Fleetwood Mac is one of the most popular, and dysfunctional, bands of the 1970s and 1980s and beyond. Despite this dysfunction, the band achieved massive success and their timeless music is still enjoyed by fans new and old to this day.
Throughout the group’s 50-year history, the iconic band has seen a large number of members join and exit Fleetwood Mac. One of the most interesting departures was by founding member and guitarist Jeremy Spencer.
Spencer’s exit is an especially interesting saga, causing fans to ask, who are the musicians that have made up Fleetwood Mac, as well as the question of who was Spencer and what was the unusual reason he left his rock and roll career?
Who are the members of Fleetwood Mac?
The original core of the group included drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, guitarist/singer Peter Green, and guitarist Spencer. The band was formed in London in 1967 and released their self-titled debut album in 1968.
Soon after the creation of the group, the duo of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the band, and the group’s popularity exploded worldwide. The legendary band is known for such hits as The Chain, Tusk, Rhiannon, Dreams, and many more.
Fleetwood Mac was introduced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and is one of the best-selling bands of all-time. The group is also known for its various high-profile departures throughout the years. This turnover has seen legendary musicians enter and exit throughout the years, and still, the group was able to adapt to find incredible commercial and critical success.
The first major exit from the band was lead vocalist Green, who left the group in 1971. The first year of the 1970s was a difficult year for the band, as it was the year that two founding members in Green and Spencer left. Green’s reason for leaving was an addiction to LSD drug use and mounting pressure that affected his mental health. Spencer left Fleetwood Mac for a slightly more unexpected and spiritual reason.
Who is Jeremy Spencer and why did he leave the band?
According to Rolling Stone, leaving Fleetwood Mac is almost a rite of passage for musicians.
In the 50 plus years that the band has existed, no less than 12 members have joined and quit. Of the double-digit exits, perhaps none is stranger than the one that was made by Spencer.
Spencer was one of the founding members of the group but was always the second guitar behind the band’s original frontman Green. Even before their respective exits, Spencer and Green clashed. These clashes were mostly due to Spencer’s unwillingness to contribute to songs written by Green.
Spencer left Fleetwood Mac in 1971 to join the Huntington, California based cult know as The Family. His exit came just hours before the band was scheduled to play a gig in LA, and Spencer wasn’t found until five days later. The authorities found the guitarist cooped up in The Family’s headquarters.
What is the cult The Family?
Also known as Teens for Christ and Children of God, The Family was founded and led by David Berg. The group believes in the coming spiritual revolution led by the group, and that the outside world which they call The System is full of evil.
The group also believes in sexual freedom, especially Berg who was later accused of inappropriate behavior concerning members of the group. Interestingly, the group has connections to other celebrities besides Spencer. Actor Rose McGowan was a member of the cult as a child, as were the Phoenix family of children, River, Joaquin, Rain, and Summer.
McGowan and the Phoenix children escaped the cult while they were young, and have spoken out against it. Spencer began as a member of the group in 1971 and is still affiliated with the organization. Spencer has used his musical ability for The Family, as he continued to release albums promoting the cult’s message following his exit from Fleetwood Mac.