to just idolize Stevie Nicks more than I’ve ever seen. How do you explain that?
The comedic answer is that we wouldn’t go away. I do like to think that our story is a human story. It sounds corny, but I think people invest in it because there’s an intrigue there. We put our dirty laundry out there for everyone to see. We were naive in many ways. I can’t believe the papers didn’t hound us. They never followed Stevie around or found out what we were up to. It’s sort of a miracle.
Picture all that happening now with TMZ? They’re torture you.
Can you imagine that with early Fleetwood Mac? But even back then we were so open about it that we sort of blew their biscuit. You never got pictures of Stevie in Phoenix or wherever having a love affair, but we have our own version of it. Anyway, it’s old news now.
‘Silver Springs’: Inside Fleetwood Mac’s Great Lost Breakup Anthem
As classic live album The Dance turns 20, we look back at Stevie Nicks’ tortured torch song – and how it almost broke up the band
By 1997, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham’s romance should have been ancient history. The pair had split two decades prior, fueling Rumours‘ famously raw breakup anthems. But during a taping of a Fleetwood Mac reunion show later released as The Dance, shit once again got very real. Midway through a non-album rarity called “Silver Springs,” Nicks turned and faced her former flame as she sang the song’s rueful bridge: “Time cast a spell on you, but you won’t forget me/I know I could have loved you but you would not let me.” The pair locked eyes, and Nicks gradually built to a cathartic howl – “I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you/You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you” – indicating that, for her at least, resolution had never really come.
Suddenly, “Silver Springs,” a song written for Rumours but left off the finished album and relegated to B-side status, seemed like the key to the entire messy and enthralling saga of Fleetwood Mac’s most beloved lineup. Even back in ’77, amid iconic tracks like “Go Your Own Way” and “Dreams,” Nicks’ tender yet vengeful post-mortem on her breakup with Buckingham had become an emotional lightning rod. The song would have behind-the-scenes repercussions for decades to come – nearly leading to the breakup of the band. “Silver Springs” would also become a treasured touchstone for Nicks acolytes ranging from Courtney Love, who has passionately covered it, to Lorde, who cited it as an influence on her Melodrama LP.
Fleetwood Mac’s own melodrama was brewing well before Nicks penned “Silver Springs.” She and Buckingham met as teenagers at a religious-group gathering; after high school, they became romantic and musical partners, eventually teaming up in the duo Buckingham Nicks. In December 1974, Mick Fleetwood called up Buckingham to join the already-established Fleetwood Mac. The guitarist insisted that he and Nicks were a package deal, and both would join and appear on the band’s self-titled 1975 album – their first international smash and U.S. Number One.
As they worked on a follow-up, which would become Rumours, Buckingham and Nicks’ relationship, as well as the marriage of bandmates Christine and John McVie, began to implode. Nicks officially ended things, but neither were taking it well.
“[Stevie] was going through a bit of a hard time too because she was the one who axed it,” Christine McVie, who had become Nicks’ close friend and confidant during this time, said in Bob Brunning’s Fleetwood Mac: The First 30 Years. “Lindsey was pretty down about it for a while, then he just woke up one morning and said, ‘Fuck this, I don’t want to be unhappy,’ and started getting some girlfriends together. Then Stevie couldn’t handle it … !”
Rumours became a theatrical affair, with the exes addressing one another’s faults, their own pain and a storm of other topics related to their respective heartbreaks. “Silver Springs” was Nicks’ tribute to the fairy-tale ending that never was. The title came from Silver Spring, Maryland: While passing through the town on tour, Nicks romanticized the name. “It sounded like a pretty fabulous place to me,” she said in the Classic Albums documentary about Rumours. “It’s a whole symbolic thing of what [Lindsey] could have been to me.”
As Rumours co-producer Ken Caillat recalls, Fleetwood Mac recorded “Silver Springs” about six months into the process. “Stevie was in love with the song,” he tells Rolling Stone, noting that he views it as one of the best-engineered and best-produced tracks from the sessions, emphasizing the combination of acoustic and electric guitars added by the song’s own subject, Buckingham.
“Lindsey was the guy who laid all of these big colors on the record and so you have to imagine it’s an odd position for him to be in,” Caillat explains. “He’s mad at her, the song’s about them being mad but it’s a good art form. But you can tell by all those parts he did on the guitars and the harmonics and the picking, it’s a piece of art.”
Nicks was proud of “Silver Springs,” and while it was in part a revenge anthem directed at her bandmate/ex, there was someone more important in her life who was meant to benefit from the commercial success she assumed it would gain.
“She decided to give the publishing rights to her mother [Barbara] as kind of a big thanks with a nice royalty check for her mom,” Caillat adds.
The album was nearly finished when Mick Fleetwood pulled Nicks out into the parking lot of the Record Plant, the Sausalito, California, studio where much of the album had been recorded.
“I knew it was really serious ’cause Mick never asks you to go out to the parking lot for anything,” Nicks recalled in a 1991 BBC radio interview. It was there that Fleetwood revealed that “Silver Springs” had been cut from the album for being too long and “a lot of [other] reasons,” according to Nicks. Fleetwood wanted the lighter “I Don’t Want to Know” on the album instead, a track on which she and her ex-boyfriend harmonized about their breakup. She did not approve.
“I started to scream bloody murder and probably said every horribly mean thing that you could possibly say to another human being and walked back in the studio completely flipped out,” she continued.
The producers tried to find a way to keep the song on the album, and offered to cut down its length or trim a different Nicks track, like the seven-minute “Gold Dust Woman.” As Fleetwood had relayed to Nicks during their fateful parking-lot argument, length was a major factor in the song’s displacement, given the limitations of vinyl pressings and her bandmates’ desire for equal representation on the LP. Plus, “Silver Springs” would have made for a third ballad by Nicks on the album, as opposed to the more upbeat “I Don’t Want to Know,” a duet with Buckingham.
“As you can hear, [the album] turned out feeling poppy despite the fact that we had a lot of slow songs in there like ‘Oh Daddy’ and things like that,” Caillat adds. “So we gave her the option that we could cut one of the slow songs down so we could have room for the other ones or we could take one of the other songs off and she said, ‘Let’s do it.’ She wanted to keep all of the other songs more than ‘Silver Springs.'”
According to Nicks, however, she wasn’t so compliant.
“With a gun to my head, I went out and sang ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ and they put ‘Silver Springs’ on the back of ‘Go Your Own Way,'” she told the BBC in ’91.
As Caillat sees it, the placement of “Silver Springs” as a B side on the album’s first single was a peace offering. “Stevie was devastated for a number of reasons,” he explains. “She loved the song, and by it not being on the LP, her mom didn’t make all the extra publishing because the single didn’t sell very much.”
The story of “Silver Springs” appeared to end right there, in Sausalito. The band performed the song live a few times in 1976 and ’77 before moving on from it for the remainder of the Seventies and the entirety of the Eighties. Even so, Nicks devotees still found their way to the tune. Tori Amos’ family lived in Silver Spring, Maryland, during the Seventies, and in the Rumours era, she was cutting her teeth by playing gay bars around nearby Washington, D.C. Nicks had long been one of her biggest influences, but it was a random barfly who put in a request for “Silver Springs” that led to her discovery of the song.
“I heard it and thought it was beautiful,” she tells Rolling Stone. “It just became part of the repertoire for the past 39 years.”
For those not frequenting the bars where Amos kept the song’s spirit alive, the track’s primary exposure was as a B side to “Go Your Own Way” – Buckingham’s own expression of anger and revenge against Nicks, where he claimed that “packin’ up, shackin’ up is all you wanna do.” The song would become one of the band’s biggest hits, charting in the Top 10.
“He knew it wasn’t true. It was just an angry thing that he said,” Nicks told Rolling Stone in 1997 of the “packin’ up, shackin’ up” line. “Every time those words would come onstage, I wanted to go over and kill him. He knew it. He really pushed my buttons through that. It was like, ‘I’ll make you suffer for leaving me.’ And I did.”
Of course, Nicks had the exact same motivation when she wrote “Silver Springs.” In a 1997 interview with Arizona Republic, she explained the song’s message as “I’m so angry with you. You will listen to me on the radio for the rest of your life, and it will bug you. I hope it bugs you.”
After their breakup and massive success with Rumours, Buckingham and Nicks spent a decade continuing to sing to and about each other onstage, even as they appeared to move on with their respective personal lives. They courted different people – Nicks even briefly married – and pursued solo careers alongside their work with the band. But according to Mick Fleetwood’s autobiography Play On, the passion and anger had not entirely died down, and a physical altercation between the former couple during a band meeting in 1987 is what ultimately led to Buckingham’s departure from the group. Both Buckingham and Nicks denied Fleetwood’s claims.
Three years later, the new, Lindsey-less incarnation of Fleetwood Mac released Behind the Mask and went on a world tour. Following the trek, Nicks began plotting a greatest hits compilation titled Timespace – The Best of Stevie Nicks where she hoped to include “Silver Springs” alongside her other Fleetwood Mac contributions and solo hits. But her plan got in the way of Fleetwood’s own desire to include it on a forthcoming box set cataloging the band’s discography. This led to another heated dialogue between the two about “Silver Springs.”
“I told [Fleetwood’s manager] that I want ‘Silver Springs’ because it belongs to my mother,” she told the BBC in 1991. “It didn’t occur to me that they wouldn’t let me have it back. I said to his manager, ‘You find Mick, and you tell him that if I don’t have those tapes by Monday, I am no longer a member of Fleetwood Mac.'”
Fleetwood won, and the song appeared on 25 Years – The Chain. True to her word, Nicks left the band.
By the time of The Dance, both Buckingham and Nicks had seemingly settled into a new era of their lives. Nicks had been sober for a few years, having finally kicked the drug addiction that had plagued her since the Seventies. Buckingham was then dating Kristen Messner, the woman who would give birth to the first of their two children a year later and marry him in 2000. It was an improbable Buckingham Nicks reunion in 1996 for the duet “Twisted” off the Twister soundtrack that would put the Fleetwood Mac reunion in motion. (The tornado metaphor was hopefully not lost on the pair.)
The Dance, a release largely made up of Fleetwood Mac’s best-known hits, would earn the band three Grammy nominations and their first Number One album since 1982’s Mirage.”To be honest, I don’t remember hearing ‘Silver Springs’ done at rehearsals,” Elliot Scheiner, producer and engineer of the concert film, tells RS. Similarly, director Bruce Gowers doesn’t recall anything special about the early run-throughs of the song. It had always been a part of the set list for as long as he had been attending their practice sessions, and he just assumed that it had been a part of their pre-breakup concert repertoire. The looks exchanged by Buckingham and Nicks throughout the show – and the particularly raw moment between them during the climax of “Silver Springs” – did not come about until the two nights of taping in Burbank.
This was by design. Nicks has admitted that the fiery take on the song that appears in The Dance was “for posterity,” as she told RS at the time. “I wanted people to stand back and really watch and understand what [the relationship with Lindsey] was,” she later told Arizona Republic.
“‘Silver Springs’ always ends up in that place for me because she’s always very committed to what those words are about, and I remember what they were about then,” Buckingham told Rolling Stone in 1997. “Now it’s all irony, you know, but there is no way you can’t get drawn into the end of that song.”
“When we’re [onstage] there singing songs to each other, we probably say more to each other than we ever would in real life,” Nicks added.
For many Fleetwood Mac fans, The Dance marked the first time they had even heard the track. One of these was Courtney Love, who has long been a very public admirer of Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. Hole had released their own cover of “Gold Dust Woman” in 1996 and interpolated “Rhiannon” into their Pretty on the Inside track “Starbelly” back in 1991.
“I wouldn’t exist without Stevie,” she tells Rolling Stone. Love and Nicks have known each other for years, and the alt-rock singer had been in attendance for one of the live tapings of The Dance, even spending time with a nervous Nicks in her dressing room before the show.
“I thought it was an old Buckingham Nicks song,” she recalls of her first exposure to “Silver Springs.” “It really moved me. I was like ‘What the fuck is this?’ I didn’t ask her about it.”
While Love had been playing “Gold Dust Woman” live for decades, she recently chose to sing “Silver Springs” instead at a Fleetwood Mac tribute show in Los Angeles last year. “I started crying as I was singing it,” she admits. “It doesn’t sell itself, you have to sell it a little bit. Take it to the end. Before the instrumental break, it builds, it builds, it builds and it climaxes. It’s an unusual song musically in that sense.”
Nicks’ own performance earned “Silver Springs” a belated Grammy nomination, in the category of Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals (it lost to Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity”). It was the only song from The Dance to be recognized outside of the album as a whole.
“I never thought that ‘Silver Springs’ would ever be performed onstage,” she reflected during a 1997 MTV interview. “My beautiful song just disappeared [20 years ago]. For it to come back around like this has really been special to me.”
“Silver Springs” has gone on to have an extraordinary second life. Besides Love and Amos, Florence and the Machine and Lykke Li have covered it live; it appeared in the finale episode of American Horror Story: Coven; and just this year, 20-year-old Lorde cited “Silver Springs” during a conversation about her own heartbreak album Melodrama, released in June.
“I remember being [15 years old] listening to [‘Silver Springs’] over and over, doing my art homework, thinking it was a beautiful song,” she said in conversation with Tavi Gevinson for the Rookie Magazine podcast. “I remember hearing ‘Time cast its spell on you but you won’t forget me/I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you/You’ll never get [away from] the sound of the woman that loves you’ and feeling the weight of them, and I also remember hearing them six months ago and hearing a total different thing unlock.”
Speaking to Rolling Stone later, Gevinson cites her own high-school breakup as her impetus for connecting to the song. “I definitely copied down the lyrics in multiple journals,” she says.
Fleetwood Mac still plays “Silver Springs,” often as an encore alongside “Don’t Stop” and other signature songs. Live, Buckingham and Nicks have continued to revive their haunting locked-gaze Dance duet. In late 1997, live footage captured Buckingham welling up with emotion and embracing Nicks at the end of the song. In a 2004 clip, he aggressively strums his guitar and yells into the microphone, making his harmonies more audible than ever.
After Christine McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 2014, her heartbreak sisterhood with Nicks was rekindled. By that time, “Silver Springs” had already become a staple of the band’s set lists. “When I finish [performing] ‘Silver Springs,’ Christine waits for me and takes my hand,” Nicks told Maclean’s Magazine in 2015. “We walk off and we never let go of each other until we get to our tent. In that 30 seconds, it’s like my heart just comes out of my body.”
Since Nicks was able to turn “Silver Springs” into the hit she always wanted it to be, her mom Barbara did receive the royalty check her daughter had earmarked for her – 20 years later than expected. “My mom ended up getting a $50,000 check two months after The Dance went out,” the singer revealed. “To my mother, it had been a million dollar check.”
Nicks also finally had the opportunity to place the song on her own compilation, including it on 2007’s Crystal Visions – The Very Best of Stevie Nicks. In the liner notes, she dedicated “Silver Springs” to her mom, who passed away four years later. It was the elder Nicks’ “rainy day song.”
Brittany Spanos / Rolling Stone / Friday, August 18, 2017
Stevie Nicks may be the face of Fleetwood Mac, and likely its most recognizable voice.
But Lindsey Buckingham is clearly the band’s head — author of many of its biggest hits, player of its distinctive guitar, master behind its sound with his production.
And Christine McVie may be its heart — the warm, welcoming vocal counter to Nicks’ emotional gypsy.
So you would expect that even though Buckingham and McVie’s current duo tour is to support their new self-titled, Top 20 album, they would carry many of Fleetwood Mac’s attributes into concert with them.
And indeed they did Friday at Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, on the last date of the tour’s first leg — to the point of playing almost as many Fleetwood Mac songs (nine) in the 19-song, hour-and-40-minute set than they did the new songs (10).
The songs weren’t always Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits, but they displayed the pair’s contributions to the band.
And the concert also showed how distinctive Buckingham and McVie are as solo artists.
That talent was on display immediately as the concert opened with Buckingham doing a slow, studied and acoustic version of his solo debut single hit, “Trouble” before being joined by McVie singing the deep Fleetwood Mac cut “Wish You Were Here,” warm and lovely.
Then Buckingham did the Fleetwood Mac song “Never Going Back Again” as a pained lament that was simply stunning. And he followed with an also-acoustic but angry and aggressive version of his “Shut Us Down.” His guitar work was as impressive as his voice.
For the rest of the show, the duo had a four-person band.
Saying she wanted to do older material “from the second century,” McVie kicked into Fleetwood Mac’s wonderful “Hold Me,” sounding more mature and mellow than the original arrangement — as if it had been seasoned over time.
“Little Lies” was still a great song, but McVie seemed to struggle with her higher range. Buckingham made up for it by growling on the chorus and playing great lead guitar. “Tusk” was as pretentious as ever, but darned if it still doesn’t have the power to make you move.
The middle of the set showed McVie at her Fleetwood Mac best, on “Hold Me,” the intense fleeing-love song hit from “Mirage.” And while it was McVie’s song, it also show how much Buckingham contributed with simply his high counter-voice.
Then “Little Lies” again showed how much the combination of McVie and Buckingham’s voices mean to Fleetwood Mac.
The Fleetwood Mac song that suffered most was McVie-voiced “You Make Loving Fun,” which felt weighted down by age, as McVie again fell short vocally.
The songs from the new disc were surprisingly strong. As Buckingham said, clearly the pair still can capture that band magic.
Early in the set, the chiming “Sleeping Around the Corner” sounded like Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac, both musically and vocally. Same for “Feel About You,” except for additional muscle. Buckingham’s masterful melody work was evident. The disc’s first single, “In My World,” was more the kind of song McVie did for the group.
The harder “Too Far Gone” sounded impressive, with heavy percussion and Buckingham’s searing guitar, but was a bit too obvious.
Later in the set, “Love is Here to Stay” was very much a Buckingham tune — lovely guitar and voice over a swirling melody, it’s an unusually hopeful love song. But the wistful, left-love “Red Sun” also was too obvious — saved only by Buckingham’s echo-y guitar.
It was something of a disappointment that McVie didn’t sing perhaps her best Fleetwood Mac song, “Over My Head.” The duo instead offered its B-side, “I’m So Afraid” — which made for a fine Buckingham guitar centerpiece (and his playing got a standing ovation from the near-sellout crowd). But the song was leadened under its own weight.
The duo made up for it by closing the main set with Buckingham’s kiss-off song “Go Your Own Way” — which still carries a beautifully bitterly sting after all these years, and was even stronger and meaner now.
And McVie got her chance, opening the encore with the beautifully bubbling “Everywhere,” which she sang great.
In an odd move, Buckingham-McVie closed with two new songs. “Lay Down for Free” sounded a lot like “Hold Me” — in a good way, clearly from Buckingham’s head. And the closing “Game of Pretend” was very much the kind of song to which McVie gave warmth — and heart — in Fleetwood Mac.
Sands Bethlehem Event Center August 11, 2017
John J. Moser | The Morning Call | August 11, 2017
Fleetwood Mac – Stevie Nicks = Buckingham/Mcvie. Typical Fleetwood Mac math, yet somehow it adds up to a pretty-good album.
Over past few decades, a couple of would-be Lindsey Buckingham albums have been co-opted into Fleetwood Mac albums. Tango in the Night (1987) and Say You Will (2003) both began as Buckingham solo projects, but fate, not to mention the record company, intervened. This time, though, things have worked out the other way around, sort of.
Since Christine McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 2014 after a 16-year absence, the band have talked excitedly about a new era and a new album, and have been recording new material. All of them except Stevie Nicks that is. Nicks has been doing Fleetwood Mac and solo tours but apparently, has little interest in recording.
Apparently, the rest of the band got tired of waiting for her. Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie also features the Mick Fleetwood/John McVie rhythm section. So that’s four-fifths of Fleetwood Mac. Though Buckingham and McVie have claimed their album was not intended as a Fleetwood Mac record, that’s only because Nicks precluded the idea. It is safe to say that any new Fleetwood Mac album would have featured much of the material on Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie. All this makes it difficult to listen to Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie without thinking of it as a companion piece to Say You Will, which featured all involved save McVie.
Even after all these years, it’s never simple with Fleetwood Mac.
Still, Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie commands some attention in its own right. McVie has not released anything since her 2004 solo album. Save a low-key Mac EP, Buckingham has not been heard from since 2011. Do the pair, who between them have written some of the most enduring radio hits of the last 40 years, still have it? Do they, at their ages (Buckingham is 67; McVie turns 74 this year), have anything new to say, and can they still sing, even?
This is a “duet” album, which is not to be mistaken for a “duets album”. Each of the ten songs alternates between a Buckingham vocal and a McVie vocal. There are no duets. Not surprisingly, Buckingham fairly dominates affairs, writing or co-writing nearly all the tracks and co-producing with Mitchell Froom. The sound is crisp, clean, and slightly DIY, in the manner of Buckingham’s last several solo albums.
And the songs?
Buckingham still has it, because he never really lost it. He still has a way with an incisive-yet-catchy, quirky-yet-charismatic melody and arrangement. He is more straightforward here than on his solo releases, keeping his trademark fingerpicking filigree at a minimum and his eccentricities in check. His “Sleeping Around the Corner”, a years-old, remodeled solo outtake, has one of those classic, giddy choruses he is so good at, and it would be a great opener on any album. Single “In My World” is nearly as good, with Fleetwood and John McVie laying down their trademark, rock-solid, less-is-more groove. In fact, one of Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie ‘s true pleasures is Fleetwood’s drumming, deft as ever.
“Love Is Here to Stay” is a breezy, fingerpicked ray of sunlight. All the effortless “Lay Down For Free” is missing is some Nicks harmonies. “On With the Show” seems to address her absence, with Buckingham proclaiming, “I will stand with my band / There’ll come a day / When we all feel the same.”
As for McVie, well, her method has not changed much, either. She still deals in sweet, guileless romance. She has lost something, though. Time has taken a substantial toll on both singers’ voices, but McVie seems to struggle just to sound like herself. More importantly, often there is not enough of a pure pop rush to make up for her simplistic lyrics and phrasing. “Red Sun” gets some good vibes out of her familiar rolling piano sound, and the hard-boogying “Too Far Gone” just barely manages to avoid being an embarrassment. Only the beautifully stark piano ballad “Game of Pretend” stands on its own without the production propping it up.
A curious album to be sure, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie could just as well have been released as two separate EPs. In particular, it is difficult to hear McVie in the Buckingham-fronted songs. Still, in the end, an almost-Fleetwood Mac album turns out to be a pretty good Fleetwood Mac album, especially this late in the game.
LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM / CHRISTINE MCVIE Rating: 6/10
John Bergstrom / Pop Matters / Wednesday, July 12, 2017
ALBUM REVIEW: Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie – Buckingham/McVie
***1/2 (3 and a half stars out of 5)
If you’ve ever wondered what a golden era Fleetwood Mac album might sound like without Stevie Nicks, here’s your answer. From 1975’s self-titled effort to ‘87s Tango in the Night, the Mac’s transatlantic reinvention and huge global success was built on the potent creative relationship between the British trio of Mick Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie and American pair Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Boasting a unique combination of interpersonal friction and natural musical understanding, the quintet crafted some of the finest, most emotionally raw pop-rock songs ever made.
In particular, Buckingham and McVie struck up an immediate rapport, elevating each other’s songwriting as his idiosyncratic musicianship melded perfectly with her penchant for penning melodic, romantic gems. That was most apparent on Tango in the Night, a record that, with Nicks largely absent, was largely shaped by the duo and went on to shift 15 million copies.
Fast forward three decades and the circumstances surrounding the genesis of this release are somewhat reminiscent of that period. After McVie re-joined the band in 2014, she and Buckingham swiftly realised their collaborative spark still burned bright.
A new Fleetwood Mac album might have been in the works, but Nicks was again on solo duty. So, instead we have Buckingham/McVie.
Stylistically speaking, this is a simple sounding record full of immaculately produced, easy listening vignettes that are incredibly bright and breezy. McVie’s musical aesthetic forms the blueprint, with her gifted co-creator reining in his experimental tendencies to complement her easy going pop sensibilities.
“Feel About You” is a bubbly ‘60s bijou with instrumental nods to “Everywhere” and the exquisitely tuneful “Red Sun” offers a relaxed gospel-style chorus that has the air of a soothing nursery rhyme. “Lay Down For Free” finds the pair’s vocal interplay as enchantingly timeless as ever, while “Too Far Gone” echoes “You Make Loving Fun.” Its electronically swaggering groove, brilliantly clipped chorus and tribal drum bursts are an absolute blast.
With Mick Fleetwood and John McVie also playing on the LP, strands of Fleetwood Mac’s DNA are, understandably, woven into the fabric of these songs. “Love Is Here To Stay” recalls a slower, more optimistic “Never Going Back Again” and the sparse piano and guitar strains on “Game of Pretend” immediately bring to mind “Songbird.” “Carnival Begin” is a hazy dream-like number that could have featured on Tusk, with Buckingham’s closing solo his most intense contribution.
Where the simmering undercurrent of love and hate betwixt Buckingham and Nicks always gave their music a certain spikiness, the collaborative vibe here is noticeably more relaxed, enjoyable and carefree. The only downside to such harmony is that these songs are very middle of the road and some will find them far too bland and beige. If you’re looking for a little edginess in your life, feeding ducks at the local park or eating a non-organic apple with the skin on will offer more than this record.
It won’t wipe away the frustration with Nicks for potentially depriving us of a final album from Fleetwood Mac’s classic line-up, but without her presence the dynamics at play on this classy, mature and well sculpted offering do present another fascinating portal into the inner workings of music’s longest running soap opera.
Simon Ramsay / Stereoboard (UK) / Monday, June 26, 2017
Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham tells all about his collaboration with Christine McVie: “We didn’t have an idea what it was going to be, we just wanted to welcome her back,” Buckingham says. “Less than a week in we were like, ‘Oh, my god, this is better than it’s ever been.'”
Before Christine McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 2014 after a 16-year hiatus, she reconvened with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, bassist and ex-husband John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood in the studio. Buckingham was working on a solo album and, before rehearsals began for Fleetwood Mac’s upcoming tour, the four — sans Stevie Nicks — played around with some songs. “We didn’t have an idea what it was going to be, we just wanted to welcome her back,” Buckingham says. “Less than a week in we were like, ‘Oh, my god, this is better than it’s ever been.’ ”
They recorded for a few weeks and then put things on hold until the tour wrapped. The resulting album, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, released this month, sounds like it could be a long-lost Fleetwood Mac album. It’s all there (except for Nicks): Buckingham’s jangly guitar and pop sensibility, Christine’s breathy vocals and melodic piano playing, the classic rhythm section. Express spoke with Buckingham ahead of the duo’s first tour, which stops at Wolf Trap on Monday.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this album is the first time that you, Christine, Mick and John worked together in the studio since 1987’s Tango in the Night.
That is true. We did do a Fleetwood Mac album, [2003’s] Say You Will, without Christine. I’d never really thought of it that way.
For this album, it had been almost 30 years since you four had worked together in the studio.
Jeez, did you have to say that? Oh, my god, that’s scary.
Did it feel strange to be working together in this context again?
Well, no, not really.
It helped that you recorded the album at the same studio where you made 1979’s Tusk.
Yeah, that was a very conscious decision to sort of revisit a piece of our past. And that was a studio that, not only we’d helped to design, but we’d also spent almost a year there, and the Tusk album obviously represents a life choice for me. …
I had this conversation with [Christine] before formally saying, “Yes, come on back and rejoin the band,” which was basically, “Chris, we’d love you to come back, but you know if you do come back you can’t leave again.” I didn’t want it to be a whim for her or a knee jerk into something she felt she was missing but wasn’t willing to be grounded in and put in the discipline for. And she said, “No, no, no — I’d never do that.”
Do you feel like your creative relationship with Christine is stronger now that you’ve made this album?
Generally speaking, it kind of feels like there was always this mutual respect and always this mutual regard for each other’s artistry. But we never really tapped into it on this level. In retrospect, we’re sitting around going, “Gee, what took us so long?” So, we’ll just have to see where it goes. I have a solo album waiting in the wings that’s probably going to come out in January and of course the big machine [Fleetwood Mac] will come calling sometime next year as well, so I can’t really say what it all means other than we had a hell of a time doing it.
[Fleetwood Mac welcomed Christine McVie back to Verizon Center on Halloween]
What do you admire about her as a songwriter?
I love her sense of rhythm and her sense of melody. I love how she infuses her piano playing through the body, the fabric of the song in a way that’s really supportive and atmospheric. Just her ability to craft lyrics that are really strong rhythmically was brought to the forefront on this album because we did a lot of co-writing.
We’d done very occasional co-writing [in the past] — “World Turning” [for example]. I took great liberties with her songs and ended up sharing the writership on a couple of things she had. I gave her tracks that I had done in my studio that were all blocked out in terms of arrangement and chord changes and even melody. … And it was really fascinating to have her take the idea of the melody but then make it her own.
Do you have examples from the new album?
“Red Sun” is one of those. “Too Far Gone.” She would take the melody as it was expressed as a guitar line and be true to it and yet change it up and make it conversational and make it go with the pauses in her lyrics that would enhance the rhythm, and it was just really a nice thing to see evolve.
Is the plan for the tour to mix Fleetwood Mac songs with the new album?
Obviously, you can’t get away without doing some of the body of work. I think they’d probably run us out on the rail, so you try to find a balance. We’re going to possibly open up with a few things with just the two of us, maybe on acoustic and piano, and then by the time we get to the encore I think we’re doing eight of 10 songs from the new album. Then of course you have to throw in a few chestnuts. And that’s fine. I think it’s going to be a nice, fresh show.
Next month, you’ll play a couple of Fleetwood Mac festival dates, then next year is supposed to be a farewell tour, maybe?
Well, I’ve been hearing that, “farewell tour.” Where did that come from?
I read it in another article about the new album. Are you not ready to say goodbye to Fleetwood Mac?
It’s not a question of being ready or not ready, but we’ve never as a band talked about this being our last tour, so I’m a little curious about that.
You don’t see it as a farewell tour?
I certainly don’t. And given how long people seem to keep going and how we all feel individually, I would be shocked — but stranger things have happened.
Wolf Trap, Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna; Mon., 7:30 p.m., $45-$95.
Rudi Greenberg / Washington Post [Express – Blogs] / June 22, 2017
Album review: Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie is an engaging side project for Fleetwood Mac members.
Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie Atlantic ***1/2 (Three and a half stars)
The sessions that eventually spawned this album might well have heralded the return of Fleetwood Mac – indeed, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie contribute throughout here – but when Stevie Nicks stalled on her involvement, the songs instead became an engaging side project for Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie.
The mood throughout is part sun-dappled Californian sunshine and part crisp English winter, and McVie – who by her own admission turned her back on music for much of her 16-year break from touring and recording – is the undoubted star.
“Carnival Begin,” which closes the album, finds McVie brooding over a “new merry-go-round”, a transparent reference to returning to the recording fold.
“Game of Pretend,” another McVie composition, considers the complex world of relationships, a key Fleetwood Mac battleground over the decades. Buckingham shines, too, particularly on the radio-friendly “In My World,” “Sleeping Around the Corner,” and “On With the Show.” Throughout, there is a clarity of thought and sound that rolls back the years.
Nick March / The National (Middle East) / Monday, June 12, 2017
Fleetwood Mac’s last masterpiece, Tango in the Night, relied heavily on Buckingham/McVie compositions, with the group’s third great songwriter, Stevie Nicks, generally absent. Now that McVie and Buckingham are back together in the touring Mac band for the first time since 1997, they’ve reunited in the studio for this succinct collection of gentle pop-rockers, familiar yet far more strange and beautiful than 2013’s brittle Fleetwood Mac EP.
Buckingham’s spidery guitar shivers through “Love Is Here to Stay” and slays the solo on “Carnival Begin,” while McVie’s undimmed gift for melody illuminates every song.
Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Christine McVie are joining forces for their first duet album.
The record, out Friday, is called Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie.
Fleetwood Mac’s 1970s hit “Don’t Stop” from the album Rumours topped the charts for 31 straight weeks, but the band has always been known as a bit of a musical soap opera, reports CBS News’ Anthony Mason.
McVie was married to bassist John McVie, and Buckingham lived with Stevie Nicks.
Both couples broke up, but somehow the band survived. Now, for the first time, Buckingham and McVie have teamed up musically.
“There’s been a lot of drama among members of Fleetwood Mac,” Mason said.
“Oh, you could say that,” Buckingham said.
But Buckingham and McVie have never had drama between themselves.
“Not yet,” Buckingham joked. The two began working on new songs together when she rejoined Fleetwood Mac after a long absence in 2014. Bandmates John McVie and Mick Fleetwood provide much of the rhythm section on Buckingham-McVie’s debut duet album, which makes it an almost-Fleetwood Mac record. Everybody’s on the album except Nicks, which had some people wondering if it started as a Fleetwood Mac album.
“No, it didn’t really. There was no idea of saying, ‘Oh we’re trying to make a Fleetwood Mac album.’ It was just, ‘Let’s get together and have some fun with this.’ But as I said, it only took about a week for us to start to get a little territorial about it maybe being a duet album,” Buckingham said.
Last month, they took over Sound Stage 22 on the Sony lot in Los Angeles to begin rehearsing for a summer tour.
McVie has been singing harmonies with Buckingham since he first joined Fleetwood Mac back in 1975 with his then-girlfriend Nicks.
“It was with Stevie and John, and it was a little studio somewhere,” McVie said of the first time she and Buckingham sang together. “I was playing ‘Say You Love Me.’ And you and Stevie chirped in with fantastic background vocals. And we just all sat, I mean I sat there with goosebumps. I could not believe it.”
They’d form the classic lineup of Fleetwood Mac. Their first album together went to number one. Their second, Rumours, would sell more than 40 million copies.
But in 1998, tired of the travel and the feuding, McVie quit the band and moved to the English countryside, where she’d stay for 16 years.
“And it was OK for a few years, and then I just became quite isolated really,” McVie said.
McVie did do a solo album during that time.
“How could I forget? In my garage, we call it ‘the dirge’ album. Cause I was in a dark space then,” she said.
“Did you decide that you’re not really a solo artist after all?” Mason asked.
“I know I’m not,” she said. “I’m not.”
McVie took her first tentative steps back into Fleetwood Mac in 2013, when Fleetwood invited her to join them for one gig at London’s 02 Arena, a reunion captured on fans’ cellphone video.
“He said, ‘Why don’t you just come on and do “Don’t Stop” with us?’ So that’s, that’s in the end what I did,” she said. “And looking around at these other four individuals – it was just a mind-blowing experience.”
Right away, she knew she wanted to go back.
“There is nothing like this extended family that is Fleetwood Mac. And I think you have to say, for all the perceived and real dysfunction that there has been, underneath that, there is and always has been a great deal of love. And that keeps pulling us back together,” Buckingham said.
The Buckingham-McVie tour opens in Atlanta June 21 and runs through July.
Watch CBS This Morning: Saturday for the duo’s Saturday Sessions performance and for more of Mason’s interview.
Our take on the unexpected full-length team-up between the two Fleetwood Mac songwriters
Well, here’s an album nobody thought would happen – the first-ever collabo from Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie. It’s full of surprises, considering we’ve all spent years already listening in on both their private worlds. But these two Fleetwood Mac legends have their own kinky chemistry. When McVie jumped back in the game for the Mac’s last tour, the songbird regained her hunger to write. And Buckingham remains one of the all-time great rock & roll crackpots, from his obsessively precise guitar to his seething vocals. They bring out something impressively nasty in each other, trading off songs in the mode of 1982’s Mirage – California sunshine on the surface, but with a heart of darkness.
So we’ve made it to the second paragraph of this review without mentioning any other members of Fleetwood Mac. That’s an achievement, right? We should feel good about that. So now let’s discuss how weird it feels that a certain pair of platform boots was not twirling on the studio floor while this album was being made. Stevie Nicks is the unspoken presence on this album, the lightning you can hear not striking. There’s something strange about hearing Lindsey and Christine team up without her, but that just enhances the album’s strange impact. This would have been the next Mac album, except Stevie didn’t want in. It sounds like that might have fired up her Mac-mates’ competitive edge – but for whatever reason, these are the toughest songs Buckingham or McVie have sung in years.
“In My World” is the treasure here – Lindsey digs into his favorite topic, demented love, murmuring a thorny melody and reprising the male/female sex grunts from “Big Love.” In gems like “Sleeping Around the Corner” and the finger-picking “Love Is Here to Stay,” he’s on top of his game, with all the negative mojo he displayed in Tusk or his solo classic Go Insane. McVie is usually the optimistic one, but she seizes the opportunity to go dark in “Red Sun.” And what a rhythm section – Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, cooking up the instantly recognizable groove no other band has found a way to duplicate. Everything about this album is a little off-kilter, right down to the way the title echoes the pre-Mac Buckingham Nicks. But if this had turned out to be a proper Fleetwood Mac reunion album, that would’ve felt like a happy ending – and who wants happy endings from these guys? Instead, it’s another memorable chapter in rock’s longest-running soap opera, with both Lindsey and Christine thriving on the dysfunctional vibes.
Fleetwood Mac’s guitarist and keyboardist team up for a new album
People often think of Fleetwood Mac as a band propelled to artistic eminence by interpersonal turmoil. Who could forget that Rumours, the band’s defining album, was the product of a period of libertine excess and relational meltdowns? Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were on the rocks, Christine McVie and John McVie were divorcing and Mick Fleetwood’s civilian marriage was disintegrating, too. Long before bloggers began parsing insinuating lyricsfrom Taylor Swiftand others who’ve passed through her orbit, there was perverse sport in scrutinizing the wistful, wounded or prickly lines in Fleetwood Mac songs, not to mention group members’ on-the-record comments and on-stage interactions, for evidence of unresolved conflict.
No such history hangs over the pairing of Buckingham and Christine McVie, he a famously exacting guitarist and producer, she a blues-schooled keyboardist, and each of them singers and songwriters responsible for significant chunks of their band’s discography. Over the decades they’ve ventured into a handful of direct collaborations, but they haven’t truly explored the potential of their partnership until now. Their album features most of the band’s classic lineup (notably, minus Nicks), but gets its identity from ideas generated within the closed circuit of the duo; all of the songs are credited to Buckingham, McVie or both.
When McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 2014, no longer content with the tranquility of retirement in the English countryside she’d chosen a decade and a half earlier, she and Buckingham struck up a tentative creative conversation, she sending him snippets of lyric, melody and chord progression, he fleshing them out and passing along his own incomplete song ideas to her. “This was just for me to get familiarized with playing and performing again,” McVie told Stephen Deusner in a recent cover story for Uncut. “One thing led to another, and by the time we knew what was happening, we had six basic tracks in the bag….” Their casual exchange reactivated musical muscles she hadn’t used in a while and reaffirmed her faith in the relevance of her contributions.
In the mythology built up around the music of Fleetwood Mac, McVie represents an irrepressibly sanguine voice and Buckingham a more barbed one, but to reduce them to polar opposites — the optimist vs. the pessimist — is to miss out on the nuanced outlooks that come into focus when they’re working side by side. He remains quite skilled at enhancing shifts in tone with his production. The pensive resolve of his “On With the Show” gives way to breezy resignation with the introduction of sun-kissed harmonies and a crystalline guitar figure. In the propulsive pop-rock number “Lay Down For Free,” he dwells on a lover’s elusiveness, then pivots to buoyant defiance, lifted by the entrance of shimmery vocals and guitar. During “Carnival Begin,” McVie broods in the shadows, until the warm haze of harmonies and Buckingham’s delicate, single-stringed counterpoint illuminate her expression of desire.
McVie and Buckingham make room for unfurling multi-faceted emotions in their songcraft itself. In “Sleeping Around the Corner,” he offers reluctant reassurance, intoning, “If you want me to stay, you’ve got to let me go” over spasmodic digital beats. “In My World” is his melancholy expression of idealism. In “Love Is Here To Stay,” he savors the sweetness of romance in spite of his seasoned wariness. There’s a willfulness to her giddy affection in “How I Feel,” a self-conscious insistence that celebrating the pleasure she takes in another person is, in itself, a worthwhile gesture. In “Red Sun,” she tries to separate out the bitterness from the solace in a lover’s memory. “My mind is filled with journeys, echoed with your smile,” she sings. “No, you won’t take that away from me, even if you try.”
The marvel is that these two longtime band mates can simultaneously stand on their own and exert a gentle pull on each other, expanding our appreciation of them as living, breathing artists, rather than subjects of tabloid-heightened legend.
TANGO IN THE NIGHT
Warner Brothers (3-CD, LP, DVD Box Set)
**** (4 stars out of 5)
Five years on from their last album, Mirage and 10 years after Rumours, Fleetwood Mac were more-or-less in tatters when they re-emerged in 1987. Lindsey Buckingham was in the throes of a new solo album, Stevie Nicks in the grip of all manner of personal problems, Mick Fleetwood and the McVies were living their own lives. If Tango in the Night was not a contractual obligation that they had no choice but to fulfill, then it’s hard to imagine why they even thought they could make a record.
Actually, the answer to that is simple — Christine McVie did a TV program, Fleetwood and Buckingham joined her for the occasion and between them they hatched what was simultaneously one of the most anticipated albums of the age and, once past the admittedly sizable fan club, one of the most unnecessary. 1987 was the year of hair metal et al. Who cared about Fleetwood Mac?
Even today, Tango is viewed less as the final installment of that imperious succession of monsters that this latest incarnation of the band had released, and more as the first in the run of “who cares?” sets that wound down the band’s original career (Behind the Mask and do-you-even-remember Time followed it up.)
And yet… song for song, performance for performance, Tango in the Night is one of the strongest albums in the band’s entire canon. Be honest — even Fleetwood Mac (1975) and Rumours have the songs you skip on the occasions you play them; Tusk is only perfect if you weed out one-third of its bodyweight; and Mirage… well, it’s Mirage, isn’t it.
Tango, though, defiantly boasts just two truly deplorable songs, and as they are both the work of Ms. Nicks (“Welcome to the Room… Sara” and the positively wretched “When I See You Again”), we will accept that she maybe wasn’t in the best place for the sessions… and, according to the liners, wasn’t even in the room for more than a couple of weeks.
Even the love grunts that punctuate “Big Love” were recorded by Lindsey and Christine, and then sped up to a Nicksian pitch, and on the subject of “Big Love,” it’s peculiar the way history has written it off as little more than a barrage of snorting, to which a half-written song has been painfully grafted. Because, listened to again, it’s great and, if you can overlook the retching, it’s a nigh-on perfect locomotive rocker, and second only to the title track in terms of intensity.
Tango in the Night itself is phenomenal, an anguished guitar work-out that harks back to the Peter Green-era “Green Manalishi” in terms of deliverance and release, and makes you wish that this was the side of Fleetwood Mac that snagged the headlines… add “I’m So Afraid,” “The Chain” and “Tusk” to the line-up and there’s barely another band on earth can touch Mac for that earthy, emotional ooomph.
Christine McVie, too, seems more than usually inspired; the songs on which she takes at least a co-credit (the hits “Everywhere” and “Little Lies,” and three tracks written with Buckingham) include some of her finest ever Mac contributions, with “Mystified” maybe her best of all time. And, while the production (very ’80s, as you’d expect) might well have painted over a lot of the cracks that had obviously splintered the quintet, a second disc of demos and alternates (and a couple of B-sides) reinforces the strength of both songs and players. The “full version” of album closer “You and I, Part II,” now sensibly subtitled “Part 1 and 2,” is consummate Fleetwood Mac; a song that effectively incorporates everything that had made them so magical for the past 12 years. What better way could there have been to conclude this phase of the group’s existence?
The remainder of the deluxe box set, in comparison to those that preceded it, feels sparse but really, it isn’t. One disc rounds up the various 12-inch mixes that accompanied the album’s five singles; another serves up the promo videos and a lush 5.1 mix of the album; and finally, the original LP is present on vinyl, and a lovely job they made of it.
Yes, the liners could have been more expansive, delving deeper into the triumphs and tragedies that we know accompanied the sessions… and for heaven’s sake, how many times did the author need to refer to the band’s career as a dance? Across a touch over two pages, Tango becomes “the last dance,” “a graceful turn in the extended dance,” “a complex moment” in a “complicated dance” and, of course, we are still being moved by the band’s “dance with history.” Which makes you wonder which of their albums is next for the beautifully boxed, deluxe-o-rama treatment? Well, it probably won’t be Time. The one after that, on the other hand…
Sex and Drugs and Lighting Guys: The Fleetwood Mac Story
The 4th of February marked the fortieth anniversary of something great. This month in 1977, the album Rumours was released by Fleetwood Mac. Filled with memorable tracks, acerbic jabs and drug-fueled romantic angst, there is plenty for listeners of all ages and backgrounds to sink their auditory teeth into.
The Album’s Background
Rumours was designed first and foremost as an album that would contain no “filler” tracks; every track must be up to the standard of a single. Indeed, while this factor raised the bar and probably put an already high-pressure situation in a quality-analysis vice, it is undoubtedly instrumental to the album’s success. Every track is at a standard that it could be released and stand on its own two feet independently. Beyond this, the band retains its signature sound throughout, yet the trio of singers give each song a distinct and unique twist, preventing the album from stagnating or losing any magic upon repeated plays. However, beyond the acoustics and the standard of the tracks themselves is the story of the band’s turmoil, imprinted on the lyrics. The band consisted of five members, the on-again-off-again American couple Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, who were finally heading towards calling it off for good; and the Brits, the divorcing John and Christine McVie, and lastly Mick Fleetwood, who had just discovered his wife had been having an affair with his best friend.
The Creation Process
The emotional confusion and acrimony is incredibly prevalent in the lyrics of the album. ‘You Make Loving Fun’ is a feel-good song about finding the joy of being in a relationship with someone new, penned by Christine about the group’s lighting guy and with a bass line played by her ex-lover. She also claims her song ‘Oh Daddy’ is dedicated to drummer, Mick Fleetwood, but some members of the band believe this is actually a love song dedicated to someone else. Buckingham and Nicks, in turn, use the album as a cathartic method of digesting their own views on the breakdown of their relationship. ‘Go Your Own Way’, written by Buckingham, claims “shacking up’s all you want to do”, much to Nick’s chagrin, whilst her song ‘Dreams’ analyses the ephemeral nature of love through a series of metaphors, and a quiet awareness of the relationship’s end. The McVies didn’t talk between takes, and conversely recordings were the only time Nicks and Buckingham stopped screaming at each other. In addition, friction between the Brits and Americans in the group distanced all the members further. The recording sessions are a rumour-mill in and of themselves, with it being alleged the group didn’t see daylight for days; that John McVie was descending into serious alcoholism; Nicks tried to take cocaine anally and wrapped her head in a black scarf to record ‘Gold Dust Woman’, as well as the alleged affair between Fleetwood and Nicks.
The Album Title
The group has retrospectively confirmed, as well as all the Rumours surrounding the recording, that the album was named Rumours because the tracks were the only way the band knew what was happening with the other members. This disjointed and, at times, abusive exchange of monologues was the only stream of communication between the members at such a dysfunctional time.
Where You May Have Heard The Tracks
The gravitas of these tracks is evident as they permeate day-to-day popular culture. Bill Clinton used ‘Don’t Stop’s distinctive hook “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow”, as his campaign song in his successful 1993 run for office, with the band even re-uniting to play it live. Though this perhaps overlooks the message of the song that heartbreak is eventually a memory. ‘The Chain’ and its distinctive bassline riff, the sole song that all five members have writing credits for, can be heard on the BBC’s coverage of Formula One. Several songs have been covered by the likes of Eva Cassidy (‘Songbird’) and The Corrs (‘Dreams’), and have featured in soundtracks of high profile media such as The Simpsons, Forrest Gump, Skins, Cuckoo and Guitar Hero World Tour. The album was also voted 25th out of the 500 greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
The Hidden Gem
Even if you are familiar with the album, you may not know of the unreleased track that Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks had a copyright tug of war over, ‘Silver Spring’. Replaced on the album by the marginally peppier ‘I Don’t Want To Know’, Nicks’ lyrical and musical genius is sorely overlooked. The song was recently added to the line-up in album re-releases and focuses on the breakdown of her relationship with Buckingham, with the eponymous ‘Silver Spring’ being an idealised and romantic sense of perfection. It was named after the band drove through Colorado and Nicks commented to Fleetwood that it seemed like a perfect place. For those who appreciate discovering new tracks, iTunes has many demos you probably haven’t heard before from the super-deluxe version of the album. ‘Planets of the Universe’ is particularly haunting, with poignant piano and vocals and a very raw, stripped back power behind it.
Rumours still hits a raw nerve with a lot of people; beyond the catchy tunes, familiar riffs and powerful vocals, the group is exploring the very real pain of being unable to hold a relationship together in a time of emotional turmoil. The album receives a lot of praise, and is almost seen as pejoratively mainstream since it has sold so many copies. So, is it overhyped? To quote Murray from Flight of the Conchords; “Rumours? No, it’s all true.”
40 years after Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Stevie Nicks is still one of rock’s biggest icons
The iconic 1977 Fleetwood Mac album Rumours turned 40 last week. This album has meant a whole lot to me over the course of my life, and this anniversary has forced me to reflect on that more than ever.
As a female writing about music, I have a special appreciation for women in music, and Stevie Nicks is one of the best the world has seen. As she approaches 70, she remains one of the most incredible women in rock, releasing album 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault, in 2013. She is currently touring and recently added 20 tour dates for 2017, kicking off on Feb. 23, in Reno, Nevada, and wrapping up on April 6 in Uniondale, New York.
In the music industry as a whole, women are typically confined to the roles of solo performers or singer-songwriters. This is what makes Fleetwood Mac stand out — it’s a mixed-gendered rock band, and by far the most successful one to ever grace the industry. Of course, there was drama that came along with it, but from that drama emerged some of the greatest music of the 70s, specifically the album Rumours.
Nicks was involved in a tumultuous relationship with her bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, and their relationship came to an end while the band remained whole. Instead of conforming to the heartbroken damsel in distress stereotype that people may have expected, Nicks continued working with Buckingham and the rest of the band, and went on to write the song “Dreams,” which is the only Fleetwood Mac single to reach number one on the United States charts. The drama and heartbreak being felt by almost every member of the band produced their most successful era because of the fact both the male and female perspectives were on display. There is dialogue within and between the tracks of the album, and this is what makes it stand out among most albums in rock history.
Nicks is also notable in the sense that she chose her career over settling down and starting a family. Women are often expected to be tame and take their so-called “biological duty” more seriously than their career or passions. Nicks never conformed to that. From the age of 16, she has been a songwriter and musician, and has let nothing get in the way — whether it was her affairs and relationships, or the societal pressure of settling down to have a family. Nothing could stop her passion for her craft, and as a result she has led an incredibly successful career both with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist.
At the age of 68, it is expected that her career as a rock star may be approaching its end, but that doesn’t signal the end of her relevance. She is more than just a rock star — she is an incredibly wise and knowledgeable woman who uses her art to convey her experiences to the world and offer solace to those that have had similar experiences. All the while, she has paved the way for women in rock, and has simultaneously been exemplary to women in general, with her good-naturedness and her ability to overcome all sorts of obstacles — while still finding incredible success. She uses this success as a platform to share what she has learned as a woman in the rock genre, and simply as a student of the universe.
In a 2015 issue of Mojo magazine, Nicks said, “I think every band should have a girl in it, because it’s always going to make for cooler stuff going on than if it’s just a bunch of guys.” The world, and music in general, can learn a lot from the success of Fleetwood Mac, and of Stevie Nicks in particular.
Jenny Bourque is a freshman English and textual studies major. Her column appears weekly in Pulp. You can email her at email@example.com.
Jenny Bourque / Syracuse University Daily Orange / February 7, 2017
Co-producer of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours sparks effort to buy Sausalito’s historic Record Plant Studio
Forty-one years ago, record producer Ken Caillat loaded his dog in his car and drove from Los Angeles to the Record Plant in Sausalito to work on an album by an up-and-coming band named Fleetwood Mac. The album that came out of four months of intense recording sessions was Rumours, a blockbuster that would go on to sell more than 45 million copies worldwide and earn critical acclaim as one of the greatest pop records of all time.
In recent days and months, Caillat has made that same trip with his dog (not the same one) many times. This time his purpose has been to help form the Marin Music Project, a three-member group that’s on a mission to save the long-shuttered Record Plant as a piece of Marin’s storied rock ’n’ roll history.
“It was dirty, the wood was flaking off and I thought, ‘I’m gonna wake up one morning and read that it burned down,’” he said. “I’ve seen so many great studios that either burned down or were turned into computer places or real estate offices or coffee shops. I said, ‘I’m going to do everything I can to try and save this place.’”
So he hooked up with Novato marketing consultant Kevin Bartram and Frank Pollifrone, a sports and entertainment marketer from Los Gatos, to launch the Marin Music Project.
Stevie Nicks says another Fleetwood Mac album is unlikely: ‘We’re not 40 anymore’
The music icon says the band are more keen to focus on touring
Stevie Nicks says she does not think Fleetwood Mac will make another album together — because they are “not 40” any more.
The singer, 68, believes the band are more likely to focus on touring and doubts they will ever record a follow-up to 2003’s Say You Will.
She said: “If the five of us were to get together to make a record it would take a year, which is what it always takes us.
“It would be a whole year of recording, then press, then rehearsal, and by the time we got back onto the road, it would be heading towards the second year, and I don’t know whether at this time it’s better for us just to do a big tour.”
The band has sold more than 100 million records and reformed with the classic line-up of Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John and Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood for a world tour, which ended in 2015.
Nicks said: “It’s every single penny we make divided by five, so the expense of making a record, which is huge, and then to get back on tour … we are not 40.
“We have to take that into consideration — how long can we do tours that are three-hour shows? Would you rather spend a year in the studio or get back on the road? I think that the band would choose to tour.”
Nicks, who is focusing on her solo career, is also reluctant to make new music.
She said: “I don’t write as many songs any more because with the internet, the way that kids listen to music, all the streaming, and the fact that if they’re very savvy, if they want to get it and not pay for it, they can.
“It goes against the grain of our whole belief in, ‘You write a song, you record it, and you put it out there and people should buy it’.
“We realise it’s not our world any more and the younger kids don’t look at it like they’re taking from us… we don’t have the impetus to write 20 songs because we know that unless you’re under 20 you’re not going to sell many records.”
She is not involved with the new album by McVie and Buckingham, which is not a Fleetwood Mac record.
She said: “I’m sure it’s going to be great, because Christine is super-inspired. I’m really happy for them.”
On July 9, Nicks will support her old friend Tom Petty with his band The Heartbreakers at Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time in Hyde Park.
She said: “I’m the girl who always wanted to be in his band and he’s always the one who said, ‘No, no girls allowed.’ There’s just no one else I’d rather be on stage with than Tom.”
The singer on the band’s half-finished album, the visitation she had when writing Songbird, and growing up with a psychic mum
Hi, Christine. What was it like growing up with the surname Perfect (1)?
It was difficult. Teachers would say: “I hope you live up to your name, Christine.” So, yes, it was tough. I used to joke that I was perfect until I married John.
Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage is being reissued as a box set for £50 (2). Does that seem like a fair price?
It’s a really nice item! It’s quality, isn’t it? It’s good value for money – you’ve got a lot of outtakes, a lot of previously unheard demo versions of songs, you’ve got the vinyl … a CD, I believe, is in there? I mean it’s a nice package! I haven’t had a good look at it, but the label has given me one to take home. I get a free one!
Have you listened to the demos and outtakes?
No. I’m not a big fan of those things. I know people are interested but for my own personal enjoyment I prefer not to listen to them. My songwriting, when I’m writing, is nothing like it is in its finished form – but you have to start somewhere.
Is the new album finished?
No, it’s half-finished. It’s just seven tracks that we’ve got, and they’re only with guide vocals.
I’m sure I saw a news story about two years ago saying it was half-finished?
Well … Yeah.
Is it the same half?
It is the same half. We’ve been doing a world tour! I’m going back in October to try and finish it. If it’s not finished by Christmas then I’ll go back after and finish it then. We do things in a weird way, I guess.
What’s your favourite of those new songs?
I don’t think we’ve given titles yet.
Would you like to now?
Er, no. I don’t think we’re supposed to. But I like them all, and that’s not a lie. We have a fantastic variety of songs and I’m very, very pleased with what’s happened so far.
Can we talk about Songbird? (3)
Yes, of course.
JESUS CHRIST, WHAT A SONG.
That was a strange little baby, that one. I woke up in the middle of the night and the song just came into my head. I got out of bed, played it on the little piano I have in my room, and sang it with no tape recorder. I sang it from beginning to end: everything. I can’t tell you quite how I felt; it was as if I’d been visited – it was a very spiritual thing. I was frightened to play it again in case I’d forgotten it. I called a producer first thing the next day and said, “I’ve got to put this song down right now.” I played it nervously, but I remembered it. Everyone just sat there and stared at me. I think they were all smoking opium or something in the control room (4). I’ve never had that happen to me since. Just the one visitation. It’s weird.
Have you inherited any of your mother’s psychic abilities?
Well, I believe they were real. She was a healer. I just wanted her to be an ordinary mum, so the less I knew of that side the better, but here’s a story I can tell you. There was an old friend of my dad’s, in Newcastle – this rich old lady who lived in a run-down castle. She had terminal cancer. She sent a pair of her kid gloves to my mother, who wore one during the night, and a couple of weeks later there was a phone call: the doctors were amazed that all the cancer was completely gone.
Did you psychically predict that I would ask you a couple of questions about your reissue before attempting to get information about the new album?
Aha! I did notice you sneaking those in. I was thinking, What’s he talking about? We’re supposed to be talking about – what’s it called? – Mirage.
It’s exciting when a band gets back together, though. Especially when elsewhere in pop you’ve got Abba, whose refusal to get on with it is bordering on trolling.
Why wouldn’t they get back together? I suppose they made all the money in the world – I mean, we’re not doing it for the money either – but I don’t know. Maybe the need for each other is not there. You see, I still think there’s a certain need for each other in our band. In a strange way. We’re umbilically tied together, somehow. Without one of us, we’re incomplete.
What’s your No 1 piece of house renovation advice? (5)
Well, I didn’t do it personally, but I oversaw it. It was a very old house; the beams had to be stripped. It’s subjective. Keep the wood beautiful, I suppose, but there’s so much I could say. That’s the worst question you could possibly ask.
Well, let’s see, shall we? Have you ever been missold PPI?
I just press delete on those texts.
You could have £20,000 sitting around!
I don’t believe any of those things. Anyone I don’t know, in my emails or texts, I just delete. If it’s someone legitimate they’ll send it again.
What are your favourite apps?
[Whips out iPhone in garishly decorated protective case] WhatsApp I adore. I use it all the time with my friends. I’ve got thousands of apps, and most of them I never use. Look at this! [Flicks though terrifying number of apps]
That’s quite an iPhone case, Christine. Did you stick those jewels on yourself?
It’s Dolce & Gabbana, dear!
It’s slightly alarming that you haven’t put any of your apps in folders.
Oh, I don’t do that. You’re talking to a complete phone moron. As long as I can make a phone call and do a WhatsApp, I’m fine. Oh, and I use it to learn a bit of Italian.
Would you like to conclude this interview in Italian?
Ciao, arrivederci. A presto!
(1) When still called Christine Perfect, Christine released an album called Christine Perfect. In 1984, as Christine McVie, she released an album called Christine McVie.
(2) Mirage was Fleetwood Mac’s 13th album. Released in 1982, it was seen as a return to poppier territory after the slightly-all-over-the-place Tusk. The remastered version – in expanded and deluxe editions – is out now on Rhino.
(3) Songbird was originally released as the B-side to Dreams, in 1977. Eva Cassidy had a bash at it a couple of decades later.
(4) Famous opium fans include word enthusiast Samuel Johnson, Piano Concerto No 2 In F Minor hitmaker Frederic Chopin, and US bigwig Thomas Jefferson, who used it to control diarrhoea.
(5) During her 16 years away from Fleetwood Mac, Christine renovated a massive, subsequently flogged Kent property. She now lives in London.
Peter Robinson / The Guardian (UK) / Thursday, October 6, 2016
Christine McVie on Fleetwood Mac’s ‘peculiar’ Mirage Sessions, new LP — as the singer-songwriter looks back on heady days at Château d’Hérouville, discusses band’s future plans
Christine McVie has a confession to make. The 73-year-old singer, songwriter and keyboardist is on the phone with Rolling Stone to discuss the new deluxe reissue of Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 effort, Mirage; but, she admits, she hasn’t actually listened to it yet. “I just now got my copy of the remastered edition in my hands,” McVie says, calling from her home in the U.K. “But I just moved to a flat where I don’t have my DVD or CD player yet. So I’m unable to play it. And there’s all these outtakes and demos and things in there that I certainly haven’t heard since we made them. So I’m most curious to listen.”
Indeed, the new package is a treasure trove for Mac completists (and, apparently, band members). In addition to presenting the original 12-track album – which spent five weeks at Number One and spawned two of the group’s biggest and enduring hits in McVie’s “Hold Me” and Stevie Nicks’ “Gypsy” – in remastered form, the three-CD and DVD set offers up a disc of B sides, titled “Outtakes and Sessions,” as well as a live collection culled from two nights at the L.A. Forum in October 1982 on the Mirage tour. The whole thing is rounded out by a vinyl copy of the album and a DVD in 5.1 surround sound, as well as a booklet with extensive liner notes and photos from the era.
An impressive package, to be sure, and one that is perhaps necessary for an album that, for all its multi-platinum success, never quite gets its due, having been overshadowed in the band’s canon by the career-defining trio of records that preceded it – 1975’s Fleetwood Mac, 1977’s mega-smash Rumours and 1979’s sonically adventurous double album Tusk. In an earlier interview with Rolling Stone, drummer Mick Fleetwood acknowledged that, in such imposing company, Mirage often gets overlooked – a notion that McVie seems to agree with. “It does, and I don’t know why,” she says. But, she adds, “As it stands today, a lot of people know every track on it. Which is quite unbelievable. So I just take it for what it is.”
McVie spent some time reminiscing about the album with RS, from the “unusual” experience of recording at the Château d’Hérouville outside of Paris, to the “nightmare” of filming the video for her song “Hold Me” in the Mojave Desert outside of Palm Springs. But she wasn’t only looking backward. McVie also discussed Fleetwood Mac’s plans for the future, which may include a new album and another world tour. “We’re just gonna keep on doing what we do best,” she said, then laughed. “Which, I’m not really sure what that is!”
What was the state of Fleetwood Mac going into the making of Mirage?
I suppose we all felt in a way that what we were doing was kind of an homage to Rumours, in the sense that, obviously, after Rumours we went completely the opposite way and made a double album of an entirely different nature with Tusk. And for Tusk we had done this hugely long tour. Two world tours, I believe. Then we all disappeared for a few years. But we have a habit of doing that, Fleetwood Mac. Just kind of taking quite long hiatuses. And as we got together again, I think it was Mick who had this idea that perhaps we should enter another bubble-like situation, which was similar to what we had done for the Rumours album, when we recorded in Sausalito. Just taking us away from familiar things, like our families. There was the idea that maybe something would emerge from there that was completely different. Maybe it would make us more creative. And I think it worked, to an extent. It was definitely an unusual experience.
Rather than Sausalito, for Mirage you went to France. Do you recall anything particular about recording at the Château d’Hérouville?
Well, I don’t think any of us remember a huge amount about it! But I don’t remember there being anything bad about it, how about that [laughs]?
That’s a good thing.
Yes. But, I mean, my recollections in general are of thinking, What a peculiar, odd place to be going. …
It was extremely odd in the sense that it wasn’t really a studio. It really was a rather beaten-up old castle. We were living in it, and then there was another area that was made to be a studio. And there were wine cellars underneath, which I believe we used as echo chambers. So it was unusual, but it also provided a “come-together” sort of moment. Because we really had no options to do anything else. In Sausalito, at least you were close to restaurants, clubs, whatever. But at the chateau, you were just there. We had the table tennis out, we had some radio-controlled helicopters, we had food cooked for us every night on the premises. … I don’t know, it was like some weird, manic kind of resort or something. But I think we got on really well during the making of the record. The actual recording part of it, there were no particular spats I can think of. And some of the tracks are really good.
One of your tracks, “Hold Me,” became the lead single off Mirage, and it was also a big hit. What do you recall about writing it?
I’d co-written it with a friend of mine, Robbie Patton. And when we first recorded it, it was only semi-finished, really. But everybody liked it so we thought, Well, we’ll lay something down on tape and get the bones of it. What we put down was very basic – there were huge chunks that had nothing in them. And then we just built it up in sections.
In the demo version of the song that appears on the second disc of the Mirage deluxe package, you perform the vocal alone. But the final version of “Hold Me” is more of a duet between you and Lindsey [Buckingham]. How did that change come about?
I think some of these things just happen organically. I don’t think it was a plan. But I do know that when I wrote the song with Robbie, he was also a singer, and he was always singing a lower part. And so at some point it became obvious to me that Lindsey would eventually do it.
Do you have a favorite track on the album?
Yes, well, I think “Gypsy” stands out clearly as the best track on the album. Without a doubt.
Why do you feel that way?
I just think the whole song came together in a very cohesive way. It’s very musical. Very melodic. All the parts are right. It’s just a very beautiful record. And, of course, that video – I know the record company spent a lot of money on it.
Reportedly it had the biggest budget of any music video produced up to that point.
Yeah. And it’s one of my favorite videos of all time. And I don’t mean just of Fleetwood Mac’s.
What do you recall of shooting the video for “Hold Me”?
“Hold Me” was a nightmare! It was the middle of the desert in Palm Springs, in the height of summer. I don’t know what possessed us to do that. But we sometimes do crazy things [laughs].
Did it feel unnatural that you were doing it at all? MTV, and the idea of music video being a promotional tool, was a very new concept at the time.
I’m sure we were a bit uneasy with doing it. To some extent, I’ve always felt that the music should be the thing that creates the emotion in you, rather than a video. There are so many songs that have become massive hits merely because the video is great, while the song is pretty rubbish. From that point of view I think I’ve always preferred to listen to a song rather than look at it. So it was a bit difficult.
The directors of both the “Gypsy” and “Hold Me” videos have stated that they encountered some difficulties trying to navigate the thorny romantic relationships between band members at the time. Do you recall as much?
[Laughs] Well, of course! I’m sure it oozes out over the screen when you watch some of the scenes. Yeah, for sure. And I’d be the first one to admit that none of us were stone-cold sober. There was a fair degree of alcohol and drugs going on. But everyone was doing it, so it was kind of the norm.
“I’d be the first one to admit that none of us were stone-cold sober. There was a fair degree of alcohol and drugs going on.”
In contrast to the long tour behind Tusk, the Mirage tour was relatively brief – just two months in the fall of 1982. Was there a reason for such an abbreviated run?
I don’t know why that was. Maybe Stevie was going off to do a tour. I can’t remember if Lindsey had a tour. But it was short, and then we did another vanishing act for another couple years before we came back and did Tango in the Night.
More recently, you took some time away from Fleetwood Mac, before returning in 2014 for a world tour. What is the future of the band at this point?
Well, we cut seven songs in the studio already for the start of a brand-new studio album. Which we did probably nearer two years ago. We shelved that temporarily and then went on the road and did the tour. And now, actually, I think we’re going back in in October to try to finish it off. Stevie hasn’t participated yet, but hope springs eternal. She’s going on a solo tour at the moment. But Lindsey and I, we have plenty of songs. There are tons more in the bag that we have yet to record. And they’re fantastic. So we’re going to carry on and try to finish the record. And then maybe if Stevie doesn’t want to be part of that then we can go out and just do some smaller concerts.
You would consider doing some shows with just you, Lindsey, Mick and John [McVie]?
As a four-piece, yeah. With a view of doing a huge world tour after that, with Stevie.
And would you expect that we’ll see this new album in 2017?
One would hope so, yeah. That’s the plan. And I can’t wait for it to be finished. It’ll be great. And then we’ll hopefully do this world tour with Stevie. And after that, who knows? But we’re all still alive, how about that? So that’s a start.
Mick Fleetwood talks to Rolling Stone about the band’s ‘overlooked’ smash Mirage
Ahead of new reissue, drummer Mick Fleetwood talks “wild and romantic” France sessions, opulent video shoots, and more
“I don’t think it would be wrong to say it sort of got overlooked,” says Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood, reminiscing about his band’s 1982 album, Mirage, which will be reissued in a deluxe package via Warner Bros. on September 23rd. It’s something of an odd statement to make about a record that charted at Number One on the Billboard 200, spawned multiple hit singles and went on to sell more than three million copies. Of course, when you’re in Fleetwood Mac, the definition of what constitutes success is relative.
The album, the band’s 13th studio effort overall and fourth to feature singer Stevie Nicks and singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham alongside longtime members Fleetwood, bassist John McVie and singer/keyboardist Christine McVie, came on the heels of one of the more impressive runs in rock: the lineup’s smash 1975 “debut,” Fleetwood Mac; the now-more-than-40-million-selling follow-up, Rumours; and the sprawling and sonically adventurous Buckingham-helmed double–LP Tusk (a commercial “failure” that still managed to move several million copies). By the time the band reconvened for Mirage in May 1981, they had been off the road for close to a year, during which time three members had recorded – but not yet released – solo albums (Buckingham’s Law and Order, Fleetwood’s The Visitor and Nicks’ eventual chart-topping, multi-platinum Bella Donna). That time apart, combined with the tensions that had been brought on by the experimental nature of the Tusk album, left them ready to recapture a bit of the old Rumours magic, so to speak.
“There’s no doubt that having come off Tusk there was a conscious effort to make Mirage into more of a band album,” Fleetwood says. “Because Tusk had been very much Lindsey’s vision. And it was a great one – along with [1969’s] Then Play On, it’s probably my favorite Fleetwood Mac album. So it was a highly successful creative moment. But at the time we took some blows for it, and Lindsey in particular, because the album wasn’t as successful as Rumours. How could it be, anyhow? But that being beside the point, I think Lindsey sort of handed back the mantle on Mirage. It was, ‘Let’s just do this as a band.’ That was the vibe going into it.”
The result was an album that, if judged by its two hit singles – Christine McVie’s buoyant “Hold Me” and Stevie Nicks’ somewhat autobiographical “Gypsy” – seemed to represent something of a step back to the concise, sharp-focus pop-rock that had characterized Rumours and Fleetwood Mac. Indeed, says Fleetwood, “If you were a sort of super-intellectual critic, which is maybe not a great place to come from, it would be fair game to say the album kind of went backwards.” But, he adds, “Having said that, the amazing thing is that, looking back on it now, in the present day, so many of those songs are at a very high level in the continuing story of Fleetwood Mac.”
All the more reason, then, to revisit Mirage now. The new three-CD-plus-DVD deluxe package presents the original 12-track album in remastered form, along with one disc of B sides, outtakes and rarities, and another that collects 13 songs from two nights at the Forum in Los Angeles during the band’s 1982 Mirage U.S. tour. Also included is a vinyl copy of the album and a DVD of the original collection in 5.1 surround sound (additionally, there are two-CD, single-disc and digital download versions available). “The fact that we’re talking about it again is actually really cool,” Fleetwood says of Mirage. “Because we ended up making a far better album than we gave ourselves credit for for many years.”
They also made an album that is more varied and quirky than it gets credit for. In addition to the two hit singles, there’s plenty more of the sort of expertly crafted soft rock the band had become known for by that point, such as Christine McVie–penned tracks like “Only Over You” and the propulsive opener (and minor hit) “Love in Store.” But there’s also the brittle electro-pop of Buckingham’s “Empire State” and lilting country-folk of Nicks’ “That’s Alright,” the latter a holdover from the Buckingham Nicks days a decade earlier. Furthermore, unlike the lineup’s three previous efforts, which were recorded mostly in and around California, Fleetwood Mac, along with Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut (who co-produced with Buckingham and the band), tracked Mirage largely in France, at the famed Château d’Hérouville, outside of Paris. Explains Fleetwood of the change of scenery, “My recollect was I asked the band if I could record overseas to help me out with some tax issues. And very kindly they did that. But in truth, knowing me, I think the main purpose of it was to get them the hell out of L.A. so that we could make an album without imploding.”
“I personally had probably too much fun. I used to go into Paris every weekend and misbehave.”
The band’s new environs offered up a different sort of vibe than the Southern California studios they were used to calling home. “We were at the Château, which was an historic place,” Fleetwood recalls. “If you look it up, you’ll see that some incredible shit was done there – [Elton John’s] Honky Chateau and all that. A whole load of people had recorded there. So it was an amazing place. It was wild and romantic. It’s a mansion in the French countryside, with cooks and food and wine, you know?” He laughs. “I personally had probably too much fun. I used to go into Paris every weekend and misbehave and come back for work on Monday morning. But it accomplished what we needed, and, all joking aside, the fact that we were in France and we were in the middle of nowhere, truly I think it had great value.”
The band’s choice of location for recording their music wasn’t the only aspect of Mirage that showed Fleetwood Mac breaking with their past. They also explored new avenues in terms of how they offered up that music for public consumption. Mirage was released in June of 1982, less than a year after the launch of MTV. As a legacy band that had often proved surprisingly adaptable to current trends, Fleetwood Mac embraced the music-video age to great success. So much so, that, rather than merely mimic playing their songs in the clips, as most artists did in the network’s earliest days, Fleetwood Mac opted to take on acting roles. The first single from Mirage, “Hold Me,” came complete with a storyline that showed the band frolicking in the Mojave Desert, with Fleetwood and John McVie playing archeologists who excitedly stumble upon a cache of buried guitars and other musical instruments. The elaborate clip for “Gypsy,” meanwhile, had the distinction of being the most expensive music video ever produced at the time. “I’m really glad we made it,” Fleetwood says, “even though it cost a fortune for us.”
As for the shoots themselves, the directors of the videos for both “Hold Me” and “Gypsy” have since discussed the fact that the band’s well-publicized and mythologized romantic entanglements led to some uncomfortable moments on the sets. Fleetwood, however, says he doesn’t recall as much. “I don’t have huge memory of any gossipy things happening,” he says. “But the amount of pain we were used to going through, maybe it was noticeable. Although we had an uncanny ability to suck it up. But ‘Gypsy’ especially, it’s interesting because they’re featuring Lindsey and Stevie dancing in it and you’re going, ‘This is quite profound. …’ It was like, ‘Wow, that’s a scene!'”
He continues: “In general, though, we were really professional, and I believe from memory we were all hugely cooperative and into [doing the videos], really. There was no ‘I don’t wanna fucking do that,’ one-shot-and-we’re-out-of-there type stuff. And the directors, they were young filmmakers with big budgets, and they seemed quite conversant with handling lunacy. So they were fun days.” Fleetwood laughs. “I mean, to me everything was fun because I was having a party 24/7. So it didn’t really fucking matter! But I think we were good candidates for that sort of thing.”
It would seem that Fleetwood Mac were in fact very good candidates for that sort of thing, as both “Hold Me” and “Gypsy” became staples on MTV, helping the band to achieve two of the biggest hits of their career. In fact, Fleetwood now acknowledges that “those songs became more memorable than the album as a whole. And that’s sort of an unusual slant.
“Mirage is part of our history,” he continues, “and as the band heads no doubt to a wind-down of some description in the next few years ahead, I think these types of cataloging events are important. Because it’s certainly not an album to be discarded. And now this little project is representing it, and giving it measured and investigated amounts of kudos. That’s a good thing.”
Fleetwood Mac Mirage (Expanded Reissue) (Warner Brothers/Rhino) Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Often considered the belated follow-up to 1977’s mega platinum Rumours, 1982’s Mirage was a clear retreat from the somewhat abrasive, occasionally commercial avant-pop of the controversial Tusk. While that album has, over the decades, come to be respected as Lindsey Buckingham’s creative zenith, it appears Warner Brothers was less enthusiastic about their star act’s detour into the artsy abyss. Perhaps Mac were tired of it themselves, because the slick, glossily produced Mirage seems a capitulation to an audience who might have found the dense, inconsistent, but bold Tusk a musical and drug-fueled bridge too far.
While Mirage was no Rumours, its dozen sophisticated pop songs include such near-classics as “Love in Store,” “Gypsy,” and “Hold Me,” the latter two appearing on most subsequent Mac hits packages. But there are other, often unappreciated gems here too. Selections such as Buckingham’s folksy “Can’t Go Back,” Stevie Nicks’ surprisingly effective foray into country “That’s Alright,” the frisky pop/rock and sumptuous harmonies of “The Eyes of the World” and the closing “Wish You Were Here,” one of the always dependable Christine McVie’s more affecting and least appreciated pieces, are well worth reexamining.
It’s not a great album but it’s a good one, especially for Mac’s avid pop fans, and ripe for rediscovery on this newly remastered and expanded edition. A second disc with 20 previously unreleased rarities includes early, stripped down demos, alternate arrangements and outtakes of nearly every tune, plus some that didn’t make the final cut, and is well worth the price of admission. The no-frills versions are a welcome contrast to the finished product’s often over-produced slickness, and such oddities as a four minute in-studio jam on drummer Sandy Nelson’s 1959 instrumental “Teen Beat” with Buckingham at his most frazzled and unhinged is a major find.
But the real excitement is relegated to the pricey “deluxe” package that includes not only a 5.1 surround audio-only DVD of the album and a remastered vinyl reproduction, but a live show from the ‘82 Mirage tour. This 74-minute concert catches the band on a particularly inspired and improvisation filled night in LA as Mirage was ensconced atop the Billboard charts. It kicks off with a propulsive seven-minute “The Chain” that smokes the studio take into oblivion and features extended performances of two Tusk tracks with a nearly 10-minute “Not That Funny” along with another 8 minutes of “Sisters of the Moon,” closing with an unplugged emotional “Songbird” all in front of a clearly engaged audience.
Whether that’s worth dropping nearly $90 is up to you, but this is an invigorating presentation. It captures these five musicians (before they added an unnecessary backline to bolster the live sound) bouncing energy off each other and feeding from the crowd with exhilarating results.