Q&A: Fleetwood Mac on Reissuing 'Rumours' and Making New Music
Fleetwood Mac, Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage
Few expected the reunion of Fleetwood Mac's classic Seventies lineup back in 1997, and even fewer could have predicted it would still be going strong in 2013. On April 4th, in Columbus, Ohio, the band begin a North American tour with a set list that will include new songs. And on Tuesday comes the release of expanded editions of Rumours, their multi-platinum, career-defining disc from 1977.
"After all this time you would think there was nothing left to discover, nothing left to work out, no new chapters to be written. But that is not the case," singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham tells Rolling Stone.
Buckingham, drummer Mick Fleetwood and singer Stevie Nicks recently gathered for interviews in a huge, wood-paneled room at the Village Recorder, a legendary recording space in West Los Angeles. More than three decades earlier, the band spent 13 months there making the 1979 double album Tusk, the surprisingly experimental follow-up to Rumours.
"We have a connection with this building like we have with nothing else," said Nicks. "It's hallowed ground."
At the interview Nicks and Buckingham held hands, Fleetwood sitting beside them as votive candles flickered around the room. (Bassist John McVie stayed home, and former singer-keyboardist Christine McVie has been retired to the English countryside since 1998.)
Rolling Stone's cover story about the making of Rumours featured a photo of you all in bed together. Were the stories of romantic turmoil true?
Stevie Nicks: They're all true. [Laughter]
Lindsey Buckingham: That really was a lot of the appeal of Rumours. The music was wonderful, but the music was also authentic because it was two couples breaking up and writing dialogue to each other. It was also appealing because we were rising to the occasion to follow our destiny. So you had to live in denial, you had to learn to compartmentalize your emotions and do what needs to be done. It brought out the voyeur a little bit in everybody.
Nicks: Most people, when they break up, you don't see each other for a while. You hope that you don't run into that person ever at that point. In our situation, the breakups were going on, and we had to go to work the next day. It was very hard. You had to walk in with your head high and an open heart. We had to be very focused, and we knew that because no matter how hard it was on us – and it was awful – we still wanted to make a great record. Nobody was going to say, OK, I'll just quit.
You knew you were going to the studio at 2 [p.m.], and you knew you would be there until 3 or 4 in the morning. And you couldn't sit there at the board and glare at your ex-partner. You had to be a grownup. Even though there were a thousand people around us saying to do this or do that, we still had to gather together as a fivesome and say, "We're not going to let this beat us."
When you do the Rumours songs now, do any of those original feelings ever come back?
Buckingham: Oh, I hope not.
Nicks: I think the original feelings do come back. They take me right back to where we were. The songs morph a little bit every time we do them. Instrumentally, they morph. "Gold Dust Woman" is sometimes Indian. Sometimes it's just rock & roll. It travels, and all these songs do that. To me, they are always exciting. I never feel bored when we burst into one of our big hit songs, because what they were all written about was so heavy that they could never be boring.