The Rolling Stone interview series Unknown Legends features in-depth conversations between veteran writer Andy Greene and seasoned musicians who have been touring and recording icons for years, if not decades. All of them are well known in the industry, but some are less known to the general public. Here, these artists tell their full stories and get an up-close look at the life of A-list music. This release features keyboardist Brett Tuggle.
Keyboardist Brett Tuggle was traveling around Europe with Toto’s Steve Lukather in 1997 when he heard that Mick Fleetwood was trying to get in touch with him. “I called him from the airport and he said, ‘Brett, we’re getting the Big Five [Fleetwood Mac members] back together,'” Tuggle said. “‘We’re going to be adding some great musicians to the band, and you’ll be delighted with Christine [McVie].
The resulting single TV special gave Tuggle a two-decade tenure as the go-to keyboard player for all Fleetwood Mac tours, as well as solo tours from Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, as well as side projects for Buckingham McVie.
Tuggle was also a founding member of the band David Lee Roth and co-wrote Diamond Dave’s 1987 hit “Just Like Paradise”. He has also worked with Rick Springfield, Coverdale-Page, John Kay and Steppenwolf, Mitch Ryder and Detroit Wheels, Tommy Shaw, Belinda Carlisle and many others over the years.
Shortly after Lindsey Buckingham was fired, he called us from his home in Los Angeles to share his incredible story and why he was fired by Fleetwood Mac in 2018.
How are you adjusting to life during quarantine?
The best I can do not to do the show is weird. It’s strange to be on the sidelines for so long. But you just adapt. In all of our careers as musicians, there have been times of festivals or famines. I’m really doing other things, some music and writing. I try to work on my own projects and have meetings at home where I put my keyboard on someone else’s track.
Back then, it was all about being heard on the radio. I distinctly remember being shocked when I heard Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” on the radio. I thought, “What the hell is that guitar? And that sound? Shit.”
I grew up in Denver. Like the rest of the country, we were drawn to the surf scene. The Beach Boys had a huge impact on junior high. I got into a harmonious thing with them. Like everyone else, I watched The Beatles on TV, but it was never the same.