How did Neil Finn end up joining Fleetwood Mac?
One of this year’s biggest musical surprises was the announcement by Fleetwood Mac in April that Lindsay Buckingham had been fired and was being replaced by our own (well, New Zealand’s — but we’ll claim him) musical superstar, Neil Finn.
It seemed completely out of left field.
But in reality, there has been a long relationship between Mick Fleetwood and Finn.
“I ran into Mick Fleetwood many, many years ago and something clicked,” Finn told 7.30.
“We had a great conversation and then, years later, we saw each other at the New Zealand Music Awards of all places, a place that neither he nor I would have expected to find ourselves.”
Finn asked Fleetwood, offhandedly, whether he would play drums on a project he was working on with his son, Liam.
And to his surprise, the answer was yes.
“He came down and spent a week in the studio with us,” Finn said.
“He’s a charming, very-well-dressed, wonderful presence in the studio … and played on some really pivotal drums on a few important songs.
Fleetwood’s drumming ended up on three songs on the recently released Lightsleeper.
It’s the first album by the father and son pair, and also features Sharon Finn (Neil’s wife and Liam’s mother) on bass and Elroy Finn (son and brother) playing drums on several tracks.
“We’ve been playing music together since I was born basically and only in the last five years or so we started doing shows together, playing each other’s songs, and I think that was when we realised that we want to have some of our own songs to play together,” Liam told 7.30.
‘I just got asked to join Fleetwood Mac’
Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album documented the fraught relationships within the band. (Flickr: steve)
It was while playing together on a different project that Neil got the call asking him to join Fleetwood Mac.
“We were about to do some live shows playing Out of Silence in New Zealand and about to head to sound check and Dad gets the phone call,” Liam said.
“I turned up to sound check and Dad’s like, I just got asked to join Fleetwood Mac.”
“It was very strange but kind of exciting,” Neil added.
Even though joining Fleetwood Mac forced the pair to re-jig their plans to tour Lightsleeper, Liam helped talk him into saying yes.
“We had to encourage him to go over to Hawaii and have a jam, to be honest,” Liam said.
“Because I think it was quite an overwhelming prospect.”
“They’re a classic band and it’s a wonderful thing to be asked to do and most unexpected,” Neil said.
“And as I’ve just turned 60, a gift, you know.”
But how will he cope with Fleetwood Mac’s notoriously fractious and complex interpersonal relationships?
“I’m just going to have to become a bit of a, you know, prat,” Neil joked.
“Actually I shouldn’t say that, should I? I didn’t mean that in in the way it came out.”
“It’s better than saying you’re just going to have to sleep with all them,” Liam quipped.