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Lindsey Buckingham’s Ex Described Fleetwood Mac’s Grueling Tour Schedule: ‘Cocaine Kept Them Going’

Showbiz CheatSheet logo: MainLogo Showbiz CheatSheet 11/26/2022 Grace Turney

Fleetwood Mac members have been open about their past drug use, and Lindsey Buckingham’s ex-girlfriend detailed how the classic rock band used cocaine to fuel their performances night after night. Here’s what Carol Ann Harris revealed about Fleetwood Mac’s exhausting tour schedule and what they did to keep up.

Fleetwood Mac (L-R Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, and John McVie) | Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images © Provided by Showbiz CheatSheet Fleetwood Mac (L-R Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, and John McVie) | Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Lindsey Buckingham’s ex-girlfriend detailed how Fleetwood Mac used drugs to perform on tour

Carol Ann Harris dated Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham for several years in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 2007, she opened up to the Chicago Sun-Times about the band’s drug abuse, and how they used stimulants to keep up with their hectic touring schedule.

“From my experience, it’s so exhausting and just such pressure [to be a touring musician],” Harris said. “These people going out on the road singing the same song night after night, doing three cities in three days, and doing it all for a year at a time – it’s exhausting. The cocaine kept them going.”

Harris knew Buckingham’s tense relationship with ex-girlfriend and bandmate Stevie Nicks didn’t help an already stressful situation. And two other band members, John and Christine McVie, were also going through their breakup. “And four members were in relationships that crumbled, so having to perform night after night with someone you’d like to never see again, and singing songs about that very fact, well, it drives you to crazy things,” Harris said.

Lindsey Buckingham’s ex-girlfriend said Fleetwood Mac’s tour manager would push them to do drugs before going on stage

Carol Ann Harris shared more Fleetwood Mac secrets in her book Storms: My Life with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac

She recounted the first night of the Rumours tour, when road manager John Courage, also known as J.C., ordered Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, and the rest of the band to line up backstage minutes before the show started.

“They seemed to know what came next,” she wrote. “Like obedient schoolchildren, the band formed their line, holding out their fists. J.C. poured a small pile of cocaine onto each wrist. ‘Two minutes! Let’s toot and get those roses in your cheeks, Stevie!’”

Buckingham’s ex said the band also used drugs continuously throughout concerts. Roadies would keep bottlecaps full of cocaine ready for the band. “During the show, the band would fade back to the speakers at every opportunity and give themselves a bottlecap pick-me-up,” Harris wrote. “On Christine and John’s [McVie] side of the stage, vodka tonics were replenished as needed, and on Lindsey’s side … his roadie always kept a joint going.”

Stevie Nicks drugs became normalized because they ‘thought that’s what entertainers did’

Fleetwood Mac band members have been open about their drug use, and they corroborated Carol Ann Harris’ bottlecap story in a December 2013 interview with Daily Mail.

“When we were in Sausalito making Rumours, the boys would be doing these huge rails of coke while Stevie and I would be in our own place with our little bottles of coke, with tiny coke-spoons that we’d wear on delicate chains around our necks,” keyboardist Christine McVie said. “Very ladylike – much more refined – and actually fairly acceptable at the time. Inevitably, late at night the boys would run out and come looking for ours.”

In the same interview, Stevie Nicks said the band thought they needed drugs to perform. “We thought that’s what entertainers did in order to maintain that level of activity and creativity,” said the Rhiannon singer.

“Mick had this rotating platform covered with beer-bottle caps full of coke so he could snort away as he was playing,” McVie added. “At least us ladies would slip off stage for a discreet toot.”

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

RELATED: Stevie Nicks Says Prince Was Terrified About Her Drug Use: ‘You’ve Gotta Be Careful, Stevie’

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