Fleetwood and McVie Behind the Curtain

SKF NOTE: Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie are one of pop music’s strongest, most inventive rhythm sections. Listen particularly to 1970s Fleetwood Mac on to the way Mick and John interlock drums and bass guitar with every song.

In this “Anatomy of a Song” by Lindsey Buckingham, he tells the Wall Street Journal’s Marc Myers, “As with our other songs, the instruments on Go Your Own Way weren’t recorded together. John put down a bass part first, then I played some guitar so we’d have a basic track for Mick Fleetwood to add his drums. That’s how we always recorded the basic track.”

I’ve long marveled at how Mick’s drumming syncs with McVie’s bass patterns. If, as Lindsey Buckingham says here, Mick Fleetwood “always” had John McVie’s bass track to play off, Mick’s melodic drum parts make perfect sense. As if the drummer converts bass guitar parts to drum parts.

Whatever they’re doing, the result is brilliant and fun to hear.

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wsj.com
Anatomy of a Song
How ‘Go Your Own Way’ Helped Lindsey Buckingham Get Over Stevie Nicks
The 1976 breakup song was a way forward for Fleetwood Mac

By Marc Myers
Sept. 14, 2021 8:00 am ET

As with our other songs, the instruments on “Go Your Own Way” weren’t recorded together. John put down a bass part first, then I played some guitar so we’d have a basic track for Mick Fleetwood to add his drums. That’s how we always recorded the basic track.

For the bass, I asked John to play straight eighth notes, which he did. The feel he had was both flowery and sophisticated.

We wanted a great drum track before layering on other parts. The drum pattern I wanted Mick to play in the verses was modeled after Charlie Watts’s pattern on the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man.”

I illustrated the pattern for Mick on a tissue box. But Mick did his own thing to pare down Charlie’s pattern. Mick made it a straight four and took one of the beats out, which made it sort of syncopated, a brilliant move.

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Both Mick’s drum pattern and my strumming guitar create a tension that resolves in the chorus. When you hear the first chord of the chorus, there’s a great sense of arrival.

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