DRUMMER DISPELS SOME RUMOURS IN:
FLEETWOOD: My Life And Adventures
In Fleetwood Mac.by Mick Fleetwood with
Stephen Davis, William Morrow & Co.
Books, Music & Commentary
with B. D. Poe
The sultry swirling celtic witch, Stevie Nicks, seductively
casts her spells dancing nymph like, enraptured in some
dionysian fantasy, caught in the bands hypnotic syncopation,
she enthralls the audience with her sexy magic. Behind her
a madman glares through his drum kit relentlessly pounding
an intoxicating beat. The band drips with talent -a
hallucinogenic libation of musical Mead.
This is the popular image of Fleetwood Mac and the reason
why the drummer's biography is so compelling. For Fleetwood's
story goes far beyond the popular perception of the group
whose mid seventies album RUMOURS broke sales records
and dominated FM airplay.
It is the story of a tragic band who achieved success in the midst
of continuing strife and breakups, dispelling rumours and setting
the record straight.
Fleetwood drummed for Ronnie Spector and The Ronnettes
during their English tour with The Rolling Stones. (See our
review of Ronnie's book BE MY BABY) He played for John
Mayhall's Bluesbreakers, the British band that served to
launch many careers including those of Eric Clapton, Stones
guitarist Mick Taylor, and many others. He even became
related to both Clapton and George Harrison through marriage.
While many of his Friends and associates invaded American
pop charts with great success, Fleetwood continued on as
one of Britains most popular live blues rock bands. The UK
equivalent of The Greatful Dead. Great in concert - poor in
Fleetwood Mac had all the right connections and great talent
yet they were plagued by misfortune. the band was mismanaged
and swindled out of their royalties. Three members were lost
to drugs and yet another to a religious cult. One bandmember
was fired for seducing Fleetwood's wife. Years later at the height
of success Fleetwood himself was accused of the same thing!
A pervading sense of irony runs through this book.
The Band's name was coined by legendary lead guitarist Peter
Green simply using the two last names of bandmembers. This
book is dedicated to Green. The Green God, Clapton's rival in
musical deification and the blues earned the praises of B.B. King.
But Peter Green abhorred the spotlight, celebrity and fame.
An undisputed master at his craft he none the less played with
reluctance yearning for something even more gratifying.
Green urged the band to give up materialism and play exclusively
for charity. When the other members refused to forsake all their
worldly goods -The Green God left the band, sold his instruments
and walked away from his craft. His use of LSD allegedly execrated
his departure. Working at various odd jobs, Green joined the ranks
of the downtrodden and poor whom he'd once tried to save.
Jeremy Spencer, a Bible reading family man, became the group's
front man. Onstage however, Jeremy's antics borderlined the obscene
which fascinated American audiences in 1971. During that tour, Spencer
strongly protested that he did not want to play Los Angeles. He claimed
it was the center of evil and "bad vibes."
Fleetwood and the band maintained the importance of playing L.A.
and Jeremy Spencer reluctantly agreed. Shortly before the show,
Jeremy took a walk and never returned. He met and joined the
cult Children Of God and disappeared leaving the band in shock.
Again Fleetwood Mac regrouped adding Bob Welch to their roster.
The lead guitarist Danny Kirwin's behavior got bizarre and Fleetwood
fired him. Kirwin ended up in a mental institution.
Yet another guitarist was added. But when Fleetwood discovered that
Bob Weston had been engaged in affair with his wife, he fired Bob
too. This and a contractual depute with their former manager influenced
Bob Welch, who went on to have a hit with "Sentimental Lady", to
leave the band. It looked like the end of Fleetwood Mac.
Regrouping again the band hired the team of Buckingham-Nicks largely
for Lindsey Buckingham's talent on guitar. Capable of rivaling Clapton,
Joe Walsh and even Jerry Garcia -Buckingham was a rare find. No one
thought for a moment that Buckingham's significant other, a fast food
waitress named Stevie Nicks would launch the band to Superstardom.
Their 1975 self titled album FLEETWOOD MAC went gold! On tour
Stevie Nicks captivated and charmed audiences. Their follow up
album RUMOURS did even better and Stevie Nicks became the
group's most recognizable member. Amazingly they did this during
a time when John and Christine McVie and the team of Buckingham
-Nicks were splitting up. Their animosity and resentments ran through
RUMOURS unbeknownst to most of their fans. "Well there you go
again, you say you want your freedom...Well who am I to keep you
down?" sang Stevie. It was rumoured that Fleetwood and Stevie were
having an affair. It was a miracle that the band was able to produce
the best selling album of that year.
Mick Fleetwood tells his story with candor, generosity and at points
the reserve of an English gentleman. He does avoid digging dirt
and kiss & tell. Not one to embarrass his bandmates or burn too many
bridges. FLEETWOOD is fascinating.