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Authors: Carol Ann Harris

Storms

BOOK: Storms
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Author's Note

Everything
in
this book is
true and documented. Some
conversations have
been re-created from memory. Certain names have been changed.

STORMS

My Life
with Lindsen Buckingham
and Fleetwood Mac

Carol Ann Harris

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Harris, Carol Ann.

Storms : my life with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac / Carol Ann
Harris. —1st ed.

        p. cm.

ISBN-13: 978-1-55652-660-2

ISBN-10: 1-55652-660-1

1. Buckingham, Lindsey. 2. Rock musicians—Biography. 3. Harris, Carol Ann. 4. Fleetwood Mac (Musical group) I. Title.

ML419.B84H37 2007

782.42166092'2—dc22

[B]

2006100149

Cover and interior design: Emily Brackett / Visible Logic
Cover images: Bettmann/CORBIS (band); Mediolmages/Getty (clouds)
All photos courtesy of the collection of Carol Ann Harris unless otherwise
noted.

©2007 by Carol Ann Harris
All rights reserved
First edition
Published by Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
814 North Franklin Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
ISBN-13: 978-1-55652-660-2

ISBN-10: 1-55652-660-1

Printed in the United States of America

5 4 3 2 1

This book is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Ruth and Tom Harris. I miss you more than words can say.

A special recognition to my husband, Swiss rock drummer Martin Ehrsam, for his endless patience, love, guidance, and support that has never wavered from the moment we met… thank you for not only believing in me, but giving me the courage to follow my dreams.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Yuval Taylor and Chicago Review Press for their support, encouragement, and hard work on my book. Special thanks to Michelle Schoob for her editing input. I gratefully acknowledge the dedication and friendship of my agent B. J. Robbins. Thanks again to one of the best photographers on the planet, Ed Roach, for the generous use of his fabulous photographs in this book. And many thanks to my friend, the brilliant Charles Bush, for his amazing photographs.

I also want to acknowledge and give my loving and heartfelt thanks to the people who offered me their love, friendship, and shoulders to lean upon during the years when I needed it the most: John Courage, Sara Fleetwood, Julie McVie, Bjorn Sailor, Sheri Morgan, Bruce Derr, Lori Lazenby, Garry B., and my six sisters, Margaret, Tommie, Patsy, Sue, Dana, and Jeannie. To Dennis Wilson, thanks for all the laughter and the memories. I will never forget you.

Last but not least, I'd like to give a special thank you to my extended family in Switzerland who are too numerous to name. A special, special thanks to Erika and Heinz Ehrsam, Roland and Janet Leibundgut, Urs and Adrian Buser, Andy and Claudia Strub, Antonia and Markus Stauffenegger, and Rolf Wirz. And to wonderful Salva Di Gregorio—I love you, and many thanks for letting me use your laptop computer during my many visits to my home away from home! I love you all.

CONTENTS

I
NTRODUCTION

1 N
EVER
“B
REAK THE CHAIN

2 D
ON'T
L
OOK
B
ACK

3 G
OLD
D
UST

4 L
ADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
F
LEETWOOD MAC!

5 T
HROUGH THE
L
OOKING GLASS

6 I
F YOU
D
ON'T LOVE ME
N
OW

7 L
IGHTNING
F
LASHES

8 D
REAMS OF A
L
IFETIME

9 I
T'S NOT
T
HAT
F
UNNY
I
S
I
T?

10
ON THE EDGE

11 M
AKE
I
T
, B
ABY

12 D
ON'T SAY
T
HAT YOU LOVE ME

13 S
TAR
P
OWER

14 B
EHIND THE GOLD
C
URTAIN

15 S
TORMS

16 E
NDLESS
S
UMMER

17 A
NCIENT
B
ATTLEGROUNDS

18 B
OULEVARD OF
B
ROKEN
D
REAMS

19 I
T ALL GOES
I
NSANE

E
PILOGUE

I
NDEX

INTRODUCTION

“Do you think we're gonna make it?” Lindsey kept asking me, with all the insecurity and persistence of a little boy.

Lindsey wasn't asking about our relationship because—with the naive optimism of youth—we both
knew
that it could only blossom, and that we would be together forever. No—he was asking about the band.

If the new album did well, the band could stay together, and perhaps survive another tour—feuding, angry, but solvent. Christine, John, and Mick could get their green cards, which was important if the band, in whatever form, wanted to stay in the United States.

So, we just hung around Producer's Workshop, where I worked as studio manager, dodging the rain between the dirty concrete buildings that were Studio A and Studio B, drinking machine coffee and vodka, smoking anything that came to hand, listening to the constant dripping from the leaky roof … and hoping. Sometimes, someone would sing Stevie's words, “Thunder only happens when it's raining”, and we'd all burst into frantic laughter, verging on tearful hysteria.

It rained all winter. In 1977 Los Angeles had the coldest, stormiest winter in living memory. As we drove down Hollywood Boulevard, windshield wipers playing backup to Lindsey's songs, just starting to break on every radio station, we'd see the Warner Bros. vans surfing through drowned streets with new deliveries to the record stores. People paddled from the stores, bent double, protecting their album from the downpour, jumping puddles in the car lots, driving home to shelter, to listen. Was it
his
album,
Rumours?
We wondered every time.

The eventual success of
Rumours
far surpassed our wildest hopes. Within twelve months, that album would sell more than any Beatles album has ever sold. And if the Beatles had been “phenomenal”, what word was unique enough to encompass this Fleetwood Mac shockwave? In the first month after release, a million copies were sold—as good as it gets for the lifetime of most record albums. Selling a million—” going platinum”—
that's the aim of every good rock band, but this album did it even
before
its official release date.
Rumours
reached number one on the charts in four weeks, and stayed there unchallenged for thirty-one weeks, longer than any album since
West Side Story
back in the early 1960s. Today, almost thirty years later, it remains in the top five rock albums of all time, ahead of such classics as
Hotel California, Born in the U.S.A.
, and
Bat out of Hell.
After thirty million sales, Warner Bros. is still counting.

Recording the album in the first place had been an act of faith and desire to hold on to a winning formula. The
Fleetwood Mac
album, with the new lineup that included Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, had produced three top-ten hits and sold an impressive but hardly legendary four million copies. Mick Fleetwood, perpetually on the brink of bankruptcy, desperately needed another hit.

But the band was falling apart. As the music gossip columns announced, John and Christine McVie's seven-year marriage had ended, and the Cathy and Heathcliff of the band—wispy, otherworldly Stevie Nicks and enigmatic, gifted Lindsey Buckingham—had parted with extreme prejudice. Mick Fleetwood had chased after the wife he'd divorced and had remarried her, but the graft hadn't taken. I'd read the stories myself and saw, when I met the band, that they were painfully true: Fleetwood Mac was a band at war with itself.

I came in as the battle raged, and stayed at the front line for eight years, collecting my own scars along the way. I met Lindsey—who, with Richard Dashut, the sound engineer, was putting the finishing touches to the final mix at Producer's Workshop—and tried to resist the lightning romance that drew us together and brought me into the Fleetwood Mac inner circle. I just wanted to build my career as a sound engineer, not fall in love and enter the fray.

In all the years that I lived with Fleetwood Mac, I saw exactly how musical genius works its magic, and how the music industry claims its dues from monsters or heroes: it really doesn't matter to the money men which you are. I was access-all-areas, public and private, privy to the infighting. Like the others, I was shielded from reality. But unlike the other insiders, I recorded what I saw and felt—secretly, on tape—as a sort of diary that helped me think things through. But these tapes came close to destroying Fleetwood Mac, and they almost destroyed me, too.

It's quite a story. Back in 1976, facing the disintegration of his brainchild band, Mick Fleetwood had an idea. “Hey guys, why don't we chill out here and do some
transcending
[his favorite word] and just write music about all this hassle?” It was the 1970s equivalent of that old Hollywood chestnut “Let's do the show right here!” Using personal heartbreak as the core of their album caught the mood of the moment—our backs are to the wall, so let's use it to our advantage and make it through, slugging it out, taking it on the chin.

Lindsey took to Mick's songs-as-therapy idea like a piranha to blood, channeling his anger at his ex-lover, Stevie, into “Go Your Own Way”: “Packing up, shacking up, is all you wanna do!” he wrote. She never forgave him for making her sing, at every gig, the lyrics that he'd dismissed her with. Her “Dreams” and “I Don't Want to Know” had been so much kinder about him, just leaving him with the hope that rain would wash him clean. And Christine poured her emotions into poignant and upbeat songs about hope and love that bore the message “Don't stop thinking about tomorrow, ‘cause yesterday's gone.”

But the song that captures the spirit of Fleetwood Mac in those endless rainy days before we all started thinking too hopefully about tomorrow was “The Chain”, the only composition by all five band members. The magical creed of our binding organization and blood brotherhood was just this—” Never break the chain.”

That song was an incantation. All along the years, if tempers reached flash point during rehearsals, Mick would start to beat insistently and rhythmically on the bass drum, Lindsey would riff, and the band would move as one toward the mikes:

BOOK: Storms
8.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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