Episode 218: Fleetwood Mac Pat and rock journalist David Wild discuss the 40+ years of recorded history by the chart-topping band Fleetwood Mac. From September 17, 2015
With your host:
Pat and David Wild welcome us to the show. This is David's fourth time on the show, so we must be doing something right. It's a very hot night in L.A. David and Pat were both recently in Italy (though not together) and it was even hotter there. David's a bit emotional now because his son went to college. He may be in the same state, but it's still a real Norwegian Wood scenario (this bird has flown, as they say). Pat recommends that David adopt Mike Siegel; even the most handsome of coke fiends needs a father figure in their life. Hall and Oates are actually playing in Berkeley where David's son goes to college.
"I could put you in touch with their manager."
- Pat, referring to Hall & Oates.
"I could put myself in touch with John Oates."
Today Pat and David are discussing the band Fleetwood Mac, one of David's favorite artists. Of course this wouldn't be a David Wild episode without a bevy of namedropping on behalf of our guest co-host. He begins by mentioning he once had dinner with Stevie Nicks. David feels like the lost child of Stevie and Lindsey Buckingham because he's known both of them for so long. David became friends with Lindsey around Tango in the Night. Then he interviewed Stevie during her troubled years where she would cry a lot. Pat wonders what someone like Stevie Nicks wears to dinner. David says she's stylish, but wears significantly less scarves than Steven Tyler.
David had the privilege of writing the liner notes for the 2013 reissue of Rumours. He tried to listen to this with fresh ears and found that he liked the album a lot more than he remembered. The song "Oh Daddy" is the one song Pat fast forwards through when listening to the album. It's a Christine McVie song, which David feels you need to have on the album in order to break up the monotony of Buckingham and Nicks songs. Knowing both of them, David wonders how Stevie and Lindsey ever got along. Lindsey is the technical, musical genius. Stevie is the free-flowing, fun artist. I smell a sitcom!
Not everything Fleetwood Mac does is considered easy listening. There's some weirdness and eccentricity to it as well. It's just that the lighter songs are the ones that make it to the radio. David and his kids got to see Fleetwood Mac do a full show rehearsal for the Say You Will tour. He could still see the tension from back in the day poking its head through. Pat likes Lindsey's Fleetwood Mac songs, but he only likes some of his solo songs. David notes that the band is aware of how much they need each other, even when they don't always get along. Lindsey himself is frustrated how his genius is making other people sound great.
David kicks off the music with a song called "Gyspy" from the album Mirage. Pat really likes Mirage. It's the anti-Tusk, where the puppet strings of Lindsey Buckingham were severely limited after dominating the prior album.
Pat's first selection goes all the way back to 1969, when the names Nicks, Buckingham, and C. McVie were mere whispers in the wind. Fleetwood Mac was being steered by a guy named Peter Green. Off the album "Then Play On", it's the song "Oh Well". David believes that there's a thread that links this bluesy stuff to the later years.
David wants to highlight the years with Bob Welch. You can almost hear the collective podcast audience roll their eyes because the mere mention of Bob Welch gets Pat going on his "Bob Welch isn't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame despite being on five albums" rant. David plays a song called "Hypnotized" from the album Mystery to Me. Poor Bob eventually went off the deep end (as most Fleetwood Mac members end up doing. You could fill the third floor of McLean Hospital with this band.), but Mick Fleetwood usually keeps the connections going. Members of the band did help Bob with some of his solo stuff. The man did have gold and platinum albums with the band, after all.
Pat plays his song from the Bob Welch era. The song is the original version of "Sentimental Lady" from the album Bare Trees.
A lot of people have been in Fleetwood Mac. Even Dave Mason (yes, that Dave Mason) was in the band for a cup of coffee. David has a story, though, that he can weep to. He was at the reunion concert The Dance which spawned the live album of the same name. His wife was very pregnant (with the same child that recently flew the coop for college). The checkup was the same day as the concert, and the doctor told them that there was a cancer scare. After four hours of waiting, another doctor told them that there was nothing.
After that, they went to the concert. The minute Fleetwood Mac started, David was weeping like a washwoman. He cried the entire show. While Stevie Nicks was belting out "Rhiannon," David's tears could have been used at seven different Passover Seders. David plays "Bleed to Love Her (Live)" from the album. The Dance was ten years after Tango in the Night, Lindsey's (at the time) last album with the band, and fifteen years after Lindsey last toured with the band. David remarks that no matter what, the band is chained together in many ways, including romantically. Stevie has said that she will not release a book until all of her partners are dead and buried.
The most recent full album, Say You Will, has 18 tracks. A few too many, says Pat. But Pat and David agree that the great tracks that are on the album are stellar. Pat plays a song from the album called "Thrown Down". David plays a track called "Peacekeeper".
David turns back the clocks to the band's second self-titled album, released in 1975. Pat plays a song called "Blue Letter". Many people forget that before Rumours came along, this album was just as big. David plays a song from the album that is very rare, in that it was co-written by Christine and Lindsey. The song is called "World Turning".
Pat plays another song from Bob Welch's Fleetwood Mac called "Dissatisfied", from the album Penguin.
The conversation turns to an album that David used to have to defend, but now everyone thinks is hip and trendy like the pet rock or the slinky. It's the double album Tusk. David plays a song called "Walk a Thin Line". He comments on Lindsey having a unique guitar style. Pat likes a lot of the stuff on Tusk, which is very experimental and Lindsey-heavy. The song "Tusk" itself is strange, especially since it was a single. All there is to say is that the song features a marching band and the video has a cardboard cut-out of John McVie.
Pat plays a song from Tusk called "Not That Funny". Cop sirens are blaring in the background. Maybe they're looking for Mike Siegel, America's secret cartel king. Who knows what secrets lie behind that fly honey smile?
David's next song became a hit despite getting left off of Rumours. It's one of the most beautiful songs ever written, according to David. Yet it was exiled to being a B-Side. The song is called "Silver Springs".
"Silver Springs" was eventually added to the track listing of Rumours years later. Meanwhile April Richardson just walked in and David is starstruck. Thankfully he's not too flustered that he can't pay attention to Pat's next song. Off the album Mirage, it's "Oh Diane". Lindsey is really revealing his So Cal whiteness with this song. David tells a humorous about how when he first met Lindsey, Lindsey told him he had six songs ready for his solo album. Then a few years later, Lindsey told David he had four songs ready for his next solo album. At this rate, Lindsey will have no songs ready for his next venture.
David's next pick is a rare Fleetwood Mac cover. Off the live album Live, it's the Beach Boys song "The Farmer's Daughter (Live)".
Pat takes us to 1990 and Behind the Mask, an album without Lindsey Buckingham. Pat plays the song "Save Me". It's the standout song of the album, but it still lacks the edge and landscape that Lindsey brought. It took two guitarists to replace him for Pete's sake. This was the cocaine decade, after all, so the band needed as much help as they could get.
David returns to Rumours with the song "The Chain". David thinks of it as their theme song. Even with all the shit they've been through, they can never break the chain.
David plays the song. As white as these guys are, the song is very tribal. And the tension certainly helped make the song great. "You could make a flowchart of who was fucking who," says David. Eloquently put, David. Lindsey was the one who brought Stevie into the band, though Stevie doesn't like that story. And Stevie claims that she was vacuuming people's apartments before being in the band, which Lindsey calls a severe exaggeration. Oh I don't know what to believe, it's a barrel of guesses and games. Pat meanwhile plays a song from the 1975 self-titled album called "Landslide". I personally recommend the Smashing Pumpkins cover, which is just as delectable as the original.
David plays another song from Rumours. It's "Go Your Own Way". David calls it a perfect song, and it captures the tension that the band was going through.
Now that Christine is back in the band, they are looking to celebrate what they had. Will there be a new album? David has the skinny. Lindsey wants it, Stevie not so much. In the meantime, we got a little taste of modern Mac with the 2013 extended play Extended Play (gee, really digging deep for that one, guys). Pat plays "Sad Angel". He wouldn't be surprised if these songs got cleaned up and injected with the essence of Christine McVie for a future release.
Somehow the conversation turns to Ted Nugent. Of course David has a story. Nugent called David to write the liner notes for his compilation album Out of Control. David wasn't thrilled with the idea. Nugent sensed the hesitation and said, "I know you don't like me. But that's okay because I like me enough for the both of us. David eventually wrote the notes. God bless Uncle Ted.
Off the album Tango in the Night, Pat plays the song "Big Love". The grunts that you hear are Lindsey's grunts sped up. So he's basically making love to himself. Pat marvels at the group photo on the back cover. It looks like Lindsey is smuggling a baked potato in his pants. Hey now. This was the album that Lindsey made and then bolted before the tour started. David says Lindsey couldn't handle going on tour. Stevie was so messed up at the time. David knows that if Lindsey hadn't left then, then he wouldn't be in the band now.
Pat plays one more song from Rumours called "I Don't Want to Know". The song is one of the lesser known songs from Rumours and it still could be a hit.
David plays another song from Tusk called "That's All for Everyone". David points out that Lindsey made a lot of Tusk in his garage.
Pat's final song is from Mirage. The song is called "Love in Store".
Pat tried to get Lindsey's autograph at a show once. The man didn't even look back as he snubbed Pat and the other people waiting for him after the show. But goddammit, the man still looks good. David says he's not the kind of guy who obsesses over that kind of stuff, but Pat objects. At a Conan taping, it took forever to light Lindsey because he didn't want his double chin to show. Oh Pat, now you'll never get the man on the show. Him and Rick Springfield will be chortling on the golf course while you're sad and alone in the studio.
Plugs time. You can find David on Twitter @wildaboutmusic. He's still walking everywhere and racking up the steps. The man recently hiked to the U2 episode. While Murray was blathering on about the intricacies of Pop, David was building up a sweat.
David takes us out with a song from Buckingham Nicks, Stevie and Lindsey's outfit before they went to Fleetwood Mac. Off their only self-titled album, it's the song "Crying in the Night".