Deluxe sound surrounds embellished 'Rumours'

By Jefferson Graham
USA TODAY 27/11/00

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- To Mick Fleetwood, the DVD Audio remix of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours is ''an all-new listening experience.''

He didn't need much persuasion to agree to remix the original album. Rumours' original engineers, Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut, are now affiliated with DVD Audio company 5.1 Entertainment Group, which is remixing old favorites and issuing new releases, such as Aaron Neville's gospel collection Devotion, in the high-quality surround-sound format.

The remix is ''radically deluxe in terms of what it does to a body of work,'' Fleetwood says of the DVD Audio release, available in January. Rumours, No. 6 on the Recording Industry Association of America's all-time best seller list, was chosen as the band's initial DVD release because ''this is our flagship,'' says Fleetwood, the drummer and co-founder of the band. ''This is the one.''

DVD Audio puts Rumours in surround sound, with instruments and voices coming out of front and rear speakers in a way listeners haven't heard before.

The most notable difference is on the song Never Going Back Again. The song originally was called Brushes and consisted of just Lindsay Buckingham's acoustic guitar and backup vocal harmony, a short electric guitar solo and soft drumming by Fleetwood. But when it was mixed into two-channel stereo for the original release, the group felt the drums and electric guitar were intrusive. So listeners just heard voice and acoustic guitar, and the name was changed.

But isn't that like repainting the Mona Lisa in a different position or recutting Star Wars with different camera angles? ''The listener has the choice of listening to either version, both of which are on the DVD,'' Fleetwood says.

''The original mix was an artistic decision based on a technical reason,'' he says. ''This is our way of having fun with the new format. The integrity of the work is still there. Hopefully, fans will find that we're in satisfactory command of our faculties.''

As with DVD Video, DVD Audio uses the space on discs to package extras. For DVD visuals, photographs from the Rumours recording session flash on a TV screen if the DVD player is connected for video. There's also a short audio documentary on the making of the record, featuring interviews with the other band members, including Stevie Nicks and John and Christine McVie.

Fleetwood was the point man for the DVD release but says he played it for all the band members. ''Stevie had tears in her eyes when she heard it,'' he says. ''I'm more levelheaded. But it really is something.''

Fleetwood says he hopes this is the first of many DVD releases. He's eyeing the Rumours follow-up, Tusk, as the next candidate.

As for the future of the band, Nicks and Buckingham are working on solo projects, after which Fleetwood hopes to get the whole group into the studio by the end of next year.

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