Fleetwood Mac are a band synonymous with a few things. Of course, the soft rock sunshine they provided during the seventies and heard in songs like ‘Go Your Own Way’ and ‘Dreams’ will forever remain their defining quality. However, if you pick at the surface just a little, you will also find a great deal of tumultuous tension between the band members. The group are famed for the inter-personal relationships shaping their sound, but there was another underlying factor to all of their issues: cocaine.
Stevie Nicks has been honest in her appraisal of the drug, noting that it provided her with the intent and energy she needed to keep herself writing songs within the confines of the band and sharing that her heavy use of the narcotic had left her with a deviated septum. Nicks wasn’t the only member of the band using the drug, though, and it would appear that Mick Fleetwood was equally captivated by cocaine.
Nicks and Fleetwood shared a tempestuous affair during their time with the band. It was a destructive moment for the group that both members put down to their penchant for white powder. Following Nicks’ troubled relationship with Don Henley, the singer began a cocaine-fuelled affair with her bandmate. She later opened up to Oprah about the ‘doomed’ affair, saying they were the “last two people at a party” and that “It was a doomed thing [that] caused pain for everybody.”
Another rumour which has been consistently circulating Mick Fleetwood and the rest of the band is that they snorted so much cocaine that if you collected all of their drugs, one could make a line stretching over seven miles. It’s a scary notion that will undoubtedly leave you wincing at the mere prospect of it. Fleetwood made a claim in 2014 with the release of his memoir where he said that, after first taking the drug in 1975, the group were prolific with the narcotic, “as if it were simply another available services at your disposal,” noting that their albums of the time were created with “white powder peeling off the wall in every room of the studio.”
Many have chalked this up to a musical myth but, in 2019, Fleetwood confirmed the story. “I guess we figured we did X amount a day, and then some goofball got out a calculator and came up with that seven miles figure and said, ‘Isn’t that funny?’ And it sort of is,’ he told The Sun. “But not in the context of where I want to end up.”
The rock and roll lifestyle may well make great tabloid fodder and even provide fans with a squeal of excitement, but the reality is far darker. “There was never a conscious decision on my part to stop that lifestyle. I think it naturally just drifted away,” recalled Fleetwood during the same conversation. “It came to an end, thankfully. Because, God forbid, it could easily have ended the really bad way — for sure, that could have happened,” he continued. “In some ways, I’m happy I got through it and didn’t bite the big bullet. But I just had a profound awareness and a realisation that enough is enough.”
Gratefully, Nicks and Fleetwood are not only still alive and kicking but also providing a series of Fleetwood Mac tours to remind us that, even without the thrills and spills of drugs, the band are still some of the finest performers around.