For whatever reason I’ve been listening to a bunch of Fleetwood Mac recently. It started when I got the song “Temporary One” that the band played during their 1997 reunion shows stuck in my head the other day. That lead to a YouTube search for the video of that performance, which lead to other YouTube videos which lead to a Spotfiy binge, which lead to a deep-dive into the solo works of Stevie Nicks, a catalog I wasn’t super-familiar with.
As I was watching the video of the band playing “Go Your Own Way” (which I think opened The Dance), I saw Nicks and Lyndsey Buckingham playing the flashy, emotional front of the band. I saw Christine McVie playing the watchful parent of her emotional kids. I saw Mick Fleetwood, wide-eyed behind his kit doing what he could to add theatrics to some of the most solid drum parts in rock.
All that was going on while bassist John McVie did his best to blend into the furniture, even while providing some of the most musical and integral rhythm support rock and roll has ever known. He stays there, just feet from his partner Fleetwood, laying down the foundation on which Buckingham’s virtuosic guitar parts are able to soar, Nicks’ vocals are able to contrast and McVie’s piano parts are able to glide.
McVie isn’t the showiest guy in the band. He’s even less showy than other rock bass players, who often do what they can to make themselves both seen and heard. In fact, he seems to eschew the spotlight and just wants to play the music, letting that speak for him while everyone else on stage draws the audience’s attention.
While I only ever played the drums (and not all that well) in my life, I was always drawn to bass parts, perhaps by virtue of singing that part in the various school choirs I was in over the years. The combination of those two things has me particularly attuned to the rhythm section in music.
It’s also likely a symptom of my general state of mind, which is happy to let someone else be the flashy frontman while I’m happy back here doing the work and laying the foundation. That mindset is also probably why I was so good at managing core content programs, doing the everyday work that may not get tons of attention but which is essential to building a good content marketing program. I’ll defer to the experts when it comes to premium content executions and other campaigns, but it’s my core program that is providing the audience for those campaigns.
Of course, that tendency to just want to be in the background has also likely impeded my career at various times as I haven’t taken credit for one thing or another, preferring to feel that the client’s success was mine, even if that wasn’t publicly acknowledged.
That’s fine, though. I’m fine following the John McVie example of being an essential part of the equation that does his work and does it better than most other people in his field. I’d just uncomfortable in the spotlight anyway.