Fleetwood Mac, who are about to celebrate their 50th anniversary, are remarkably still touring — even after firing songwriter/guitarist Lindsay Buckingham — but, if you long to have seen the band at their peak, then Atlanta’s Rumours: A Fleetwood Mac Tribute may be the next best way to experience their timeless music live.
“The idea is to make you feel like you’re at a show in the late 70s,” said guitarist Alex Thrift. “That is the entire goal of this band.”
Get Savannah arts and culture news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our morning, afternoon and Dine newsletters Founded in 2014 by Mekenzie Jackson (Stevie Nicks) and Thrift (Lindsay Buckingham), Rumours quickly earned the reputation as one of the best Fleetwood Mac tribute bands in the world, thanks to their musical ability, technical prowess, and Jackson’s uncanny Stevie Nicks-like vocal delivery. The band is comprised of several talented and experienced musicians from the Atlanta music scene — some of whom didn’t even really like Fleetwood Mac. “I wasn’t an avid fan of Fleetwood Mac,” said Thrift. “I remember listening to them in my mom’s Volvo on the way to soccer practice.”
Thrift’s first foray into the world of tribute bands was actually in a Misfit’s tribute he put together for Halloween. The show sold out and Thrift started thinking about the incredible potential of tribute bands. He met Jackson at the show and the two originally wanted to start a Hall & Oates tribute, but couldn’t decide on who would get to be Daryl Hall. After rehearsing the Fleetwood Mac hit, “Dreams” for the first time, Thrift was blown away by Jackson’s pitch-perfect Stevie Nicks performance and knew they had found something special.
“Our first show sold out and a year later we were playing Disney World,” said Thrift.
One thing that Fleetwood Mac were notorious for was their volatile inter-band relationship problems, much of which fueled their songwriting and success. Rumours don’t have quite the same complicated band dynamic, but with Jackson and Thrift being married and performing 150 shows a year, do they experience their own similar tensions? “Worse,” Thrift answered jokingly.
“A lot of people don’t think to ask tribute bands that because they think that we’re just playing pretend, but, no, we’re real people, too,” said Jackson “We have just as much self doubt and just as many questions about what we’re doing and where our lives are going as anybody else who does this for a living.”
“We obviously have regular marital arguments and then you’re in a band together, too,” Jackson explained. “The biggest thing is we’re not on private jets or limousines. We spend a lot of our time together and we spend a lot more time together than even a major touring band would...I wouldn’t be playing in a band with this person if I didn’t like them and respect them as a musician.”
Fans can sometimes be derisive of tribute bands, but there are advantages to seeing them over the originals. “We get told that we’re better than them a lot, but, well, we’re half their age,” said Thrift.
“It’s impossible to be better, but you have the luxury of studying the music and YouTube in your bedroom,” Thrift added. “Back in the day they didn’t have the same PAs, they didn’t have the same monitoring systems. Stuff is just better quality now overall. I think a show in 1978 compared to now, just through shear technology, the show just sounds better.”
With Rumours, you don’t have to squint to feel like you are experiencing Fleetwood Mac for real. It is easy to get swept up in their soaring harmonies, note-perfect performance, and visual stage appearance (all the way down to Jackson’s top hat, fingerless gloves, and copious shawls).
“We’re making people really happy,” said Jackson. “You look out into the audience and people are singing along. A lot of times people are crying, but they’re not crying because they’re sad, but because they’re really happy. We’re giving them some sort of release in a weird way. Maybe it’s a kid who could never afford to see Fleetwood Mac and knows that they’re getting old and will probably stop touring. This is magical for her or him.”