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Denver Post (10/28/1997), Fleetwood Mac < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Denver Post (10/28/1997), Fleetwood Mac

Denver Post, October 28, 1997

Fleetwood Mac

By G. Brown

Twenty years ago, with the release of their second album as a group, Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and John McVie became an international phenomenon. In the course of 134 weeks on the charts - 31 of them at No. 1 - "Rumours'' yielded four Top 10 hits and went on to sell more than 25 million copies worldwide, the third biggest selling album of all time.

It was never a secret that the landmark record's lyrics detailed the rocky romantic history of the band's members. So it wasn't surprising when, in 1987, Buckingham - guitarist, vocalist, Nicks' ex-lover and the group's creative linchpin - went his own way and vowed never to return, ending Fleetwood Mac's heyday (Nicks and Christine McVie followed in 1990).

Now, after an absence of a decade, the lineup that loved and fought and made music about it has somehow made peace long enough for an MTV reunion concert, a live album ( "The Dance'') and a fall tour that will visit McNichols Arena on Wednesday night - the first time the best-known and most popular Fleetwood Mac incarnation has appeared on the concert stage since 1982.

What happened?

"When I left, there were a couple of things playing on me,'' Buckingham explained prior to a recent concert in Los Angeles.

"For a few years up to that time, I had been treading water creatively - a post "Tusk' funk, if you will. That album was a reaction to the huge success of "Rumours' and what was expected of us, which was to make "Rumours 2' and sell another 20 million albums.

"I was very much in a frame of mind to pull a left turn so we didn't fall into the trap of that axiom "If it works, run it into the ground.'  The reason that all of us got into this in the first place wasn't really about money. It was about being true to what you think is interesting and pursuing that, sometimes at the cost of commerce.

"So in the wake of "Tusk,' because it was a double album and it only sold 5 or 6 million, there was a backlash within the band that dictated, "Well, we're not going to go that route anymore.' It made it difficult for me to move forward. By the time "Tango in the Night' and "Mirage' came along, I didn't know why I was doing what I was doing, other than maybe I hadn't played out the hand with these people yet, that karmically it wasn't time for me to go.

"And 1987 was a time when everyone was conducting their lives in a way which, um, was not particularly conducive to creativity or focus. We saw Stevie for three weeks out of a year. You really had to scramble to make things happen.

"And there were issues with people in the band. To use Stevie as a specific example, there were issues regarding us that I hadn't been able to put to rest, even though we had broken up in '77. The reason I couldn't resolve those completely was that she was in my face every day, and vice versa. Usually if you make a break with someone, you don't have to do that.

"So there was this exercise in denial going on in terms of categorizing your feelings and trying to call up the better part of yourself on a work level. It was only after I distanced myself from the whole scene that I could recharge.

"Now I can understand that everyone did what they had to do and we all did the best we could under the circumstances. That allows you to interact and have the Fleetwood Mac chemistry rise to a purer level than we were ever able to do when all of that other stuff was going on.''

According to Buckingham, the collective slipped back together "organically.'' It all started when he asked drummer and group cofounder Fleetwood to help him in the studio on his latest solo project. Fleetwood had disbanded Fleetwood Mac two years ago, only after attempting to keep the group going with lesser-known singers.

After Fleetwood, John McVie came in to help on bass, then Christine McVie and Nicks came in to help out on backing vocals.

"There happened to be one day when we were in the control room at the same time. It was an odd feeling, and we were having a lot of fun. By that time there was a behind-the-scenes campaign going on. One front was coming from the record company. The other was from Mick himself - I had to cut him a little bit of slack there.''

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of "Rumours,'' the latest Mac attack recorded an MTV special in May. "The Dance,'' the live album, highlights new renditions of 14 Mac classics - from "The Chain'' to "Silver Springs'' (originally the B-side of "Go Your Own Way,'' it's never before been available on an album) to "Tusk'' (augmented by the University of Southern California Marching Band reprising its performance).

If the intragroup drama has faded, the music has survived - "The Dance'' is at the top of the charts because Fleetwood Mac is sounding as good as they ever have.

"I don't think anyone expected the CD to do as well as it's done,'' said Buckingham, who produced "The Dance'' with Elliot Scheiner. "It came in at No. 1 and has hovered in the Top 10 ever since. This week it's back up to No. 4 from No. 7, and all of this without a functioning hit single. It's word of mouth and the desire that people have to see this fivesome again. It was hard to gauge how much of that was still out there.

"We tried to focus on the tracks that would take the most to rearranging or a "tweaking.' At the same time, we were very mindful of not doing that on songs that stand well the way they were originally conceived. I think we were able to strike a balance.

"And there are moments for me - like "Big Love' - that are more resonant with what I'm currently interested in doing and keep it from being a nostalgia fest. I'm getting back to my center, which is guitar, and an approach on record where maybe the whole track is one or two guitars and you're conceiving the parts eloquently and with enough detail. The finger style can cover all of that ground.''

"The Dance'' also features four new songs: the Nicks track "Sweet Girl,'' "Temporary One'' by Christine McVie, and two new Buckingham compositions, "Bleed To Love Her'' and "My Little Demon.''

Buckingham's decision to come back was based somewhat on the clout a reunion would give him when it came time to return to his solo recording (watch for it early next year).

"It was tough - you work on something for two years, and putting it down right near the final stretch is not an easy thing to do,'' he said.

"You put out an album every four or five years like I do, it's like starting over every time. Doing a project like this certainly isn't going to hurt - it's going to get the name out there and open some doors politically, it's going to grease the machinery a little bit.''

Buckingham is on the lookout for signs that the reunion isn't working.

"We realized that we were actually having a good time, which was not necessarily something I'd counted on - I'd gotten into this for more strategic reasons. I ended up being very surprised that we were enjoying being together again as much as we were. That was the bonus for me.

"If you'd asked me a year ago if I would be doing this, I would have said, "What are you, nuts?' I am surprised that I'm here at all. So we're looking at this thing one step at a time. No one could have predicted the fact that the CD has done so well and many of the shows have sold out in a matter of hours. I'm very happy that that's happened.

"At the same time, it does raise the stakes a little bit. There is an implication that perhaps down the line there's even more of a reason to do something else, whether it's just more touring behind this or if we're going in the studio. "And I'm not going to discount anything. But I would certainly be remiss in saying "yes' because I don't think anyone really knows right now.''

Thanks to CLMoon for submitting this the the newsgroup.

Date: 1997-10-28         Number of views: 804

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