The Mac
Originally uploaded by rustedrobot.

Oh, you know the story. Band forms. Singer and insanely talented guitar player fall in love. Piano player and bass player fall in love and marry. Drummer falls in love with everyone in the band. Singer and guitar player fight and break up. Piano player and bass player divorce. Everyone fights, does drugs and records the best selling album of the 1970’s. Everyone sleeps with everyone else in the band, then does more drugs. Drummer makes wierd faces (caused by drugs) and is still in love with the whole band. Singer injects drugs through her rear end. Band more or less falls apart, in a haze of drugs and stupidity brought on by, most likely, immaturity. Happens all the time.

Fleetwood Mac is right up there with Badfinger and Lynyrd Skynyrd in the pantheon of delicious biographies. Sure, none of its members died, but the drama, oh my holy god. Imagine having to work every day, all day, with someone you just divorced (Christine/Bill McVie). Or someone you are absolutely, positively in love with who loves you back, but not enough (Lindsay Buckingham/Stevie Nicks). Throw in that drummer (Fleetwood) who’s been in love with Nicks for years, sprinkle in all kinds of recreational drugs and alcohol and you’ve got “Rumours,” as fine a pop/rock album as you’ll ever find.

Why mention it? Well, The Mac certainly had their divine moments afterwards, but everything rolled downhill post-Rumours. How could it not?

Last night, though, while tuning into VH1-Classic (yes, I’m still addicted) I saw the video for “Silver Springs,” a song written for Rumours, but only released as a B-side to “Go Your Own Way” way back when. The song was recorded live a few years back as part of their reunion tour, which was so about the money, but the music still provided a fairly commanding presence. “Silver Springs,” blows my mind a little bit – having it cut off the album gives one a sense of spoils – I can’t imagine how many bands would love the privledge of being able to cut a song like that from an album. Huh.

Now, this is one of those cases where the visual gives you a new perspective on things. I had heard “Silver Spring” more than once and thought the song was ok enough, but seeing them perform it live on video gave it a whole new life. The lyrics, written by Nicks (my least favorite member of the Mac, BTW), are so obviously about her now-famous and contentious relationship with Buckingham. Watching them stare at each other and sing this song together, though, was terribly interesting.

It’s clear to me that there remain scars in that relationship that will just never heal. Twenty-plus years down the road and you can still get a whiff of it – that is powerful stuff. Now, I’m no dummy – my money says that some of it is showmanship, but there’s a level of interplay there that just cannot be denied. Bottom line: it’s probably the most powerful Mac song since Rumors and it’s a damn good song.

In doing some digging, there’s an entire web page, believe it or not, devoted to Nicks’ various quotes through the years about the song. You can check it for yourself as there are some real good ones which certainly don’t disprove my theory that there’s remains some bitterness. But my favorite story about “Silver Springs” is this one, told by Nicks to the BBC in 1991:

“I wrote it for Rumours, and fourteen years ago I walked into the studio and the record was basically done. It was at the Record Plant, and Mick said, ‘Stevie, I need you to come outside to the parking lot ’cause I need to talk to you for a minute.’ And I knew it was reallv serious ’cause Mick never asks you to go out to the parking lot for anything.

So we walked to the huge Record Plant parking lot and he said, ‘I’m taking Silver Springs off the record.’ And, of course, my first reaction was, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘There’s a lot of reasons, but because basically it’s just too long. And we think that there’s another of your songs that’s better, so that’s what we want to do.’ Before I started to get upset about Silver Springs, I said, ‘What other song?’ And he said, ‘A song called I Don’t Want To Know.’ And I said, ‘But I don’t want that song on this record.’ And he said, ‘Well, then don’t sing it.’

And then I started to scream bloody murder and probably said every horribly mean thing that you could possibly say to another human being, and walked back in the studio and completely flipped out. I said, ‘Well, I’m not gonna sing I Don’t Want To Know. I am one-fifth of this band.’ And they said. ‘Well, if you don’t like it, you can either (a) take a hike or (b) you better go out there and sing I Don’t Want To Know or you’re only gonna have two songs on the record.’

And so, basically, with a gun to my head, I went out and sang I Don’t Want To Know. And they put Silver Springs on the back of Go Your Own Way.”

Great stuff! “I Don’t Want To Know” is also a pretty great song, but Silver Springs has far more emotion. Wrong decision, Mick.

“Silver Springs”
You could be my silver springs
Blue green colors flashin’
I would be your only dream
Your shining autumn, ocean crashing
And did you say she was pretty
And did you say that she loves you
Baby, I don’t wanna know

I’ll begin not to love you
Turn around, see me runnin’
I’ll say I loved you years ago
Tell myself you never loved me, no
And did you say she was pretty
And did you say that she loves you
Baby, I don’t wanna know
Oh, no
And can you tell me was it worth it
Really, I don’t wanna know

Time casts a spell on you,
but you won’t forget me
I know I could have loved you,
but you would not let me

Instrument solo

Time casts a spell on you,
but you won’t forget me
I know I could have loved you,
but you would not let me
I’ll follow you down til’ the sound of my voice will haunt you
You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you
I’ll follow you down til’ the sound of my voice will haunt you
(Stevie oversings: Was I just a fool?)
You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you
(Stevie oversings: Was I just a fool?)
I’ll follow you down til’ the sound of my voice will haunt you
(Stevie oversings: Give me just a chance)
You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you
You could be my silver springs
My blue green colors flashin’