Article Found at The Independent
Affairs, breakups, terrifying brawls between lovers, damage to instruments (and skulls), divorce, drug abuse, alcoholism, rows about money, musical differences, and lots and lots and lots of hit records: Fleetwood Mac might have sounded mellow at times, but off stage they were anything but.
“We’re a group of people who, you could make the argument, don’t belong in the same band together,” Lindsey Buckingham once said of his fractious group. “It’s the synergy of that that makes it work.”
Whether they’ve triumphed because of their famously volatile relationship, or in spite of it, Fleetwood Mac have risen from the ashes of their own self-destruction more times than seemed possible. In the past 50 years, they have found a home for themselves teetering on the brink of implosion – unwilling, or perhaps unable, to let each other go. Their new anniversary album, 50 Years – Don’t Stop, could hardly be more aptly titled.
Not that the current members haven’t tried to stop. Stevie Nicks left the band in 1990 over a dispute with Mick Fleetwood, but rejoined a few years later. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham quit in 1987, just before the band’s world tour, to “get on with the next phase of my creative growth” – only to spearhead a reunion a decade later. When Christine McVie packed the whole thing in 1998, she even went as far as moving to a sleepy village in Kent. “There’s no more chance of [McVie returning],” said Stevie Nicks in 2012, “than an asteroid hitting the earth.” A little over a year later, McVie was back in the band, no asteroid in sight.
In the early days, of course, some members left for good. When Fleetwood Mac first formed in London in 1968, so constantly changing was its line-up that “List of Fleetwood Mac members” (there have been 18 of them) is its own Wikipedia page.
After suffering a drug-induced mental decline, founding member Peter Green – who led the band through their early blues-rock era (songs such as “Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonight” could hardly be more different to the pop-rock sound the band would later develop) – left in 1970.
Guitarist Danny Kirwan was fired in 1972 after smashing both his guitar, and his head, on a dressing room wall before a gig. Singer and guitarist Bob Welch, who had become increasingly estranged from John and Christine McVie and whose marriage was failing, resigned in 1974, and was replaced by LA singer-songwriter duo Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. And that’s when the turbulence really started.