Stevie Nicks: "All of us were drug addicts, but I was the worst"
With drug use rampant in the band, it’s no surprise that the 80s and 90s delivered Fleetwood Mac some dizzying highs and crashing comedowns
At the end of the Tusk tour in 1980, Fleetwood Mac was over. Blown away on the tides of cocaine, money, madness, and a bloated double-album that appeared to do everything it could to distance itself from the winning, grinning, sinning So-Cal sound of Rumours.
Over-influenced by the sudden ascendance of punk, Lindsey Buckingham had cut his hair, shaved his beard and bent over backwards to try to bring Fleetwood Mac up to speed with the new now sound of the delusional late 70s. The irony that this was achieved in a $1.5 million purpose-built studio was apparently lost on him.
Now, in the aftermath of the relative commercial failure of Tusk, and a tortuous year-long world tour that had left all five members in a hurry to get as far away from each other as possible, prospects for any sort of follow-up were thin, to say the least.
Indeed, the next five years were to be so grim for Mick Fleetwood that by 1985 he had sold his mansion, his flash car collection, even all his gold and platinum records, and now slept on a cot in the back room of Mac producer Richard Dashut’s Laurel Canyon home. He was bankrupt, divorced, and so addled on coke that the only people he still spoke to on a regular basis were the voices in his head.
“I’d been down before, in the years after Peter Green left and we struggled to stay afloat,” he said. “But never anything quite like this.”
In 1985, the dogged keeper of the Fleetwood Mac flame – the man who had co-founded the group and been its driving force for nearly 20 years – found it almost impossible to imagine how he would ever fight his way back from this form of “extended hotel hell”.
How had it happened? How had things got to this?