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The Orange County Register (8/18/1997), Chain still keeps Fleetwood Mac together < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

The Orange County Register (8/18/1997), Chain still keeps Fleetwood Mac together

Chain still keeps Fleetwood Mac together

By Ben Wener
The Orange County Register, August 18, 1997

The lights come up. The pieces begin to fall back into place. And a 20-year-old notion finds new life.

It's hard to pinpoint the moment when it was understood. The song that metaphorically speaks of it is one of the few equally attributed to all five links of Fleetwood Mac, yet even when it was recorded its magnitude couldn't have been foreseen. That it shows up midway through the Album -- Rumours, the mordantly beautiful mega-seller (17 million copies) born out of inner turmoil and broken romances within the band -- further hints at a gradual realization.

Maybe it was only fully grasped during a moment in May, as Mick Fleetwood and John McVie steamrolled a swampy beat while Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks (hitting full "Gypsy Woman" stride) screamed "Chain -- keep us together" inside a Warner Bros. Studios soundstage to several hundred ardent fans.

All that is certain is that this indescribable force -- "The Chain" -- first aligned itself in 1977, when Rumours began to fly, spending 31 weeks at the top of the chart, and bittersweet, contradictory songs such as "Dreams" and "Go Your Own Way" dominated the radio.

Since then no member of Fleetwood Mac's strongest and most memorable lineup has been able to completely break the chain formed during that banner, hit-filled year.

And man, have they tried.

"This bond between us is too strong now to ever fully walk away from," Nicks said by telephone weeks after the soundstage performance that partly led to an MTV special, "The Dance," as well as a coming CD release and 40-date reunion tour.

"Nothing in Fleetwood Mac was ever bad enough to make anyone really quit. Even when Lindsey left (in 1987), it wasn't because he didn't like the Mac anymore. He just wanted to do a different sound."

Break the silence
Damn your love
Damn your lies ...

  Since Nicks and Buckingham joined in 1975, no other version of the supergroup compares, its reputation built mostly on three enduring, extremely well-crafted records -- Fleetwood Mac (1975), Rumours and Tusk (1979) -- that, along with the Eagles, Steely Dan and Jackson Browne, defined West Coast rock.

The '80s, however, brought despondency, restlessness and the extinguishing of the band's creative spark. Solo albums -- Nicks' and Christine McVie's commercially successful ventures, and Buckingham's critically lauded efforts -- became more important. And 1987's Tango in the Night, the last studio effort to feature all five, seemed perfunctory, as if they had their sights on different horizons. Even the band's 1993 one-off appearance at President Clinton's pre-inaugural ball found them going through the motions.

So maybe the Chain was just a mystical marker for a specific point in time. Why, then, break the silence, reuniting to celebrate it?

"I never didn't want to do this again," said Nicks, 49. "The idea's been broached every year since Lindsey left, but I was sort of waiting for him to decide it was time to do it again. Lindsey sort of holds the cards when it comes to this kind of thing. It's frustrating, but he likes to keep focused on one thing at a time."

The reunion is more happenstance than planned campaign. During the first part of this year, Buckingham was working on his fourth solo disc when one by one the remaining members were brought in to assist.

"Forgetting about career strategies and anyone's personal agenda," said Buckingham, 49, "the simple fact is that when we got back together with all five of us in the room, there was really a profound sense of completion, of the cycle coming around again. And that our involvement was helping to improve our lives again, which was something we hadn't felt in a great while."

And if you don't love me now
You will never love me again

Talk of a celebration sent Reprise, the band's label, reeling. "When word got back to them, some light bulb must have gone on," Buckingham said. "You know, like, 'Ding-ding-ding ... formula! Ding-ding-ding ... Eagles!' "

Best seats? Probably about $125 apiece -- before service charges.

A new generation is just discovering the power of the Mac's best moments. Even Gen-X icons such as Courtney Love and Billy Corgan sing the band's praises.

Of the pending tour, Nicks said, "There'll be some arguments, there always are, but no one would be so stupid as to jeopardize this now that it's finally happening."

And Nicks and Buckingham agree that the others -- save for McVie, who Nicks said is doing this "as a favor" to the others -- have been living for this moment.

"This is Mick's and John's life," Nicks said. "They'll never be in another band."

Thanks to Anusha for sending it to us.

Date: 1997-08-18         Number of views: 906

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