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Boston Globe (07/19/1990), Fleetwood Mac's Long, Strange Trip < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Boston Globe (07/19/1990), Fleetwood Mac's Long, Strange Trip

Boston Globe, Thursday, July 19, 1990

by Steve Morse, Globe Staff

Fleetwood Mac have survived so many twists and turns that it's always a wonder to see them back on the road. They've changed styles, changed personnel and band members have endured two messy divorces. And there may be more strain to come, since drummer Mick Fleetwood has written an autobiography that opens another door on their soap opera past. His book, "Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac," was three years in the making with Boston author Stephen Davis, who also wrote the Led Zeppelin epic, "Hammer of the Gods." Fleetwood's book will be out this fall, but already the band is nervous, since he reveals for the first time that he and Mac singer Stevie Nicks had an affair back in the '70s.

"The book will create a little stir within the camp, but everyone will live through it. Stevie wants to read it, but I'm not letting anyone look at it until it comes out," says Fleetwood, whose group plays Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts in Mansfield next Thursday through Saturday.

"Let's just say we've been through some odd situations in this band," Fleetwood adds, referring to the book chapter "Piggy in the Middle." It deals with his relationship with Nicks, who was also involved with then-Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. The chapter will run soon in Rolling Stone magazine.

"I found myself permanently in the middle of people's relationships. I was also managing Fleetwood Mac back then and wearing many different hats," Fleetwood says. "I could almost have retitled the book, 'Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't.'"

"But there's a lot more in there than just Fleetwood Mac stuff. I tried to take a frank and humorous look at my life, much the way (actor) David Niven did in his books."

Although one of rock's most successful bands, Fleetwood Mac have faced their share of adversity. Formed as an electric blues band in the '60s, they watched several ingenious but temperamental members come and go; these included guitarists Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Bob Welch and Buckingham. The band also endured the marital breakup of bassist John McVie and cosinger Christine McVie. (In another tough blow, Christine's father just died after a long illness in England, causing the band to postpone a dozen dates on their current tour. The tour won't resume until the Great Woods dates.)

But, when all is said and done, Fleetwood says the latest band is tighter than ever. New members -- Billy Burnette, son of Elvis Presley rockabilly peer Dorsey Burnette, and Rick Vito, a longtime session player who had toured with Bob Seger -- continue to provide new punch in concert. That was indeed true when the reconstituted Mac played Boston Garden two years ago, combining the glossy radio pop of their last decade -- their late-'70s "Rumours" album sold 15 million copies -- with some beefed-up boogie echoing their '60s origins, notably the song "Rattlesnake Shake," about Mick's early dating habits.

Their latest album, "Behind the Mask," the first with Burnette and Vito, hasn't quite measured up to expectations. It's sagging in the charts and reflects a band in transition, though both Nicks and Christine McVie have strong moments, namely Christine's recent hit "Save Me."

"Christine really took the bull by the horns this time," says Fleetwood. "And with Lindsey gone, the older members of the band enjoyed getting back to how we used to make albums. It was very much a team effort...No offense to Lindsey, but he was becoming obsessive in the studio and we were beginning to take a back seat." Buckingham's preference to be in the studio, rather than to tour, eventually led to a mutual parting of the ways two years ago.

"Lindsey's work with Fleetwood Mac speaks for itself, but I have to say, being as intense as Lindsey is as a person, he sometimes got to be a little too much for me," says Fleetwood. "And sometimes we had to beg Lindsey to do a solo. He'd go, 'No, I want it to sound like violins here.' Then he'd sit for hours, trying to get a violin sound out of his guitar."

Buckingham's departure was also a relief to Nicks, according to Fleetwood. "I may be speaking out of turn...but I think it was a relief for both of them. Their situation was never really resolved. There was always a potential rivalry, though a lot of respect, too. They came up the ranks together before they joined Fleetwood Mac, yet later they found it extremely hard to be around each other."

Such falling outs have not been uncommon in the band. Some media sources have said Fleetwood Mac will celebrate their 25th anniversary in 1992 with a reunion concert with all past members, but Fleetwood is quick to nix that, especially in the cases of Danny Kirwan, Peter Green, and Jeremy Spencer -- once the triple-guitar backbone of the band in the late '60s. Fleetwood and John McVie are, however, compiling a compact disc of tunes, including live and unreleased tracks, from that era.

"Danny's become a homeless person in London. Some people see him around a couple of clubs pretty regularly, but I'm afraid he's become rather odd," says Fleetwood. "Jeremy Spencer is still off in the Indian Ocean with the Children of God. And Peter has become a Howard Hughes type. He made some great solo records after he left the band, but he's pulled out of music completely in the last three or four years.

"So, no, I don't think a reunion of everyone is likely at all," he adds. "But the rest of us are carrying on the best we can. And we're turning into a pretty happy team. Somehow this band has always progressed."

Date: 1990-07-19         Number of views: 1162

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