More than rumours, ex-Fleetwood Mac guitarist Rick Vito joins tribute band at Ipswich Regent
18:00 17 November 2015 Martin Hutchinson
There are rumours flying around that there is a superb tribute band to Fleetwood Mac doing the rounds. For once, these rumours are in fact – er – fact.
The original Fleetwood Mac had a string of hits from Albatross through to Go Your Own Way, Dreams, Little Lies and Everywhere to name but a few. Amazingly though, Rumours of Fleetwood Mac came about by accident as drummer Allan Cosgrove tells me.
“It was never really planned we’d be a tribute to Fleetwood Mac, even though we are all fans of their music. The five core members of the band, who incidentally are still the core of the band today, got together to record an American advert and had to sound like the US band Heart
“When we heard the playback, the producer Brian Rawling, who has worked with the likes of Cher and Tina Turner, we sounded more like Fleetwood Mac and we agreed.”
It was then that the idea of a tribute band came to Allan’ but he needed the blessing of the original band.
“We later recorded a couple of songs off Mac’s album Rumours and sent them off to Mick Fleetwood. He’d been a mate ever since I was in The Merseybeats and he gave us the thumbs up. Since than he’s seen us perform and even joined us on stage.”
This tour they’ll be joined on stage at some gigs by ex-Mac guitarist Rick Vito who was with the band from 1987 - when he replaced Lindsey Buckingham - until 1991 and was a part of the line-up that recorded the albums Tango in the Night and Behind The Mask.
“I had met and played with Mick a few times and I was a big fan of Fleetwood Mac, especially the early years with Peter Green,” Rick tells me from his American home.
“He liked the way I played and when Lindsey left abruptly my friend Billy Burnette was asked to join. He wasn’t really a lead guitarist so he said he would join if they also included me – and I was named lead guitarist.”
Even though he was a ‘newbie’, he had creative input on both albums he recorded.
“I was a bit late for Tango, but for the Behind The Mask record we were all writing and they all liked three of my songs which went on the album, plus another couple turned up on The Chain, the 25th anniversary collection.”
Despite all that was going on in the band at the time, Rick says it was a good time for him.
“Well, yeah, people don’t normally get the chance to join a supergroup. I’d just done a year-and-a-half with Bob Seger, so I was pretty much prepared for playing on the big stages. It was a very happy time for me and I was instantly more famous than I’d ever been.”
So, how did he get to be involved with Rumours of Fleetwood Mac?
“A mutual friend got me into the International Guitar Festival of Great Britain in Liverpool last year, they approached me and asked if I would make a couple of appearances with them while I was there. They are such lovely people and it was really great fun, so we decided I would join them thus year on some dates.”
So how will the show pan out?
“They do the first half and I’ll come on in the second half for the Peter Green ere and stay on for the rest of the show. I’ll probably be playing Albatross, The Green Manalishi, Black Magic Woman and a lot of the blues tunes.”
Sadly, he’s unable to do the whole tour.
“I have to get back at the end of November as I’m heading to Hawaii to work with Mick Fleetwood’s Blues Band, with whom I’ve been working since 2008. Then I’ve got a German and Danish tour for myself next May with blues festivals in Canada.”
Of the Fleetwood Mac playlist, there is one song he would like to include in the set.
“I love Love That Burns from their first album in 1967. I may suggest we do that on the tour.”
This tour may not be the only one that Rick does with this band.
“No, this is a trial really and we’ll see what happens. I’m really looking forward to paying live with Rumours, they’re a really lovely bunch of people and great musicians. Plus they’re northerners and people in the north are very friendly - they’re not afraid to have human contact with audiences.”
The Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, with special guest Vito, play the Ipswich Regent November 21.