Home » Rumours co-producer sets record straight

Rumours co-producer sets record straight

In his new book, "Rumours" co-producer Ken Caillat (top left) details what it was like making that classic 1977 album with Stevie Nicks (second from left). Mick Fleetwood (in hat) and the other members of Fleetwood Mac. Caillat will discuss his book Thursday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. at Warwick's in La Jolla.
In his new book, “Rumours” co-producer Ken Caillat (top left) details what it was like making that classic 1977 album with Stevie Nicks (second from left). Mick Fleetwood (in hat) and the other members of Fleetwood Mac. Caillat will discuss his book Thursday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. at Warwick’s in La Jolla.

As co-producer of Rumours, one of the biggest albums in rock history, Ken Caillat witnessed the implosion and rebirth of Fleetwood Mac up close. Here’s his story.

By George Varga / U-T San Diego
Wednesday, June 5, 2013

In his new book, Rumours co-producer Ken Caillat (top left) details what it was like making that classic 1977 album with Stevie Nicks (second from left). Mick Fleetwood (in hat) and the other members of Fleetwood Mac. Caillat will discuss his book Thursday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. at Warwick’s in La Jolla.

Released in 1977 after more than a year of recording, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours simultaneously qualifies as one of the best-selling albums ever released and a vivid musical chronicle of one of rock’s biggest, real-life soap operas.

As the co-producer of Rumours, Ken Caillat was a firsthand observer as Fleetwood Mac fell apart and was reborn, in the aftermath of enough emotional upheaval to fuel the careers of several relationship therapists. It wasn’t so much that the Anglo-American band was breaking up, although that seemed a distinct possibility, but that its members were certifiably breaking up as they tried to make Rumours at the famed Record Plant recording studio in Sausalito.

Specifically, the marriage between bassist John McVie and singer/keyboardist Christine had disintegrated. So had the love affair between singer Stevie Nicks and guitarist-singer Lindsey Buckingham, who only joined the band in December, 1974. And drummer Mick Fleetwood’s marriage fell apart after he discovered his wife was having an affair with one his best friends, former Mac guitarist Bob Weston.

All this upheaval fueled the making of Rumours and such classic songs as “Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain,” “I Don’t Want to Know” and “Never Going Back Again.” It also fueled Caillat’s book, Making Rumours: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album. He will discuss it, and sign copies, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at Warwick’s in La Jolla.

“The fact is, for this album, they wrote all the songs in the studio,” Caillat said in a recent phone interview with U-T San Diego. “So everything they wrote and put on tape was doused with gasoline and tears, so to speak, and every lyric was hurtful. All these songs were painful reminders of what was going on. So there was a somber mood.”

Make that somber and, at times, surreal, be it when Buckingham re-recorded some of McVie’s bass parts (while McVie was out of town) because he thought they were too complicated, or McVie getting infuriated when Christine McVie asked if she could invite her boyfriend into the recording studio.

“I remember John had already moved on to having a new girlfriend, Sandra, a beautiful British girl, and John had her up there while we were recording Rumours,” Caillat said, recalling an incident that is not included his book.

“The Record Plant feels like you’re locked into first-class on a plane. You all get to know each other very well andvery fast. Christine said: ‘Hey, John, Valentine’s Day is coming up and I want to have my boyfriend, Curry (Grant, Fleetwood Mac’s concert lighting director), come up. And John said: ‘No way! I don’t want to see that bastard anywhere around here.’ He said that as Sandra was sitting right next to him.

“Christine said: ‘It’s not fair. You have Sandra right here.’ And John said: ‘She means nothing to me.’ Sandra and Christine both threw a glass of champagne at John, and stormed out. And John was like: ‘What did I say?’ “

Caillat’s book has multiple focuses: The musicians, the emotions, the songs that resulted and, in great detail, the recording of those songs, including how he constructed Buckingham’s classic guitar solo on “Go Your Own Way” from multiple takes. That move required Buckingham to learn the solo, in order to be able play it live in concert.

At the start of the recording sessions for Rumours, it was unclear if the band would last long enough to complete the album. Then, Caillat said, came a fateful phone call from an executive at Warner Bros., Fleetwood Mac’s record company. The elated executive was relaying the new that — thanks to the success of Nicks’ witchy-woman song, “Rihannon,” which was featured on the 1975 album, Fleetwood Mac — the album was becoming a sizable, if belated, hit.

Caillat. who is the father of Grammy Award-winning songstress Colbie Caillat, picked up the story.

2012-0401-Ken-Caillat-Making-Rumours“The band’s manager said: ‘If you can do this follow-up album, and make it as good as the ‘Fleetwood Mac’ album, you guys will be superstars and it will change your lives forever.’ Everyone was crying, even Mick was sobbing. They came into the studio the next day and said: ‘You know what? Let’s all be adults. We’re all breaking up (our relationships), we know it, so let’s not keep rehashing everything and throwing poison darts. Let’s stay together.’ I think Stevie said: ‘I would like to be a superstar, so let’s put everything aside and make the best record we can.’

“At that point, there was basically a peace accord, and I thought: ‘Thank heaven! Now we can get on with making a record. What I didn’t realize is, the lyrics still existed. So, every time we’d be working on a song, like working on a vocal harmony or an organ part, the lyrics would piss somebody off again. So it kept stirring this tension into the musical soup, and I think it helped keep things on track.”

He chuckled. “It wasn’t like we were making a lighthearted comedy album. It was more like (Lindsey saying to Stevie): ‘What’s a good chord to put on “Go Your Own Way,” bitch?’ “

As for the oft-told rumors that a lot of drugs also fueled Rumours, Caillat’s book acknowledges the use of pot, cocaine and alcohol. But, he stresses, those rumors were overblown.

“Everybody says drug (use) was a big part of making Rumours. Well, no it wasn’t,” he said. “They were just beginning to experiment with drugs. Making Rumours, there was a lot of work, and pain, and anguish. Where the partying started was with (the next Fleetwood Mac album) Tusk, when they had a lot of money.”

stevienicks

LIVE IN CONCERT (2023-2024)

Billy Joel and Stevie NicksStevie Nicks

FEB 10, 2024
Mark G Etess Arena
Atlantic City, NJ

FEB 14, 2024
UBS Arena
Belmont Park, NY

FEB 17, 2024
CFG Bank Arena
Baltimore, MD

FEB 21, 2024
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, SC

FEB 24, 2024
Hard Rock Live
Hollywood, FL

FEB 28, 2024
Smoothie King Center
New Orleans, LA
TICKETS

MAR 3, 2024
CHI Health Center
Omaha, NE
TICKETS

MAR 6, 2024
Simmons Bank Arena
North Little Rock, AR
TICKETS

MAR 9, 2024
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX
Billy Joel
TICKETS

MAY 3, 2024 – MAY 5, 2024
Lovin’ Life Fest
Charlotte, NC
TICKETS

MAY 7, 2024
Enterprise Center
St Louis, MO
TICKETS

MAY 10, 2024
WinStar World Casino & Resort
Thackerville, OK
TICKETS

MAY 14, 2024
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, TN
TICKETS

MAY 18, 2024
Frost Bank Center
San Antonio, TX
TICKETS

MAY 21, 2024
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino – Yaamava’ Theater
Highland, CA
TICKETS

MAY 24, 2024
BottleRock Napa Valley
Napa, CA
TICKETS

MAY 27, 2024
Delta Center
Salt Lake City, UT
TICKETS

MAY 30, 2024
Ball Arena
Denver, CO
TICKETS

JUN 4
Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, IN
TICKETS

JUN 9 
Mohegan Sun Casino
Uncasville, CT
TICKETS

JUN 12
MVP Arena
Albany, NY
TICKETS

JUN 15 
Hersheypark Stadium
Hershey, PA
TICKETS

JUN 18
Van Andel Arena
Grand Rapids, MI
TICKETS

JUN 21, 2024
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL
TICKETS

Two Icons One Night presented by Live Nation
^ Non-Live Nation show


Previous 2023 dates

March 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Los Angeles, CA
SoFi Stadium

March 15, 2023
Seattle, WA
Climate Pledge Arena

March 18, 2023
Las Vegas, NV
T-Mobile Arena

May 12, 2023
Raleigh, NC
PNC Arena

May 16, 2023
Knoxville, TN
Thompson-Boling Arena

May 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Nashville, TN
Nissan Stadium

May 22, 2023
Atlanta, GA
State Farm Arena

May 25, 2023
Orlando, FL
Amway Center

June 16, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Philadelphia, PA
Lincoln Financial Field

June 20, 2023
Toronto, ON (Canada)
Scotiabank Arena

June 23, 2023
Chicago, IL
United Center

June 27, 2023
Louisville, KY
KFC Yum! Center

August 5, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Columbus, OH
Ohio Stadium

August 8, 2023
Milwaukee, WI
Fiserv Forum

August 12, 2023
Houston, TX
Toyota Center

August 15, 2023
Austin, TX
Moody Center

August 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Kansas City, MO
Arrowhead Stadium

September 23, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Foxborough, MA
Gillette Stadium

September 27, 2023
Pittsburgh, PA
PPG Paints Arena

October 1, 2023
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden

October 4, 2023
Buffalo, NY
KeyBank Center

October 7, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Baltimore, MD 
M&T Bank Stadium

October 28, 2023
Memphis, TN
FedEx Forum

November 1, 2023
Savannah, GA
Enmarket Arena

November 4, 2023
Allentown, PA
PPL Center

November 7, 2023
Detroit, MI
Little Caesars Arena

November 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Bank Stadium

November 29, 2023
San Diego, CA
Viejas Arena

December 2, 2023
Inglewood, CA
The Kia Forum

December 5, 2023
Palm Desert, CA
Acisure Arena

December  8, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Phoenix, AZ
Chase Field

December 12, 2023
Sacramento, CA
Golden 1 Center

December 15, 2023
San Francisco, CA
Chase Center



2022 Tour

Stevie Nicks

Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Snowmass, CO
Labor Day 2022

Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL
September 8, 2022
September 10, 2022

Pine Knob Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI
September 13, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sea Hear Now Festival
Asbury, NJ
September 17, 2022

Xfinity Center
Mansfield, MA
September 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Maine Savings Amphitheatre
Bangor, ME
September 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sound on Sound Festival
Bridgeport, CT
September 24-25, 2022

Ohana Festival
Dana Point, CA
September 30, 2022

Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA
October 3, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

POSTPONED
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Phoenix, AZ
October 6, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

POSTPONED
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Woodlands, TX
October 9, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Alpharetta, GA
October 12, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ascend Amphitheater
Nashville, TN
October 16, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Credit One Stadium
Charleston, SC
October 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

PNC Music Pavilion
Charlotte, NC
October 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tampa, FL
October 25, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
West Palm Beach, FL
October 28, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Orion Amphitheatre
Huntsville, AL
October 31, 2022

RESCHEDULED SHOWS

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
The Woodlands, TX
November 2, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion
Phoenix, AZ
November 5, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton