“It is ironic actually,” said Horwedel, who started Rumours 21 years ago when Fleetwood Mac reunited.
“I have endured drama in the band,” the 1986 Edison High School graduate added. “There have been things that have happened that made me roll my eyes.”
Much like the band named after Fleetwood Mac’s most popular album, the tribute band and its members have had their share of drama, highs and lows. Rumours has witnessed break-ups, a divorce, substance abuse and members who left — only to return a few years later.
Keyboardist Matt Corkins, of Greenwich, and drummer Brian Runkle, of Clyde, founded the band with Horwedel and remain with Rumours. Horwedel, performs as guitarist and singer Lindsey Buckingham, who recently was fired from Fleetwood Mac.
Corkins has been there “the whole ride,” Horwedel said. “He has been very, very dedicated. … I’ve never gotten any drama out of Matt.”
When other band members might gripe about a situation, Corkins “is usually a bright spot,” he added. Horwedel compared the keyboardist to “an old Chevy you put the key in and it always starts.”
In addition to playing keyboards, Corkins created and manages the Rumours website, https://rumours.us.
The current lineup includes: Horwedel (as Buckingham), of Castalia; Corkins; Runkle (Mick Fleetwood); bassist Dave McNary (John McVie), of Huron; singer Claudia Doman, of Elyria, who also plays keyboards and guitar (Christine McVie); and singer Shannon Martin-Paul (Stevie Nicks), of Avon Lake.
“It’s never been easier to be in this band,” Horwedel said. “I have a low drama factor right now.”
There’s also some irony with the tribute band.
“I’m not the world’s biggest Fleetwood Mac fan,” Horwedel said.
In contrast, Martin-Paul “is a rabid fan” of Nicks, he added. “She has a tattoo of Stevie Nicks on her arm.
Martin-Paul replaces the late Liz Campbell, who sang as Nicks for 10 years in Rumours. She died unexpectedly in January.
“She was a bright spot in the band,” Horwedel said, fondly recalling his friend, one-time girlfriend and bandmate.
Horwedel at one point had a custom-built guitar that was virtually identical to the one that Buckingam plays. After it was stolen after a local concert, the guitarist said he didn’t want to replace it, but then it was Campbell’s memory that inspired him to have the instrument recreated.
“Ever since she’s been gone, I still have her name on it,” Horwedel added.
Rumours gets started
The Fleetwood Mac tribute band was formed in March 1997.
Starting about two years before that, Horwedel was performing in a duo with his then-girlfriend, Jill Dahnke, of Norwalk. The two included two Fleetwood Mac songs in their sets, “Dreams” and “Rhiannon,” both of which came from the 1977 album “Rumours.”
After one gig, a fan approached Horwedel.
“When she (Dahnke) sings, she really sounds like Stevie Nicks,” he said, recalling what the man told him. “You know, ‘you’re right.’”
It was seeing Fleetwood Mac perform at Gund Arena (now called Quicken Loans Arena) that inspired Horwedel to form Rumours. He and Dahnke had tickets behind the stage. Horwedel said “most fans would think those tickets suck,” but he was intrigued by being able to see what the band did.
“At the time I was working for The BackBeats,” he added, referring to being the road manager for a Beatles tribute band. “That showed me if you do a tribute and you do it well, you could get a lot of work.”
Horwedel, who was performing with The End, gathered some musicians at his house.
“We went through some songs. … I didn’t tell them what I had in mind,” he said.
Rumours was born after the other musicians heard Horwedel discuss creating a Fleetwood Mac tribute band. One of those ideas was playing a limited number of shows.
“I wanted to play a dozen times (a year) — 15 at the most,” he said.
Brothers Rian and Mike Papazian formed Rumours with Horwedel, Runkle and Corkins. After three or four months of rehearsal, the band played its first gig.
Horwedel said the tribute band had witnessed a series of “bad auditions” to find the right woman to perform as McVie before finding the right fit. Ironically, the best choice was under their collective noses. Horwedel said the Papazians’ mother — Faith Hiser — “ended up being our Christine McVie.” Hiser was in the band for 11 years.
To this day, Rumours plays limited engagements — from April to as late as November. Horwedel said the band members rehearse steadily once they “come out of hibernation” to get ready for their first gig of the spring.
Rumours will play three sets from 7 to 11 p.m. Sept. 8 at Pub 400 in Fremont and at a private concert Oct. 8 in Catawba.