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Dennis Dunstan has exposed the secrets of Fleetwood Mac’s band members.

Dennis Dunstan talks about addiction, death and his ongoing friendship with the group.
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They’re one of the biggest bands in history – Fleetwood Mac are the British-American rock group who, since forming in London back in 1967, have sold more than 120 million records globally and have immortalised themselves in the process.

But behind their chart hits, infamous drug and alcohol abuse, and the tears and tantrums, there was one man who tried to hold the band together during both the dizzying highs and the crashing comedowns – Australian manager Dennis Dunstan, who would go on to describe his tenure with the rock legends as being the “world’s highest paid babysitter”.

“I said it as a bit of a joke at the time, but I guess there’s a lot of truth in it,” Dennis, 69, tells Woman’s Day.

“Because of their fame and everything that comes with that, they needed a lot of taking care of. I organised every hour of their tour days but also took care of their personal matters, including family. They were spoiled, but they deserved it.”

“I think a big part of their success was the different personalities in the group – it’s what made it so special. It was the drama that helped create some of the greatest music of our generation. But that meant I had my hands full with their egos and their varying needs!”

“Keeping the band together at all costs was the brief – and there were moments that were very tenuous – but we always managed to get through!”

Dennis helped steer the troubled band, Fleetwood Mac to greatness!

(Credit: Instagram)

Drugs and Diva Demands

When he began managing Fleetwood Mac in 1984, Dennis had his work cut out for him right from the start.

“It’s no secret that the Mac had some pretty well-documented drug habits,” says Dennis. “I was very aware of Stevie’s [Nicks] situation and it was kept under control for many years but eventually it caught up with her.”

“We were in Sydney together, getting ready to go on her solo tour, when she hit rock bottom one night. I said to her at the time, ‘I’ll get you through this, but you must promise me that you will go into rehab the minute we get back to LA.’ Luckily, she kept her promise and still talks about that moment to this day.”

The excesses weren’t only drug-related, with Dennis admitting that a standout rock’n’roll diva demand came from guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.

“We were in Austin, Texas,” he recalls. “And Lindsey called me at 10am, ‘craving a meal’ from a certain restaurant in Dallas. I told him that we had a show tonight and he replied, ‘I know, book the jet.'”

Christine’s death last November was a huge shock.

(Credit: Supplied)

“So, I had to call a private jet and we had to fly to Dallas for lunch. Two hours – and $30,000 later – we landed, got in a limousine and went to a Mexican hole-in-the-wall. We ate and flew back!”

Though he remained close to all of the band members over the decades, it’s his friendship with frontman Mick Fleetwood, who he calls a “soulmate”, that continues to endure to this day.

“I helped him on many occasions get through some pretty dark and heavy times and he’s never forgotten it,” he says of Mick.

“We have a deep understanding of each other and that has endured our friendship for over 45 years.”

“It’s pretty special to have a friend in your life that you’ve worked with and had unforgettable life experiences with. It’s hard for most people to comprehend what we’ve been through together. Mick and I enjoy nothing more than sitting back with a cocktail or a glass of red, laughing and sometimes crying about the ‘good old days’.”

With founding member Mick, who Dennis calls his “soulmate”.

(Credit: Instagram)

Close Friendship

His other good friend in the band was Christine McVie, who he was very close to, “talking every week” over the intervening decades. Understandably, her recent passing hit Dennis hard.

“Getting a call from LA on the morning of her passing was like I’d be hit in the head with a shovel,” he remembers, sadly.

“I couldn’t believe it, not Christine. It came as such a shock as I’d only been chatting with her a few weeks earlier.”

“Christine and I were like siblings. When I first arrived in LA to work for the band in 1978, I was originally booked into a hotel until Christine asked if I’d like to move into her house. Of course I said yes. That night, Chris cooked her famous lamb roast for me, which marked the beginning of a lifelong friendship.”

“Other than being one of the nicest people I have ever met, Chris was fiercely humble and intensely private.”

“She was someone who enjoyed being on the road touring but equally loved being at home and having close friends over, cooking for them, singing, drinking champagne, and nearly always ending the night with a game of charades!”

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