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.
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.
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.
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.
Bardens (band member with Mick in the Cheynes)
Davis (ex manager)
Wilkinson (keyboard player in Stretch, the 'fake' Fleetwood Mac)
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
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.
Mick fulfilled his dreams of going to
London. Spotted one day playing the drums, he was asked to join a group called
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We set up a rehearsal'.and at the
time Pete knew maybe 2 or 3 licks
Me and Dave Ambrose, I would certainly
say me, said to Pete Bardens''I don't think he's good enough.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After the demise of Shotgun Express,
Peter Green replaced Eric Clapton in the Bluesbreakers, teaming up with John
McVie and 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.
He was a very cocky'''.punk
(shrugs shoulders)'.then he'd play''(John makes a face expressing
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.
I went to the gig and they hadn't
told Aynsley he was leaving''I felt awful.
Mick replaced Aynsley. Soon after
this, the name Fleetwood Mac was coined. But originally it was the title of a
song, not a group.
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
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.
They fired me twice'..for'.er'.indulgence
(laughs)'.as it were.
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.
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.
We wanted John there'.but he
wouldn't leave John Mayall
I was secure'..I had a
good'.steady bucks coming in.
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
: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
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.
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.
Peter Green still wanted John McVie to
join Fleetwood Mac. Luckily for him, McVie was having musical differences with
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.
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.
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)
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
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'
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)
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
Peter Green was the musical driving
force of the band. But as they became more successful, he became more un-easy.
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)
We were Jack the Lad'.y'know'.it's
(The interviewer asks off
camera 'what happened there')
That's where Peter got
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
(further clip from
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.
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
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.
Christine McVie had had success in
several bands prior to this, but now decided to join her husband in 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
The band left for the American tour.
It was to be a fateful trip for gutarist Jeremy Spencer.
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
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.
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.
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'.
Never came back''they picked him
off the street''.gone.
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
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.
And I said I'll be there in two
seconds'.can you send me plain fare'(laughs)
Bob flew to England to meet the band
at their country retreat in Hampshire.
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.
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.
Bob Welch joined but found that the
band was still under the spell of ex guitarist Peter Green.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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).
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
Danny departed and the band recruited
two new members, singer Dave Watson and guitarist 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
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.
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.
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
The band went on tour to America. It
was to be a momentous trip for everyone, especially 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.
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.
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.
So he was asked to leave'..(smiles, and makes a gesture with his elbow indicating
the removal of Bob Weston)''.please''now.
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).
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
He just quit'.I'll never know
why'.he just said'that's it'.I'm gone'.he was gone.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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)
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.
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).
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
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.
It was really touch and go'..because
the slightest wrong word from one person could completely throw the session.
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
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.
'Rumours' took the music scene by
storm and became the second biggest selling album of all time.
It was a circus
It was a nightmare
(laughs)'It's a miracle.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
'Stevie would like a grand piano in
her room'..great'it's nine stories up'.ah hell'.put it through the
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').
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.
Three songs every three years wasn't
enough for me'because I wrote every night.
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
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
It got ugly'..physically
ugly'.(John mimes strangling someone).
(more from the 'Big Love'
video is shown here)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
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.
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
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
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.
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
Mick (unintelligible)''we're a
pretty good rhythm section y'know'.and'.what else can we do.
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.
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'
I got his phone number
Oh yeah'..but'..erm'..nah I
chickened out (John seems uncomfortable on this subject)
I think they always felt like he'd
been stolen from them somehow'.by something'y'know'that he had just been
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
End Of Transcript.
By Graham Sykes - email@example.com
sent to me by Graham Sykes, with thanks)