Tag Archives: Fleetwood Mac

The Road

One of the aspects of rock and roll that gets little general attention is the Sisyphusian life on the road. Ideally the band gets a tour. The tour commences. If things go really well, then (a) the tour gets extended or (b) another tour is established hard on the heels of the first. There is no visible end. Until the end. Then it isn’t pretty.

While touring is certainly a good thing vis-à-vis “making it” (and, presumably, making money), there is a price to be paid for this by the participants. When starting out, travel is fairly primitive and grim. Beat-up vans that have a tendency to break down or buses with a toilet that is dysfunctional on better days. Maybe a motel where the carpet is such that shoes stay on.

If it is a band that has made it, then, certainly, the level of accoutrements is elevated. And while it may seem, initially, exceedingly wonderful to be staying in hotels that had only otherwise been seen while thumbing through a lifestyle magazine in a dentist’s waiting room, that sense of wonder soon dissipates.

Just consider a simple aspect of this. Life on the road means life not spent at home. Not with family. Possibly with friends (but this is no lock, even if a bandmate is family). No possibility of doing “ordinary” things, like going to a favorite restaurant or taking out the trash.

But it is the job. The life.

Somehow the rock musician is elevated in the minds of many who would consider the life of a traveling salesman to be sad, possibly tragic. And how is that different from playing in a band?

A band that has been touring for what could be the definition of “forever” is the Rolling Stones. The extent to which the band is on the road would make the road normalcy and home something unusual.

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The Chain, Broken

Two of the things that have long fascinated me are (1) what makes a band a band and (2) why performers continue to perform long after ordinary people move on to something else in their lives besides that which created their livelihoods.

As for the first point, the issue is that of membership and then lack thereof: if there is a “critical mass” that makes a band what it becomes known to be, does the absence of one or more individuals change the chemistry, as it were, of the band? Does the band contain an individual or individuals such that with out them the band would be something other than it had been? For example, consider The Beatles. If Lennon or McCartney had left the band while it still existed, would it have still been The Beatles? What about Harrison or Starr?

The existing members of a band (or perhaps their manager and/or promoters) typically, when losing a key member, find someone who seamlessly integrates so that there is little difference: Consider Journey post-Steve Perry and Yes sans Jon Anderson: their replacements are cover band material extraordinaire.

Lindsey Buckingham was, in effect, recently fired by his band mates in Fleetwood Mac. And he was, in effect, orally and audibly replaced by two people, Mike Campbell, formerly of the Heartbreakers, and Neil Finn, he of Crowded House.

Presumably, Campbell and Finn got their positions (jobs?) because they would be resonate with what can be considered the “sound” of “Fleetwood Mac,” a band that Buckingham was part of for 33 years: 1975 to 1987; 1997 to 2018. After all, Buckingham was instrumental, literally and figuratively, when it put out Fleetwood Mac, which solidly established the band in a way that resonates today (“Say You Love Me,” “Landslide,” “Rhiannon”) and Rumours (“Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain”).

With the departure of Buckingham, the five-person group has become six.

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Buckingham Out; Ringo Pissed

Fleetwood Mac has apparently given Lindsey Buckingham his walking papers, which is only metaphorically true as Buckingham has reportedly recently sold one of his homes in Brentwood for about $20-million and anyone who has that kind of money doesn’t walk anywhere unless (1) a red carpet is involved or (2) it has something to do with the latest cardio program and it requires a personal trainer.

And realize that while McDonalds’ may have trouble selling Big Macs (which accounts for its recent size-variant offerings of that saucy delicacy), Fleetwood Mac evidentially is sufficiently fungible to get a list of venues as long as your arm for its upcoming tour. Oddly enough, the Big Mac and Fleetwood Mac were both formed in 1967.

It seems that the other members of the band have hired Mike Campbell late of the late Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of the best band that will unfairly be remembered as a one-hit wonder, Crowded House.

This has to make Buckingham feel fairly good, as it takes two to replace him. (One assumes, however, that if Campbell and Finn were “hired,” they’re going to be getting a salary, not cubic feet of cash, so the rest of the band members will make out very well, thank you.)

But here is when Ringo gets pissed.

For the past too-many years, Ringo has been touring with the All-Starr Band. (Another good reason why he changed his surname, as “All-Starkey Band” sounds like something Stormy Daniels would be in.)

Ringo’s M.O. has been to hire musicians who have had “hits” but are past their prime, such that he can use them to play their hits so as to minimize the need for an entire set to be based on his meagre catalog. People like Gary Brooker (Procol Harum), Simon Kirke (Bad Company), Colin Hay (Men at Work), Graham Gouldman (10cc). Actually, this is the proverbial double-win because Ringo gets talent and they get to play at venues where corndogs aren’t (necessarily) being sold.

But now there’s Fleetwood Mac vying for talent, hiring musicians like Campbell and Finn.

One can only imagine Ringo dropping one digit from his peace sign when talking with Fleetwood and McVie.

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