Barely out of her teens, Carol Ann Harris met Lindsey Buckingham in 1977 while working at the studio where the singer/guitarist was putting the finishing touches on what would be the band's huge international hit album, Rumours. As his live-in girlfriend for the next seven years, she'd accompany him and the band all over the world on tours, in the studio, on exotic vacations and to gala events and parties. And she tells all in this highly readable memoir. Harris' take on the Mac's individual personalities mirrors similar accounts in other books: Stevie Nicks the spacey narcissist; Mick Fleetwood the lustful, financially incompetent big kid; and John and Christine McVie as amiable patrons of a pub that never closes. In her life with the moody, intense Buckingham, a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality emerges. He was capable of incredible tenderness and joy, as well as cold emotional detachment and anger sometimes in the same day. She also recounts instances of physical abuse in punches and choke-holds she says a raging Buckingham would inflict on her. When she miscarries their baby, he takes the news with all the interest of a band business meeting.
Memorable incidents told here include a Quaaluded-up Buckingham puking on Dick Clark's office carpet during the American Music Awards. And we now know the band's preferred method of snorting up coke during concerts: bottle caps filled with the drug and placed inconspicuously on amplifier tops, perfect for a quick toot during Mick Fleetwood's interminable drum solos.
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Harris is a bit incredulous when she bemoans the Mac's "insane" partying lifestyle while fully diving in herself - in fact, it's surprising there was any cocaine left for the Eagles given the huge amounts of blow done by Mac band members, roadies and associates. She also writes of the several different career paths not taken in order to care for and cater to a needy Buckingham; but then she would have missed out on the party. And much of her "remembered dialogue" also reads a bit scripty.
These quibbles aside, Storms is a must-read for any fan of Fleetwood Mac - or cocaine, the sixth band member.
Chicago Review Press, 400 pp., $24.95.
Fleetwood Mac performs 7 p.m. Saturday at Toyota Center, 1510 Polk, 866-446-8849 or www.toyotacentertix.com.