THE TRUTH BEHIND RUMOURS
Ken Caillat's book sheds light on Fleetwood Mac's defining album
It's an album with a backstory that's nearly as good as the music.
Fleetwood Mac's members went through a lot of personal turmoil on their way to the creative triumph that is Rumours, which spawned four Billboard Top 10 pop hits, was awarded Grammy glory and achieved multi-platinum sales.
Ken Caillat had a front-row seat for the sessions as a co-engineer and co-producer of the Mac’s 1977 release, and he’s shared his memories in the new book Making Rumours: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album (written with Steven Stiefel). Caillat recently checked in to revisit Rumours and also talk about using what he learned back then to produce the music of a recent hitmaker, daughter Colbie Caillat.
Medleyville.us: What kind of personal resources — diaries, session notes, etc. — did you refer to while writing Making Rumours? And did anything in your files bring back a poignant memory or anecdote you had completely forgotten about?
Ken Caillat: "We did about 60-70 interviews with people who were in the studio. I used calendars; I had kept basic journals when I was younger that had the important stuff in there and a young memory.
"Yes — many things that I had forgotten about came rushing back; primarily a lot of the fights might have been caused by me when I asked the band members to sing the lyrics in front of the other members.”
Describe the members of Fleetwood Mac, each in a single sentence, as you remember them from the Rumours sessions.
Caillat: "Mick Fleetwood: Father figure of the band, backbone of the band who kept the beat on track.
"John McVie: Strong, silent type, genius melody maker and bass man.
"Stevie Nicks: Enchanted songstress, always smiling and always optimistic.
"Christine McVie: Great blues player, one of the guys, powerful female force of the band.
"Lindsey Buckingham: Uniquely talented guitar player and creative musical genius."
Does your book dispel any myths or urban legends that have circulated about the band or the Rumours album?
Caillat: "Yes: It’s been said by many, even including the band members, that they partied all of the time. There was certainly no party that I’ve ever been to. In other words, the band is always saying that all they did was party, but they didn’t party that often. They just kept awake and kept on track through the daunting schedule that Fleetwood had to work under."
Is there anything specific you learned or did in the studio while making Rumours that you used when recording with your daughter Colbie?
Caillat: "Many things. When recording with my daughter Colbie, I used many of the layering tricks I learned with Fleetwood Mac, and I learned to take your time to make sure that every part we recorded for her record was 100 percent the right part and never settled for less."
— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior
Ken Caillat book signings (schedule subject to change:
* 7:30 p.m. June 5: Cinema Arts Center — Huntington, N.Y.
* 7 p.m. June 6: Books & Greetings — Northvale, N.J.