What if I told you this book was full of tech talk, read like a manual and was filled with arcane details…would you read it anyway?
Ken Caillat was smart enough to get a cowriter, unlike Carole King. And he's not afraid to sling crap, some of the stories about Lindsey Buckingham will horrify you, like how he punched his girlfriend in the face. But what keeps you reading are the memories… Of when music was the most powerful medium on the planet, when it drove the culture and the highest personal achievement was international rock star, not banker.
I'm not saying if Fleetwood Mac started today they wouldn't make a deal with Pepsi, wouldn't go on "Idol", but it was a completely different era, that stuff was anathema, it was all about the MUSIC!
Ken Caillat remixes a single another engineer flubs and suddenly he's driving his Audi up the coast to the Sausalito Record Plant, to record a follow-up to an album that's not yet a hit. Sure, what Ken references as the "white album" had impact, but it wasn't until after they started recording during the NoCal winter that it went nuclear, and the band's manager/attorney Mickey Shapiro called and said if they could record just one more hit album, they'd be set for life!
Talk about pressure.
But Mickey was right.
John McVie drinks so much he has to leave early, but determined to get his bass parts right he shows up before everybody else, to rerecord them.
Everybody looks down on Stevie Nicks because she doesn't play an instrument, not knowing she'd eventually become the biggest of the bunch.
Christine McVie's got a cutting sense of humor, she's full of piss and vinegar, she's female, but she's truly one of the guys. If this type of macho female appeals to you, she's the paragon. Furthermore, she can PLAY!
Mick Fleetwood is getting divorced but trying to get it back together, which he finally does, and he lives for "transcension", the late night jam sessions fueled by pot, booze and cocaine that yield no usable tracks but feel so good.
As for Lindsey Buckingham… Over time, it becomes his band. Kind of like John Frusciante in the Chili Peppers. Everyone accedes to his vision. But neither Fleetwood nor McVie is happy he recut their parts when they were on vacation.
So they're at the Plant, cutting basics. Hell, they replace just about everything on the tapes. To the point where they end up using the safety master, because the original 24 track is losing oxide on the tape heads. And they play as a band. In this dark room.
Meanwhile, Ken tries to pick up the booker and buys a Mercedes convertible with the new money he's making. And comes home to the house they're staying in to find two groupies in his bed…who he has his way with and gets crabs from.
Yes, it's positively the seventies. When a record company lets you spend a year getting it right in the studio, and you do.
We know, because we bought the vinyl and were wowed. You see, "Rumours" just has a sound. Like you too were in the studio with them.
And Ken delineates how they got each and every one of those memorable moments. From hitting drumsticks on furniture to breaking glass in the iso booth. It's everything that once was and we wish it would still be.
The band's got a private plane. They fly to gigs between recording. They're lunching at Martoni's and other legendary watering holes, all the time trying to get a sound on tape that will be just one step better than what came before.
Meanwhile, John's depressed Christine's got a new boyfriend and Lindsey won't sing his lyrics in front of Stevie for fear he'll piss her off.
The level of creativity and risk-taking is awe-inspiring. Sure, they ultimately were about getting perfection, but until they fleshed out all the parts, they'd try anything. After all, they were musicians, they were kings of the universe.
And who knows why a certain performance works. And keeping all the parts on 24 tracks is challenging. And they've got enough money to live large, but not to live frivolously, not yet.
Lindsey is the mad genius.
But Fleetwood and McVie are incredibly solid.
And without Stevie, the whole thing doesn't work.
And Christine is the glue between the old and the new.
Imagine I told you to leave everything behind, your job, your family, your house. Imagine I told you we were gonna run away with the rock and roll circus…would you come?
That's what these people did.
They didn't give it two years and then go to graduate school. Lindsey and Stevie had already failed, they were broke when they hooked up with the rest of the band, who were true journeymen…they could work, but they were not rich. And then the five of them went on a trip and ended up at a destination none of them could foresee, playing to stadiums of people who just couldn't get enough.
And I was one of them.
And so were you.
"Rumours" was the soundtrack of our lives. Sure, there were a few other records, like "Hotel California" and even "Boston", but "Rumours" was the only one you heard EVERYWHERE! At the guys' houses and the girls'. It accompanied you at home, on the road and in bed.
The first half of "The Chain" was rewritten at the very last minute.
"I Don't Want To Know" replaced the too long "Silver Springs", they cut it, both the new track and the old, without even telling Stevie. You can imagine how that went over.
"Songbird" was cut live, because that was Ken's job/experience, that's what he did on the road with Wally Heider.
Most of the songs started off with different titles.
And if you're looking for this book to be a tour de force rendition of those days, you'll be sorely disappointed.
Maybe those days can never be recaptured. Maybe we just all have our individual memories.
But if you were a fan back then, what you wanted most was to get closer. You wanted to be backstage, you wanted to go to the studio, you wanted to have sex with the band.
For those who did not…
You'll get the idea reading "Making Rumours".
If your idea of heaven is waking up at noon and spending all night in a windowless recording studio, if nodding your head to the right sound is what your life is about, if you want to know how they made this legendary album, which sounded not quite like anything that came either before or after…
Then read this book.
P.S. I have to reiterate this is not a gossipy tell-all of those days. Although you'll get insight into the personalities and hear a few stories, this is mainly the viewpoint of the producer. If you don't care what kind of mics were used and how long a delay they put on THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR YOU!