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  #1  
Old 09-12-2009, 11:23 PM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
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Default Cameron Crowe on FM 1976

Fleetwood Mac, Better Rocking Through Chemistry by Cameron Crowe,

Los Angeles Times, August 22, 1976

Fleetwood Mac, just a year and a half ago, was a band easy to take for granted. After nine years, 10 albums and countless personnel changes, it appeared all but immune to superstardom. The British group's music sold decently -- it was always competent and often imaginative -- but the spark that could take it higher than a perennial second-billing was nowhere in sight.

These days, no one is wondering why Fleetwood Mac is still together. In an amazing case of rewarded persistence, its 11th album, the now-platinum Fleetwood Mac spawned a flurry of hit singles and has remained near the top of the charts for more than 14 months. Now the group is a coast-to-coast headliner, with each concert a quick sellout. Tickets for their shows next weekend at the Universal Amphitheater have been gone for weeks.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood, who began the group with bassist, John McVie, (hence the name) as a blues band in 1967, is nonplussed. "We never thought about quitting or stopping at all. Never," he says matter-of-factly The rest of the band, gathered together here in its Sunset Blvd. public relations office, nods in silent agreement. "There were times of feeling intense neglect, but we just chugged along. Nobody in the band can do anything else.

Fleetwood Mac's success story is mostly due to the ingenious addition of two basically incongruous musicians just 10 days before the recording of the break-through album. Singer-songwriters Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, a pop-oriented couple/duo from Los Angeles, immediately steered the group into a fascinatingly commercial direction. It was also Fleetwood Mac's second intraband relationship. McVie's wife Christine sings, writes and plays keyboards.

"It's all a matter of chemistry," figures Fleetwood. "Everything we've gone through up until now has been worthwhile if it meant getting to the point where the band is now. This is, by far, the most stimulating collection we've had.

Which says quite a bit. there is a standing joke that one out of every four people in the music business has, at one time or another, been in Fleetwood Mac. The group understandably cringes at the thought of detailing past history. It is no easy task remembering the many twists and turns they've taken. "Looking back," John McVie says, "I'm very proud of the fact we've never been pinned with a label. We've changed too fast for that."

In retrospect, Fleetwood Mac's greatest asset may well have been its open mind. When Christine McVie was added to the band in '71, it was not exactly in concurrence with the prevailing macho stance of rock 'n' roll. Four years later, they were not afraid to replace departing guitarist Bob Welch with an unknown -- Buckingham -- and his female partner, Nicks, who handles the vocals.

"I liked the idea," Fleetwood says, "of real flesh-and-blood people and not hardened professionals."

Sure enough, it was the two women in the group who scored the momentum-making singles hits. Christine McVie's "Over My Head" came first, breaking big in both pop and easy listening markets. Nicks' "Rhiannon" was the important followup. An infectious tale of an 18th-century Welsh witch, the song validated Fleetwood Mac's hard-rock side as well. "Say You Love Me," another rollicking C. McVie composition, secured the rare feat -- three smashes on one album.

"It's really amazing," remarks Buckingham. "We had no idea any of those songs were hits. Especially not 'Rhiannon'. We figured, for sure, that it was too weird." Buckingham smiles broadly. "Now one more hit and it could almost be called 'Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits.'"

Nicks brightens. "With that kind of thinking, we could buy ourselves another year to do the new album."

The group's next album, nearly completed, has a mid-September deadline. Already it is by far the longest Fleetwood Mac has ever spent on an album. An exasperated Nicks explains simply, "Nothing has gone right."

When the sessions began at Sausalito's Record Plant this year, the band was tired and spent six grueling months of grass-roots touring. Most of the material existed only as snips of melodies or lyrics. Weeks of expensive studio time later, the album began to take shape. NO sooner did that happen when an overzealous machine -- since dubbed "Jaws" -- mangled portions of the completed tracks, A slew of other technical problems sent them to Miami's Criteria Sound Studios and later to a local facility.

"It's not really the pressure of following up the last album that's hung us up at all," states Buckingham. "You create that kind of pressure yourself, in your own head. That's all it is. We all knew this LP had to be good . . . and it is."

The real reason behind the delay, the group readily admits, was a sudden upheaval in their domestic lives. Early on in the recording, each of the five members found himself on 'romantically choppy waters.' The result -- the romantic relationships between members of the group dissolved.

"It was very, very strange . . ." reflects Christine.

Fleetwood finishes the story. "We all split up during the same two-month period. The grief is all behind us now, fortunately, but there was a very heavy time there when none of us were really up for doing much of anything.

Much of the emotional trauma, says Nicks, was turned into songs. "Every one on the new album," she explains, "is about somebody in the band. Without being dumb or contrived about it. I think we've put together a very nice musical diary. All my songs are about what happens to me, anyway, whereas I got the idea for 'Rhiannon' from a book I read.

"It's great that there are three strong songwriters in the band. That's got to be a big reason for the success. When it comes right down to it, if the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band had band songs -- forget it. But if you have really good songs, you don't have to be a virtuoso. The songs will come across."

Although they may not be virtuosos, Fleetwood Mac's musicianship is certainly more than adequate. Fleetwood is one of rock's most brilliantly functional drummers. McVie's bass work and Buckingham's vivacious guitar and vocal prowess enhance the material. Add Christine's calming influence and Nicks' full-throated warble and you have a first-rate grab bag of English/American styles. On stage, Fleetwood Mac even revisits such earlier material as "Oh Well" and "The Green Manalashi," bringing them a new urgency.

There is definitely a live album in our future," reveals Buckingham, "but not quite yet. I'd really like to develop in the studio with this band. Ater the album comes out and we complete the road cycle that will follow it, we're going to lay back a little and spend the time to refine our work even further."

Chances are they will do exactly that. There is no one around to try and convince them otherwise.

"I'm convinced that we wouldn't have made it this big if we had a manager," Fleetwood maintains. "We've taken a very natural course. God knows what might have happened if there was somebody trying to make an image for us. We have two women in the band, and a manager would probably make something out of that. We don't. We don't need a manager. We have an agent to book the tours and a lawyer when we need him. So John and I make a few more phone calls, use more brain cells and deal with all the rumors ourselves . . . big deal."

Nicks stops him short. "I've got it," she yelps. "Fleetwood Mac's newest album Rumors and Heartaches."
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2009, 11:24 PM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
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What does Mick mean that a manager would make something of the fact that there were 2 women in the band? Huh?

That last line, "Rumors and Heartaches" had to be staged.

Michele
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:10 AM
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GypsyBlueEyes GypsyBlueEyes is offline
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Originally Posted by michelej1 View Post
What does Mick mean that a manager would make something of the fact that there were 2 women in the band? Huh?
Its hard to tell. Maybe he meant that a manager would naturally want to use the fact that they had to women in the band to set them apart from other bands at that time and that's not what they wanted to be known for??? It could be all in the way their image would have been sold to the public. If a big deal was made about Stevie and Christine, it might have made it seem like the guys were just backup to them. A manager, who would have only cared about business/money probably wouldn't have cared about those things.

That's just speculation though...for the sake of conversation
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:27 AM
trackaghost trackaghost is offline
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And here's another RS Mac article from earlier in 76 written during the recording of Rumours before they became big rich, jaded rock stars

Look Who’s Back: Fleetwood Mac
By John Grissim
Rolling Stone, April 8, 1976


SAUSALITO – By rights drummer Mick Fleetwood, a lanky, 6’6” Englishman and founding member of the transplanted British group, Fleetwood Mac, should be worried. Three weeks ago he and the other four members of the band began recording an album at the Record Plant. They sought a productive seclusion, free of the distractions of Los Angeles (where the group now lives), only to encounter a host of small but vexing problems. Pianos (four in succession) refused to stay in tune, a 16-track recorder developed a habit of chewing up tape and two members had bouts with the flu.
As a result of the delays (which, in the case of the illnesses, cost over $1000 a day in studio time), the band has managed to lay down only three basic tracks, putting the project well behind schedule. Unperturbed, Mick sat in the studio’s dining nook with the rest of the band and chuckled philosophically.
“Agreed, it’s unpleasant going through this, but it’s not such a weird thing with us. We’ve gone through it before, even to the point of mixing a whole album, then scrapping it and starting all over again. What makes the difference this time is knowing that, for all the problems we’ve encountered, we’ve got a huge hit album. It makes any bad things that happen seem not nearly as bad as if the last album had stiffed.”
The album, Fleetwood Mac (with an assist by their hit single, Over My Head), is the most successful LP in the group’s low-profile, nine-year, 12-album career. Released last July, the LP soared into the Top 20, then dropped to the 40s, but continued to sell steadily while the band toured throughout the fall. Then, just before Christmas, the album again climbed up the charts, despite no-more-than-usual promotion. By early March, more than seven months after release, the LP was Number Five with a bullet in Billboard. Soon after, it turned platinum, while Bare Trees (1972) turned gold.
The Fleetwood Mac album mixes inventive arrangements and melodic compositions. Instrumental moods vary from the punchy solid rock of Monday Morning to the full production sound of I’m So Afraid, with its soaring guitar and churchy organ progressions. Stevie Nicks’s throaty voice (with a vibrato reminiscent of Dolly Parton’s) has a strong identity, particularly on her song Rhiannon, a spacey ballad “about a schizoid Welsh witch”, that is currently moving up as a single. The album’s overall sound, and that of the group’s recent concerts, is neither loud nor pretentious.
Formed in 1967 by Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie (hence the group’s name), the band produced a string of English hit singles (including Albatross) before its American debut. Though well received in the US, Fleetwood Mac failed to duplicate its British chart success. By 1971, though, Fleetwood had gained a loyal concert following, despite the departures of guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer to devote full-time efforts to Christianity.
Then John McVie’s singer/songwriter wife, Christine, brought her distinctive voice and excellent keyboard work to the group and the nucleus was complete. Guitarist Bob Welch, a veteran of Las Vegas show bands, was brought in, and over the next two years and four albums Fleetwood Mac worked at creating a visible identity. The albums sold a respectable 200,000 copies each but there were still no hit singles and no heavy press coverage.
Ironically, the group finally made the news early in ’74 when former manager Clifford Davis, claiming he owned the name Fleetwood Mac, hired a band of unknown musicians and booked a three-month nationwide tour for the “new” Fleetwood Mac. Denouncing the claim as preposterous, the real Fleetwood Mac obtained a restraining order to stop the use of its name, but not before angry fans at several concerts on both coasts demanded ticket refunds. A hearing is scheduled for this fall in London to decide rights to the name and royalties for all the group’s albums.
“It wouldn’t be too much of a problem waiting if we were all independently wealthy,” John McVie said. “But we’re not, and that means we have to live off our road earnings until the thing is settled. And with a road crew of 14 to support us on tour, no one’s getting rich.”
In the wake of the bogus band fiasco, Fleetwood Mac ended 1974 anxious to record and tour to re-establish its authenticity. When Bob Welch left in early ’75 to pursue a solo career (he’s since formed the rock trio Paris), Mick brought in Californians Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, a singer/writer team who’d previously recorded one album (Buckingham Nicks) on Polydor. The addition of Buckingham’s facile rock guitar phrasing and a second female lead vocalist helped turn Fleetwood Mac into one hot group.
Fleetwood denied there was any animosity surrounding Welch’s departure. “Any stories about hard feelings are simply not true. We were and still are very close friends. In fact, he flew up here a few days ago to hang out with us.”
“We knew he was a bit restless to move on,” Christine added. “Certainly what Bob’s doing right now is vastly different from anything he did in our band. Very avant-garde rock with heavy guitar and bass riffs and weird timings. I’m sure his trio is very tight and very good.”
Christine’s praise is genuine, as is the group’s affection for their former member. These five people appear inordinately considerate of each other, despite extensive touring and John and Christine McVie’s marital uncoupling.
As far as the album in progress, enthusiasm is high. “I think it’s going to follow incredibly well from the last one,” Christine said. “We’ve had the chance to learn how we each play and write. That way you learn how people sing and how to inflect your voice to blend with the harmonies.”
Though the band is still unsure about what will be on it, the album must be finished in just a few weeks. After that, the band will tour the US – including some of the summer’s bicentennial festivals – and visit Europe in the fall to resurrect its following.
Fleetwood Mac is consciously avoiding hysterical promotional campaigns to capitalise on their success. “That’s the nice thing about it,” Stevie Nicks explained. “We’ve received no hype but instead we’ve emerged on our own – with a lot of hard work. It would have been terrible to have been given some ridiculous praise like being ‘the future of rock & roll.’ Because we couldn’t deliver. And we wouldn’t.”
A cheerful Mick Fleetwood piped up from the other end of the table. “Right, all we have to do is deliver an album for ‘the present’ of rock & roll.”
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"I want to come back as a Yorkshire Terrier, owned by me." - Stevie Nicks

Last edited by trackaghost : 09-13-2009 at 12:29 AM.
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  #5  
Old 09-13-2009, 01:14 AM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
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These five people appear inordinately considerate of each other,
Well, that's a relief to hear. Because if those people weren't nice to each other and couldn't get along, the band would not last a hot minute.

It's funny because when I thought of Cameron Crowe's FM article, I always assumed it was for Rolling Stone and didn't realized he was freelancing.

Michele
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Old 09-13-2009, 01:22 AM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
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Originally Posted by GypsyBlueEyes View Post
Its hard to tell. Maybe he meant that a manager would naturally want to use the fact that they had to women in the band to set them apart from other bands at that time and that's not what they wanted to be known for???
That's a good reading of it. It might unfairly take the focus off of the music. I also just read an article from 1973 about women in rock and they interviewed Jackie DeShannon and Helen Reddy and they were talking about the double standard. Christine was quoted as saying a woman in a group shouldn't be treated like a groupie. Michele
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