AFTER playing with the real thing, you might expect former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Rick Vito to find the prospect of playing with a tribute act to the Anglo-American pop giants
Yet this weekend will find the 66-year-old guitarist and singer playing alongside Rumours of Fleetwood Mac at Eden Court.
“They put on a very professional, well done show. I’ve played with them before and I had such a great
time that I’m coming back to the UK to do it again,” he said.
“If they weren’t the people they are, of course I wouldn’t be a part of it. I get offers to sit in with tribute acts all the time, but this is much more of a cut above.”
Vito is not the only member of the original band to join Rumours of Fleetwood Mac on stage. Founder member Mick Fleetwood has also given them his seal of approval by performing along with them, just as Vito has played with many of his own musical heroes since leaving his native Philadelphia to pursue a music career at the age of 21.
They include Little Richard, Maria Muldaur, Bob Seger, David Soul, Dolly Parton, British blues legend John Mayall, Byrds’ vocalist Roger McGuinn, Bonnie Rait and bluesmen Albert Collins and Lowell Fulson.
His invitation to join Fleetwood Mac came after he jammed alongside Mick Fleetwood at an LA club and he told the Cornwall-born drummer how big an impression the original Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green had made on his own music.
“So when Lindsey Buckingham left the band in 1987, Mick decided to go back to a two-guitar band and gave me a call,” Vito said.
“The funny thing was that I’d been on the road with Bob Seger for about a year, and I felt something was brewing in the air – Bob would ask me to join the Silver Bullet Band or I’d get a record deal or something. Then the phone call came in from Mick and I turned to my wife and said: ‘That’s it!’”
The band had recently released Tango In The Night, which sold three million copies in the US to become Fleetwood Mac’s biggest success since Rumours. Fewer bands came bigger, or so well established, but as
a new face in the line-up alongside fellow guitarist Billy Burnette, Vito never found Fleetwood Mac’s fans
anything less than welcoming.
“We didn’t know what to expect. None of us did,” Vito said.
“But in the four years I was with them, there was never a shout out ‘where’s Lindsey?’ or a review saying that Buckingham was sorely missed.”
Although he left the band in 1991 to concentrate on his solo career, Vito still performs with Mick
“My musical life is made up of doing my own thing and working with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band and anything else that comes along that is interesting,” he said.
One of those interesting sidelines is in designing his own guitars for Ohio company Reverend Guitars.
“It’s nice to have your name associated with something that’s of good quality and doesn’t look like everything else that’s come down the pike,” he said.
Much like Fleetwood Mac, come to think of it.
Rick Vito appears with Rumours of Fleetwood Mac this evening, Friday February 26, at the Empire Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness.
Rick Vito’s most recent solo album, Mojo On My Side, is out now from Hypertension Records.