Fleetwood Mac gets it together
By Kathie Staska and George Mangrum
One of the hottest bands in the country, and one of the tightest bands in the world, is Fleetwood Mac. This band has been making great music for eight years and is just now gaining the recognition that it so greatly deserves.
The musicians have gone through many changes the last few years and at the same time they have always come off on stage and record very clean and professional while putting forth a good sound.
Although a lot of their earlier fans think that the original guitarist Peter Green was the best thing that ever happened to Fleetwood Mac, the truth of the matter is that the band is hotter now than ever before.
“I think our fans have stayed with us, pretty much, and we have picked up a lot of followers,” said the leader of the group, drummer Mick Fleetwood, who is one of the two original members of Fleetwood Mac, that is still with the band, along with bassist John McVie.
The current hit album
The band is riding high on its current smash album “Fleetwood Mac,” which is a top 10 nationwide hit that climbs higher in the charts every week. The LP has already gone gold and is on the brink of going platinum. The record stores can not keep it in stock as it goes out as fast as it comes in.
For the last year, the band has been working very hard either traveling or recording whenever they can. Their November gig at Winterland could not have gone any better.
Bob Welch, who was the band’s lead guitarist since 1971, left the group about a year ago to form his own band, Paris.
Taking his place is Lindsey Buckingham on guitar and vocals. The same time he came to the band, so did his vocal partner, the very pretty Stevie Nicks. They had an album on Polydor a few years back under a duo entitled Buckingham Nicks.
“The two things that stood out to me my first year with Fleetwood Mac were the two shows we did for Bill Graham,” said Stevie in a recent interview at the Record Plant in Sausalito. “The show we did outdoors at the Oakland Coliseum was great. The band played well and the bill was great with Peter Frampton and Dave Mason and a few others.
“The Winterland show was a lot tighter as a band. We had been together longer and things seem to jell. Each outing for Graham we try harder it seems because he tries so hard.”
“We are looking forward to playing for Bill again on April 25 at the Oakland Coliseum with Peter Frampton and Gary Wright. We really enjoyed last summer’s show ,and this outdoor event should be a good one also. It will be our second gig of that current tour.”
A long way since the 1960s
The two Americans in the band have made a great difference to the band’s sound. The group has come a long way since their bluesy rock days in the late ‘60s.
They are more versatile and, in person, more wide open rock and roll. Their style is so unique no band can copy them. Lindsey and Stevie bring a fresh bright sound to the experience and poise of Fleetwood. John and Christine McVie began with the band as Christine Perfect in 1970. She plays electric piano and owns one of the most popular voices in rock music today. She came to Fleetwood Mac from Chicken Shack.
Buckingham tells about his first album with Fleetwood Mac, “I enjoyed doing the album very much. It was a very learning experience for me, especially working with Mick and John, because they have worked together for so many years. Their experience has helped me a lot.
“One thing that has been in all Fleetwood Mac albums is that great rhythm section. In the days of Peter Green and Bob Welch, the most consistent thing was Mick and John.
“That is something Stevie and I always had trouble with. Finding someone who could give us the energy we needed.”
“One of the reasons I think that we had so much success with our last album is that we approach our music from a free spirit,” says Stevie.
“Now in the band there are three writers and all three write differently. There is a cohesiveness that was not there before.”
Is the second album coming easier for the new duo in the band?
“No, it is coming harder,” comments Stevie, “it is just a lot of technical problems. The piano keeps going out of tune and things like that. It is hard on the momentum of the band when things like that happen.”
“It definitely has a lot to do with the momentum when you get to the studio at 2 pm and just hang around until 11 pm and you can’t get things together.”
The group as a whole thinks its second album as a unit is going to be more together than the first, but still resemble the previous effort.
Fleetwood Mac’s history and legacy
From the day Fleetwood Mac started gigging, they had a following because folks in England remembered Green as the lead guitarist of the Bluesbreakers and as a replacement for Eric Clapton. Mick and John had a following right from the start also.
But Fleetwood Mac has had its ups and downs like almost every band has. A major set back came in 1974 when the band’s former manager had a falling out with the group and decided to put his own band out under the name of Fleetwood Mac. This really caused a few headaches for Mick and the group and put them back eight months.
Mick talks about those days, although he would like to forget that experience.
“For one reason or another I’m the one in the band who kind of keeps a tap on things. To work at something that you really care about for seven years and then see it blow up in your face is really hard.”
“For eight months we could not play and what was going through our minds was that this thing we had worked hard at for so many years was falling apart in front of our eyes and we said they are not going to take it away from us.
“A guitarist we had at the time and me had a falling out over a lady and we just could not go on any more. So we took the band off a major tour.”
“So the manager thought that the band must be breaking up and the manager decided that he was going to continue without us.”
Fleetwood Mac has gone from a time in ‘74 when it looked as though the band was on its last legs until ‘75 when it became one of the country’s better and more successful bands.