by Ben Wener, p.171
The lights come up. The pieces begin to fall into place. And a 20-year-old notion finds new life. This indescribable force - Fleetwood Mac - first found fame in 1977. In that year, Rumours spent 31 weeks at the top of the charts and bittersweet contradictory songs such as Dreams and Go Your Own Way dominated the radio.
Since then, no member of Fleetwood Mac’s strongest and most memorable line-up has been able to completely break the chain formed during that year - not even when they’ve tried.
“This bond between us is too strong now to ever fully walk away from,” says Stevie Nicks. “Nothing in Fleetwood Mac was ever bad enough to make anyone really quit. Even when Lindsey (Buckingham) left (in 1987), it wasn’t because he didn’t like the Mac any more. he just wanted to do a different sound. “Fleetwood Mac is just what it is. It doesn’t change.”
That’s a strange thought coming from someone who joined the group in its 10th line-up since its advent as a blues outfit in 1967. But no other version of the supergroup compares with the line-up which formed in 1975, when Nicks and Buckingham joined. Fleetwood Mac’s reputation was built mostly on three enduring, extremely well-crafted records - Fleetwood Mac (1975), Rumours and Tusk (1979).
But in 80s brought despondency, restlessness and the loss of the band’s creative spark. Solo albums - Nicks’ and Christine McVie’s commercially successful ventures and Buckingham’s critically lauded efforts - became more important. And 1987’s Tango in the Night, the last studio effort with all five band members, seemed perfunctory. So maybe “the Chain” was just a mystical marker for a specific point in time. So why break the silence, reuniting to celebrate it? The answer differs, depending on who you ask. “I never didn’t want to do this again,” says Nicks, 49. “The idea’s been broached every year since Lindsy left, but I was sort of waiting for him to decide it was time to do it again. “Lindsey sort of holds the cards when it comes to this kind of thing. He likes to keep focused on one thing at a time.”
Indeed, the reunion is more happenstance then planned campaign. Early this year, Buckingham was working on his fourth solo disc when one by one the remaining members were brought in to assist. That’s when the Chain came back together. “When we got back together with all five of us in the room, there was really a profound sense of completion, of the cycle coming around agains,” says Buckingham, 49. The band may have a new set of fans for their second coming. Gen-X heroes such as Courtney Love and Billy Corgan sing its praises. “I guess they know that we’ve kind of been through it all,” Nicks says, explaining the newfound fan base. “I don’t know at this point what there is to say about our history, other than that we had a lot of problems, we did a lot of drugs and that was part of what kept us going, and that it’s all down there on record.”
But today those roads are smoothly paved, even if conflicting personalities may never change. After all, this band created its most stirring work out of yelling at one another in song: Nicks’ philosophical Dreams, Buckingham’s heartsick command to Go Your Own Way, the vulnerability lurking in McVie’s otherwise buoyant Don’t Stop and You Make Loving Fun. “There’ll be some arguments, there always are,” Nicks says of the pending tour. “But no one would be so stupid as to jeopardise this now that it’s finally happening.”
Fleetwood Mac have just released a CD titled The Dance, a live recording of an MTV special. It features new renditions of 13 classics, including Don’t Stop, Dreams, Tusk and The Chain.
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