Fleetwood Mac fan takes reviewer to task

You get Sarah Rowland to take the music section to a Fleetwood Mac fan club meeting, and we reward you with a Payback Time T-shirt, two recently released major-label CDs, and two tickets to a Live Nation club show taking place in Vancouver within the next four weeks. Here’s this week’s winning whine.

Dear Payback Time: I’m not sure in which universe our rock heroes don’t grow older (perhaps Mick Jagger’s), but as Fleetwood Mac so clearly demonstrated to anyone paying attention, age is just a number. For God’s sake, Mick Fleetwood could be my grandfather, and he still plays with the crazed intensity of Animal from The Muppet Show. From Mick’s flawless 10-minute drum solo to John McVie’s solid and unwavering bass lines, and, most pronounced Lindsey Buckingham’s epic and transcendent manipulation of his guitar, the band proved that no amount of cocaine or internal drama could deaden its capabilities as a masterful live rock band. Stevie Nicks may have been the weakest link that night, but when one of the greatest voices in rock ’n’ roll isn’t at the top of her game, she’s still an absolute treasure to listen to.

If Sarah Rowland honestly watched that performance and still thinks it’s time for Fleetwood Mac to pack it in, her standards must be unreasonably high. I take pity on any band she reviews that doesn’t happen to be in the upper echelon of rock history—so 90 percent of all future reviews?

> Terry Stewart

Sarah Rowland replies: Dearest Terry—I guess one woman’s solid, unwavering bassist is another woman’s sad pile of antisocial shit. John McVie stepped up for 15 bars of “The Chain” and then went back to goal-sucking in a darkened nook by Mick Fleetwood’s drum kit for almost the entire night.

And funny you should bring up Mick Jagger. Say what you want about the Stones miser, but at least when he gouges fans with ticket prices, he has the decency to kick up his cardio routine before hitting the road. Oh sure, we have to endure watching the former rock ’n’ roll sex symbol prance around in those ugly white tennis shoes that Gramps likes to wear on special occasions, but at least he makes an effort to move his Mr. Burns butt on-stage. And if the Boss were to come back and siphon money from his blue-collar fan base during a recession, you can bet he’d only do it with a fully functioning voice. And I’m sure that even Sting, tantric sex–loving new-age ponce that he is, mentally prepares for the rigours of the road by working extra hard on his Downward Dog.

All this, just so you don’t have to wear nostalgic blinders for the entire concert. So, you see, it is possible for aging classic-rock stars to exploit reunion cash grabs, suck you dry for all you’re worth, and still make an effort come showtime.

You can voice your impotent rage by snail mail or by sending an e-mail to payback@straight.com.




May 28, 2009 at 11:12am

The only sad pile of shit I see here is Sarah. She has the audacity to stoop so low to insult one of the most recognizable bassists in rock music. Sure, he isn't a social guy. Why? Because he likes to stay away from people like Sarah Rowland. I thought you were here to review music, not insult people and look "cool" and "edgy".

Juan M

May 28, 2009 at 2:10pm

John McVie is there for the music, not -as many other performers are- for attention. He's not interested in showing off, so let him stay off the spotlight if he wants to. Your calling him a 'sad pile of antisocial shit' is just ignorant and uncalled for. And, yes, John McVie isn't Mick Jagger. Get over it.

not that funny

May 28, 2009 at 10:55pm

John has been around since he played with John Mayall and the bluesbreakers. He is an awesome bass player, respected by many musicians. Sarah is a truly sad sack of crap that knows nothing about music. Go get some anger management therapy bitch.

Brandon Jones

May 29, 2009 at 5:22am

I disagree with Sarah on this one. John is the quiet bassist; he's always "hidden" in his corner of the stage. Most bass players do.

What's interesting to me is that she didn't offer any suggestion of comparison. I mean, in terms of concert goers, who goes just to see the bass player? And besides, how many bass players are really OUT there in terms of their stage persona? Flea maybe? Gene Simmons?


May 29, 2009 at 11:09am

I couldn't help but think "consider the source" when reading this. We are talking about a person who obviously believes that the only way to get attention for herself or make her point is to cause a stir with her negative attitude. What she doesn't seem to understand is that you can be understated and quiet and still be a great. John McVie is an amazing bass player. He doesn't need to be in the spotlight for the fans to appreciate him. He is all about the music and the fans never forget his contributions to the band. Besides, who would ever want to compete with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham for attention? Their stage presence is so great it would be nearly impossible. John's skills speak for themselves. Ms. Rowland skills as a journalist leave a lot to be desired. The only chance she has of making her work interesting enough to read is to make it negative and go on the attack.

Terry Stewart

May 29, 2009 at 3:22pm

Hey now, we don't agree, but let's stick to defending the performance. I felt motivated to call Sarah on a shit review, but it's nothing personal. Calling her a "sad, sack of shit" is a bit harsh. And I thought I was a crazed Mac fan..

Brian MacDonald

May 30, 2009 at 3:54am

Didn't even read the article but Sarah appears to like the Rolling Stones much more than Mac. So tell me Sarah, does Bill Wyman's showmanship blow away John on stage? Ha Ha