Over and Over

“Could you ever need me, and would you know how, yeah, to stop time, tell me now.
All ya have to do, is speak out my name, yeah, and I will come running any way.”

These are words from Christine McVie’s song called “Over and Over” from the Tusk album. These lyrics, like so many of her lyrics, are heart felt, empathetic, sympathetic, comforting, and encouraging. Let’s face it folks – these are hard and bizarre times. When we’re feeling down and alone we turn to our friends, communities, be together, and take comfort in each other’s company, and hug it out. Well, we can’t really do that right now. We don’t get to go to see our favorite sports teams, go to the movies or see and hear our favorite bands. We long for community, the sights and sounds of friends, and rockin’ out getting lost in the music.

For those of us in the entertainment business, we are really missing our friends and fans. And quite frankly, we are also missing the employment aspect of the business – no, it’s not all about money – but the industry is suffering for sure. Let’s keep this industry in our thoughts and reassure the venues, producers, agents, stage crews, sound technicians, musicians, and all involved that we’re going to jump back in and sell out shows and make people happy. Let’s also keep all the essential people who risk their lives every day out in public so we have access to what we need.

Fleetwood Mask is doing its part to keep us and all of you safe. We are staying home and we ALL need to stay home so that we can get through this sooner than later. I woke up this morning and my first thought “it’s Saturday! It’s a PLAY day!” Second thought “nope.” Our message to all y’all is that we love you, we miss you, we want you to be safe and stay healthy, and we look forward when we can all be together again doing what we do – We bring the music of Fleetwood Mac, you feed us with your love, joy and enthusiasm, and we all make wonderful memories together.

Please enjoy a little musical offering from myself and Fleetwood Mask. Nothing fancy – just me and my keys singing and playing “Over and Over.” I did get out of my pjs and took a shower:)

Sending much love and virtual hugs!!

Barbara Martin
Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mask

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Chris Zerbe as Lindsey Buckingham

Chasing The Elusive And Exclusive “Lindsey” Sound

“Wanna join a Fleetwood Mac tribute band endorsed by Mick Fleetwood?”

The words seemed unreal. My mind needed extra time to calculate. 40 years of Fleetwood Mac + Lindsey Buckingham fandom and now this? It was a totally surreal moment.

The next thoughts quickly flooding in were wholly dedicated to what needed to be done equipment-wise, playing-wise, vocally; each one a tall order. Since I’d been following LB and FM all these decades I had a pretty good idea about what would be needed but upon rolling up my sleeves, I quickly discovered the ‘devils in the details’.

Lindsey’s live guitar sounds are split between his electric and acoustic work. On the electric side he’s been playing a Turner Model 1 since about 1979 when Rick Turner brought a prototype to an FM rehearsal. At that point in time, Lindsey was looking for something that had both Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster qualities (both fat and bell-like tones simultaneously) and the Turner Model 1’s ultra unique design hit the nail on the head and has been used ever since. It has become an iconic part of any FM or LB show and is a huge part of LB’s live tone.

I phoned Rick with the news, and he graciously agreed to build me one to the exact 1979 prototype specs. It completely delivers and has ‘the sound’! Thanks Rick! Lindsey’s used various effects in the past but none to great depths – he likes to keep his sounds pure and simple. In the past, he’d taken the guts from his old Ampex 4-track analog tape recorder and had them modified into a stomp box he could use on stage.

Saturating tape decks became a known thing mostly thanks to The Beatles. But the Ampex 4-track guts created the most wicked fuzz tone I’ve ever heard bar none (it can be heard on the Tusk tour videos of Sisters Of The Moon, The Chain, and other songs from that tour). However, it broke eventually and he moved on. Today, he uses Boss products; the SD-1 for overdrive and DD3 for delay, and it all goes through vintage Mesa Boogie Trem-O-Verb amplifiers with 6L6 tubes.

The acoustic side is more complex. Lindsey uses Taylor 814ce steel strings (made between about 2006 and 2012) with a Fishman pickup system, Rick Tuner Renaissance acoustics, and a modified Gibson Chet Atkins nylon string guitar to perform songs like Never Going Back Again, Landslide, Big Love, Go Insane, Say Goodbye and others. Those are routed though separate acoustic guitar amps on stage. It’s a large touring rig overall and one that is a challenge to emulate.

Vocally, what can you say? Lindsey’s voice is instantly recognizable and has a wonderful tenor tone. One can see he puts his all into every note which is apparent when listening to tracks or viewing live performances. This is all to say he’s created an extensive labyrinth of sonic dynamics over the years of touring and recording that is wholly his own; a musical visionary, a renaissance man, an artist’s artist. To say it’s an honor to attempt these efforts is an understatement. And, is an ongoing journey as one would imagine, always ‘peeling the onion’, always discovering new elements he’s so adeptly hidden within the music he creates in the studio and on stage.

So the sonic quest continues onward on all fronts, and what could be a better thing to do?

For a deeper dive, see these links:

http://www.timbradleyallwrite.com/uploads/1/1/3/9/11394859/lindsey_buckingham_guitar_world_interview.pdf

Happy Reading – Christopher Zerbe (Lindsey in Fleetwood Mask)

“The Only Thing Constant is Change” – Heraclitus

“The Only Thing Constant is Change” – Heraclitus

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No truer words have ever been spoken.  As we move through life, situations change, we lose old friends and gain new friends,  we move where we live, we lose loved ones and new babies are born.  It is the cycle of life and it definitely has a rhythm. It is no different in a band.  And it is no different in Fleetwood Mask.

As many of you may know, Mark Blasquez (Our Lindsey Buckingham) has decided to leave Fleetwood Mask. He has been in the band for four years and has been integral in helping to transform Fleetwood Mask into a National Touring Band. The task of commuting to and from Southern California to the Bay Area and beyond has taken its toll on Mark and he has decided to make an adjustment.

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Interstate 5 can humble the most seasoned commuter and add a 5 hour performance (set-up/performance/tear down) at the end of this⇾⇾⇾⇾⇾⇾⇾⇾
and you start to understand why Mark has decided to adjust his lifestyle!!

As hard as it is to lose Mark and his leadership, sense of humor and talent, this change opens new opportunities for both Mark and Fleetwood Mask.  Paul, Barb, Claudette, Jason and I will miss Mark immensely, but are happy for him and look forward to the next chapter in the band’s development.

We are currently auditioning new guitarists’ to assume the Lindsey role and are happy with our progress.  We are taking our time to ensure we have the “right” individual to fill this critical position in the band.  Of course the music is amazing and we are honored to be paying tribute to Fleetwood Mac and it is in that spirit that we must find the “perfect” fit.  Much of the magic of a Fleetwood Mask show is the camaraderie that the band has on stage and projects to the audience.  This has been and will continue to be our main focus so that we can continue to be the “Ultimate Tribute to Fleetwood Mac” and worthy of our fans admiration and devotion!

Mark’s final performance with Fleetwood Mask will be Saturday, July 13th at the Woodland Opera House in Woodland, CA.

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This is a great location to see a Fleetwood Mask show and it is sure to be an amazing evening!  Mark is going to create the set-list for the show and I am sure there will be plenty of surprises!

Please come on out to Woodland Opera House and join us for a great evening of music, memories and fun.

Tickets on sale NOW!  Click on this TICKETS link to get your seats!

An Evening of Leather and Lace

Fleetwood Mask and IllEagles – ONE NIGHT ONLY

North Bay Favorites ILLEAGLES and FLEETWOOD MASK join together for one musical evening celebrating the music of Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles.

More Info/Buy Tickets

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Fleetwood Mask Throws a Holiday Party!

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Fleetwood Mask performs it’s 1st Holiday Concert!

Celebrate the Holidays with Fleetwood Mask! We are putting together a very special show that is sure to delight. There will be your Fleetwood Mac favorites as well as a few Holiday Classics with a Fleetwood Mask twist. Special guests will join us on stage and this is sure to be a very memorable Holiday event.

Tickets are on SALE NOW and we look forward to spending a little bit of the Holidays with YOU and your Families!

More Info/Buy Tickets

Fleetwood Mask and Illeagles Team Up for Concert

Fleetwood Mask and Illeagles Team Up for Concert Benefiting the Homeless at Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium

Celebrate the music of Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles in this lovely 2000-seat venue in San Rafael while supporting a great cause. Proceeds will go to Homeward Bound of Marin

More Info/Buy Tickets

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Rumours: 1978 Grammy Album of the Year – Must Watch

Rumours: 1978 Album of the Year Grammy Award Clip ….a glimpse into a legendary land

In my ongoing research into the Rumours album, I ran across this gem from YouTube.

It’s a clip of Fleetwood Mac accepting the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1978. Whether you’re a Mac fan or just a lover of rock history, this is must-see viewing, and here are some reasons why:

  • The competitors were a few records you may have heard of – Steely Dan’s masterpiece Aja (let’s take this moment to pay respect to Walter Becker, whom we lost just a few weeks ago), the Eagles’ masterpiece Hotel California, a record called J.T. by someone who is not Justin Timberlake, millennials, but the great James Taylor…and – whoa! – The soundtrack to Star Wars!
  • Notice the roar from the crowd when Rumours is mentioned – clearly it was an audience favorite among these historic pieces of work.
  • How about that cheesy orchestral arrangement of “Don’t Stop?”
  • The band members all look fabulous, in a 70s way that no amount of retro re-envisioning can replicate.
  • According to my research, the guy with the ginger hair and glasses that I thought at first was Warren Zevon is actually Peter Asher, a British music luminary who won the Producer of the Year award for J.T., and appears to be sitting next to actress Jacqueline Bissett. Fun fact; Asher’s daughter plays Keytar in the band Cobra Starship.
  • Any time a skinny David Crosby, with his friends Stills and Nash, invite you up onstage to accept a Grammy, you’ve got a pretty solid argument that life is good.

Depending on your age, this clip could be a trip down Memory Lane or a glimpse into a legendary land before your time. Either way, you’ve got to see it for yourself.

Enjoy!

Jason

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Critiquing the Critique – 40 Years Later

Critiquing the Critique – 40 Years Later ….celebrating the Rumours album’s 40th anniversary

As the new member of Fleetwood Mask, I’ve been doing a bit of historical research in addition to the musical due diligence required to learn all the songs. Perusing rollingstone.com, whose “artist” section is like a vintage shop full of decades-old articles ripe for dusting and re-evaluating, I ran across this gem: Article about Rumours on RollingStone website

It’s a routine review of a hot-off-the-presses release called Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. I would imagine that writer John Swenson received an advance copy of the album, which makes him one of a few who heard it early, and had no clue this thing on his turntable would spin into the phenomenon it is today. His take? While he rightfully sings the praises of Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham, he seems to miss the mark completely when it comes to Stevie Nicks, giving him a kind of blind spot regarding the album’s enduring strengths. I’d love to chat with Swenson and hear what he has to say now, forty years later.

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So what did he get right? He describes Fleetwood Mac in terms of a California pop tradition that includes vocal-harmony-rich bands like the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the Eagles, arguing that Mac’s transition from Peter Green-era blues rock to the ’77 version was not contrived or unexpected. “The early sixties blues scene in England had as much to do with rural American folk music as the urban blues sound,” he writes, adding that Christine McVie as songwriter “moves easily into the thematic trappings of the California rock myth.” He compares her with Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention, both high praise and a compelling point. He calls Buckingham’s contribution “the major surprise” on the album, and cites the role of the acoustic guitar in “Go Your Own Way” as representing the influence of the Byrds.

The highlighting of Christine McVie is where fans of Buckingham and Nicks may take issue with the review. Not only is she the leader of the three vocalists, in Swenson’s view, but also “only (her) voice has much character.” Now I can understand calling McVie the bandleader in 1977– she claims the most writing credit on Rumours – but come on, if there’s anything one can say about Stevie Nicks’ voice it’s that it possesses a distinctive timbre in evidence going back to the Buckingham/Nicks record. Sure, it’s not for everybody, but I wouldn’t call it characterless. And Lindsey Buckingham’s vocal tone cuts glass on “Second Hand News” and “Never Going Back Again,” period.

Which brings us to this howler: “Nicks has nothing on Rumours to compare with ‘Rhiannon,’ her smash from the last album. ‘Dreams’ is a nice but fairly lightweight tune, and her nasal singing is the only weak vocal on the record.” Wait, what? Cue needle screeching on vinyl! In retrospect it’s hard not to see this statement as a first-degree pop culture commentator fail, even though Swenson could never have predicted that “Dreams” would one day be the soundtrack to a generation’s backseat-of-the-station-wagon upbringing, and sell more copies than just about any single ever.

In any case, nothing excuses his lack of even mentioning “Gold Dust Woman,” which for my money ranks among Nicks’, and Fleetwood Mac’s, greatest songs. I should point out here how daunting it was for Fleetwood Mask to try and play the whole Rumours album live because it ends with this number that, while a masterpiece, isn’t exactly a rah-rah, goodnight-everybody party anthem. Lyrically it hearkens back to that earlier British blues period, to Peter Green’s “Black Magic Woman,” but a decade on. Where Green’s spooky girlfriend was dabbling in witchcraft, Nicks’ updated version has been steeping in the seedy underbelly of the L.A. scene so long she has emerged just downright evil. Nicks doesn’t get due credit for her lyric writing; the opening couplet, “Rock on gold dust woman/Take your silver spoon and dig your grave,” is one that Pulitzer Prize winning poet Bob Dylan would be proud to call his own. It’s our entrance into a haunting piece that builds to Rumours’ ambivalent and ingenious finale, a roiling cauldron of dobro and buried screeches and Nicks chanting about shadows and dragons.

It’s too bad this was all overlooked by Swenson, who focused on the band’s “bright little three-minute singles with a hook in every chorus.” Of course those singles and the pretty California-style harmonies are a crucial part of Rumours, but so are the melancholy and darkness evident throughout. For every songbird singing there’s loneliness like a heartbeat driving you mad, and the seamless interplay between the two is what makes this record linger in the brain long after the needle has lifted from the final groove.

But that’s just my take. Read the review. What do you think?

Best, Jason

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The Backbone of the Mask

….story about John McVie, Alembic Instruments in SF and my new Alembic bass

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Welcome to Behind the Mask June 2016. This time, Paul Jones, bass player with Fleetwood Mask, will tell you about the roots of Fleetwood Mac and his tributee and inspiration, John McVie who has been a fixture in popular music for more than 50 years.

John McVie and all the members of early Fleetwood Mac, grew up as students of American blues. Following WWII, England was rebuilding, and American blues were a new sound that many young people in England grew to make their own. As the bassist for England’s top blues band, John Mayall and the Blues breakers, McVie performed and recorded with many British rock and blues heroes from 1962 – 67.

As a successful touring bass player, John had access to the best gear along the way. In the early 60’s he mostly played Fender Jazz basses, then moved to the Fender Precision’s. In 1967 Fleetwood Mac had their first US tour ending in San Francisco during the Summer of Love. They performed with The Butterfield Blues band, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company and the Grateful Dead. It was the chemist and sound engineer from the Grateful Dead who introduced the band to harder drugs and took them and their music from traditional British Blues to experimental rock songs like Green Manilishi, Albatross, and Oh Well. I can relate to this, growing up in the suburbs of SF in the late 60’s myself. Plenty of hippies in the parks when I was a little boy.

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SF Bay Area and Alembic Instruments

Thanks to these early trips in San Francisco’s, John was introduced to Ron and Susan Wickersham, and Rick Turner who worked at Alembic instrument. Ron and audio and electronics engineer from Ampex, was responsible for the Grateful Dead’s wall of sound. With Susan’s artistic designs and marketing skills and Rick Turners guitar building expertise, the made some amazing new guitars and basses. They built custom guitars for Jerry Garcia and basses for Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, The Who’s John Entwistle, Jazz legend Stanley Clarke, and bass number 32 for John McVie.

When Fleetwood Mac recorded their number 1 albums – Fleetwood Mac and Rumours, John was using his custom Alembic basses. They had a better sound than just about anything else thanks to the Wiskersham’s and Rick Turner’s innovative features, active electronics and exotic hard woods. John purchased several Alembics in San Francisco and played them on tour. He really enjoyed a rather special, ‘continuous fret’, stainless steel neck bass that he used in the studio frequently in the 70’s.

On our way to some Fleetwood Mask performances in the Napa wine country area, we had the pleasure of meeting and getting a tour of Alembic’s factory and offices in Santa Rosa. The same Wickersham family is making custom instruments and electronics the same way for 40+ years.

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The newest member of the Mask – the Penguin Mask Bass

I was so impressed that I decided to take the plunge and order a custom bass. These are quite an investment, so I had to part with quite a few of my children (aka other basses and electronics) to make this happen.

My new Alembic Signature Deluxe is my tribute to what I learned about John and Fleetwood Mac, featuring some custom inlays of a Penguin and my favorite Mask from my years in Fleetwood Mask. Thanks to John Prock at the Monterey Music Store, Mica Thomas, Susan and Ron at Alembic, too.

Next time I’ll tell you about being Mr Nick’s and then more about the McVie’s, Penguins and lessons on the road.

Until next time,

Paul
Aka John in Fleetwood Mask
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Imitation, flattery… and Going Your Own Way

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If you’re going to do something, do it well… and leave something witchy – Charles Manson

If your going to do a tribute, remember that you’re still you, but you now have the responsibility of taking people back to a place that they cherish and remember (sometimes with surprising degrees of reverence and emotion). I am not Lindsey Buckingham. My music sounds nothing like Fleetwood Mac. But consider myself very fortunate to have found this group of musicians and relish every time I get to get up and play these amazing songs.

As the newest member of Fleetwood Mask (and perpetual “FNG”) I can still clearly see the starting point of this journey in the rear view mirror. For an original musician (such as myself), the thought of joining a tribute band can be foreign and more than a little intimidating. I can play the guitar, sure. Sing? Meh, a bit. But play the guitar and sing like Lindsey Buckingham?! That is scary. This was really going to challenge me but in a way that I found attractive. I’ve never looked back. I’ve never had more fun. I’ve never regretted my choice, even for a minute.

He that loves to be flattered is worthy of the flatterer – William Shakespeare

Sometimes people will pay you great compliments. The trigger is often a simple matter of giving them what they were hoping for, and that’s what Fleetwood Mask tries to do. It’s not hard, if you know how to shut up and listen. The world is always telling you something. We get it. We’re fans too. We try to put on the kind of show that, as a fan, we would like to see, but in a venue that’s just a little more personal, almost private.

Small secret – from the stage we can still hear you talking. Shhhh… we won’t tell anyone.

We want to thank you for all your kind words. Night after night we give it all we’ve got. Fingers bleed, voices get taxed, drumsticks break, and we’re loving every minute of it. A lot of blood sweat and tears have gone into this project and we are forever thankful for the love and support we’ve received and the ever growing circle of wonderful people we’ve met and befriended along the way.

Make it so – Capt. Jean-Luc Picard

Still, in the end, when it’s time to rock, rock we must. Beyond all the rehearsals, costumes, custom equipment and stage props, we are a band, and when the curtain goes up, it’s just us doing what we love. From there on, there’s no thinking, we just do it the best we can.

I thoroughly enjoy every time Don and I get to fool around on World Turning. That’s not Mick and Lindsey, that’s Mark and Don. That’s real, improvised, jam-session style playing. Yeah, we do that too. We love the mighty Mac, but we’re not them. We’re us, and being us is a lot damn fun!

See you out there! – Mark Blasquez / Lindsey Buckingham in Fleetwood Mask.

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From Behind the Drum Kit…Tribute to Fleetwood Mac

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It’s dark, the crowd is humming, the pre show music is playing, the Mask is ready……I step out from behind the stage and proceed to my office for the next two hours. Excitement runs through my veins as I get settled into my throne, hook up my in ear monitors and grab a pair of sticks.

ON WITH THE SHOW…..

I begin the steady kick drum beat for the beginning of the classic Fleetwood Mac tune, The Chain. Like a thumping heart, the beat rhythmically keeps pace and I stroke the chimes which add their mystical ringing to the sounds emanating from the stage….the guitar kicks in and adds its raw power to the sound and then the vocals start…CLASSIC MAC!

I have been “Behind the Mask” for over three years now and I never get tired of playing Fleetwood Mac’s incredible music. Mick Fleetwood has laid down some of the most interesting drum beats to the most popular music in rock history. And I get the privilege of recreating his drum techniques and style (with a little Don thrown in here and there) every time Fleetwood Mask takes the stage.

Being behind the band gives me a unique perspective to what is happening in the crowd, on the stage and behind my drum kit. I SEE EVERYTHING!! That experience is nothing short of spectacular and I love seeing the crowd get into the music, singing along with the songs they know by heart…perhaps remembering the first time they heard Rhiannon, listening to Dreams on their turntable (remember those relics of a different age?), dancing to Monday Morning, or getting up the courage to tell a boyfriend or girlfriend to “Go Your Own Way”!

Fleetwood Mac’s music is both timeless and wonderful. The sign of great music is that it endures the test of time and sounds just as fresh as the day it was released. Think of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the list goes on and on…and Fleetwood Mac owns the 8th bestselling album of ALL time, 34.0 million copies sold worldwide…RUMOURS, Amazing music by amazingly talented musicians.

Hope to see you at a MASK show soon….I will be looking for you from behind the drum kit….BEHIND THE MASK!!

Don aka Mick Fleetwood

To The Gypsies….That Remain…Tribute to Fleetwood Mac

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It has been said that Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) is the Queen of Rock, a“ White Witch” and a true Gypsy . As part of a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, having met her I would say that in her “spell-binding presence” all of those statements, in their best possible light, would be true.

But what does it MEAN to play the character of this Rock and Roll High Priestess? A voice that is known by no other. Let’s start with the voice, shall we? I have always been a singer with a QUICK vibrato… always. Quick vibrato and a strong set of pipes. I have been told by many that I have always sounded like Stevie. So the vocal part was truly a gift bestowed on me. But the iconic fairy has a wardrobe most women would die for.. and I am no exception ! A lot of my shawls that I have are reproductions of what Stevie wears on stage…the glittery chiffon and silk fringe tassels that sparkle with every given movement.. the platform suede boots that would make any chiropractor cringe, the layers of silk chiffon skirts, beaded bustier’s and elegant tuxedo coats would spark any bohemian’s attention. The wardrobe part has been enlightening, to say the least, and I have been blessed with some amazing designers who take the words “ pays attention to detail” on a whole other level! So the costuming in itself has always set Stevie apart..never following the trends of fashion, but by being a fashion trend setter! Never losing sight of who she was, is, and will continue to become..her clothing, really, hasn’t changed!

Watch “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac tribute band, Fleetwood Mask

But there is more to “playing the character of Stevie” than dressing up in the costuming and singing the songs…how do you capture the ESSENCE??? How do you convince your audience that for a moment in time what they are seeing and hearing could truly be the real Ms. Nicks? What I have found playing this honored role is learning why Ms. Nicks wrote the songs she did and what was she FEELING at the time those songs were written. Landslide….Gypsy…Gold Dust Woman..all of them have a fascinating story behind them. By learning the background to these songs, I personally found myself in a realm unbeknownst to me. I have had women who were mystics, mediums and psychics, who have come up to me and asked “ How do you CHANNEL her??” Another gift, I suppose, but at the same time one of the BEST compliments I ever received! Once I know that the audience has been swept by the enchantment of her music and the haunt of the voice, I know that I have done for my audience what Ms. Nicks does for hers…and that, my dear Gypsies, makes this all worthwhile!

Thank you Ms. Nicks for all the music you have given to us to share with the world…for those who hurt, cry, laugh and love…to you …and to the Gypsies…that Remain…I share with you her world…

Watch Claudette, “Stevie Nicks”, and the ultimate Fleetwood Mac tribute band performed “Say That You Love Me”.

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Night of 1000 Stevies 2016 debut performer CLAUDETTE RODRIGUES of FLEETWOOD MASK, flew all the way from San Francisco to bring down the house with her Total Stevie Realness. Magickal!