Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fleetwood Mac are back... and still settling old scores + Christine McVie sent Lindsey new songs!

You make fighting fun: OK, Lindsey Buckingham admits, I did kick Stevie Nicks... Fleetwood Mac are back... and still settling old scores

Daily Mail
Look for this 4 page spread in Dec 29th UK Paper The Mail on Sunday Event magazine

Despite the acrimony and excesses, and after 45 years as soft rock’s favourite soap opera, the legendary band have reunited.

Fleetwood Mac are fighting again. Rock-star fur is flying. But this is no ordinary argument. For one thing, the contretemps is being conducted in three different countries. Stevie Nicks fights her corner from an elegant apartment in Paris, Lindsey Buckingham boxes clever in his Californian study and Christine McVie counterpunches from her riverside penthouse in London.

Founder band members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie are keeping out of it. Fleetwood is licking his wounds after his fourth divorce and McVie is in hospital engaged in a more serious battle, with cancer.

The disagreement, believe it or not, concerns one of Fleetwood Mac’s few physical altercations. After 45 years of soft rock’s favourite soap opera, it’s astonishing that the players haven’t come to blows more often.

‘I was dancing on stage,’ begins Nicks, now 65, in the salon of her rented Parisian pied-à-terre. ‘It was the Tusk tour, 1980, Auckland, New Zealand. I was doing my thing with my shawl and Lindsey pulled his jacket up over his head and started mimicking me, behind my back. 'I thought, “Well, that’s not working for me.” But I didn’t do anything. This must have infuriated him, because he came over and kicked me. 'And I’d never had anyone be physical with me in my life. Then he picked up a black Les Paul guitar and he just frisbee’d it at me. He missed, I ducked – but he could have killed me.’

‘I’m not sure that happened,’ Buckingham, 64, states flatly at his gated LA estate.

‘Oh, it happened, all right,’ asserts Christine McVie, 70, drinking in a glorious view of the Thames. ‘I threw a glass of wine in his face.’

It was always the friction within Fleetwood Mac that produced the most magical music. The pristine production sheen of 1977’s gazillion-selling Rumours concealed a cauldron of simmering tensions and churning passions. They were an airport novel come to life, and with a sensational soundtrack.

Famously, during the recording of Rumours, chiffoned hippy siren Nicks split with Buckingham, her boyfriend of several years, and, after nearly a decade of marriage, Christine and John McVie stopped talking to each other, except to discuss musical matters. And some of the songs – Go Your Own Way, You Make Loving Fun, Dreams – were pretty brutal.

‘It was tough stuff,’ admits Christine McVie. ‘But you had to sing about the emotions you were feeling at the time. It was hands-on-the-table honest.’

‘Stevie and I weren’t even estranged; we just weren’t a couple any more,’ recalls Buckingham. ‘But none of us had the luxury of time and distance to allow for closure. And that’s what a shrink will tell you helps us to heal. So it was difficult on a lot of levels. Very difficult.’

August 7, 1987 was an especially difficult day. According to Mick Fleetwood’s memoirs, a meeting was called to discuss Buckingham’s decision to quit touring, and Nicks remonstrated aggressively with her former boyfriend. As she set about Buckingham, he screamed, ‘Get this bitch out of my way. And f*** the lot of you!’

The fracas, Fleetwood claims, culminated in Buckingham slapping her and bending her over the bonnet of a car, before storming off shouting, ‘You’re a bunch of selfish b******s.’

‘That was in the courtyard of my house,’ Christine McVie concurs. ‘There was a bit of a physical fight, and she wasn’t beating him up. It wasn’t nice.’

‘There wasn’t any physical violence,’ contends Buckingham. ‘It was an unpleasant situation that day, but you have to ask yourself the question, if someone is beating on your chest because they don’t want you to leave, isn’t that in a way kind of flattering?’

The level of acrimony the incident suggests begs another question: despite Buckingham and Nicks having put on a united front for their latest UK shows, during which they held hands, hugged and generally behaved civilly towards each other, have they ever actually agreed on anything?

‘That’s a very funny question,’ Buckingham laughs. ‘I don’t know how much we ever did agree. I’m trying to be tactful here, but there was never a huge set of sensibilities that we had in common.’

Of course, what the members of Fleetwood Mac did have in common – supernaturally inspired songwriting aside – was a fondness for drink and drugs. Cocaine and Champagne was their cocktail of choice.

‘Well, they go hand in hand, don’t they?’ shrugs McVie. ‘When we were in Sausalito making Rumours, the boys would be doing these huge rails of coke while Stevie and I would be in our own place with our little bottles of coke, with tiny coke-spoons that we’d wear on delicate chains around our necks. 'Very ladylike – much more refined – and actually fairly acceptable at the time. 'Inevitably, late at night the boys would run out and come looking  for ours.’

And is it true that during their private-jet-and-pink-hotel-suite years, Fleetwood Mac would take cocaine while they were performing on stage?

‘Absolutely,’ confirms Nicks. ‘We thought that’s what entertainers did in order to maintain that level of activity and creativity.’

‘Mick had this rotating platform covered with beer-bottle caps full  of coke so he could snort away as he was playing,’ marvels McVie. ‘At least us ladies would slip off stage for a  discreet toot.’

‘You know, I never bought cocaine,’ Buckingham sniffs. ‘There were other people in the band who may have  done that.’

Indeed there were. And they bought it by the boatload. Cocaine became synonymous with the Fleetwood Mac brand (Mick Fleetwood reportedly wanted to give their drug dealer a credit on Rumours). But by the mid-Eighties, the comedown had kicked in. ‘And,’ says Nicks, ‘the payback was a complete bitch.’

Nicks went to the Betty Ford clinic in 1986 to be treated for cocaine addiction. She then spent eight years hooked on the prescription tranquillizer Klonopin. She gained weight, her hair turned grey, she shed her skin, her ‘life force died’.

Addicted to various substances and making bad business decisions, Mick Fleetwood went bankrupt. Lindsey Buckingham had his own meltdown (documented on the rather brilliant Tusk album, replete with what Nicks cruelly refers to as ‘his bizarre ideas and weird little guitar solos’). Christine and John McVie, by their own admission, ‘drank far too much for far too long’.

Dark days followed, but disintegration and personal loss were nothing new to Fleetwood Mac. This, after all, was the tenth incarnation of a group that had already survived the departure of seven members, including Peter Green, the British blues guru who formed the band in 1967.

‘I had a real crush on Peter,’ admits McVie. ‘I had my eye on him. He was so charismatic and funny, sharp as a tack. And, as we know, he was slightly good at playing the guitar, which was enormously seductive.’

Green left the band, and indeed the planet, following an LSD overdose in Munich in 1970. He would never be the same man again. So began the ‘curse of the Fleetwood Mac guitarist’, with several unfortunate musicians ending up damaged or deceased. Lindsey Buckingham says, ‘There have been times when I’ve feared for my own well-being in the great scheme of things, because historically the track record has not been kind to the guitar players in this band.’

‘I met Peter Green recently,’ McVie says solemnly. ‘He came backstage after the London show I guested at. 'I sat down with him and he ate some of the buffet food, but he didn’t really speak and there was nothing in his eyes. No response. It was difficult and very sad.’

Darkness has descended in Paris. Stevie Nicks, wearing black silk and tinted glasses, is sitting in the shadows talking with calm candour about her love life.

‘I didn’t want to fall in love with Mick,’ she says of the band’s lanky drummer. ‘I had the attitude that you didn’t need to go after someone’s husband who had two children. So I felt awful, awful, awful. 'Then Mick fell in love with my friend Sara. That was not a good thing. But I always considered Mick one of the great loves of my life.’

Having extensively road-tested men – she has had affairs with Eagles Don Henley and Joe Walsh, producers Rupert Hine and Jimmy Iovine and even politician Jerry Brown – has Nicks ever considered women? ‘Oh no,’ she frowns, sitting bolt upright. ‘I’m not gay. I could never do that. I like men way too much. That would never work for me. 'I do love men. But I’m happy being single now. I don’t want to be in a relationship. I can do whatever I want. I’m in control.

‘But if the man of my dreams were to walk in right now, then all that s*** I just said would go straight out that window into the Seine.’

In LA, Lindsey Buckingham sighs: ‘I seldom look back. Living in the present is more important to me now. I’m very fortunate. 'I have an amazing wife and three beautiful children, and that certainly makes you less obsessive about your art as a musician – which I’ve always felt was more like painting than anything. 'And I’m sure there were times when I became a little unbearable and demanding in trying to make those pictures perfect. But I guess there will always be things you’ve done that you regret having done.’

Photo by @lollydoeslondon
Beside the Thames, Christine McVie is in buoyant mood. It’s six weeks since she made a surprise appearance on stage with Fleetwood Mac at London’s O2 Arena on September 25, an experience she ‘enjoyed immensely – not quite to the point of being tearful, but it felt really good and completely natural’.

Although in late October the band were forced to cancel the Australasian leg of their tour due to John McVie’s urgent cancer treatment, the grapevine remains abuzz with gossip. Bookmakers have long since suspended betting on Fleetwood Mac headlining Glastonbury 2014 (Macstonbury!), and despite Buckingham’s reservations about her temporarily rejoining (‘She can’t just come and go’), Christine’s cameo has fuelled hopes of a ‘classic Mac’ reunion next year.

‘Lindsey can be difficult and a bit of a control freak,’ she says. ‘But that’s his job, and that, for better or worse, is his character. And he has mellowed over the years.’

McVie reluctantly acknowledges that her voice, piano and presence make the band somehow complete. Without her, Fleetwood Mac serve up a satisfying set of ingredients, but she is the sauce that unifies them. 
‘The gravy?’ she suggests. ‘I think we all sensed that.’

As for Fleetwood Mac’s future recording plans, McVie lets slip that she has recently written new songs for the band. ‘I sent them to Lindsey and he loved them,’ she reveals. ‘You could hear his mind whirring, figuring how he could improve them, Mac them up.’

Then out of the blue, in that honeyed voice, she starts to sing.

‘We’ve only just begun…’ 

‘Rumours’ and ‘The Very Best Of Fleetwood Mac’ are both out on Warners


greg said...

Sounds promising. :)

Anonymous said...

It would be more than great if John got well very soon... so important and if Christine would rejoin. Seems like Stevie should be able to do what Stevie does...She needs to be with the Band and She needs to be free, she has so much to share. Mick's magic needs to be there so he can watch over the others and keep things going in Hawaii, and Lindsey needs to be there to do all that he does best!
I absolutely LOVE Fleetwood Mac and I have since 9th grade...1974, I've never strayed, I've always been a faithful fan! "Thank You" to all of You as a Band and as individuals

Anonymous said...

I'm not really good at this, I don't do it very often. I didn't quite finish my message! I want to add: A huge heartfelt "THANK YOU" to each of you for sharing your talents with the world. Your songs have meant so much to so many people, and so many memories flood my mind when I hear certain songs. Thanks for sharing your music and some info about your personal life too! Don't change the way you do anything, you're perfect! All of this is what makes Fleetwood Mac... Fleetwood Mac!!!

Anonymous said...

Great to hear Chris sent Lindsey some new songs. Maybe there is a new Fleetwood Mac album possible with all five members included. Nothing would be better ! ! ! !

MplsMike said...

Promising news ... Christine sending Lindsey some songs, that is. Given some of the recent interviews Stevie has done, I think she'd much prefer to move on to her next solo record. I think what would change her mind and make her EXCITED to record with Fleetwood Mac again would be Christine's presence. Who knows at this point ... We'll all have to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

My prediction:
A new studio album comes together with Christine, Mitchell Froom produces, with a release date in the fall of 2014. It's well received and they do some shows -- although a much smaller US tour and retry for Australia.

MplsMike said...

^^ ^^ ... I could see this happening. It would be nice the songwriters could agree on one producer. I absolutely loved the work Stevie Nicks and Dave Stewart did on 'In Your Dreams,' and I could even see Stewart working with Christine McVie, but it's time to try something new. I don't see a small US tour, though. People don't buy albums as much as they used to, and any new Fleetwood Mac singles will be released to Adult Contemporary or Adult Alternative stations. Top 40 has simply changed too much. The monster tours is where this band makes its bread and butter these days. If they make a new record there will be another BIG world tour to support it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Any way you slice it, this is going to be BIG. It's happening, folks - provided everything continues to go well for John (thank God). There is going to be a brand new FAB FIVE album, a video a la THE DANCE and a world tour to knock your socks off. This time the songs (anchored by Chris) will tear up the A/C chart and have top 40 crossover. How very cool.

Joseph Gould said...

A new 'The Dance' would obviously be fantastic - funny how The Dance was celebrating the return of Lindsey, and any future one will be celebrating the return of Christine. A new album and world tour would be incredible - especially for those of us who didn't get to see them this tour (Australia/NZ). Expect a deluge of $$ Fleetwood Mac!

Anonymous said...

Stevie's recent interviews sounded like she was following Lindsey's lead, not wanting to let Chris back in the band so easily. Now if this is true, and Lindsey loves Chris' new songs, maybe this will convince Stevie to want to take part. She would only have to write 3 or 4 songs and they could make an album.

And yes it's funny, this is the first time I have ever heard any interviewer ask Stevie if she is gay?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Christine asserted herself as regards her importance in the band. Mick Fleetwood said recently that she could resume her rightful place at any time. Adding "she's magic". I think we'll see a new album by mid summer. There is A lot to be grateful about as regards this band. If Lindsey loves her songs, that's a good sign. ...sounds likes she's a member again and it just hasn't been announced.

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand why there is any reason for the band not to do a studio album in 2014. They have just made millions of $$$ from the recent tour, Christine is very keen to rejoin, and Stevie shouldn't do another solo album as it just won't have the same magic or commercial success as 'In your Dreams'. They should all come to the table with new songs and John's bass parts don't take that long to do as we saw in the 'Destiny rules' documentary, so there is not as much strain on him as there would be if they went on another tour.

Anonymous said...

If you read between the lines, Lindsey's ALREADY working on Chris' new songs.

Anonymous said...

I know it makes for good drama, but having been through more than one nasty divorce and/or break-up myself, I cannot imagine having to then turn around and continue to work in close quarters with that very person that you might presently almost hate. Whether it was about the money, the magic, the music, or whatever...I think we need to cut the members of the Mac a bit of a break on the hard feelings that have occasionally become quasi-physical as well. I simply can't imagine how difficult a situation that had to be for all of them. And like a couple others have stated, I have to thanks these people for offering us superb music for almost 40 years. And when one takes the time to listen to the Mac pre-75, there is some very good stuff there as well.

Glen Burg said...

Yes, a new album, yes, a new tour (and YES, MEETING AND GREETING WITH MICK! Hint hint ;) ). All of these things make me tingle with excitement. Even hearing "Hold Me" on the radio, the day after finding out Christine is back in the fold, sent so many tingles through my body I darn well had an emotional o**asm! But I think there's more to Christine rejoining Fleetwood Mac than most any fan cares to admit. There was a sense of it in "The Dance" (heck, even for Bill Clinton's inaugural gala where the Rumours five played "Don't Stop")... There's a wish for all five to make up and be together again in music and spirit, in a sense of vicarious living through our beloved stars: if they can bury the hatchet, let bygones be bygones, move on together and return to their glory, I mean, doesn't that give us renewed hope we can get our own lives together as well?

Post a Comment