Arguably more of a soap opera than a band, Fleetwood Mac took the Rock n’ Roll lifestyle to a new level back in the 70s. However, years of work and play took its toll on the psychedelic band and had long-lasting effects on certain members.
Where Have You Been, Stevie?
One of the most affected members of Fleetwood Mac is its wonderful singer, Stevie Nicks. In a recent interview, she revealed exactly why she decided to distance herself from the band. You might be surprised by her reasoning…
Still In Love With Lindsey?
Is the reason that Stevie distanced herself from Fleetwood Mac because she simply can’t work with Lindsey Buckingham anymore? There seems to be a good chance that this is the case. Their story started back in the 60s. They started seeing each other after performing in a memorial band together. Together, the couple joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975. Despite having personal issues, they decided to stay professional for the greater good of the band. Stevie and Lindsey have been on and off many times since then.
Too Much Rock N’ Roll?
Maybe Stevie wants to stay out of the Fleetwood Mac limelight after developing a reputation for being one of wildest bands of all time. Romances aside, the band became incredibly self-destructive due to their collective usage of illicit substances. “At that time, everybody around me was doing it,” Stevie said. “Everybody was so willing to give you stuff and tell you you’d like it.” The rock n’ roll lifestyle got more and more extreme, especially when the band recorded their classic album Rumours.
Stevie Understood Why Christine Left
Back in 1998, Christine decided that enough was enough, and left Fleetwood Mac. However, the most shocking detail about this departure was that Stevie Nicks totally understood why. “I understood that in her heart of hearts, she could not do it anymore,” Stevie said. “[Christine] was having panic attacks. She was getting to be afraid to fly. There’s nothing worse than being afraid to fly. I understood that she needed to go home. I love Chris, and she was my best friend for 30 years.”
Bob’s Career Ending Affair
During the band’s absolute peak, it seemed like everyone was cheating on each other at one point! The late Bob Weston, who replaced Danny Kirwan in 1972, ended up having an affair with Mick Fleetwood’s wife Jenny. She eventually revealed everything to Mick, who tried to keep his cool. However, he eventually had enough and fired Weston from the band in 1973. “[It was] the most expensive affair I’ve ever had in my life…cost me a career, that did,” Weston said.
The McVie Situation
When bassist John McVie met Christine Anne Perfect back in 1967, it was the same year that he joined Fleetwood Mac. It didn’t take long before the couple got married and Christine (now McVie), became a housewife. After founder Peter Green’s abrupt departure from the band, Christine was brought on as a vocalist. The couple went from virtually never seeing each other to becoming full-time co-workers. This dynamic eventually took its toll on their relationship, but this was only scratching the surface of their problems…
Bob Weston wasn’t the only band member to get into an affair. In 1973, Christine McVie ended up cheating on husband John with the band’s sound engineer Martin Birch. At one point, she even considered leaving the band to make her own music with Birch. Things didn’t work out though. Despite this, the McVie’s separated while Fleetwood Mac was touring in 1975. John didn’t handle the breakup well at all, pacing down hotel corridors, chanting Christine’s name. All she could do was hide in her room, crying.
The drama didn’t end there for John and Christine. They were both still in the band and Christine moved onto the band’s lighting director, Curry Grant. This certainly didn’t help John, who was descending into a downward spiral of substances and alcohol. In order to cope with the despair, John started getting involved with the band’s groupies. Mick Fleetwood described the band’s house as “a bordello with blacked-out rooms, thick shag carpets, deprivation tanks, and a very liberal sprinkling of assorted [substances].”
The Curse Of Sara
Mick Fleetwood took his rock n’ roll lifestyle to another level when he cheated on wife Jenny with one of Stevie’s best friends – Sara Recor. Although Nicks was apparently hurt by Mick’s infidelity with her friend, she still felt compelled to write the song “Sara” after her. After Mick and Sara got married, they were cast out by both their friends and bandmates. Then, Mick ended up remarrying Jenny after his seven-year marriage with Sara came to an end. Unsurprisingly, they divorced for a second time.
Everyone Got Personal
Lindsey Buckingham’s line wasn’t the only one to throw a punch at a bandmate. “Oh Daddy,” which was written by Christine, is pretty much entirely about Mick. One line reads as “everything you do is just alright.” However, when it came to her issues with John, it was only her writing songs, so she ended up writing “You Make Loving Fun,” which was a tribute to her lover at the time, Curry Grant. Then there’s the classic “The Chain,” which was technically written by everyone.
Tour to Hell & Back
Going on the road certainly didn’t help Fleetwood Mac’s tumultuous dynamic. Ironically, the Rumours international tour only sparked more rumors, with fans speculating more about the stories on the album rather than the actual music. That wasn’t all though. Stevie Nicks ended up getting into a disastrous affair with Mick Fleetwood, who was still married at the time. It was a lethal cocktail of infidelity and substances that nearly cost Nicks her life. She spent $1 million, purely to feed her addictions.
Stevie Wrote “Dreams” In Sly’s Bed
During the making of Rumours, Stevie Nicks would often struggle to concentrate, especially with all the drama going on between her and other band members. One day, she ended up venturing into a vacant studio that had originally used by Sly Stone, of all people. “I sat down on the bed with my keyboard in front of me,” she said. “I found a drum pattern, switched my little cassette player on and wrote “Dreams” in about 10 minutes.”
Christine Hated “Dreams”
Reaching number one in the US charts and selling over a million copies, “Dreams” is officially Fleetwood Mac’s most successful single. However, Christine McVie was not impressed at all when she heard the first demo of the song. “When Stevie first played it for me on the piano, it was just three chords and one note in the left hand,” she said. “But the Lindsey genius came into play and he fashioned three sections out of identical chords, making each section sound completely different.”
The Story Behind Mick’s Balls
If you look carefully on the cover of Rumours, you can see a pair of wooden balls dangling from Mick’s crotch. “I must admit I had a couple of glasses of English ale – and came out of the toilet with these,” he said. “I was very destructive – I ripped them off the toilet and had them hanging down between my legs.” Mick went on to explain that he performed in front of thousands of people that night wearing the balls, and they just “stuck.”
Girls Rule, Boys Drool
Despite all the internal conflicts within the band, one bond has remained virtually unbroken up until this very day – the girls. Often feeling isolated from the rest of the band, Stevie and Christie sought comfort in each other, despite the press constantly sniffing out any rivalry between the two. In Christine’s darkest hour with John, she considered Stevie to be her only friend. At one point, Mick decided to give the men of the band one apartment and put the girls in a separate one.
Christine & The Beach Boy
It wasn’t just John McVie and Martin Birch that Christine McVie has been romantically involved with over the years. At one point, Dennis Wilson from The Beach Boys, of all people, had a connection with the talented vocalist. When the late, great rock star sent a heart-shaped flower bed delivered to her home and had it planted in her back garden, Christine was completely taken aback. They ended up dating from 1979 to 1981. Christine certainly learned a lot from that relationship.
Tusk Was a Huge Flop
While Rumours will go down in history as one of the most successful albums of all time (officially the sixth largest selling record in US history), its follow up album Tusk, was an absolute flop in comparison. The main reason for the 1979 record’s commercial downfall was the fact that it was so expensive to purchase as a double album. Another factor came into play when the band aired the entire record on Westwood One radio. It ended up being taped by millions.
Amazingly, before Fleetwood Mac created the classic album Rumours, one of the original versions of the band was actually completely fake! At one point, a band consisting of musicians Kirby Gregory, Elmer Gantry and Paul Martinez were told that Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie would join them on their upcoming tour. All they needed to do was tell the fans that they were Fleetwood Mac. That group of imposters actually went on to become another band by the name of Stretch.
You Can Go Your Own Way
Before the classic lineup, there were a string of high profile performers in Fleetwood Mac who, for one reason or another, ended up leaving the band. In 1970, Peter Green left the band after having some bad experiences with illicit substances. He also felt guilty about the money he earned as a rock star and donated it to charity. A year later, guitarist Jeremy Spencer left the band to join the cult Children of God. Danny Kirwan also left after having a manic episode.
Stevie & Lindsey Were Poor
One of Rumours‘ classic songs “Gypsy,” details the time that Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham lived together before joining the band and were flat-out broke. The song’s writer, Stevie, alluded to how they slept on a mattress on the floor. “To this day, when I’m feeling cluttered, I will take my mattress off of my beautiful bed, wherever that may be, and put it outside my bedroom, with a table and a little lamp,” she said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Rumours Kept Them Together
It should come as no surprise that all the debauchery, scandal, and tension was enough to send each of Fleetwood Mac’s band members over the edge and consider leaving. After Lindsey Buckingham told Mick, “Well, things don’t seem to be going exactly the way I would like them to go,” Fleetwood simply said, “Well, maybe you don’t want to be in a group.” It made sense that the album was called Rumours. John suggested calling it that after all the rumors surrounding them.
Credit Was Due…
You can imagine that Fleetwood Mac worked with a lot of interesting people over the years. One particular individual that the band owed a lot to for the success of their album Rumours was actually their dealer! Seeing that the band were rarely sober during the creation of the album, it’s safe to say that the record’s success would have been very different. The band even considered thanking him in the album credits. However, they ultimately decided against it.
Old Habits Die Hard
It is no secret that Stevie Nicks is an interesting character, to put it lightly. However, the extent of her strange ways can be seen in her many years of touring. One of her habits while on the road is to obsess over the lighting in her hotel rooms. She’ll bring many scarfs to hang over the lights, just so that the lighting is perfect. Also, Nicks has carried a black leather massage chair around with her since 2003.
Rolling Stone’s Fault?
Ironically, Rolling Stone poked fun at Fleetwood Mac’s debaucherous, incestuous lifestyle when they put them on the cover of one of their issues. It depicts them all lying in bed together. “The intention was a spoof on the rumors about our private lives, and yet, symbolically, the picture showed us exactly as we were – all married to each other,” Mick said. Also, it is believed that the photo shoot actually kickstarted Mick and Stevie’s infamous, downward-spiral affair.
Seems Like Everyone Has Rumours
There are not enough superlatives to explain just how huge an impact Rumours has had on pop culture. While its influence on rock music is unquestionable, the sheer numbers revolving around the record are absolutely phenomenal. Overall, the album has sold over 40 million records worldwide. Probably the most staggering fact about the album is that more than 1 out of every 6 families in the U.S. has a copy of the classic record. It is a true American staple.
Christine Used To Be Perfect
When Peter Green left Fleetwood Mac back in 1970, the band were determined to find a worthy replacement. It wouldn’t take too long before they stumbled across a talented pianist/singer by the name of Christine Perfect! She was developing quite the reputation back in the U.K. and Mick knew that she would actually be “perfect” for the band. Eventually, Christine fell in love with band member John McVie and ended up taking his name after tying the knot with him.
Just Mick & John
The 90s was a truly tough time for Fleetwood Mac. After Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham left the band, and Christine McVie wasn’t interested in touring, the only two members who were left were Mick and John. “It was really disturbing when they wound up on a nostalgia tour triple-bill package as the middle act between Pat Benatar and REO Speedwagon,” Buckingham said. “It was just something I wasn’t happy to see Mick and John doing – or having to do.”
Mick’s A Muppet?
It’s uncanny, right? Right?! Jokes aside, it has been long rumored that Mick Fleetwood actually inspired a fictional character. The crazy drummer that goes by the name of Animal, who is one of the most beloved Muppets, has often been considered to be inspired by Mick. This makes sense, seeing that the character made his debut in 1975; peak Fleetwood Mac time! However, there isn’t much substantial evidence to back this up. Nevertheless, it’s difficult not to see the resemblance!
Recording Rumours Was A Struggle
Despite the band sticking together, it took them a mammoth effort to create the album Rumours. The band nicknamed their recording machine “Jaws” after it destroyed a large amount of recorded material. In the end, it took a staggering 11 months to finish the album. At one point, Fleetwood Mac was forced to cancel a sold-out tour due to scheduling issues with the album. When the album was released on February 4, 1977, the band was in absolute disarray.
Things got so personal between the band members of Fleetwood Mac that Rumours was a way for each of them to take their frustrations out through the power of music. It was also a way for them to express themselves to each other, whatever problems they were having. For example, Lindsey Buckingham wrote the following line for “Second Hand News:” “One thing I think you should know, I ain’t gonna miss you when you go.” The line was obviously aimed at Stevie Nicks.
Stevie’s Turning Point?
The Fleetwood Mac band member to be affected the most by illicit substances has to be Stevie Nicks. When the singer was at her absolute rock bottom in 1986, Nicks burned a hole so big inside her nose that the doctor gave her an ultimatum: either carry on doing what you are doing or threaten to give yourself a brain hemorrhage. Amazingly, Stevie continued her self-destructive ways. Eventually, though, she turned things around for herself and came out of rehab completely sober.
Although he was the founder of the band and is the only surviving original member, Mick Fleetwood has come out of the other end with not just a series of failed relationships, but also a ton of debt. Mick admitted in a number of interviews that he never saved money during his career, while also spending an absolute fortune on the finest things in life. His financial troubles came to a head in 1984 when he went bankrupt. It was the first of many times as well…
Some bands are able to maintain the same lineup from day one. However, Fleetwood Mac went through an obscene amount of changes before they finally found the winning formula that could be found on Rumours. The band went through a staggering 10 incarnations before you got the classic lineup of Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, John McVie and Christine McVie. When Mick asked Lindsey to join the band, he said he’d only join if his girlfriend, Stevie, could as well.
Mick Still Loves Stevie?
Years after all the affairs and debauchery, Mick Fleetwood still has a soft spot for Stevie Nicks. In one interview, he claimed that the two were connected in a previous life. However, Stevie seems to have much more negative feelings, looking back on their romance. She believes that whatever was between them simply came from drunk nights and substance abuse. She recently said that their relationship was always “a doomed thing and caused a lot of pain to everybody.”
Although Fleetwood Mac were personally offended back in the day when former member Peter Green encouraged them to donate money to those in need, the band has since turned a new leaf. Mick, Stevie and the gang recently raised a whopping $7 million at an event for down-on-their-luck musicians. Even diehard fan Bill Clinton was in attendance. Not only was it a monumental act of charity, but it had been 15 years since the last time Christine had performed with the band.
Stevie Nicks’s desire to distance herself from Fleetwood Mac can be traced as far back to early 80s when she released her first solo album, Bella Donna. The album was both a critical and commercial success, reaching number one in the Billboard charts and with a list of hit singles. Rolling Stone praised the album considerably, referring to Nicks as “the Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll.” Nicks has balanced her Fleetwood Mac career and solo career masterfully over the years.
What About Lindsey & Christine?
Lindsey and Stevie…Stevie and Mick…Christine and John. It seems like everyone in Fleetwood Mac has had some sort of personal history as the years have gone on. However, Lindsey and Christine have never had such trouble. Their friendship has stood the test of time and this was as clear as ever when the pair worked together recently to create the album Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie. Although most of Fleetwood Mac appeared on the album, Stevie was nowhere to be heard…
Keeping Things Fresh
The truth behind Stevie Nicks’s recent distance from Fleetwood Mac is more about keeping things fresh. The way she sees things, Stevie is limiting her involvement with the band in an attempt to make every sporadic tour feel special for the fans. “A big band like Fleetwood Mac needs to get out of the spotlight, so that’s what we’ve done,” Nicks said. “We should always be off the road for three years because when we come back it’s an event.”
Fun And Fancy Free
Given the tumult of the band, it’s no surprise that Stevie told Rolling Stone in 2015, “I have been so ensconced in being in Fleetwood Mac and being in my own solo work. When I choose for all that to come to an end, then that door will fly open for me. And I will walk into my trailer, and I will, like, fall to my knees on my cushy white rug and look out at the ocean and go, ‘I am finally free.'”
Leaving Lindsey Behind
When the band announced they would be reuniting this year for a new tour, there was a distinct difference from their long-time lineup. Lindsey Buckingham would not be joining them, as the band announced that they had chosen to end their ties with him. The band cited “musical differences” as the reason for leaving Buckingham out of the reunion, but Lindsey wasn’t just going to fade into the shadows. He subsequently released a statement about his exclusion.
Buckingham explained at a solo concert, “This was not something that was really my doing or my choice… There were factions within the band that had lost their perspective…What that did was to harm — and this is the only thing I’m really sad about, the rest of it becomes an opportunity — it harmed the 43-year legacy that we had worked so hard to build, and that legacy was really about rising above difficulties in order to fulfill one’s higher truth and one’s higher destiny.”
Mick Fleetwood wanted to clarify the band’s actions in return. He said, “Words like ‘fired’ are ugly references as far as I’m concerned. Not to hedge around, but we arrived at the impasse of hitting a brick wall. This was not a happy situation for us in terms of the logistics of a functioning band. To that purpose, we made a decision that we could not go on with him. Majority rules in terms of what we need to do as a band and go forward.”
Not only does Stevie believe it’s special for the fans, but also for the band. “Being away from each other for three years is good,” she said. “It really sets you up for a good time because everything’s new and everybody’s got new stories and everybody’s been doing crazy, different things, so when you walk into rehearsal that first day everyone’s really happy to see each other. If we toured every other year it wouldn’t be like that.”