When it comes to telling the Fleetwood Mac story, we hear much about the relationships that went wrong – especially Nicks and Buckingham’s tumultuous relationship – but not as much about the most stable and enduring of all, that between Nicks and McVie. Two women together in a band during the wildly decadent 70s, they supported each other through the madness that was Fleetwood Mac: the broken relationships and ill-advised affairs (in particular, Nicks’s doomed fling with Fleetwood) that played out over mountains of cocaine, gallons of alcohol and so much marijuana that McVie says she didn’t even need to smoke it: “You would just get high on the air,” she recalls. “Those guys would blow it in your face and you’d go: ‘Wow, that’s strong!’”
At first, it was a simple friendship. As McVie puts it: “We shared rooms, did each other’s makeup and lived on Dunkin’ Donuts.”
"We really were quite tame people back then," Nicks confirms. "The band had two couples in it, plus Mick was married with two little girls – so we had to behave. We’d play a gig, get on an aeroplane right after the show and leave to the next place. And we were watched like hawks. We had security outside each of our rooms so Chris and I were almost like travelling rock’n’roll nuns."
She registers my suspicion at this. Fleetwood Mac, I suggest, are known for many things, but their dedication for living under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience is not one of them. “Well, it’s true,” she replies, laughing.
"I wouldn’t say ‘nuns’," McVie says, also laughing, when I put it to her, "but it was like the army." She motions a jabbing finger at her watch: "It was regimented. The rock’n’roll lifestyle did have its perks but it wasn’t all limos and parties in the early days."
But the best part, emphasis mine:
"We didn’t really like [Tusk]," McVie admits. "We just kind of went" – she rolls her eyes – "okaaay. Because it was so different from Rumours. Deliberately so. In hindsight, I do like that record, but at the time me and Stevie would be like: ‘What the hell is he doing in the toilet playing an empty Kleenex box for a drum?’”