Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gold Dust Woman justifies the high price of a Fleetwood Mac concert

Globe and Mail
February 11, 2009 

"We wish we didn't have to charge anything,” says Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac singer. “We wish we could go out and play. That's what we do – we're performance artists.”

Rock on, gold dust woman. During a teleconference Tuesday, Nicks and her fellow Mac mates were chatting up their upcoming North American tour (which kicks off March 1 in Pittsburgh, with dates in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver to follow) when the subject of ticket prices came up. Fleetwood Mac, legendary for its rock-star indulgences in its prime, charge up to $149.50 for top seats in Toronto.

“The price of life in general is a gazillion dollars more than it was four years ago,” reasoned Nicks, not an economist. The British/Californian band's most recent tour wrapped up in 2004. “Our emotions are about trying to do this in the best way that makes sense for our audience,” chimed in drummer Mick Fleetwood, “and in a way that we can get to our audience.”

Ticket prices and ticket distribution are a touchy subject these days. A $510-million Canadian class-action suit filed this week alleges that Ticketmaster and subsidiary are conspiring to hold seats from the public and reselling the tickets at a higher prices – seemingly a violation of anti-scalping laws.

Those looking for Fleetwood Mac seats for the Air Canada Centre show on are able to pay face value, but also are offered “Official Platinum Seats” at the site's Marketplace, where concertgoers can purchase premium seats at inflated values – as much as $800 a ticket.

The band is represented by Irving Azoff, who also happens to be chief executive officer of Ticketmaster Entertainment, and will become executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment if the just-announced merger of Ticketmaster and concert promoters Live Nation goes through. Asked about any unsavoury ticket-selling practices involving Fleetwood Mac, Nicks promised she would be “making phone calls” on the matter.

Nicks went to say that tour's “Unleashed” title refers to the unleashing of the band's furies “back into the universe.” Asked if the public would be able to handle all the pent-up rage, Nicks answered in the affirmative, but cautioned that fans might need to bring their “armour.”

That, and their gold card.

This is truly a new experience for Fleetwood Mac

Billboard Magazine
February 11, 2009
by: Gary Graff, Detroit

Not having a new album is working to Fleetwood Mac's advantage as the group prepares for its upcoming Unleashed North American tour.

"This is the first time we've gone on the road without an album," drummer and co-founder Mick Fleetwood told during a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday. "This is truly a new experience for Fleetwood Mac to go out and play songs that we believe and hope people are going to be familiar with and love."
Singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham added that not having to integrate new songs into the set -- which the group has been rehearsing since Jan. 5 in Los Angeles -- "just allows you to relax into the situation. We're not coming off a new group of tunes, a new album ... the stakes for that side of it become a little bit lower."

As for a new Fleetwood Mac album, vocalist Stevie Nicks said "there isn't any plan at this point ... for any album. We're going to get through this tour before deciding what to do with an album." Fleetwood, however, confirmed that "there have been discussions, for sure, that we would love to make some more music ... We hope it happens, and certainly it's been somewhat loosely touched on ... My heart says I believe that will happen. Certainly I know that all of the songwriting department, both Stevie and Lindsey are continually writing ... The whole creative bowl is very much intact, so I would love to see what happens."

While declining to get specific about the 46-date tour's repertoire, Fleetwood did say that hits such as "Dreams," "Go Your Own Way" and "Don't Stop" would be included, and that the group would be "paying some attention" to material written by former band member Christine McVie.

"Her songs are surviving very well in the set that we're doing," Fleetwood said. "Stevie and Lindsey are finding a fresh way in certain instances to present those songs. And then we are finding songs as we go along that we feel are special songs that maybe aren't considered the massive, massive hits but truly are emotionally connected to Fleetwood Mac."

Nicks, meanwhile, confirmed that the group seriously considered adding Sheryl Crow to the lineup in 2008, even setting up a rehearsal last Mother's Day to work on material.

"We needed Sheryl to come in and just play some music with us," Nicks recalled. "But it was Mother's Day. She had a brand new baby. She had all her parents and everybody coming and she chose not to cancel that, understandably. She called back and said, 'I have to pass,' and it was over. I said, 'You're making the right decision. You have a new baby, you survived breast cancer, you survived Lance Armstrong.'

"Sheryl is my very dear friend. We are best buddies, and that will go on forever. The fact she is not in the band does not mean she's not our friend."

The Unleashed tour, Fleetwood Mac's first road trek since 2004, begins on March 1 in Pittsburgh. The group is also planning to release a CD/DVD edition of its 1977 "Rumours" album with unreleased songs, demos and previously unreleased footage of the band from that era.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lindsay and I don’t need a buffer (Stevie Nicks)

February 11, 2009

Undercover was part of the Fleetwood Mac media conference today where Stevie revealed that Sheryl Crow almost joined Fleetwood Mac following the departure of Christine McVie. 

“We rented a studio and hired a crew,” Stevie said. “We were ready to go in and I called her and needed her to come for two or three days to just play. It was Mother’s Day and she had invited 300 people in her family there. It was her first Mother’s Day as a mom and she could not do it. At that point she said “I am going to have to pass”. I said “I think you are making the right decision. You have a new baby, you have survived breast cancer and Lance Armstrong. I don’t think this is the right thing for you”. That is what happened with Sheryl Crow. She is still our friend and I still adore her. She is one fm my dearest friends”.

While Sheryl Crow came close to joining Fleetwood Mac, no other female has been considered. “As far as having another girl in the band, after we went through that we really realised that there wasn’t going to be another woman that could come into this band who could fit,” she said. “I was looking at it three years ago as a buffer between me and Lindsay. Lindsay and I don’t need a buffer. Certainly Sheryl Crow and not any woman in the world is going to be able to get in the middle of Lindsay and me. The fact is if Lindsay and I can’t work out our problems by ourselves we might as well throw in the towel. That's what we are currently trying to do is work out own problems and certainly another person could not do that for us. 

Think about this – Christine has been gone since 1998 so I have been the only girl in this band for a long, long time. I’m used to it now. At first I was not used to it. After ‘The Dance’ it was horrifying for me. She has been gone a long time and I’m fine with it now”.

Christine McVie was a member of Fleetwood Mac from 1970 to 1998. Prior to Fleetwood Mac, she sang with English band Chicken Shack but left in 1970 after marrying Fleetwood Mac bass player John McVie.

After leaving Fleetwood Mac, she released her third solo album ‘In The Meantime’ in 2004 but has remained relatively out of the public eye.

Fleetwood Mac will begin their `Unleashed` tour, their first tour in five years, on March 1st in Pittsburgh.

Tusk's $1 Millon Dollar Budget was a Privilege

by Paul Cashmere - February 11 2009

Fleetwood Mac founder Mick Fleetwood says that the cost of making the 1979 `Tusk` album, the first album with a budget over $1 million, was a privilege, not an over-indulgence.

In a conference call with Undercover today, Mick said, “For all of the blessings we had bestowed on us for being successful I always thought that it was a fully righteous thing that a band such as Fleetwood Mac would plough that money back into the very process that we’d been blessed by to have made that money because it was our money.”

‘Tusk’ was the follow-up to the classic ‘Rumours’. While ‘Rumours’ turned the band into a supergroup, they still paid their own way. “People often assume that you are the star of the show and some production company pays for everything. That is not the case literally by 100%”, he told Undercover. “I always thought it was incredibly righteous to taking the time to plough back the energy, time and expense to make an album like ‘Tusk’ coming out of the most successful album that this band ever had, not that we knew it at the time, ‘Rumours’”.

While the album did not achieve the same heights as its predessor, Mick is glad they did what they did to make ‘Tusk’. “It was our pleasure to do that,” he said. “We never looked at it as some sort of opulent indulgence. I think the lines got blurred more often by the lifestyles and the romance of the stories of the individuals in Fleetwood Mac. The music and the time making ‘Tusk’, we took a huge interest in the studio we were going to record the next album in. All of that stuff had to be paid for and I might add that it was paid for by the individuals that you are talking to to present something that in our world that was going to be more meaningful and more special”.

He says they did it because they could afford to do it in light of the success of the previous two albums. “That to me doesn't personally feel like any form of indulgence. It was always a cross to bear that we all had from ‘Rumours’ on, and in fact Fleetwood Mac ‘Fleetwood Mac’ and ‘Rumours’ and the characters in this particular play”.

The success of Fleetwood Mac not only made the group famous, it made Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks all individually famous. That fame has often gotten in the way of the music. “No doubt, there is a story to be told and continues to be told,” he says. “But behind it all is the music and we very often bemoan the fact that because we were so open as people, which was intriguing and interesting, or maybe not, behind some of that we did take some blows in terms of the music at certain points in time”.

The internal romances and break-ups became tabloid fodder. “We often wanted to talk about the music instead of the ongoing soap opera,” he said. “It is really about the integrity of what we do. We have always taken the responsibility to make the very best effort to do that”.

Fame gave them money and ‘Tusk’ was simply money well-spent, according to Mick. “That to me was never an indulgence. It was a privilege and in truth, everyone you are speaking to paid for that privilege to present something to the listener and the people who enjoyed this band and reinvest our “hey-day” ability to do that where you can’t believe you can actually be in a studio for nine months but then you have to pay for it”.

Anything less than perfection was not an option when recording ‘Tusk’. “The fact that we didn’t say “lets spend three weeks in the studio and get the hell out and shove something out” actually speaks well of where this band puts its metal,” he said.

Fleetwood Mac will begin their `Unleashed` tour, their first tour in five years, on March 1st in Pittsburgh.

Press Conference by Phone With Fleetwood Mac

Quizzing Fleetwood Mac

By Eric R. Danton

I've written before about teleprint conferences (like this one, with Maroon 5) -- essentially, press conferences by phone, wherein a bunch of reporters lob questions one by one at musicians -- but the one I'm on right now with Fleetwood Mac is a gem.

The band this spring unleashes Unleashed, a greatest hits tour tied to the re-release of "Rumours," and the Mac's first road trip in five years (including a date March 14 at Mohegan Sun). Highlights of the teleprint session include:

  • Stevie Nicks declaring, "Basically, what we are is entertainers." Ah. That clears that right up.
  • Lindsey Buckingham shows up 20 minutes after the scheduled start time, and says to the others, "Have you all been on the line for a while?" 
  • Apparently Buckingham is influenced by Radiohead.
  • Mick Fleetwood, on the other hand, likes U2.
  • The band attempts to steer a question to John McVie, who's been largely silent. "No, I feel so stupid today," McVie says. Mick offers, "We'll do one together."
  • Stevie Nicks, addressing rumors that Sheryl Crow would take Christine McVie's place: "I told her, 'You've survived breast cancer and Lance Armstrong, and I think you're doing the right thing'" by not joining the band to focus instead on raising her child.
  • Whither the significance of the tour title? Stevie: "To me, 'Unleashed' means unleashing the furies, throwing us back into the universe." Is it possible to roll your eyes so hard they fall out? To his credit, the reporter asks, tongue in cheek, "Will we be able to handle this fury?
  • The guy from the Plain Dealer asks, in reference to the USC marching band appearing with Radiohead at the Grammys, "Are you sick of Radiohead stealing all of Fleetwood Mac's good ideas?" The band laughs, then Buckingham says he told the director of the marching band, "Please go tell Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood how much their work has meant to me."
  • Stevie: "I'm a fragile little old grandmother at this point, even though I have no grandchildren." 
  • The guy from L'Press (or some damn place) asks the band when the "Rumours" re-release is coming out. The band, of course, has no idea. Dude: Check Wikipedia.
  • Aw, man, after I've spent 90 minutes on the phone, some guy asks a dumber version of the question I was going to ask.
  • Jon Bream from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune asks why Fleetwood Mac tickets are so expensive, especially compared to the band's last tour. Stevie: "I can't even answer that, because I don't know. All I can say is that the price of life in general is a gazillion times higher than it was four years ago." Alas, this time the band can't afford to fly on a chartered 737, she says. They're taking a G4 jet instead.
  • If brevity is indeed the soul of wit, Mick Fleetwood is witless.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Thom Yorke (Radio Head) Jigs To Tusk

During Grammy Rehearsals today in Los Angeles Thom Yorke of Radio Head arrived looking more like a fan than a star and did a little jig in the aisles as the USC's Spirit of Troy Marching Band warmed up with Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" before rehearsing as part as the Radio Head backup band.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Fleetwood Mac has sold 16.4 million albums


Ask Billboard
January 2, 2009

Hi Keith,

With Fleetwood Mac going on tour again soon, I was wondering how many albums they have sold since Nielson SoundScan started, specifically their last few releases?

Kevin Markowski

Hello Kevin,

I'm excited that Fleetwood Mac is going back on the road, but still sad that they are touring without Christine McVie. Really, the band just isn't the same without her. But you didn't ask about that, did you?

Since 1991, when SoundScan began tracking sales, Fleetwood Mac has sold 16.4 million albums in the U.S. The biggest seller is its 1997 live album "The Dance," which has sold 4.5 million. The group's last studio set, 2003's "Say You Will," has shifted 858,000.

Fleetwood Mac's Unleashed tour begins on March 1, 2009 in Pittsburgh.

Auburn Hills Starts at 8pm - not 7:30pm

Fleetwood Mac gets a later start at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Are you heading south Sunday, March 8, to catch Fleetwood Mac at The Palace of Auburn Hills?

Take your time -- it starts at 8 p.m. now, instead of 7:30. And those of you thinking "I didn't know Fleetwood Mac was coming around" can still get tickets at the nearest Ticketmaster.
They'll set you back $149.50, $79.50 or $49.50, depending on how up-front-and-personal you want to get.

That's about the going price for the acts we call legends these days. The Eagles' top tickets costs $195 when they swoop into the Palace on Saturday, March 21. And Jimmy Buffett's Aug. 13 visit to the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston is sold out, so hang on to your $137.50.

What do you say -- are they worth it? What's the top price you would pay to see your favorite?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Lindsey Buckingham Talks Guitars, Fleetwood Mac Reunion Tour

by: Russell Hall
Gibson Magazine

On March 1, a reunited Fleetwood Mac will hit the road for their first concert tour in five years. Concurrently, an expanded CD/DVD package of the band's landmark 1977 album, Rumours, will hit record stores. In the following interview, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham talks about the differences between his work in Fleetwood Mac and his solo work. He also shares his thoughts about his distinctive six-string style.

Wasn't your very first guitar a cheap Harmony acoustic?

That's right, although I first learned some chords on a plastic ukulele. There was a TV show called The Mickey Mouse Club, which marketed a smaller version of what the guy on the show played. When I was about eight years old, I got a Harmony 6-string three-quarter-size guitar for Christmas. I think it cost about 35 or 40 bucks.

Did you feel an immediate facility for the instrument?

It's hard to say. I had been exceptionally interested in music before then, although I didn't have any lessons. I was tuned in to my parents' record collection, which ranged from the South Pacific soundtrack to Patti Page to my Dad's collection of Dixieland Jazz 78s. I was always interested in what was making those sounds. Then, when Elvis Presley came onto the scene, there was a role model, visually, and music that subverted our parents' sensibilities. It was something we could call our own.

When did you first try to write songs?

I didn't write until 1972, near the very end of the first band that Stevie and I were in. Stevie had been writing tunes since she was in high school, and thought of herself as a writer-poet. Actually, I still don't think of myself as a writer. I think of myself more as a stylist. It still comes in bits and pieces — the process of putting a song together.

You play without a pick. Beyond technique, does that make you feel more of direct connection to the guitar?

I think so. It has its good and bad points. It can be a little sloppy. Sometimes, on-stage, when I'm playing lead, I'll look down and see that I'm just thrashing around. I don't know what I'm doing with my fingers, and it looks sort of odd to me. In that sense, yes, it's completely connected to something inside. But I think other people probably feel that connection with a pick, because they've done it that way for so long.

How did you get into finger-picking at such an early age?

Part of that stemmed from not taking lessons. As a child, I found my own way, in a manner that made sense to me. I wasn't doing finger-picking right away, but I strummed with my hand, because I didn't know any better. But even Scotty Moore had an element of finger-picking and orchestral playing going on. The other thing was, before the British Invasion occurred, a lot of folk music became popular. In that music, of course, you're talking about basic Travis-picking, which everybody was learning to do. I also became interested in trying to learn some of the fast banjo-playing style that a lot of people were doing at the time.

You've talked in the past about a certain Dave Mason album that had a big impact on you as a lead player.

That's right. That album — Alone Together — came out in 1970, at about the time the original band Stevie and I were in was breaking up. I was trying to embrace lead playing, and the things Dave Mason was doing on that album seemed to mesh with what I was aspiring to do. He wasn't trying to be technically proficient, and the playing had a plaintive quality that fit what I was already doing, as an acoustic player.

What adjustments did you make to your style, when you and Stevie joined Fleetwood Mac?

It was an exercise in paring down. There wasn't as much room to establish any sort of style statement, in terms of what I had done on the Buckingham Nicks album. The band's pre-existing sound made it difficult for me to even play the model of guitar I had been using. The electrics I had played had always been either Stratocasters or Telecasters. And both those guitars sounded a little anemic, within the band. Therefore I switched over to something "fatter," which, at the time, was the Les Paul.

Are there things you can do as a solo artist that you can't do within the parameters of Fleetwood Mac?

I don't think there's any one thing. It's more a case that maybe there are things you can do only once, on a Fleetwood Mac album. There are lots of things on the [2006 solo album] Under the Skin album that are just one guitar, or two guitars, and voice, and nothing else. Politically, that would be fine in Fleetwood Mac as a one-off type of thing. But on Rumours, for instance, you wouldn’t want to have four songs like "Never Going Back Again." It just wouldn't have been appropriate.

The reunion tour begins in March. Your thoughts?

I think there's still quite a bit of road that we need to walk together, in order to put things in a certain place, with regard to interaction. For that reason alone, there's an interest for me in reconvening, to see if we can approach things a little more humanly. Stevie and I have some stuff to work on. That, in and of itself, becomes intriguing. I've known Stevie since I was about 16, and we've been through things together that no one else has. We know each other awfully well. It should be fun.

Is Now The Time To Buy??

If you've been on the fence and unsure if you wanted to shell out a ton of cash for seats to see Fleetwood Mac on their Unleashed Tour because the only seats available were seats at the back or in the rafters - well now's the time to consider buying or at least be on the look out for prime seating. Ticketmaster has released PRIME seats (Floor Seats) for a number of the first shows on Fleetwood Mac's upcoming tour.

Just to name a few:
Pittsburgh (3/1/09)
Minneapolis (3/3/09)
Detroit 3/8/09)
Uniondale, NY (3/13/09)
Toronto (3/17/09)

Each of these shows at the moment are showing floor seats in the first 10 rows available at the regular pricing - which will run you about $150.00 plus fees.