Fleetwood Mac: Not Really How a Rhythm Section Should Work

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SKF NOTE: Fleetwood Mac was among my favorites back in the 1960s when that version of Fleetwood Mac was considered a British blues band with Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood. 

Fleetwood Mac’s original version of Black Magic Woman (written and sung by Peter Green) preceded Santana’s version by two years. When I first heard Santana’s Black Magic Woman I remember saying out loud, “Hey! That’s Fleetwood Mac’s song.”

Of course, Albatross, remains a cool song, and one that, for some of my circle of musician friends at the time, helped open our ears to instrumental jazz. Listening to Albatross this morning for the first time in decades, I hear the Mick Fleetwood and John McVie drums/bass rhythm team perfected on 1975’s self-titled album, Fleetwood Mac.

My theory was always that Mick Fleetwood built his drum parts around John McVie’s bass lines. But, no. According to the recent interview which follows, McVie created his bass parts around Fleetwood’s drumming.

They remain one of the best drum/bass rhythm teams ever.

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Entertainment & Arts
Mick Fleetwood on the early days of Fleetwood Mac and why he’s a terrible drummer
By Mark Savage – BBC Music reporter

It was a beginning of a beautiful friendship. Fleetwood and [bassist John] McVie not only gave their names to Fleetwood Mac, but they are the only constants in the band’s ever-changing line-up.

In the book, Fleetwood says of McVie: “Musically, he helped me survive whenever I was drowning.” And it’s this comment that prompts the revelation about the drummer’s supposed lack of skill.

“For a while, he thought he could train me into doing the same bass drum pattern every night but I couldn’t… because of the way my mind works,” he explains, “so John learned to push all his notes around what I do.”

“It’s become this weird thing. It’s not really how a rhythm section should work. They’re supposed to be doing exactly the same thing at the same time. I’m doing different stuff and he’s falling in between the gaps.”

Full story 

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