Wednesday 07 January @ 12:17:05
by Tom Hallett
Greetings, ’Dial-heads! Welcome to the New Year, and here’s to hopin’ that most of your hangovers have worn off by now—or you’re well on your ways to creating fresh ones. For those of you who’ve missed the past few weeks of RTD, we’ve had somewhat of an ongoing debate raging in these pages over my Christmas Eve column, in which I reviewed an old Fleetwood Mac album. For full details, check out the archives section of Pulse’s website, http://www.pulsetc.com. That column spawned several nasty missives from overzealous fans of the band, one of which I responded to last week.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I think, if you really want to get down to it, you have a file, in your head, for every sound you ever heard It happens so quickly without you being aware of it, that’s why it seems like it’s coming from a different place. It actually comes from the same place every time. It’s just a bunch of electricity and chemicals up there.”
SONG OF THE WEEK: “Let’s Shake Hands”
—The White Stripes
Since then, I’ve literally been deluged with mail; most of it also from ‘Mac fans all over the world who’ve been following the situation online. Ordinarily, I’d have let this whole mess just fade away like those painful memories of 1985’s (or 2003’s) Top 40 hits, but since these folks obviously represent the saner side of Fleetwood Mac’s fan base, I guess it’s only fair that I run their letters as well. Please, though—let’s move on after this, kids. I’d like to review an album recorded in THIS century one of these weeks soon. In the meantime, here we go:
’Round The Dial:
Thanks for your response to the guy who wrote in about Fleetwood Mac ... you really set him straight. I myself being a devout 18-yr-old fan of the “Rumours lineup” really think people like “John” give real Fleetwood Mac fans a bad name ...
I enjoyed your article on Kiln House. Perhaps John has forgotten the roots of his beloved band (my beloved band too might I add). Stevie Nicks is incredible, and so was Peter Green, and Jeremy Spencer. This guy needs to get a reality check. I for one do not think Stevie Nicks or Lindsey Buckingham would ever try to undermine the importance of the pre-1974 Fleetwood Mac members, so why should Fleetwood Mac fans? Your response was VERY enjoyable. Almost as enjoyable as your article on Kiln House.
Your Kiln House column got the unusual attention because somebody with a Fleetwood Mac website (http://www.burnish.net) linked to it. She also linked to your latest column and it sure made me laugh.
I must say that I totally agree with the whole thing (though I prefer Christine in my dreams but that’s a whole different story) and I’m a big fan of the Rumours line-up.
Anyway, just wanted to thank you for the laugh and also point you to the dozens of interviews in which Lindsey Buckingham is telling everybody who’s willing to listen that the band is ‘in the best place creatively ever’ and how much they are enjoying themselves on tour. So you were right about everything, except about how the Mac would agree with you that they don’t have the same drive anymore.
I guess Fleetwood Mac fans, especially the young ones who got to know them from The Dance, get a little bit frustrated to see the band treated as if they were as dead as the Eagles are. I saw them twice on their European tour and I’ve seen a lot of bands, but this show made me leave the venues with my jaw still on the floor (which makes walking slightly awkward, but you know what I mean).
These people rock the place down and the new songs are not the ones that make you go for a beer. They are the ones that have made me cry, both shows. (Except for Buckingham’s new song, “Come,” that has had a slightly different effect, but ... well—let’s get back to my argument, shall we?)
This is a band who are not at the height of their sales, but surely at the height of their playing, and it would make us happy to see them getting the appreciation for it.
You know what? Let’s make a deal. I get Kiln House from my record store around the corner, and you go see Fleetwood Mac when they come back to the U.S. for the last leg of their tour. You might find yourself fantasizing about Stevie Nicks again, I’m sure even your girlfriend will understand. Now I did it again. Please don’t trash my spelling in your column, have mercy on a poor Dutch girl.
Thank you again,
‘Round The Dial:
While I don’t necessarily agree with your friend John from last week’s column regarding how you didn’t take the Buckingham-Nicks era of Fleetwood Mac seriously enough, I can see where he is coming from.
Certainly this era of Fleetwood Mac has its share of sugary pop songs, as you put it, but if you really look at the catalogue of songs from this time of the band, you may be surprised by the moody powerful rock songs of this timeframe. Perhaps you are already aware of this, but I think it is important to let the readers of your column understand that Fleetwood Mac is not a silly pop band.
Not only was Tusk before its time and extremely experimental in 1979, Fleetwood Mac is continuing with this style of long experimental records with no pop singles in sight. I am, of course, talking about Say You Will, which came out less than a year ago. This record was created by the same members of the band who were involved in the creation of Rumours, sans Christine McVie.
Please encourage your readers who are fans of the rock and roll genre to buy a copy of this new record. They should not expect the “pop fluff,” as some call it, that they heard on Rumours. Say You Will is arty, edgy and dark; but it is still the same old Fleetwood Mac from the Buckingham-Nicks years.
I should have written you after your interminable piece on Lester Bangs, which proved two things to me: 1) you can’t write; and 2) you don’t know a fucking thing about Lester Bangs. But I found it impossible to stay silent after last week’s response to John, who had a problem with your Fleetwood Mac column. I had to go back online to your original column to make sure that somehow, your attack was justified, but alas, it only strengthened my thoughts about how wrong you were in the first place. So as you did in your lovely broadside, I will quote from your column, with my comments in parentheses.
“When you write to the paper, you should at least do a spell check—hell, some computers have ‘em built right in, so you don’t even really have to know HOW to spell to write a letter.” That’s fine. So then, from your previous column, spell it with me—E-X-O-R-B-I-T-A-N-T. There’s no H. As you said, “it makes ya look really, umm ... UNDER-educated. Not to mention stupid.” But I suppose you can’t spell check a column that’s filled with yers and ‘ems and ans and jes’ and waitin’ fers.
“I am NOT a critic.” Well, I found that a little difficult to swallow, after reading this column for several years. I was now confused, and didn’t know what in the hell I had been reading all this time. To clear my head, I consulted the faithful Merriam Webster, which defines critic as “one who engages often professionally in the analysis, evaluation, or appreciation of works of art or artistic performances.” If that’s not what the purpose of your column is, please enlighten me, O Wise One!
“Pretentious? Hardly. Most of my regulars know that my music collection starts with ABBA an’ ends with ZZ fuckin’ Top—about as UN-pretentious as ya can get with a rock’n’roll writer these days.” Fine, but in the meantime would ya quit namedropping, oh, I don’t know, Roky Erickson, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Carter Family, Calexico, and the Rotters in your column? They’re all a bit pretentious, the kinds of artists rock critics (ooh, that word again!) love to write about. No problem from me, as they’re all in my collection (except for the Rotters, thanks for that tip), but you have an image to uphold.
Which leads me to, “you better be able to take a little constructive criticism from time to time, or just get the hell outta the biz.” Because if you can’t take your lumps, you just can lash out at the letter writer in your next column, however misguided they may be? I was just wondering what you meant by that, and sincerely hope that you can go back to writing about music, which can be amusing at times.
Well folks, there ya go! The good, the bad, and the ugly, all wrapped up purty an’ topped with a bow. I’d like to thank RTD readers across the planet for readin’ as well as for their feedback, and hope we can finally lay this classic rock beast to rest. In my original response to John about the Kiln House review, I said that I’d learned more from making mistakes than I ever have by gettin’ it right the first time, and I don’t think I coulda said it better.
This time around, I learned that there are a lotta people out there—all over the world—who take their music just as seriously as I do mine. I learned that some of ‘em are crazy as fuck, and I’m glad I don’t know ‘em personally. I learned that some of ‘em are as funny, smart, witty, and interesting as the characters I do know personally. I learned that (as my loyal reader Greg pointed out above) when ya stick a shitload of “yers,” “whut’s,” an’—er—“an’s” into yer work, ya takes yer chances dat yer gonna miss a word ‘er two durin’ spell check, lil’ buddy. I also learned that, regardless of Greg’s opinions on my talent (or lack thereof) as a writer, more people enjoy this column than not. Until next time—make yer own damn news.
If you have local music news/gigs/events that you’d like to see listed in this column, or you’re Greg’s sense of humor and you’ve been trying desperately to find him for years, send replies to: TMygunn777@aol.com