Rumours 'so excited' to return to Milan

Cary Ashby • Sep 1, 2019 at 7:15 PM

MILAN — Imagine performing the songs of your childhood idol.

That’s what Shannon Martin-Paul does on a regular basis with the area Fleetwood Mac tribute band Rumours. The full-time singer performs as Stevie Nicks — complete with costumes, hats and shawls similar to those worn by the legendary rock star.

Martin-Paul continues to study video footage of Nicks. She said she appreciates hearing fans compliment her performances.

“It means a ton because I’ve followed her since I was 9 years old. It makes my job easier to portray my idol,” said Martin-Paul, who has a large tattoo of Nicks on her upper arm. 

“I try to portray her moves in the 70s,” added the singer, who considers Rumours “my family.”

Rumours will perform at 9 p.m. Sunday at the Milan Melon Festival. This will be the second time in about five years the band has performed at the festival.

“We are so excited. It’s always exciting to be asked back,” said Claudia Doman, who has performed as Christine McVie since 2005. “That means we’re doing something right.”

Martin-Paul agreed.

“I think it’s just great. It’s my first time here; I’m excited,” she said in a separate interview.

The band, formed in 1997, consists of: Doman, of Elyria (McVie); guitarist and singer Lance Horwedel, of Castalia (Lindsey Buckingham); Martin-Paul, of Avon Lake (Nicks); bassist Dave McNary, of Huron (John McVie); drummer Brian Runkle, of Clyde (Mick Fleetwood); and keyboardist Matt Corkins, of Greenwich.

For Horwedel, performing at the Milan Melon Festival is a bit of a homecoming for the Rumours founder. The 1986 Edison High School graduate was born and raised in Berlin Heights.

“It’s always good to see familiar faces,” he said. “The good news is we’ll have a listening crowd. I’m sure we’ll have some dancers too.”

Since Horwedel is a full-time musician, he said he often misses out on Edison alumni functions. In addition to performing with Rumours, he plays solo shows and regularly handles the sound for the summer concert series at the Huron Boat Basin and for the Milan Melon Festival.

When Rumours last performed in Milan, Horwedel said he remembered people bringing folding chairs into the streets, making it “one of the bigger years” for the featured festival act.


History of Rumours

The EHS graduate formed Rumours in March 1997, about the time Fleetwood Mac reunited. Horwedel, Corkins, Runkle and brothers Brian and Mike Papazian co-founded the tribute band. Jill Dahnke, of Norwalk, performed as Nicks in Rumours for the first 10 years.  

Horwedel, in a 2018 interview with the Norwalk Reflector, said the idea for the trubute band came to him after he and Dahnke included two Fleetwood Mac songs in their sets — “Dreams” and “Rhiannon” — and a fan told him how much Dahnke sounded like Nicks.

The late Liz Campbell sang as Nicks for 10 years with Rumours. She died unexpectedly in January 2018. About six months before her passing, Martin-Paul sat in with the band to substitute for Campbell.

“Liz and Shannon both have a lot of talent and portray Stevie Nicks in a different way. It is always difficult to lose anyone close to you and we continue to celebrate her life through the things that she loved — music and friendship,” said Doman, who met Campbell in college.

Martin-Paul joined Rumours in late January 2018. She admitted it initially “was a hard position to fill” since she was following Campbell, who is fondly remembered by her bandmates. 

“Claudia made it a lot easier for me,” said Martin-Paul, who was impressed with the way Campbell performed as Nicks. “She did a great job.”


Complementing ‘each other very well’

Martin-Paul and Doman have known each each for 23 years. They said they became acquainted through “jam nights,” the community music scene and mutual friends.

Doman, also a full-time musician, said being in Rumours with her long-time friend makes performing fun and convenient. She also said she would like to add more authenticity to performing as McVie by playing keyboards with Corkins, but that has been difficult due to the size of the venues.

“She has given me a lot of guidance; she is like a sister to me,” Martin-Paul said in a separate interview.

The pair perform together in the PDC Experience, a band which covers songs from the 1960s and 1970s. The group includes Doman’s husband Drew on lead guitar, Martin-Paul’s husband Brian on bass and drummer Dave Clark.

“We do a lot of private parties. … We do a few select shows a year,” said Martin-Paul, who refers to the songs they perform as “Woodstock-style music.” 

Martin-Paul and Doman handle the Rumours social media. Their Facebook page has more than 1,500 followers, up from nearly 220 about this time last year. Horwedel said his bandmates “have done a great job,” know “how to push events” and Martin-Paul’s background in photography has added a nice visual punch to the new version of the Rumours website, https://rumoursband.us.

On Sunday, fans should expect to hear Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits plus well-known solo songs by Buckingham, McVie and Nicks.

“We complement each other very well and if you haven’t seen Rumours in a while, you should check us out,” Doman said.

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