The Mac Is Back...
While there are those that would argue that one of the greatest bands in the annals of rock & roll has never been away....while there are those who would insist the group is alive and well, as long as somewhere in the world, someone is playing a copy of Rumours....while no one could contest that Mac music sounds as fresh and full of surprises today as it did the moment it was minted...all this, and more, considered-the Mac is still back.
"Mac", in this case, of course, refers to the once-in-a-lifetime lineup of talent that single-handedly defined the term "sugergroup" now and forever. Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham are, and always will be, the Fleetwood Mac of record...scores of millions of records, as a matter of fact, spanning one of the most wildly successful and endlessly inventive, creative conspiracies in modern music history. It's a saga that contains with the Reprise Records release of The Dance, the new Fleetwood Mac album that gives fresh meaning to the term "long-awaited." Recorded live for an MTV special, The Dance highlights new renditions of thirteen Mac classics from "Dreams" to "Rhiannon," "Don't Stop" to "Tusk," as well as such key tracks as "The Chain" and "Silver Springs".
Proving the Mac magic is as potent as ever, The Dance, produced by Lindsey Buckingham and Elliot Schiener, also features four new songs, including the Christine McVie composition "Temporary One." "Sweet Girl" by Stevie Nicks, and two new Buckingham tracks, "Bleed To Love Her" and "My Little Demon." Catapulting straight from the studio to the stage, Fleetwood Mac embarks on an extensive U.S. tour this fall, bringing the Mac magic to audiences coast to coast..:.After a moment to catch our collective breath, it's fitting to note that the reunion of Fleetwood Mac is occurring on the twenty-year anniversary of Rumours, the most influential and innovative album of their career, and an enduring landmark of the rock era..:.But Fleetwood Mac redux is about more than simply a fond look back. It's about artists and writers, musical spark plugs and men and women of amazing ability, picking up precisely where they left off, minus a mound of emotional luggage and with, as Mick Fleetwood puts it," an incredible amount of creative
gas in the tank."
Not that Mac's individual components have been experiencing anything like a fuel shortage since they last recorded together, ten years ago. While the rock-solid rhythm section of Fleetwood & McVie continued to lift high the venerable Fleetwood Mac banner with various incarnations of the group, Lindsey, Stevie and Christine have all nurtured brilliant solo careers, as well as working in various combinations on one-off projects, such as the Stevie/Lindsey collaboration on the hit 1995 Twister soundtrack. And, while it might have taken a special request by the President of the United States to reconvene the band fur an appearance at the 1992 Inaugural Ball, performing Clinton's campaign song," Don't Stop (thinking about Tomorrow)," the notion of a full-blown reunion has been in the air almost since the moment they disbanded.
"We've been asked many times over the years to re-form; explains Mick," but the time was never right. I think we were all still in the process of growing up and discovering that the things that had once pulled us apart didn't seem nearly as important anymore. The level of success we had together was, quite simply, overwhelming. We've had the opportunity to step back and get some perspective, to realize that what was important all along was the music. The impetus for that discovery came from several directions. "The 20th anniversary of Rumours gave us a vantage point to look back...and forward" asserts John. "We realized that we had created this tremendous body of work and that we wanted to celebrate that accomplishment. 1997 also marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the original Fleetwood Mac, so the occasion seemed especially auspicious for that reason as well. What was needed was a suitable creative catalyst, provided in timely fashion by Lindsey's latest solo project. "I'd been working on new material since late 1995," Lindsey recounts, "when I happened to run into Mick one day. It seemed like he'd been through some changes, and I know I'd done some moving on myself since we'd last met. We'd lived through suck a musical soap opera, and just the fact that we'd survived gave us something in common."
More in common, as it turned out, than just shared history, with Lindsey providing the vital musical link that reconnected the group. "We started working together on some of his songs;' continues Mick, "and immediately sparked off each other. It's like learning to ride a bike; once you've got it you never forget. While the chemistry between the group is hard to pin down, it's unmistakable once you're a part of it. "We worked together, just the two of us, through the summer of last year," recounts Lindsey," and when it came time to do some bass parts, I asked Mick who he thought we should use. I Should have known what his answer would he;' With John joining them in the studio, the potential-unspoken but palpable-began to build, gathering momentum when Lindsey asked Christine to come in and sing harmonies. "The magic, the energy, the pure joy of working together was stronger than ever;' recounts Lindsey. "There we were;' adds Mick, with a laugh," all four of us in the control room actually enjoying each other's company;'
"It was an odd feeling, being back together, but it was obvious we were having fun," is how Christine remembers the slow approach toward the inevitable.' I'd been doing some writing and demos for a new solo album, but had really stepped back from music for the time being, returning to England and restoring a huge, 16th century house my husband and I had bought in the country. I was very content with my life, but at the same time, I must admit, I felt the pull. The pull also exerted its influence on the fifth Mac member. "None of us really had to do this;' Stevie remarks. "We had our separate lives and careers. But the chance to work together again, without all the conflicts that had once made things so difficult, was hard to resist. I guess it had always been a dream, somewhere in the back of my mind, that we would one day get together again. The Rumours anniversary was a perfect excuse, but what's more important is how we've each grown. I'd always loved being a part of this band, feeling that extraordinary energy that we could create, and now there's nothing to interfere with the flow of that energy."
The quintet began playing together, with the notion of reuniting put, for the time being, on a back burner. "it was just great to play again," asserts John. "This configuration was always my favorite Fleetwood Mac lineup, and I think the whole was always greater then the sum of its parts. It was great to he part of that whole again;'.:."We were playing better than I ever remembered," adds Mick. "After we had a chance to musically say hello to each other, we found it astoundingly easy to pick up where we left off."
My only condition for coming 'back together was that we could have some fun;' says Christine. "The rehearsals proved that we could, and that we were tighter and better than we'd ever been. It was tremendously gratifying;"
"I think a lot of the creativity we were feeling had come from the healing we'd
all experienced;' opines Stevie. "We were friends who had been away for a long time, and this reunion
was not just musical, it was personal." Questions of repertoire were resolved almost before they
came up. "Naturally we did the material we were familiar with;' explains John. "it was like our
fingers were just flying to the notes. We worked up some new arrangements, but we also wanted to try
out some fresh stuff. Luckily, we had no shortage of new material to try."
Christine: "Each one of us brought in a song, and hearing them played by this particular combination of musicians is like no other experience I know. We understand each other...where to go and how to get there, even before it's spoken." .:. What was also left almost unspoken was the fact that, from various paths both personal and professional, Fleetwood Mac had at last found themselves together again. "Of course, there's a business aspect to all this;' says Mick," but anyone who's been around this process can tell you that it really is the music that's brought us back."
"l care about these people," is how Lindsey puts it." And I enjoy being around them, now more than ever. Fleetwood Mac is a complicated scheme...a careful balancing act...and when we get it right, there's nothing quite like it."
"Even after we decided to formalize what we'd been that we would be doing as 'a reunion;" adds John, "there was still an attitude of taking things one day at a time. Today is wonderful. Tomorrow will take care of itself."
What tomorrow may bring for Fleetwood Mac is anyone's guess. But with the release of The Dance, the accompanying MTV special, and their upcoming tour, the prospects are positively brilliant for the immediate future..:. "This is all very exciting, but at the same time very familiar," muses Stevie. "When we get together, something amazing happens. It takes on a life of its own."
The Mac Is Back.
REPRISE RECORDS and
WARNER BROS. RECORDS
|1969||Then Play On|
|1973||Mystery To Me|
|1974||Heroes Are Hard To Find|
|1977||Fleetwood Mac/The Vintage Years (Sire)|
|1980||Fleetwood Mac Live|
|1987||Tango In The Night|
|1990||Behind The Mask|
|1992||Fleetwood Mac / 25 Years / The Chain|
|1994||In Chicago (reissue Sire)|
BY THE NUMBERS
Years Since the Formation of the Original Fleetwood Mac: 30
No. of Fleetwood Mac Albums Sold Worldwide Since 1967: 70 Million
Years Mick Fleetwood Has Been in Fleetwood Mac: 30
Years John McVie Has Been in Fleetwood Mac: 30
Years Christine McVie Has Been in Fleetwood Mac: 27
Year Lindsey Buckingham Joined Fleetwood Mac: 1974
Year Stevie Nicks Joined Fleetwood Mac: 1974
No. of Years the Lineup of McVie, McVie, Fleetwood, Nicks & Buckingham Existed: 13 +
No. of Fleetwood Mac Albums Released By That Lineup: 6 +The Dance
No. of Those 6 albums That Sold Multi-platinum in the U.S: 5
No. of Those 6 albums That Went Top 10 in the U.S : 5
US Chart Position Attained by Fleetwood Mac (the album), Rumours and Mirage: #1
UK Chart Position Attained by Rumours, Tusk, Tango In The Night and Behind The Mask: #1
No. of Top 10 Fleetwood Mac Albums in the UK: 8
Combined Total of Tango in the Night Albums sold worldwide: 8 million
Fleetwood Mac's Position in the UK's 20 Most Charted Acts of All Time: 8
Years Since the Release of Rumours: 20
Copies of Rumours Sold Worldwide As of July 1997: 25,674,234 (and counting)
No. of Weeks Rumours Remained At #1 on U.S. Charts: 31
Total Weeks Rumours Spent on U.S Charts: 134
Total Weeks Rumours Spent on U.K. Charts: 443 (second longest running album in UK history)
Position Held by Rumours in Top Selling Albums of All Time: #3
Year That Rumours Won the Grammy for Album of the Year: 1977
Copies of Rumours Sold in the U.S. in the First Seven Months of 1997: 65,017
No. of Consecutive Months Fleetwood Mac Toured in Support of Rumours: 7
No. of People Who Heard Fleetwood Mac Perform at The US festival Near Los Angeles in '82: 400,000
No. of Songs on The Dance That Reached the Top 10 in Their Original Versions: 8
No. of Album Tracks Recorded By Fleetwood Mac Between 1967 and 1992: 221
No. of New Songs on The Dance: 4