Rock Report: Former Fleetwood Mac Guitarist Jeremy Spencer Discusses Band’s Evolution + Finding God
The history of Fleetwood Mac is far more interesting than most may be aware. The roots of the band began deep in the blues, and the role call of band members is a story in itself. Jeremy Spencer was one of the group's guitarists from their formation in 1967 through 1971, playing on such albums as 'Mr. Wonderful,' 'Kiln House' and the classic 'Then Play On.'
In a recent interview with Rock Cellar Magazine, Spencer talked about those early Mac albums. "Mostly I cringe when I hear them," he said. "If and when people put them on, I have to leave the room! I would love to take another go at almost everything I have recorded before 'Precious Little' (his 2006 solo release). I wonder if most musicians feel that same way about their recordings."
While the Mac were certainly known for their blues prowess, hi-jinx were never their calling card ... or were they? According to Spencer, the band were wilder than people remember and were once banned from the famous Marquee club in London. "It certainly wasn’t all in good taste, and I’m not proud of those antics," he said. "The main offender was a large dildo that we nicknamed Harold. Harold appeared in various settings, one of which was on a silver platter carried onto the stage by our road manager who was dressed as a butler." He added, "We were just a bunch of silly boys in the band acting up. Nowadays, that type of thing would hardly shock anyone. Vulgarity is par for the course for bands."
Spencer left the group in 1971 to devote his life to God, joining the 'Children Of God' organization. The guitarist explained, "I was sad and uninspired musically, and I had questions about life and death, love, my future, God — everything. Bottom line, I had to leave in order to step back from the picture and get my life sorted out. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t." The guitarist also acknowledges that the band needed to change to survive as well. "Fleetwood Mac would probably not have gone on to be one of the biggest bands in history," he revealed. "I knew when I heard the first album with the [Lindsey] Buckingham-[Stevie] Nicks lineup, that they had hit on something good, with an enormously catchy appeal."
With one eye on the past, and one on the future, Spencer adds, "I keep up regular phone and email contact with Mick [Fleetwood] and John [McVie], and it is always pleasantly personal and newsy. And though I remain true to my blues roots, I enjoy and need to keep moving forward musically."