The soap-opera of
Fleetwood Mac has
had me hooked since
I was about 10 or 12.
There was a doco – a bit
of late-night music-TV
that filled in all the blanks. I was,
as a kid, already a fan, but I had no
idea how the same band that sang
Sara and Sweet Little Lies had
jammed out an instrumental called
My brother recorded this thing called
Fleetwood Mac at 21 and I watched it
over and again. Until I could quote whole
sections. Watched it like my own son would
grow up to watch Peppa Pig and The Wiggles and
then Doc McStuffins and now The Simpsons. Watched
it the way people binge watch any of the
TV they now consume.
Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad or
Sopranos or The Wire or whatever arrives next
week or is being caught up on from the Golden Age
I’d get home from school and watch the same documentary
about Fleetwood Mac over and again. Learning about the
bit-part players – like Bobs Welch and Weston, and how sad
to think of Bob Welch as any sort of bit-part only.
For years I could only hear about albums like Penguin and Bare
Trees and Future Games. These were hard to find – even though they
were by my heroes. It was a mystery to me how to access
some of the finest music I would go on to hear. So I’d cling to the clips
and the funny, laidback things John McVie would say. And how defensive
Stevie Nicks seemed when she’d talk about how Lindsey Buckingham would
often say that he did his finest work working on some of her songs (even though
Lindsey never did say it. Instead Lindsay talked about how frustrated he was with
pressure and with the push and pull of various aspects that he could not control).
The blanks were filled in for me – but it was still (mostly) about the music.
The soap-opera is fascinating, that these fine musicians all fucked with each
other’s feelings and fucked each other, or fucked around on each other was
somehow deeply compelling to me. Even at 12 or 13. I’d think about how they
must have cared so deeply about the music – to keep it all going.
And sure there are egos – and there was money and drugs and whatever else
both the reason to keep going and the
method of blurring anything else.
And I have thought about all of that ever since. As I listen to the albums by Fleetwood
Mac that other fans never bother with or might not even know about. And when
I hear the biggest hits. Some of them I’m lucky enough to still
hear as if for the first time. Others bug me a little due to overplay or because they
were elevated in place of some of the true album-track stars.
I can’t pick a favourite album or era – the blues band material is wonderful.
Those ”lost years” where the band was falling apart in some way for every
album but was also as prolific as it was ever going to be.
And the giant stadium rock’n’pop madness of Rumours and Tusk and Mirage
and Tango In The Night.
I went on to solo albums by not just Lindsey and Stevie – and their killer duo
album that got them gig. I had VHS tapes of Christine McVie concerts and LPs
by Mick Fleetwood
and any guest appearances.
Books and other video tapes
and DVDs – stories
and docos and
so many hits compilations.
I’d drive over to a mate’s house who lived
half an hour away just so we could
listen to our tapes of Fleetwood Mac,
comparing whether live or studio versions
And yet I’ve never heard the story
told better than on that
dubbed VHS tape that my
bro recorded late one Friday night.
It packs so much in – 21 years in 51 minutes.
We watched it first as a family.
All of us hooked. All of us learning.
I just took it to a whole other level.
The way I did
with a lot of music
and memories and memorabilia
and silly ephemera.
These things meant the world
Some of them still do.
And will forever.
There are better bands
than Fleetwood Mac
but there are none
that mean more
to me in my
And there might
well be better
be hard, unless
this is the only
Which is possible.
But never the reason
for me to write this.
The soap-opera of