EAST PEORIA — Inhabiting the spirit of Fleetwood Mac usually means performing complex melodies with period-accurate equipment. Sometimes, it might mean getting a little combative — at least on stage.
"Some of those rivalries can come true when we're method acting," Ned Brower said.
Brower embodies the Mick Fleetwood role in the cover band Rumours: The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute. Hailing from Los Angeles, the band will be performing at the Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center on Jan. 19 as part of the college's Guest Artists Series.
Ahead of that performance, we spoke with Brower about the learning curve of becoming a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, his favorite song to perform and where the band fits in the rock-and-roll pantheon.
Q: You were a casual fan of Fleetwood Mac before this band, but you quickly become an expert when you're part of a tribute act. What have you learned about the band?
A: The first thing we did was to try to learn the music. I'm big with melodies. When I listen to music on my own free time, I hear the melody of the lead vocal usually. But what I didn't really know until we started playing the music was how intricate the arrangements are, especially the guitar parts. There's always incredible guitar counter-melodies and parts that are really, really interesting. And when you're all of a sudden playing in the room with a guitar amp blasting in your ear, I was really taken aback.
The other thing, and I kind of knew this, but when people come and see the concerts, they're really surprised how much of a force the Christine McVie songs are. I think a lot of casual fans barely know there's two women in the band. They all know Stevie because she's so iconic, but Christine McVie has just as many big hit songs.
Q: What is one of your personal favorite songs from Fleetwood Mac, and why?
A: After years of previously being in a band that celebrated '60s and '70s garage rock, I had to come out of the closet with this band and come to the conclusion that I'm totally into '80s pop music. For me, "Everywhere," which is a Christine McVie song from the '80s, is just a really fun one for me to play. It has this really great synthesizer arpeggio sound, and it's got a great melody. And then it has a great drum and bass groove. It's very simple, but I love to play it and it never gets old.
Q: Is Fleetwood Mac underrated, overrated or properly rated?
A: I don't think they're underrated because I do think they're widely regarded as one of the top 10 rock bands of all time. I don't think that's a stretch. They're also one of the most commercially successful bands of all time. I think they're appropriately placed in the rock pantheon.
Thomas Bruch can be reached at 686-3262 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasBruch.