Didn’t you meet Lindsey Buckingham at Sound City?
Yes. On my second or third day, I was relegated to painting the control room ceiling in Studio A. There were a few other people helping me—in particular a gentleman and a young lady who was trying to paint the ceiling, but kept getting more paint on her hair. I grabbed the paint roller out of her hand and showed her how to do it. That lady turned out to be Stevie Nicks, and the gentleman was her boyfriend, Lindsey Buckingham. Within two hours, we had already decided we were going to get a place together.
They were living with Keith Olsen at the time, and were in a band called Fritz. Fritz had broken up, and they had gone on their own as Buckingham-Nicks. Lindsey took me into the maintenance room and played me his demos, and the first time I heard them, I fell in love with the music. “Monday Morning” was on there, as was “I’m So Afraid,” “Frozen Love”—a bunch of stuff. That’s where my real music education started—with Lindsey Buckingham.
When you met Buckingham and Nicks, you were on your way to a good career as a studio engineer, but then you tossed it aside to go on the road with Fleetwood Mac. Why?
The Buckingham-Nicks album didn’t do so well, and they got dropped from the label. We decided to take matters into our own hands, and [Sound City owners] Joe Godfried and Tom Skeeter offered us studio time to produce our own record—which was very generous of them. We were in the middle of that when Mick Fleetwood came along. Keith was demoing the studio for him as a place to record, and he was using the Buckingham-Nicks album to show Mick how great the room sounded. Mick took one listen, and basically asked them to join. That was the good news! The bad news was that we had to stop doing the second Buckingham-Nicks record. But “I’m So Afraid,” “Monday Morning,” and “Blue Letter”—which we had started developing—went on the first Fleetwood Mac record they did together.
I had parted with Keith Olsen, and had left Sound City by the time they started recording Fleetwood Mac. But they were getting ready to go on the road, so Lindsey called and asked if I’d mix the live sound for the tour. Because I was young, and had a tremendous sense of adventure and curiosity at the time—and also because of the girls and the money—I decided to say “yes” [laughs].