In the early years of their friendship and career, Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks made a vow with each other that if they ever found themselves being treated with a lack of respect by their male musical counterparts, they would remove themselves from the situation as a way of taking a stand against sexism.
In a 2020 interview with NME, Nicks said: “Christine [McVie] and I were a force of nature. In the first two months I was in the band, Chris and I made a pact that we would never be in a room full of famous English or American guitar players and be treated like second class citizens.
"If we weren’t respected, we would say, ‘This party’s over,’” she added. “We have stayed true to that our entire career.”
And judging by this interview from 1977 promoting their ground-breaking album Rumours, when it came to upholding their values in such a male-dominated industry, the two women were quick at shutting down sexism whenever it showed itself.
In this case, Fleetwood Mac were faced with a rather misogynistic interviewer, who thought it wise to question the two women, alongside guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham, on whether their reputation had been impacted by having female musicians join the band, alluding to Nicks' recruitment in 1974, seemingly ignoring the fact that McVie had herself been part of Fleetwood Mac since 1968, first as a session player before then joining officially in 1970.
The interviewer asks: “It must have been one of the first bands to incorporate ladies and use them as such. Any problems as far as credibility of ladies in rock ’n’ roll when the band first hit the road with the girls?”.
Stunned by the absurdity of the question, Buckingham mutters "I don't think so", before quick-witted keyboardist and songwriter McVie points out as: "Well, I’d already been in the band for a good while, as a lady, and as a musician.
“I’d been primarily a musician rather than a backup singer, in any case. And then when Stevie joined the band, she was also a frontline singer and writer.”
She continues, “And I think in that way, I guess, we were the innovators of that kind of thing because it was more or less to my knowledge prior to us girls would be in rock bands, but would be backup singers and… ”
Then, the interview interrupts and suggests: “Pretty faces".
On that remark, an unimpressed Nicks offers her own argument, while emphasising the value that her and McVie have as vital members of the band.
"I think it comes down to the fact that Fleetwood Mac would not go on without Chris and me,” she says. “If we were sick, or something. Whereas in most bands with a girl in it, could go ahead and go, would go on and play. But they’d have trouble without us.”
Check out the clip via Reelin In The Years Productions below: