Care and Feeding of Fleetwood Mac and Other Species: A Wildlife Guide

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I have worked in the music and sound business for over forty years. I started in the early 1970'sbefore programmable drum machines and auto tune. It was a time when only NASA had lasersand techs. The sound systems were stacked right on the stage and fog machines weren't requiredto fill the room with smoke.In 1975 I was hired away from my sound company by Fleetwood Mac to drive a truck for theirfirst tour with new members Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. For the next seven years Iworked full time as truck driver, equipment guy, stage manager, guitar tuner, accountant, onstageguitar player, electronics guru, caterer, Rastafarian, bartender, chauffeur, security guard, baby sitter (child and adult), mechanic and medic. Traditionally known as a roadie. Many cameand went but I was the only one besides the faithful Judy Wong who was there full time frombeginning to end. It was a rare and supernatural ride void of game plan. Talent, instinct anddestiny were the driving forces. As the band's success grew, so did the power and chaos.There was an unstoppable energy that fed on itself and continually propelled us forward. Everyweek was more and bigger. More records sold and more sold out shows. Longer trucks withmore equipment for bigger stages. Never-ending months in the studio. Extra buses and nicerplanes. More, bigger, longer and louder was our normal.This was the beginning of the golden age of the business of live rock and roll and the earlyyears of large scale tour production. There was a lot of money to be made playing in sportsarenas and football stadiums. A new business model was inspiring long-haired innovators andentrepreneurs to elevate the aesthetics of live music events. This was done while raking inhuge piles of partially accounted for cash. Creativity, commerce and the counterculture mergedand clamored for a hip place on the grid. Fleetwood Mac and I landed right in the middle of thisuncharted territory. We survived and succeeded the only way we knew how-on our own terms.Recently, a LIFE magazine writer contacted me for background information for the publication'stribute to the band. His first question to me was "How do you become a roadie for FleetwoodMac?"John McVie's answer would be that I must have lost a bet but there's a lot more to it than that.
Publication Date: 
June 30, 2018