Thursday, April 16, 2009


Catch reunited Fleetwood Mac on Thursday in Sunrise
By Sean Piccoli | Pop Music Writer

If yesterday's gone, as Fleetwood Mac once sang, what's up with yesterday's bands? They don't appear to be going anywhere.

Some tour ad infinitum, letting a generation lapse between albums ( the Eagles). Others emerge from situational exile (Guns N' Roses) or return as aging comeback kids ( New Kids on the Block). Call it 20th Century Village — a community of acts that hit their pop-culture peaks in previous decades but survive on varying combinations of musical relevance and audience nostalgia.

Where along that spectrum does one put Fleetwood Mac? The "Unleashed" tour that comes to BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise on Thursday is timed not to new music but a deluxe reissue of 1977's Rumours. But this quintessentially '70s band — known for its tuneful pop-rock songcraft and congenial, co-ed sound — hasn't ruled out making new music. Just not now.

"This is the first time that we've gone on the road without an album," drummer and band co-founder Mick Fleetwood, told entertainment writers on a conference call in February. Fleetwood seemed relieved to be touring on that basis, calling it "truly a new experience for Fleetwood Mac to go out and ... play songs that we believe and hope that people are really going to be familiar with."

As for another album, which would be the first since 2003's Say You Will, Fleetwood sounded hopeful but hardly definitive.

"There have been discussions, for sure," he said. "And I think it's really down to the whole sort of biorhythms of how everyone is feeling and what's appropriate. We have careers and families and whole different sort of perspectives from what it would have been, you know, 20, 30 years ago ... I think the feeling is, and the consensus is, that we would love to be challenged to go out and do, in a couple of years, something with some new songs."

The point or value of another Fleetwood Mac album is something he and the remaining band members — Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and John McVie — will have to decide for themselves.

What's not in doubt is the appeal of the existing songs. Many have become standards, covered by stars and bar bands alike, and played at proms and other life-affirming rituals.

At some point, a band becomes much smaller than its music. Enjoyment of the songs supersedes interest in the personalities behind the microphone. But Fleetwood Mac's history still holds some intrigue. Their best-known work arose in part from romantic entanglements among band mates. John and Christine McVie divorced in 1976. At the same time, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were coming undone as a couple but still collaborating as songwriters. Rumours, one of the best-selling albums of all time, is rife with those tensions.

"We are a group of great contradictions," guitarist and singer Buckingham said. "The members don't necessarily have any business being in a band together because the range of sensibilities is disparate. But that's in fact what makes Fleetwood Mac what it is. It's the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. It's the kind of energy that is created from that kind of contrast in personalities."

To hear Buckingham tell it, those contrasts got the better of the band last time out. "When we rehearsed for [the] Say You Will [tour], we had come off almost a year in the studio and we were tired," he said. "And there was a certain amount of tension from that experience, and there was a certain amount of anxiety in terms of working things out that were new, and how it was all going to fit together. And I think there was even a kind of novelty of going out without Christine McVie for the first time."

Nicks said the collective mood this time around is much improved thanks to Buckingham's good spirits. "When he's happy, everybody is happy," she said.

Buckingham said that time away, during which he released two solo albums, eased his return to the fold. "We've been down this road — a long, long road together," he said. "And in some ways we know each other better than we know anybody else. We share things with each other that we've never shared with other people. And I think that we all want to dignify the road we've been down. If you talk about Stevie in particular, I've known Stevie since I was in high school. And I just think we all want to get to a place where we all feel ... that unity is sort of waiting in the wings. And it's not that we're not unified. But it is still a work in progress."

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