Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fleetwood reveals the rituals and superstitions he follows when the band tours

Band Apart
The Sunday Mail - Brisbane (U on Sunday)
by Nu Te Koha

Even the members of Fleetwood mac are in awe of the fact they made it this far despite the break-ups and the drug benders, writes Nu Te Koha

Fleetwood Mac epitomizes the survival spirit.  "We know how lucky we are," drummer Mick Fleetwood says. "But we're very serious about what we do.  That's why we're still here."

Of course, the back-stories of break-ups, make-ups, and their insatiable drink and drug habits are as famous as the band itself. Even Fleetwood admits it's a blessing they're singing and touring, stronger then ever.

But as Fleetwood reveals the rituals and superstitions he follows when the band tours, it's a miracle anybody made it to the stage.


"We are all creatures of habit," Fleetwood says, "I would have, on my way to the stage, little things I'd left there.  There was a penny which I'd pick up in the spot where I'd lift it, and put in my pocket as I walked to the stage.  But if any of that was upset or the coin disappeared, I would think: 'I'm cursed!'."

Fleetwood says the rituals included drug use backstage.

"Did we? Yes. But not often.  During the show, and after the show, is when the trouble started."

But Fleetwood's most powerful ritual while on the road is deeply personal. "I won't get on a plane unless I have this," he says reaching into a supple leather bag - "my father's flying scarf."

As Fleetwood perform to another full house on a 40-date US tour that is sold out, it becomes clear they have another good luck charm: each other.

The legendary band is still at the height of its powers.

Stevie Nicks' voice is in career-best shape on hits including Dreams and Landslide, while Lindsey Buckingham, a freakish guitarist, sings raw and intense on the standout, Big Love.

Buckingham says those links are sometimes tenuous because of the strong personalities in the band.

"I'm not saying we don't belong in a band together," he says.

"I am saying we are an unlikely group of people to have come together.  You see it on paper and ask: 'Well, how's that gonna work?'.  Our tastes are quite disparate and yet it is that cast of characters, that very push-pull dynamic that creates parts larger than the sum of it."

Last month, Buckingham told Rollingstone Magazine he wishes Fleetwood Mac would follow The Eagles model of doing business.

Asked to explain his comments, Buckingham said: "(The Eagles) reputation is such that they don't get along.  But somehow they're able to cut through that, do the business they're able to do, get done what they need to as a group, and see their way clear to the common objective.  That seems difficult for Fleetwood Mac.  This band is something you might liken to a political minefiled," he says quietly.  "It needs to be navigated." for now, the Mac are steering their way through good times.

Buckingham wrote songs on their new EP, Extended Play, and they aim to make an album.  There are also plans to release a 40th anniversary of Buckingham Nicks, the 1973 album Stevie and Lindsey made before joining Fleetwood Mac.

The ghosts of their past love affair play out warmly in the new show, during a soft embrace in Sara, and touching fingertips in Landslide.  The audience is still enchanted by Stevie and Lindsey's long faded romance.

"By the time we got to Rumours," Buckingham says, "Stevie had both feet out the door.  She left me.

"It was difficult to be the guy who had to go back to the studio, produce her songs, and make the choice to do the right thing for her professionally, even though it was painful to be around her personally.

"But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  It's sweet Stevie and I are somehow acknowledging that from a distance.  I think people are quite intrigued by that as we are."

Today, Buckingham is happily married with three children.  Nicks is still single.

"We all know what we did - it's all public knowledge.  A lot of cocaine and booze," Fleetwood says.  "But you have to put it in perspective.  Ware stories become very romantic and they are fun to tell, but I certainly try to preface it by saying it's not recommended.  You also don't want to aggrandise it too much and, yet in truth, you have to tell the truth.  We had a lot of great times, no doubt.  It certainly didn't seem to stunt the creative process.  but it ended up becoming a drain on all of us.  Then it became counter-productive.  we are, frankly, fortunate to have prevailed."

Fleetwood Mac will be live in Brisbane at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre December 2nd.


American Express Cardmembers have the opportunity to purchase tickets first during an exclusive pre-sale beginning 12noon Tuesday June 4.

My Live Nation members can be among the first to access tickets during the exclusive presale beginning at 9.00am Friday June 7. Sign up at www.livenation.co.nz

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