It must have been a depressing situation for the Brits in the band, but Mick Fleetwood was characteristically forthright in his summation of it all. At that point we were playing more and more over here, the States. Also, I thought England was very grey and full of depressed people. We just got out. They had always sold comfortable amounts, but had never really ascended to platinum status.
We never wanted to be viewed or reported as the biggest thing since sliced bread. Me, Chris, and Mick have been working together for a long time.
The success now makes some justification for the efforts of the past. This says a lot about how the way record labels used to look after their artists, compared to now. Naturally, having produced such a fine album, it came to be time again to take it out on the road. Easy, really?
Watch Out Lyrics: Written by Peter Green / Watch out for me, woman / And don't mind nobody else / Watch out for me, woman / And don't mind nobody else / Ain't . Watch Out (take 1) Lyrics: Written by Peter Green / Watch out for me, woman / And don't mind nobody else / Watch out for me, woman / And don't mind nobody.
Most surprisingly of all, this time Fleetwood Mac managed a tour, through the autumn of , without any casualties. Meanwhile, the old hands were intent on showing them just what a professional outfit they were. The result was a stupendous tour with a fresh sound and image for the band. This irresistible combination went down a storm with the existing fans and won the band even more new followers.
The tired and worn-out blues numbers were abandoned to the back catalogue while the bright, tight, West Coast production and delivery of rock and pop ballads had the fans filling the aisles. Any doubts the long-term blues devotees had of the band were instantly dispelled upon seeing the exciting stage show, which included not one, but two pretty women — always a real bonus with the The band had a short break in Hawaii to brush the studio dust off their shoulders before returning to the States to prepare themselves for — yes, you guessed it — another tour to promote the album.
Being a decidedly independent man and wanting to retain his personal style made it hard for him to dovetail sweetly into playing Bob Welch songs without a second thought, but he persevered, probably because Nicks was apparently enjoying the trip and felt more at home in the group than he did. The tour was naturally a chance for the band really to get to know one another and to establish their core identity. It had the effect of smoothing out any glitches in their performances and creating that natural rapport which is so important between band members on stage.
Having made that happen, though, could it sustain itself under the pressure that comes from the business side of the music industry? Sadly this was only true of their sales in America.
The listening public, of which I was one, were somewhat lost, to put it mildly. It was a tough time. Admittedly these bands were the teeny-bop chart makers, but we still had to listen to this pap regularly on the radio, and, worse still, watch it on the telly. Many musical aficionados were seen edging their way into the midnight sea at high tide, clutching their Hendrix and Doors albums, with their heads suicidally pressed to their chests, never to look up again.
Punk could only possibly have followed this, because what went before was so paper-thin and soulless. At least Sid Vicious looked like he meant it. Into this mass culture, then, Fleetwood Mac were trying to sell what was seen as outdated arena pop-rock. One thing could be kicking off in New York while an entirely different scene was breaking through on the West Coast.
All of this meant the American audience was more open to what Fleetwood Mac were trying to achieve. Most rock bands are utterly devoted to the concept of having a male rock god out there fronting the group. Women performers were for the most part either successful solo singers or banished to the harmony department. More to the point, the approach proved highly successful. Christine McVie was not an unattractive woman, but Stephanie Nicks, as she was first named, was sexy and feisty.
She was the foxy lady personified, and exuded that kind of passionate, fiery aura that Mick Jagger achieved with his lips and hips. Putting these two women together on stage gave the male audience something to Stevie Nicks must have felt like she was living in a fairy tale, going from rags to riches in less than a year. Many people might have lost themselves in such a rapid transition from anonymity to stardom. It probably would have been worthwhile for them to have had a marriage guidance counsellor on the permanent payroll of Fleetwood Mac back then. He or she would have certainly had plenty of serious work to do.
Despite all this emotional turmoil going on behind the scenes, all them seemed to have a loyalty to their marriage with the band that kept them going. Somehow, they never let personal problems supersede the demands of the group. No matter what, Fleetwood Mac and the fans came first and foremost in all their lives, and the Amidst the soap opera, Warner Brothers were on their case looking for another album and the next string of hits.
Rather than succumbing to the emotional divides in the band, the songwriters went off and put it all down in material that would make the next album. That this album would be the greatest breakthrough for the group and one of its all-time best sellers says something about the nature of the creative process and its relationship to trauma.
It was Eric Clapton who admitted that there was nothing worse than being happily ensconced in a relationship to dry up all his creative juices. He went as far as purposely wrecking any stable relationship with his partner just so he could come up with a bit of angst and few good tunes for his next album.
This was one problem from which Fleetwood Mac never suffered, for there was no shortage of stress and arguments between the couples in the band. Click the above photo for a video link Ex-guitarist Bob Weston explains how Fleetwood Mac began to tire of the band. We were looking for a good name for the album that would encompass all that, and the feeling that the band had given up, the most active rumour flying about.
However, it turned out to be so stressful that eventually Fleetwood Mac went out on the road just to relieve the tension that being cooped up in a studio brings to any band. Instead of carrying on at the Record Plant studio, they shifted back to LA, and eventually would record the album in no less than four different studios as it progressed. The services of Keith Olsen had been discarded, not through any major problems with him, but because the band wanted to take greater control of what was happening at the mixing desk.
They now exhibited the kind of Taking this desire to have greater control over all the aspects of producing the albums and touring the band, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie set up their own managerial company, rather amusingly called Seedy Management. I think, for instance, that if someone from outside had been handling this band we would have probably broken up when there were problems.
They still, however, did everything they could to retain some verve and vibe in the process. There was nothing specifically worked out when we went into the studio. The whole thing just happened.
Had they known what was going down in all these several studios and with all these diverse songwriters, they may have been less worried, but Fleetwood was never one for having massive sympathy with the business side of the music industry, and I think he enjoyed having them over a barrel for once. Meanwhile Christine had been having a few doubts and the odd downright moment of panic because she was finding it hard to come up with any new material. It seemed as if for once her muse had deserted her. They are all about things which did happen. The only way I can be is honest.
I promised myself from when I was 16 years old and wrote my first song about the break-up from my boyfriend Steve that I would never lie in my songs. I would stay clearly truthful to the people. Six and a half minutes later there was a stunned silence from the suits, and they never bothered to hassle the band again. On the strength of that one listening they knew the band were onto something really special.
Warner Brothers were eventually able to release it in February The single nudged its way swiftly into the Top 10 and was a portent of the gold dust yet to come when the album struck the streets — and boy, never mind the gold dust, Fleetwood Mac could have paved the streets with gold blocks from the awesome sales this album would net them. It is difficult to imagine such impressive sales figures, but any band that sells , copies of an album in total are usually moderately satisfied with that as a result.
What has this done, though? Well, the doors have just opened. Now I have the money to get my studio sculpture together, and the whole way of looking at my life has expanded over the last six months. Perhaps the only downside to all this phenomenal success was the old conundrum — how on earth do we follow that? This goes to show how dedicated the musicians were to their fans. With albums flying off the shelves faster than they could be replenished and records being broken right, left, and centre, many less-committed bands might have just rested on their laurels and left the promotion to the executives and sales teams.
Not Mick Fleetwood and his crew. Despite the reservations of Lindsey, who was never mad for the live tours, and Stevie, who always seemed to be suffering from some throat bug or virus, they prepared for what must have been a tumultuous reception from their fans at every concert.
With much greater financial security, the band were able to do it in style this time. No more sleeping on the speaker cabinets for Christine. No more dirty scrubby vans with no seats in the back careering down endless miles of motorway madness. No more greasy-spoon cafes. This was the high life now, and like many musicians before them they took to all this luxury like ducks to water.
The band would usually play an hour-and-a-half-long set, with Nicks prancing around like a bewitched angel in satins and silks, while Buckingham looked the suave debonair rock and roll gent in his crushed velvet loons and swanky jackets. Christine was just as attractive and alluring as Stevie, but in an entirely different way. Audiences could imagine her being the one in control of any relationship and having that more mature edge to her, while Nicks was the perpetually flighty teenage spirit that they wanted to wrap up in their arms and protect.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the swarthy Fleetwood beat hell and heaven out of the drums, appearing at one point in the gig with a load of electronic pads all linked up to his body, which he hammered and battered with demonic force, filling the auditorium with a sound and spectacle second perhaps only to Keith Moon in its electrifying energy.
He also used an African talking drum to great effect, striking up a rhythmic conversation with the audience.
The bass player in any band is usually the more reserved of the bunch and John McVie was no exception. How many times have we heard those same riffs backing up some commercial or TV programme?