Fleetwood Mac
Rock Family Trees Transcript

Transcibed by Graham Sykes

 

What follows is, pretty much, a verbatim transcription from the documentary 'The Fleetwood Mac Story', which is an episode in the TV series 'Rock Family Trees'. I have left out some of the 'ers' the 'ums' and the stutters that accompany any interview conducted in front of a TV camera.

The series originates from the work of a gentleman called Pete Frame who drew family trees of various bands/artists and were, as far as I can remember, first published in the late 70's/80's in the UK weekly music publication 'Sounds' (now defunct). They were later collected into book form and some subsequently were made into TV documentaries (Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple & Black Sabbath to name the three that appealed to me). All the TV documentaries were narrated by the respected English music broadcaster, John Peel, and all the comments under 'narrative' in the ensuing transcription were spoken by Mr Peel during the documentary.

The form the documentaries take are of a one to one interview with the person in question, and in the case of this documentary the interviews were conducted individually without any of the subjects meeting (I believe), although Mick Fleetwood & John McVie very probably communicated with each other with regards to this programme. The narratives and interviews are interlinked with footage of the band, with camera pans across press cuttings, photographs, memorabilia and the family tree of the band in question, along with audio clips of various songs from the bands back-catalogue. I don't know when or if the Fleetwood Mac family tree was ever published in 'Sounds' Magazine but it can be seen in the 'Tusk' tourbook.

One more point I would like to make before I proceed with the transcription is that this documentary was made around the time of Stevie's 'Street Angel' and Fleetwood Mac's 'Time' line-up, a time, I believe various people with connections to Fleetwood Mac were not necessarily getting along to well, and this is reflected in some comments made during this documentary. Since then, as we all know, things have changed, certain 'demons' have been confronted, as testified to by Lindsey on 'The Dance' CD'..demons which I think are alluded to later in the transcription. But old hurts and problems seem to have been addressed and sorted out to a large extent, and I am sure I am not alone in applauding the band in doing so. I do not speak for Stevie, Mick John or anyone involved with the documentary and have no personal connection with them, but I think maybe some emotions and words expressed in the text are possibly not ones that they would hold today, this film being made at a time in the bands history when not everything smelled of roses.

The purpose of me doing this transcription is purely for fans of Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks and not for any personal or financial gain and if I contravene any copyright laws, I humbly apologise and will do what I can to remove this transcript from wherever it may appear. It is done solely for people to read.  I'm not sure if this documentary was ever aired in the USA'.if not it makes interesting reading'enjoy!!!

All comments in brackets are my own and are there to try and put across various nuances and to try to put what is said in the way it was meant to be taken.

Interviewees:

Mick Fleetwood

John McVie

Pete Bardens (band member with Mick in the Cheynes)

John Mayall

Bob Brunning

Clifford Davis (ex manager)

Bob Welch

Bob Weston

Dave Wilkinson (keyboard player in Stretch, the 'fake' Fleetwood Mac)

Stevie Nicks

Roll cameras''''

Narrative:
The story of Fleetwood Mac is one of the most incredible sagas in pop music history. The band has survived in different line-ups for over 27 years. But sometimes the price paid by individual members has been high, for along with major artistic and commercial success have come breakdowns, both marital and mental, drug and alcohol addiction, disappearances and crippling legal battles. At the heart of all the incarnations of the band has been the rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. The story begins when an adolescent Mick Fleetwood committed himself to a life in pop music.

Mick Fleetwood:
I used to go to this huge oak tree at one of my boarding schools and swear and pray that I'm gonna be in London''.and gonna do this'and'tears pouring down my face'.just committing myself to this thing.

Narrative:
Mick fulfilled his dreams of going to London. Spotted one day playing the drums, he was asked to join a group called the Cheynes

Mick Fleetwood:
It was'like this great drum kit'.they really didn't give a damn how I played it (smiling)'.it was the kit'y'know'that guys got a kit'it's brand new.

Peter Bardens:
Mick approached me and asked me to be the manager of the band for the sole reason that I had a brown mohair suit and nobody else did. After a couple of weeks they asked me to come with them and play keyboards, and actually that didn't do too bad, I mean we started to do the circuit, it was a pretty good R&B band at the time.

Narrative:
The other half of what was to become the Fleetwood Mac rhythm section, John McVie, was working for the Inland Revenue, but he wanted to be a professional musician. His chance came with an audition for John Mayalls Bluesbreakers.

John Mcvie:
My dad dropped me off there with my amp and stuff and went in there and Mayall said...play a blues in C'a twelve bar in C'.and I'm not quite sure what a twelve bar is, 'cos we'd done all this Shadows stuff''and it sort of went on from there. He pointed me in the right direction'said'listen to this'.and then play what you feel.

Narrative:
While John was learning the blues, the other founder of Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green, was trying to get a chance to play lead guitar. It came when he joined Peter B's Looners and teamed up with Mick Fleetwood and Pete Bardens who'd both left the Cheynes.

Pete Bardens:
We set up a rehearsal'.and at the time Pete knew maybe 2 or 3 licks

Mick Fleetwood:
Me and Dave Ambrose, I would certainly say me, said to Pete Bardens''I don't think he's good enough.

Pete Bardens:  
I knew that Mick and Dave weren't impressed'.ok'.hey man this guy only knows a couple of licks and I'm saying''yeah, but he don't half play them good.

Narrative:
Peter B's Looners became Shotgun Express with the addition of vocalists Rod Stewart and Beryl Marsden. Bandleader Pete Bardens had to make sure everyone turned up for gigs.

Pete Bardens:
It was a drag in a way, 'cos I had to go round picking everybody up and Beryl was always having her hair done and I had to pick her up from some hairdressers somewhere and Rod was always' like asleep with some bird.

Mick Fleetwood:
In those days Peter would get pretty peeved at Rod's ability to disconnect from the general populous of the band (laughingly)''and I think that's probably what was the kiss of death.

Narrative:
After the demise of Shotgun Express, Peter Green replaced Eric Clapton in the Bluesbreakers, teaming up with John McVie and John Mayall

John Mayall:
Peter made himself known out of the audience to me several times'.criticising the people I'd got on stage, saying he was much better than they were, and why didn't I give him a shot'..so eventually I did give him a chance, 'cos he was so persistent and becoming quite a nuisance.

John McVie:
He was a very cocky'''.punk (shrugs shoulders)'.then he'd play''(John makes a face expressing amazement).

Narrative:
Peter Green wanted Mick Fleetwood in the Bluesbreakers. It meant getting rid of existing drummer, Aynsley Dunbar. Mick was invited to one of their gigs.

Mick Fleetwood:
I went to the gig and they hadn't told Aynsley he was leaving''I felt awful.

Narrative:
Mick replaced Aynsley. Soon after this, the name Fleetwood Mac was coined. But originally it was the title of a song, not a group.

Mick Fleetwood:
Peter was celebrating whatever birthday it was'..John Mayall very graciously said'for your birthday I'm giving you 5 or 6 hours'or whatever it was'of studio time'and he asked me and John to do the session , and one of the songs was an instrumental and it was called 'Fleetwood Mac' , and that was the beginning''..unbeknownst to any of us'..of Fleetwood Mac

Narrative:
This initial association between Peter, Mick and John was short-lived. Mick was fired by John Mayall for excessive drinking, something John McVie had been in trouble for in the past.

John McVie:  
They fired me twice'..for'.er'.indulgence (laughs)'.as it were.

Mick Fleetwood:
I was somewhat keeping up with McVie's indulgence'probably'which rendered me helpless'y'know..(smiles)'and it happened a few times on stage''a few times too many for Mr Mayall''.outta there'(makes a gesture with his thumb indicating him being thrown out of the band)'..and I was gone.

Narrative:
In the summer of 1967 Peter Green took the fateful step of leaving the Bluesbreakers and forming his own group. It was called Fleetwood Mac. He recruited guitarist Jeremy Spencer, and on drums was one half of his favourite rhythm section, Mick Fleetwood. The other half, however, wouldn't leave the security of the Bluesbreakers.

Mick Fleetwood:
We wanted John there'.but he wouldn't leave John Mayall

John McVie:
I was secure'..I had a good'.steady bucks coming in.

Narrative:
When John McVie refused to join, the band resorted to putting an ad in Melody Maker. It was answered by student teacher semi-pro musician Bob Brunning

Bob Brunning :
I went round to the audition and the guy opens the door'.welcomes me in'.and he says I'm Peter Green'and I said, oh that's a good name to have for a blues player'I said have you heard of the Peter Green in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers'supposed to be better than Eric Clapton'''..he said....you bloody idiot, I am that Peter Green

Narrative:
Despite this Bob got the job. The first gig was the Windsor Jazz And Blues Festival. From the beginning they were a tightly knit group. Jeremy Spencer shared a flat with Bob Brunning.

Bob Brunning
He'd just got married and  he'd had his first kid, like a month previously, well I'm kind of into babies and said isn't that wonderful, isn't that really exciting, how brilliant, what is it?''a girl''I said what's her name''and he went'''.I can't remember Bob'.Now how many people have we met who can't remember the name of their first baby'.I mean that's pretty strange.        

Narrative:
Peter Green still wanted John McVie to join Fleetwood Mac. Luckily for him, McVie was having musical differences with Mayall.

John McVie:
We were rehearsing and we had a couple of horn players and John turned round and said'.OK in this section, play free-form '..and that sort of thing'.(here John kind of indicates to himself)....y'know'Chicago twelve bar'very blinkered'..said fuck this'.fuckin' jazz'.I'm outta this and so I went across the street to a phone box and called Peter and said'you want me in the band'I'm in.

Narrative:
The classic line-up of Fleetwood Mac was complete and the band recorded their first LP. They came to the attention of their future manager Clifford Davis.

Clifford Davis:
What attracted me to the band was twofold'one was the great mimicry of Jeremy Spencer, he was a great showman'.and he mimicked people like John Mayall'..he mimicked Elvis'.on stage'he did it very very well indeed'.but the over-riding thing for me was the sheer brilliance and guitar showmanship of Peter Green'I'd never seen anything like that before.

(here a b/w clip of 'Need your love so bad' is shown)

Narrative:
Peter Green's prot'g' Danny Kirwin joined as third guitarist and the band began their journey from being a blues outfit to chart toppers

John McVie:
In the early days'within a certain context'it was definitely a blues band'.then he started writing and things like 'Manalishi' came up'.and 'Oh well''..wow.

(a b/w clip of 'Oh well' is shown)

Clifford Davis:
In 1969 Fleetwood Mac sold more records than the Beatles and the Stones put together, and ironically all those songs were Peter Green songs'.I mean people nowadays think of Fleetwood Mac as 'Rumours''and'maybe some of the albums that followed that'but what they have to realise is that the name Fleetwood Mac was actually launched by Peter Green's talent.

(more from the 'Oh well' clip is now shown)

Mick Fleetwood:  
I loved him'I adored him'.y'know....i'll say it openly'.we'd sleep together'y'know'.and it was a brother thing''when it was cold, we'd curl up in bed together and keep warm'..nothing sexual or anything'.don't get me wrong'.but it was that close.

Narrative:
Peter Green was the musical driving force of the band. But as they became more successful, he became more un-easy.

Mick Fleetwood:
He got terrified of the success'and just thought'.this is not''it's like'.now I'm here'so what'he was very cruel to himself.

(here a b/w clip of 'Man of the World' is shown)

John McVie:
We were Jack the Lad'.y'know'.it's wonderful''''until Munich

(The interviewer asks off camera 'what happened there')

John McVie:
That's where Peter got spiked'''

Narrative:
Probably only Peter Green knows exactly what happened in Munich. But band members and friends are all agreed that after this encounter with acid, he was never the same again.

Pete Bardens:
It's not just Pete'.but it's other people that're being spiked''.especially with acid and not knowing what it is'..I mean it  can turn the whole world upside down'maybe he never really recovered from that'.it certainly screwed things up.

Mick Fleetwood:
There was talk of if we give all the money that we make away then maybe we can do this'..John was half way interested in doing that.

John McVie:
I went'yeah Pete your right'.(makes enthusiastic gesture)'and Mick (laughs) was firmly anchored in reality''John'(makes gesture implying Mick trying to make him see sense)

(here a clip of 'Albatross' is shown)

Narrative:
Peter wanted to give to charity the money earned from hits such as 'Albatross'. He was beginning to distance himself from the rest of the band.

Clifford Davis:
We did a tour of Scandinavia and he came up the back of the bus and said to me'.I want to have a chat with ya'and I said what about'and he said'I want to leave the band'and I said why'and he said they're not really cutting it is the truth.

Mick Fleetwood:
He felt he couldn't go any further'.maybe'who knows'with the band's playing ability'.I suspect it was some of that'.but it was a spiritual thing as well'he was terribly tormented.

(further clip from 'Albatross')

John McVie:  
It was like taking the under-pinnings out of a bridge'..quite happily going along'churning this stuff out'(makes a guitar playing motion)'everything we played was great'it was a great band'and suddenly the legs went out'..whoops'.and you were faced with a future without Peter.

Mick Fleetwood:
We were shaky'and that's when I came up with the plan that we live in this house called Kiln House'which was a converted Oast house we rented'..and that saved Fleetwood Mac'I think from disintegrating.

John McVie:
That sounds like a good idea'so we went there'and we smoked dope for about a year'and tried to do an album. We had to go on the road and realised we didn't have enough strength in the band'.and Christine'who I was married to at the time'..she was there'as the dutiful wife.

Narrative:
Christine McVie had had success in several bands prior to this, but now decided to join her husband in Fleetwood Mac.

Mick Fleetwood:
We just went'would you come and do the tour with us'and she said'yeah, love to'and that was the beginning of her excursion.

Narrative:
The band left for the American tour. It was to be a fateful trip for gutarist Jeremy Spencer.

Mick Fleetwood:
That was instigated by drugs'..we were in San Fransisco and we had been on mescaline'thought we were American indians or something there for a while

John McVie:  
We came down on a flight from San Fransisco to LA'and it was the same day the big earthquake hit'.in fact it happened while we were in the air'.and I'm sitting next to Jeremy'.and Jeremy is by the window'and he said'why am I doing this.

Mick Fleetwood:
We got one photograph which I took of Jeremy, which turned out to be the last picture of Jeremy in Fleetwood Mac'.was getting out of the back of one of those jets where you come down the back'through the tail.

John McVie:
We shared a room at'I think it was the Hollywood Hawaiian or somewhere in that area'.it was one with the little kitchen in it'you had to go out and get your own food'.I'm just going out to get some groceries'.

Mick Fleetwood:
Never came back''they picked him off the street''.gone.

Clifford Davis:
A few days later'.it turned out'.he'd turned up with the Children Of God'.and I went down to their headquarters'and it was quite a frightening situation, and I had to go in alone'.and after about two hours of negotiating he just walked out'..he'd had his hair shaved'..changed his name'..and I said'are you her of your own free will'.and he said yeah'.I feel  at home here Clifford

Narrative:
In search of a new guitarist, Fleetwood Mac turned to American, Bob Welch. His band Head West had broken up and he was down on his luck living in Paris.

Bob Welch:
And I said I'll be there in two seconds'.can you send me plain fare'(laughs)

Narrative:
Bob flew to England to meet the band at their country retreat in Hampshire.

Bob Welch:
They were kind of saying'.well what are we really going to do'.and'have we been cursed'y'know'.and is this the continuing  curse of the''absconding guitar player'.and is this new guy'..y'know'.I knew I was being scrutinised'not so much for my musical talents'.but for my'(Bob points to his own head here)'psychological soundness'shall we say.

Mick Fleetwood:
He was a totally different background'R&B'.sort of jazzy'.he brought his personality'.he was a member of Fleetwood Mac before we'd even played a note.

Narrative:
Bob Welch joined but found that the band was still under the spell of ex guitarist Peter Green.

Bob Welch:
Green most definitely haunted them'.it was never expressed in so many words'.and actually I would probably have been more happy if it had been'..I knew there were certain guitar licks that you did not play.

Narrative:
Peter Green had a brief solo career after leaving Fleetwood Mac and still kept in touch with the band, but when Bob Welch met him for the first time he realised something was amiss.

Bob Welch:
He showed up'I'll never forget'.his hair was all unkempt'.well that's OK'it was the hippy era and people did have unkempt hair'.In his hair was a piece of cheese'stuck in his hair'.I don't know which kinda cheese it was'whether it was Caerphilly or Cheddar or not'(smiles)'but it was most definitely a piece of cheese''.(makes whispering motion)'.he's got a piece of cheese in his hair..(shocked expression)'I know'..and I'll never forget the day that he left'.he still had the same piece of cheese in his hair that he had come with five days earlier'..I realised then that even for the hippy era'that something was amiss'.as free spirited as I guess we all like to think we were'.if I had a piece of cheese in my hair on Wednesday'.Thursday I can guarantee ya it would be gone.

(a rare clip of the band performing 'Dragonfly is shown here)

Narrative:
Guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer had both left the band in unusual circumstances. Danny Kirwin was next to circum to pressures of life in a rock group. His breaking point came when the band was on tour in the US.

Bob Welch:
He had a beautiful Black Beauty Les Paul Guitar'with the three pick-ups'y'know''56'it was gorgeous'.he just took the guitar'and just threw it against the wall'boom'.boing.

John McVie:
He said'ah fuck it'and spent the whole of the gig out by the board while we were up there playing away'.and then had the temerity to come up afterwards and say''.that was a nice show'(John makes an 'up yours' gesture with the forearm).

Mick Fleetwood:
Danny was a major part'and had been a major part of this band''.he was asked to leave 'in essence 'the blunt way of putting it is''your fired'and I had to do that'.and it was not good'.and it was not easy'..and I don't think he has ever forgiven me really.

Narrative:
Danny departed and the band recruited two new members, singer Dave Watson and guitarist Bob Weston.

Bob Weston:
Danny had gone into a personal abyss'.so they briefly explained'.and said if you can bear with that'and carry on''and'one understands this happens''in fact it's a miracle I'm here'.all three guitar players have gone a bit  ca-ca except me'(here Bob briefly pulls a loony face for the camera and smiles).

Narrative:
Dave Walker did not last long and was asked to leave. Bob Weston stayed, but both he and Bob Welch felt a nagging sense of distance between themselves and the founder members of Fleetwood Mac.

Bob Welch:
It was like they were on some sort of mystical quest'(Bob struggles here to find the words he needs to describe his point of view)'..they had been given this thing'.this mission'..to somehow accomplish'..and I was never quite clued in on exactly what that mission might have been.

Bob Weston:
I felt like the new boy at school'.which I quite resented'..being a bit of a feisty little fellow myself''I mean if I was there'.I wanted to be there'..and'erm'it was rather irritating.

Narrative:
The band went on tour to America. It was to be a momentous trip for everyone, especially Bob Weston.

Bob Weston:
Mick and his wife were having a bit of a domestic'.I suppose'y'know'..well they got married and divorced three times'..so I mean that's self explanatory'.there's something un-resolved wasn't there''.and there I was.

Bob Welch:
It turned out Mick and his wife'Jenny I guess...were not getting along'.y'know'this has been written about in a couple of different places over the years'..anyway Bob was having an affair I guess'with Jenny'someway or other'..they were phoning each other'.or something'anyway'.but we were also playing'..Bob was on stage with us every night'.and Mick got wind of it'.and I guess that was going on for a week'or something'.when he found out about it.

Bob Weston:  
Friendship develops'..love'..we seemed to have fallen in love with each other'..but in retrospect'.I mean'.there was an empathy really'.it was nothing obvious'I mean we were born within an hour of each other'.there was a lot of'..empathy''and they were having a pretty rotten time'so'..well'..we had an affair'''''.the most expensive affair I've ever had in my life'..cost me a career that did.

John McVie:
So he was asked to leave'..(smiles, and makes a gesture with his elbow indicating the removal of Bob Weston)''.please''now.

Bob Weston:
I think now it's alright'.although'.he's a very peculiar man''I read his biography a couple of years ago''I thought it was wonderfully heartfelt (more than a touch of sarcasm here)'and I was so moved'.I almost'..almost (pretends to wipe a tear from his eye)'had a tear. '.I though I'd ring him up and complement him'.so I rung up'..yeah'.Mr Fleetwood's secretary here'.it's Bob Weston, I want to talk to Mick Fleetwood''not here at the moment, can you leave a number'.yeah''and three days later the secretary rung up and said'what do you want him for (pronounced in a sonorous voice)'.I thought'ah'nothing'.bye (makes a dismissive gesture)''.(Bob looks into the camera)'see'you miss it Mick'..cheers (raises a glass of wine).

Narrative:
The band had cancelled the rest of the US tour and put all their plans on hold. What happened next was one of the most bizarre incidents in the history of the band. It all started with a mystery telegram.

Dave Wilkinson:
I got home and there was this telegram'.it was top secret'.don't tell anybody (laughs) but get in touch with this number'.and more information will be given forthwith.

Narrative:
Keyboard player Dave Wilkinson rang the number and was invited to an audition at a rehearsal studio near Kings Cross. He had his suspicions about what was happening.

Dave Wilkinson:
Afterwards we went to this little pub around the corner'.and Clifford Davis'..who I now realise who he was said to me'.you got the job'..and I said'what job'.and he said'.basically'.promise not to tell anybody (laughs)'.and I said I think I know what it is''is it Fleetwood Mac?

John McVie:
I remember being in Mick's living room at the house we had'..and it was me Bob and Mick''cos Bob was staying there'and we got the word that there is a fake Fleetwood Mac on the road.

Dave Wilkinson:
It wasn't a bad band to tell you the truth'.I mean we actually performed  those old Fleetwood Mac songs pretty well'..It's just that none of the original Fleetwood Mac were there.

Narrative:
The original Fleetwood Mac entered into litigation with their manager, meanwhile the fake band went on a tour of the US, but soon ran into trouble.

Dave Wilkinson:
When we got back to New York there were people saying'..where the hell is Mick Fleetwood'.and we want the real Fleetwood Mac'.and things like that'it was quite frightening really'.it was the first time in my life that I really did think I was going to get shot''but luckily Clifford had gone on before us and told the audience'.that he was the real Fleetwood Mac (laughs).

Mick Fleetwood:
Do you have the rights to the name?'.. I said it is our name'isn't it'..we've played in the band since day one.

Bob Welch:
I remember making a promotional in-house video for Warners'where we all sat and said''Hi I'm Bob Welch'.and this is the real Fleetwood Mac'..would the real Fleetwood Mac please stand up'this was meant to go out to all the promotion guys that worked for the record company''cos they didn't know what was going on (looks incredulous).

Mick Fleetwood:
I spoke to Clifford about six months ago'and I accept his side of the story'in terms of'.because I don't want to feel any other way'.but there was a lot of very bad blood for a long time.

Narrative:
The fake band changed their name to Stretch and went on to have a hit single. The real Fleetwood Mac eventually secured the rights to their own name. But the whole episode prompted an important move for the quartet.

Mick Fleetwood:
I tried to persuade'.initially, unsuccessfully'.John and Chris'that we live in America''cos I said'what we do is come back and sit washing our cars in the driveway and nothing happens here'.we can't even get arrested in England'y'know'it's like'Fleetwood who?'.(laughs)'it's over.

Narrative:
Fleetwood Mac sold their house in Britain and moved to California, determined to revive their fortunes after the court case with their former manager. While they were settling in LA, a young singer who was to play a major part in their story was just beginning her musical career in San Fransisco (I think the writer has got his times a little mixed up). Stevie Nicks was in a band called Fritz, but being the only woman was not always easy.

Stevie Nicks:
People would call up after they saw us a couple of times and say'can we book that band with that little browny/blonde haired girl'and that would just make them intensely furious'.and they would take it out on me'..so it was a definite double standard'y'know'they didn't treat me very well'but they did pay me the same amount of money that they got'..because otherwise I would've quit.

Narrative:
After the draining legal battle that Fleetwood Mac had been engaged in, Bob Welch had had enough, he wanted to strike out on his own.

Bob Welch:
I was just full of anxiety'.I was kinda tired of the atmosphere'.sort of'.rather heavy'stuffy'maybe you could say'.when you've been in a band for five years'.you see people every day'.I think we were all tired of each other.

John McVie:
He just quit'.I'll never know why'.he just said'that's it'.I'm gone'.he was gone.

Bob Welch:  
I felt the clock was ticking'on my ability to put out a whole lot of energy for a long period of time'..I think it's called'..(leans towards the camera)'age (smiles).

Narrative:
Fleetwood Mac needed a new guitarist. Meanwhile Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham had left Fritz and recorded an LP. It failed to take off and Stevie had to take a job as a waitress to make ends meet. Then, out of the blue, came the offer to join Fleetwood Mac. But the band, at first were only interested in one half of the duo.

Mick Fleetwood:  
I was aware of them coming as a package pretty early on'.but there was a point were I was only truly after Lindsey Buckingham, and the fact that Stevie was an afterthought is why she never forgave me'.(here Mick smiles and looks very sheepish).

Stevie Nicks:
How dare this Californian bimbo'.which is how they looked at me'.come in and walk out into the centre of our stage and be the lead singer overnight''.how dare she'.they realised really quickly that I was not trying to take anything away from them'..and I wasn't (Stevie is very sincere at this point)'.and I really did love them'.and want them to be wonderful'.and I certainly didn't want to take anything away from Chris''cos I liked her'and respected her'and she was really nice to me'.and she was my only friend.

Narrative:
The band quickly gelled as a unit and recorded the 'Fleetwood Mac' album, producing such hits as 'Rhiannon'.

(live clip of 'Rhiannon' is shown here)

Narrative:
While Fleetwood Mac was on the verge of great success, ex guitarist Bob Welch had formed a band called Paris. It had a very different sound to the old Fleetwood Mac.

Bob Welch:
Boy'.the first time anybody in Fleetwood Mac heard that'they said'what is this garbage you have done'its sort of like...you've disgraced us'with this'..this aberration'.with this thing'.get it out of my hands'.they didn't like it at all'.and'kind of'.I must admit and confess'to taking a certain degree of satisfaction in that (here Bob smiles).

Narrative:
In Fleetwood Mac the arrival of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham had musically re-invigorated the band, but when they came to recording the multi-million selling LP 'Rumours', the personal relationships that lay at the heart of their success, were close to breaking point.

Mick Fleetwood:
We had a tremendously successful album with Fleetwood Mac 'Fleetwood Mac' and there we were making the follow up with everyone basically not talking to each other.

Stevie Nicks:  
It was really touch and go'..because the slightest wrong word from one person could completely throw the session.

John McVie:
Things were happening in lives'y'know'.people were going'fuck you'.screw you''.what'.OK'.I'll screw you'you screw me''..I think the only ones who didn't have an affair were me and Mick (laughs).

Stevie Nicks:
When people break up'it's not a pretty picture'..it's especially not a pretty picture'.if you even think that that person might be going to see somebody else''or'they didn't come down for dinner tonight'..well where are they'.y'know'.or she didn't answer her phone'..where is she'it was unacceptable.

Narrative:
'Rumours' took the music scene by storm and became the second biggest selling album of all time.

Stevie Nicks:
It was a circus

Mick Fleetwood:
It was a nightmare

John McVie;
(laughs)'It's a miracle.

Narrative:
The phenomenal success of 'Rumours' put pressure on the band to come up with a worthy follow up. A pressure that Lindsey Buckingham felt more than anyone else. They started recording what was to become the double album 'Tusk'.

Stevie Nicks:
He was hell bent that this record would be nothing like 'Rumours''.and it was nothing like 'Rumours''.Mick and Lindsey put a lot of time in to making sure it was nothing like 'Rumours''.and when we went in to do it'..suddenly we were in this wild native burial ground (this description of the recording of 'Tusk', Stevie seems to pull from the top of her head, and is not pre-planned)'..at the top of the sacred mountain in Africa'.doing this record called 'Tusk''.with the wild cover'.with this dog trying to tear someone's leg off.

Mick Fleetwood:
We were out of our minds'.y'know'.we were on top of the world'we were fabulously wealthy'.anything we wanted we could get'..we never left the planet y'know'.but we tried fairly hard to.

Stevie Nicks:
The two girls were getting really really fed up with going there at two in the afternoon'.and staying up to till six or seven the next morning'.and having to be back there at two because'..they just wanted to live there.

Narrative:
Throughout the late seventies and early eighties the band embarked on several lenghty and exhausting tours. Fleetwood Mac became the by-word for on the road luxury.

Mick Fleetwood:
We had limos for the road managers'.fourteen limos would meet our plane at the airport'.a whole row of them'.it was like a funeral (laughs).

Jon McVie:
  'Stevie would like a grand piano in her room'..great'it's nine stories up'.ah hell'.put it through the window.

Stevie Nicks:
Fleetwood Mac travelled on beautiful aeroplanes'.stayed in incredible hotels'.had limousines'had anything they wanted'.and it was wonderful.

(live clip of 'Sara' is now shown, although the caption says 'Dreams').

Narrative:
Fleetwood Mac were at the height of their fame and individual members wanted to pursue careers outside the confines of the band. The first to do so was Stevie Nicks.

Stevie Nicks:
Three songs every three years wasn't enough for me'because I wrote every night.

Jon McVie:
That's when it all started to fall apart'.I think'because Stevie wanted to go this way'.Lindsey wanted to do this'.Chris wanted to do that'..and they had the means to do it'..ie'financial'.that was'(let's out a sigh)'.sort of the disintegration of the band'as a unit.

Narrative:  
Stevie's first LP 'Bella Donna' sold over five million copies, but it proved to be a bone of contention between her and Lindsey Buckingham.

Stevie Nicks:
I took Lindsey in a copy of the record right when it was fresh off the press'and I signed it'.and said a lot of really wonderful things'to him'.and I set it up on the console'.and he moved it'and put it down on the floor'just kinda leaning against one of the steps in the studio room'.and I watched him all day long'I watched him from like three in the afternoon until three or four the next morning'and he walked right out of that room without the record''.and I never forgave him for that.

Narrative:
Like Stevie, the rest of the band pursued solo projects in the mid nineteen eighties. They came back together in 1987 to record the album 'Tango In The Night', which proved a great success. But as so often in Fleetwood Mac, the guitarist was having problems.

(a clip of 'Big Love' is shown here).

Mick Fleetwood:
The album came out'and the rest of us go'..we gotta go out on the road'.we've just made a good album'.are we going to not push it'.and he agreed to do it against his better judgement'.and that all went wrong'..we'd set the whole tour up and suddenly'.boom'I can't do this'.I can't face it'(Mick shakes his head).

Stevie Nicks:
Because of that guilt I've always had about not leaving Fleetwood Mac'.I flew out of the couch and across the room to seriously attack him'.and I did'.I mean'I'm not real scary'.but I can be fairly ferocious'..and I grabbed him'.y'know'''..which almost got me killed.

John McVie:
It got ugly'..physically ugly'.(John mimes strangling someone).

(more from the 'Big Love' video is shown here)

Stevie Nicks:
He ended up chasing me all the way out of Christine's maze like house and down the street'.and back up the street'.and he threw me against the car'and I screamed horrible obscenities at him''and I thought he was going to kill me''and I think he probably thought he was going to kill me too'..and I said to him'if the rest of the people in the band don't get you'.my family will'.my dad and my brother will kill you.

John McVie:
And I said to Lindsey'why don't you just leave''he left''but what I meant was why don't you just leave the room (laughs)''true (more laughter).

(the end section of 'Big Love' is now shown''I think the guy who edited this show must be a real comedian)

Stevie Nicks:
Every single one of the guitar players had reached the point where they said'.I can't do this anymore'..Chris and I have way too much of a practical side to ever say that (a ghost of a smile on Stevie's face here)'.but the guys are like tenuous'..(makes a so-so gesture with her hand)'always.

Narrative:
Lindsey Buckingham left to pursue a solo career. The previous guitarist, Bob Welch, on leaving the band, had considerable success with his album 'French Kiss'. Several more records followed, but by the end of the eighties Bob found himself becoming ever more detached from everyday life.

Bob Welch:
I began to become a little bit isolated in my Hollywood Hills home and at one point I was living in a hotel a couple of blocks down from my house''and the reason I was living in a hotel was because that there was so many other people'.that I didn't know'living in my house'..I'd come back to my house at four o'clock in the morning'.and somebody would be walking down the stairs and say'..who are you'..and I'd say''who are you'.I'm Bob'this is my house (laughs)'..please.

Narrative:
In Fleetwood Mac, Billy Burnette and Rick Vito had replaced Lindsey Buckingham, but in 1992 a request came from the White House for the 'Rumours' line up to reform for Bill Clinton's inaugural ball. Stevie had trouble persuading Lindsey Buckingham to agree.

Stevie Nicks:
President Clinton wants us to sing one of our songs that he's been listening to since he heard it in a cab twelve years ago''it's important to him'..it's important to me'..please do this'..and he kind of'y'know...took a couple of days'.and hemmed and hawed around'..and finally said he'd do it'.and when we went and we did it'and we'.there was 18,000 people there'.it  was a big deal'.it was like a big time rock 'n' roll concert.

(a clip of 'Don't Stop' from the Presidential ball is shown)

Narrative:
The concert marked the end of Stevie's time in Fleetwood Mac. She left and continued her solo career. For her, the 'Rumours' line up of the band had been it's high point.

Stevie Nicks:
It's just not replaceable'.y'know'Mick can go on for ever and ever trying to replace it'but he can't'it never will happen'.ever'.so I just didn't want to go through the grief of trying to create something out of something that had already been about as big as you could get.

John McVie:
She sort of filtered herself out'.like enough was enough'..(sigh)'.that turned ugly too'..we're her worst enemies'from what I read'.all that Fleetwood Mac has done to her is bad things'.so boring'and untrue''so'.(makes dismissive gesture with his hand).

Narrative:
A new line up was put together featuring Dave Mason and Rebecca Bramlett. Christine McVie retired from the public gaze but still writes for the band. The original rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie sees no point in stopping now.

Mick Fleetwood:
I'm happiest checking into a hotel''finding my nice clean bathroom'.with clean sheets'.clean towels'..a little'like'free toothpaste'..and a gig that night''.and I'm really not joking'.(looks into the camera to address his wife)'..darling I love you (laugh) but'..I also'that is where I'm most comfortable.

John McVie:
Mick (unintelligible)''we're a pretty good rhythm section y'know'.and'.what else can we do.

Narrative:
As a bizarre post script to the Fleetwood Mac story, in 1994 it was revealed that an Essex farmer had been passing himself off as Peter Green, fooling several respected figures in the music industry. It seemed the tragic character of Peter Green still fascinated the public. The surviving members of Fleetwood Mac could not forget him either.

John McVie:
I haven't spoken to him in'(thinks)'.it's fifteen years'I got close two weeks ago'..but'er'it still sort of scares me.

(Interviewer off camera speaks)'.when you say you got close'.was that'

John McVie:
I got his phone number

(Interviewer)''were you tempted to'

John McVie:
Oh yeah'..but'..erm'..nah I chickened out (John seems uncomfortable on this subject)

Stevie Nicks:
I think they always felt like he'd been stolen from them somehow'.by something'y'know'that he had just been stolen away.

John McVie:
Mick talks to him a lot and tells me about it'.but'.I just like that picture (John touched his head as if producing a mental picture) of Greeny'..y'know'nothing will stop me''''the player.

End Of Transcript.

By Graham Sykes - gsykes@btinternet.com

(article sent to me by Graham Sykes, with thanks)

 


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