The Chain – Fleetwood Mac’s drama rages on
If music be the food of love, then play on.
And play on they do. Naming their 1969 album after a quote from Shakespeare was a prophetic foreshadowing for the members of Fleetwood Mac, never guessing the band’s career for the next 40 years would be a sea of turmoil, celebrity and betrayal worthy of one (maybe even two) of Old Willy’s plays.
Since 1967, Fleetwood Mac has shared its music with generations of loyal fans, who very often were as intrigued by the incestuous soap opera that was its legacy as they were with the music itself.
And so it continues.
Most recently, singer/songwriter/ keyboardist Christine McVie, who had been with the band since 1968 and out of the band for 16 years, returned in 2014. Stevie Nicks had been lamenting Christine’s absence the entire time, and gushed when she returned to the fold. Fans rejoiced as well, as the full Fleetwood Mac sound was finally intact for the first time since the mid-1990s.
And just in time for the band’s iconic 50th anniversary. Plans were made for a new album and tour (according to Lindsey Buckingham, most likely the band’s curtain call). Mick Fleetwood is on board. John McVie is on board. Christine McVie is on board. And for once, Lindsey is not the tantrum-throwing baby tossing a wrench in the works.
No, this time it is Stevie Nicks.
Currently on tour to promote her 24 Karat Gold album, Stevie has put off working on the new album time after time. The latest excuse was the success and extension of her tour, and now she is saying in interviews she doesn’t know if she wants to work on the new album at all, as she “doesn’t want to be in a room with a bunch of people arguing for the next year.”
After more than a year of waiting for Stevie to come around, the band apparently has had it with her antics and just this week announced the release of a “duet” album from Lindsey and Christine, with Mick and John providing the crucial rhythm section for the release.
But 4/5 of the band does not the band make. As great as it will no doubt be, Stevie’s songs and harmony vocals will be missed, just as Christine was sorely missed for 2003’s Say You Will.
While the fans will be happy to have new music, it is not what they want. They want a new Fleetwood Mac album.
The band’s 50th anniversary is the perfect time to celebrate with a new album, a world tour and the official release of the remastered Buckingham Nicks album from 1973. Regarding that legendary project, Stevie has said for years that she would like to see it released as fans have demanded for years, but Lindsey is the one who has been hedging. Now, sabotaging the Mac’s plans for new music will not help her cause…knowing these two, Lindsey would easily block the release of Buckingham Nicks just as a “fuck you” to Stevie for her recent behavior.
I get it. Keeping the drama alive keeps the band in the public consciousness. I have often wondered how much of the infighting is genuine, and how much is generated by a very savvy public relations firm. But that may be over thinking things. It is very possible that this is just a ragtag crew of creatively minded, overindulged, spoiled and temperamental forces thrown together into a volatile mix of emotion and genius, and the price to pay for the art they create is the egos we are forced to tolerate.
But Stevie…come on. It has been 41 years since the breakup with Lindsey (which you initiated). It has been 27 years since your knock-down-drag-out with Mick over his autobiography, the affair and Silver Springs. You were mad because Lindsey chose the track listing for Say You Will…14 years ago. Now you say you feel insulted that the band has not heaped praise over your latest solo album, just as they seemed to “ignore” your first solo project, 1981’s Bella Donna.
I understand that you feel you have given so much of yourself to Fleetwood Mac, and I understand that these are not the easiest people to work with. But you yourself have said throughout your entire career that everything you do, you do for your music and your fans. If you truly care about
the people for whom you make your music, you would put their desires over your petty bickering.
You are not a high school senior; you are a bunch of 70-year-olds who should be realizing at this point that life is too short.
Tell Lindsey and Christine that you want them to drop their plans for a duet album (you know they would do it in a heartbeat; they are businesspeople and know anything with the Fleetwood Mac brand would vastly outsell any solo projects, especially in this day and age). It’s pretty clear this 50th anniversary is going to be the band’s last hurrah…what better way to go out than with an album of new music along with a tour featuring all five members of the classic 70s lineup.
Then you can finally go your own way, knowing you made a lot of fans, including this one, very happy.
On a lighter note, this weekend also unveiled the long awaited plans to release a deluxe edition of 1987’s Tango in the Night, complete with the out-of-print 1988 concert DVD and remastered versions of the rare B-side tracks.