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Old 02-22-2023, 03:50 PM
Macfan4life's Avatar
Macfan4life Macfan4life is offline
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Arrow When Fake Fleetwood Mac was booked in Pittsburgh

I found this article really interesting. The concert promoter met Fleetwood Mac before so when he booked in them in Pittsburgh he knew something was wrong when fake members took the stage. A fight almost broke out between the promoter and the Fakewood Mac manager. Before he could stop the concert, the band ran on stage. Sure enough the fans went crazy and most did not notice. They did offer refunds but very few took advantage. The show had such bad headlines that the next year Fleetwood Mac could not sell many tickets in Pittsburgh because of the debacle.

The recent death of longtime Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie brought memories flooding back for music industry insiders recalling the band’s storied and tumultuous history.

Pittsburgh concert promoter Rich Engler is among them . Although Engler has several stories about bringing the rock group to Western Pennsylvania, one of his strongest memories, recounted in his recent memoir “Behind the Stage Door,” doesn’t involve the band at all.

Engler booked the first show for a 1974 U.S. tour by a group that would become known derisively as “Fakewood Mac,” the result of a British band manager who didn’t want to wait for the real Fleetwood Mac to decide they were ready to go back on tour.

Even in its early years, Fleetwood Mac’s lineup was in regular flux, with guitarist Peter Green departing in 1970 and guitarist Jeremy Spencer quitting during the 1971 U.S. tour to join a religious cult.

After guitarist Danny Kirwan was fired by the rest of the band in 1972, guitarist Bob Weston and singer Dave Walker came on board. Both would be gone by late 1973, a period that included Weston having an affair with drummer Mick Fleetwood’s wife.

All of this led to the band essentially telling its management that while they weren’t breaking up, they weren’t planning a new album or tour anytime soon. Despite some contractual obligations, they needed some time off.

Engler — an East Deer native who had just partnered with fellow promoter Pat DiCesare to form Pittsburgh entertainment company DiCesare Engler Productions — didn’t know about any of this drama. He was just looking to book a big show as his new partnership got underway.

“I’d done other Fleetwood Mac shows on my own in Oakland, and I knew Mick (Fleetwood) fairly well,” Engler said.

He booked the band through the now-defunct Artist Talent International (ATI) agency to perform Jan. 16, 1974, at the Syria Mosque.

“That night, I was starting to get nervous because their equipment was there but no band,” Engler said. “Then the stage door opens, and a group walks in that I figured was the roadies. And then they went into the dressing room.”

Engler said a man named Clifford Davis introduced himself as Fleetwood Mac’s new manager.

Engler asked when the band was coming.

“He said, ‘They’re here.’ Well, no, they weren’t,” Engler said.

Engler said Davis told him this was indeed the “new” Fleetwood Mac and that Engler would be causing trouble and maybe risking future business if he insisted otherwise. Engler said this band was not going to take the stage and tell people they were Fleetwood Mac.

“He started to take a swing at me,” Engler said. “I was ready to do the same, and then security got between us. The next thing I know, all of those guys ran out onstage and the show started.”

Engler, who had met Fleetwood Mac before, knew the group going onstage did not include any of its actual members.

“But you have to remember, there’s no MTV, no social media, no internet,” Engler said. “Unless you were a big fan of Fleetwood Mac, and if you only knew them from the radio, you might not know that this wasn’t them.”

Sure enough, Engler said, the band launched into “Rattlesnake Shake,” “and the audience was going wild and loving it. They weren’t Fleetwood Mac, but they were actually really good.”

Engler offered money back to concert*goers who complained but said, at the end of the night, it amounted to fewer than a dozen refunds.

“The only person I had to confront about it was Rex Rutkoski from the Valley News Dispatch,” Engler said with a laugh. “He came up and said, ‘Rich, what’s going on? This isn’t the band.’ ”

Word about the imposters spread quickly. By the time the group was set to perform in New York City a week and a half later, Rolling Stone had sent a reporter to cover the debacle.

By that time, Davis was insisting he was in charge of Fleetwood Mac.

“I want to get this out of the public’s mind as far as the band being Mick Fleetwood’s band,” Davis told the magazine. “This band is my band. This band has always been my band.”

That turned out not to be the case, courtesy of eventual legal action by the real band members. But some damage had been done.

“I was going totally crazy after the show,” Engler said. “I called ATI and told them they’d sent me a bogus band. They’d been dealing with Clifford Davis, but they didn’t know he was booking dates without the actual band.”

About a year later, the real band called and wanted to book a Syria Mosque gig. But the embarrassment of the 1974 concert was still dogging them in the Pittsburgh area.

“The show ended up being a disaster, in terms of ticket sales,” Engler said. “Word got around from people who’d seen the fake band, and people didn’t believe the real Fleetwood Mac would show up.”

The band that took the Syria Mosque stage in January 1974 went on to become the British rock group Stretch, which scored a minor chart hit with “Why Did You Do It?” in 1975.

Of course, Fleetwood Mac turned out just fine, maintaining its position as a top-tier rock act for decades and booking plenty more shows with Engler in Pittsburgh, Hershey and Wheeling, W.Va.

Engler said it was one of the stranger episodes in his long entertainment career.

“It was pretty wild,” he said.

Here is the link to the story:
My heart will rise up with the morning sun and the hurt I feel will simply melt away

Last edited by Macfan4life; 02-22-2023 at 05:35 PM..
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