Hi all! This is my first post here and it's kind of a long time coming in some ways. I've been reading the forums for a while but am always kind of hesitant to join and post for whatever reason. But really enjoy the discussions here and thought it was time to say hello! Warning: this is a really long post, and I apologize for that.
I've been a Neil, CH, Split Enz, Tim, Finn Brothers, Liam, etc, fan since I was really young (around 10 years old). I'm a local music and arts journalist in Savannah, GA by day (hence the lengthy nature of my post) and touring musician/producer by night, and there's been no greater influence on me as a songwriter than Neil. I actually had the honor of having the very kind and brilliant Mark Hart play on my own band's last record, and tried really hard to find the least Finn-ish song possible for him to play on - it was an almost impossible task! Point is, the impact this music has had on me is too immense for words sometimes, and it's a great pleasure to be here among likeminded people.
Now, to the Neil/Fleetwood Mac development. I was just getting off of a plane in Mexico on my honeymoon when I heard that he was replacing Lindsey along with Mike Campbell. I absolutely hate flying despite having to travel all the time for music stuff, so I take a low dose of Xanax to help my anxiety. Literally when my wife and I landed at the airport in Cancun, I'd just woken up but was still in this weird Xanax-y haze, and got a **** load of text messages from my brothers and my dad telling me about Neil and FM.
Long story short, we ended up napping in our hotel room as soon as we got there, so when I woke up I actually thought the whole thing was a weird Xanax dream. I've been a FM fan since I was a kid as well, thanks mostly to my mother who grew up on the Rumours lineup and brought us up on the band. I'm also a major Tom Petty fan and Mike is one of my favorite guitar players. Obviously it just seemed too incredible to be anything but a drug-induced dream scenario. When my wife informed me that I actually wasn't dreaming, I was pretty taken aback. My first thought honestly wasn't really disappointment in terms of Lindsey being fired, even though I really admire his work as a writer and producer. I think because I'm such a Finn devotee, I was just so floored by the idea that my favorite songwriter in the world was joining forces with some of the greatest pop musicians of all time (particularly Christine, who's an unbelievable songwriter, the great Mike Campbell, and of course FM's incomparable rhythm section). In terms of Lindsey, I think I just chalked it up to the fact that relationships in bands can be weird and, right or wrong, changes happen.
I started keeping up on the FM forum to gauge reactions, and definitely expected some backlash (understandably so). I was not prepared, however, for a lot of what I read and continue to read today. There's so much bitterness and outrage, and it seems like if you even offer one alternate perspective on the matter you get attacked. I've seen some terrible things written about Stevie (weight-shaming, etc) and people completely dismissing Neil in every aspect. I understand that people are invested in the band, but in my mind it's like this - whatever happened between them, regardless of who's misleading the press, etc, happened. I'm inclined to think that some of it came down to not wanting to sit idle for another year and a half while Lindsey decides to pause longstanding FM plans (I particularly think of Christine, who was gone for so long to begin with and has been pretty nonstop since rejoining and probably doesn't feel like her years are best spent waiting around). At some point as a fan you have to either stay on board or get off, and you can't fault someone for actually expressing interest in the revamped band. It seems like some people are sticking around just to bash the band and the fans who support the change, which is frustrating. There's nothing wrong with supporting this whatsoever, and it doesn't make someone any less of a Lindsey or FM fan, etc. It just is what it is, and some people - like myself - have chosen to embrace it. I'll be buying Lindsey's solo anthology as well! No need to separate the two, in my mind.
My point in all of this is that it's really nice to feel like I can engage in a discussion about this whole thing without being ripped to shreds. I've been emotionally invested in, Neil, the Heartbreakers, and FM for a long time (my mother's death last year really gave new meaning for me to a lot of the FM stuff she loved so much), and I think this is, pardon my language, ****ing great! And hooray for Neil! He gets to do something fun and make some money playing with some wonderful musicians, and who knows where it'll go from there. And I, for one, think that the Ellen performance was wonderful! I think that a lot of the Lindsey followers have blinders on a bit. No, it wasn't the most spectacular performance to ever happen on television, but it was pretty great considering that was the first time that lineup has ever played together outside of a rehearsal studio. I've also seen people complaining about how Neil doesn't sound anything like Lindsey, blah blah blah. Which is such a mind-boggling statement that it gives me a headache. But that's probably for another discussion. Ugh.
Anyway, that's my introductory rant. Very happy to be here, and I hope to be as active as I can in these wonderful discussions about this music I love so much!