Fans of classic rock know all too well the tumultuous history so many of their favorite bands dealt with. Whether due to success or failure, band members often come and go, often to pursue solo careers. Fleetwood Mac, of course, was no exception. But one band member, Bekka Bramlett, once revealed she “felt a little bit disposable” during her time playing with Fleetwood Mac.
How Bekka Bramlett joined Fleetwood Mac in the 1990s
Fleetwood Mac first formed in 1967, releasing its self-titled debut album the following year. But founders Mick Fleetwood and John McVie have really been the only consistent band members throughout its epic decades-long run in the music business. Even so, the early 1990s were a particularly rough time for Fleetwood Mac. In 1994, the band toured without Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and Christine McVie and added new members in their spots.
Dave Mason of Traffic, rockabilly singer Billy Burnette, and Bekka Bramlett were the new additions. While Fleetwood acknowledges the talent of these artists, he wrote in his 2014 memoir Play On that he regrets that particular line-up for Fleetwood Mac. According to Fleetwood, they were “a totally different band” at that time. Bramlett – the daughter of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett of music duo Delaney & Bonnie – felt the pressure more than most.
Why Bekka Bramlett felt ‘disposable’ with Fleetwood Mac
In a 2023 interview with Rolling Stone, Bramlett discusses the wild journey that saw her join one of the most successful bands of all time. And she touches on Fleetwood’s claim that the early 1990s version of Fleetwood Mac wasn’t exactly the band it billed itself as.
“Fleetwood Mac is Fleetwood and Mac and whomever else. Who knows what the f*** is going to happen to other people? Fleetwood and Mac are best friends. They are Johnny and Mick. They’re going to keep going no matter what. They’ve been showing that for 50 friggin’ years now. I’m just proud to be one of the entities of it.”
She continued, “I wasn’t disposable, but I felt a little bit disposable. Basically, put it this way, when their management said, ‘Stevie only does two or three shows a week,’ I was like, ‘Let’s do five. I’m taking this to the bank. Let’s do this. I’m never going to let you down. Let’s do this as many times as you want to until your queen comes back.’”
Bramlett’s comments indicate she always knew her time with Fleetwood Mac was temporary. As she puts it, the gig would probably disappear once Nicks was ready to return to the fold. And even with that knowledge, Bramlett was likely taken aback by how she was ultimately fired.
How Bekka Bramlett was fired from Fleetwood Mac
As Bramlett discusses in the Rolling Stone article, her final show with Fleetwood Mac was New Year’s Eve in 1995. Soon thereafter, she was fired from the band, and as one might imagine, it was a devastating blow, particularly with how Fleetwood let her know she was out.
“That was heartbreaking. Mick fired me on a fax. … I felt broken.” She continued, “I thought it would be better said at a lunch. I thought he should fly out and talk to me about it since I’d just bought a house. … I was definitely looking forward to the tour we had already just promoted. Evidently someone said, ‘Get her out of here.’”
According to Bramlett, she found out Nicks was back with Fleetwood Mac just 10 days later. Nicks officially rejoined the band in 1997 and remains a full-time member of the band to this day. Bramlett, meanwhile, formed the short-lived country duo Bekka & Billy with Burnette.