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Palm Beach Post (05/14/2004), "More focused" Fleetwood Mac Still Thinking About Tomorrow < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Palm Beach Post (05/14/2004), "More focused" Fleetwood Mac Still Thinking About Tomorrow

The Palm Beach Post, May 14, 2004

'More focused' Fleetwood Mac Still Thinking About Tomorrow

by Charles Passy, Palm Beach Post Arts Writer 

FLEETWOOD MAC -- The chain continues.

Though it's been nearly three decades since Fleetwood Mac released its gazillion-selling Rumours album, featuring such classic songs as Don't Stop, Second Hand News and The Chain, the band hasn't let up.

In fact, the classic rock combo is experiencing something of a revival, thanks to the release of Say You Will, its first major studio album in about 15 years, and a global tour that brings it to the Sound Advice Amphitheatre on Tuesday night.

It's the latest chapter in the life of a group that has seen more than its share of ups and downs and personal entanglements. Bassist John McVie was once married to keyboardist Christine McVie, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham was once romantically involved with vocalist Stevie Nicks. And drummer Mick Fleetwood had an affair with Nicks as well. Throw in assorted addictions and financial crises and you have a veritable rock 'n' roll roller coaster.

But the band has always retained its essential appeal. And at a time when most pop stars rely on lots of sizzle and little substance, it's no wonder that audiences continue to be drawn to Fleetwood Mac's refined but easy-on-the-ears brand of songwriting and musicianship. And that includes more than the '70s-era crowd that grew up with the band.

"We have a lot of young people that come out for us," says founding member Fleetwood, speaking by phone.

Granted, there's a difference this time around: Christine McVie has excused herself from the lineup, opting instead to pursue her solo career. (She has a new album, In the Meantime, slated for release in late July.)

But Fleetwood says the band, whose roots go back to the '60s as a British blues-based ensemble, is simply working around that. Hence, the current Mac is much more about the interplay between Buckingham and Nicks, the couple who helped transform the band, giving it its signature sound when they joined in the '70s.

"There is a different focus," says Fleetwood of the current roster. "Stevie and Lindsey are fronting the band now and it's a powerful thing. With Chris, it was the three of them and they divvied up their duties. The band in many ways is actually more focused without Chris being there."

The tour concentrates largely on hits: Recent sets have included such familiar tunes as the aforementioned Rumours cuts, plus Rhiannon, Landslide and Gold Dust Woman. But there are nods to the new recording, an 18-song behemoth that's "basically a double-album" on a single CD, as Fleetwood puts it.

The album was made over about a 10-month period - away from the studio. It was "just the guys in a house in the hills (of California) and it was great," says Fleetwood. Nicks wasn't as consistently involved in the day-to-day process, but she did write about half the songs. Fleetwood was especially pleased that she kept coming back with new material as work on the album progressed.

"That was a sign to me that Stevie had said, 'We're really doing this and I'm not just giving you songs I wrote three years ago,' " Fleetwood says.

Not that this is just the Stevie-and-Lindsey show. Fleetwood, after all, is one of the namesakes of the band - and one of the most solid drummers of the classic-rock era. He's also something of a goofball, a performer who knows how to amuse a crowd with one of his signature "body-beating" solos. By wearing various sound pads, set up to produce a variety of percussive effects, he can create a rhythmic symphony on his own. And it's never the same twice.

"I have fun changing it around on each tour," Fleetwood says.

FLEETWOOD MAC - 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sound Advice Amphitheatre, suburban West Palm Beach.

Date: 2004-05-14         Number of views: 1591

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