"Sausalito was the worst," moans Stevie Nicks. Sinking into a corner of her cranberry velour sofa, a bowl of split pea soup in one hand, she recollects the first recording session for Fleetwood Mac's latest, Rumours.
It was February 1976 when Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie left Los Angeles for the Record Plant in Sausalito to record--rather try to record--material for a follow-up to the immensely prosperous Fleetwood Mac album. It was then that the pressures of the business and their new-found fame and fortune started to cast dark clouds on the romantic relationships within the band. When the thunderstorms let up, John and Christine, after eight years of marriage, and Stevie and Lindsey, after six years as roommates, had separated. Mick and his lady Jenny were in the middle of divorce proceedings--only to eventually remarry.
"Not only was it cold, what was happening," says Stevie, "but it was cold to leave and cold to come back. We were all trying to break up and when you break up with someone, you don't want to see him. You especially don't want to eat breakfast with him the next morning, see him all day and all night, and all day the day after and all night. Finally (after nearly two months) Mick said one day, 'We're going home.' We took a couple days off, spent four days rehearsing, and then went on the road for 10 days. At that point, we needed the feedback. We needed to hear the people say, 'OK, we know you're having problems, but we still like you.' "
Before joining Fleetwood Mac, Californians Stevie and Lindsey had released one album, Buckingham Nicks (Polydor), but it quickly found its way into the cut-out bins ("We were tax write-offs," says Lindsey) and they were dropped from the label. Emotional entanglements or not, they weren't about to slam the door in the face of success. "Really, each one of us was way too proud and way too stubborn to walk away from it," Stevie recalls. "I wasn't going to leave. Lindsey wasn't going to leave. What would we have done? Sat around L.A. and tried to start new bands? Nobody wanted to do that. We like touring. We like making money and we like being a band. It
"A lot of people have come up to us in the last year to interview us and they say, 'Well, now that you guys have become a commercial success, did you just decide you were going to go commercial and make it that way?' and we say 'NO!' " For Lindsey Buckingham, being called "commercial" comes on like an insult. "Stevie and I joined the band and the way we write happens to be the way we write. We've never tried consciously to fit into anything or do anything like say 'OK, we gotta write a hit.'"