Thursday, September 23, 2010

Never going back again | The Australian

Never going back again | The Australian: "MICHAEL Chugg was an up-and-coming 30-year-old music promoter when his employer, Paul Dainty, gave him the gig of looking after the now legendary Fleetwood Mac tour in 1977."

Just as the band’s recently released album, Rumours, raised the bar for pop albums (it would go on to sell 40 million copies), the corresponding tour would similarly set new standards for rock and roll excess, especially in Australia.

“The promoter’s rep will meet the band’s tour manager in the car park of Sydney Airport with two ounces of cocaine,” was one of the first instructions Chugg received from Fleetwood Mac’s management. It set the scene for the rest of the tour, if not Chugg’s ensuing career.

Chugg was not a coke user – not then, anyway – and enlisted a roadie to score for him. The band had a crew of 67 people, which meant that they were able to float from one gig to the next with only their cocaine-fuelled performances to worry about.

Despite the lavish demands the band put on catering – extensive banquets accompanied by French champagne and Courviosier – Mick Fleetwood and his colleagues were never seen consuming food. “All of them were too wired to eat,” Chugg recalls. “The excess was outrageous. There was just too much coke and too much weed.”

Chugg, originally from Tasmania, was soon embracing the lifestyle. “That 1977 tour was the entrĂ©e to many wayward nights on the rock’n’roll circuit,” he says. “At its most outrageous, the nights rolled into days and just occasionally the days turned into weeks.”

Read more about Chugg’s initiation into rock promoting in Go Your Own Way, by music writer Iain Shedden, tomorrow in the Weekend Australian Magazine.

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