If you’re a fan of Fleetwood Mac, songs like Landslide, Go Your Own Way, and Dreams would definitely be on your nostalgia playlist. But did you ever wonder what happened to their guitarist Jeremy Spencer who suddenly went AWOL?
In 1971, Jeremy Spencer disappeared right before a gig in Los Angeles. No one could find him for weeks. He was eventually tracked down to a cult called the Children of God. There he formed his own band and to this day is still part of the said cult.
Who is Jeremy Spencer?
Jeremy Cedric Spencer was born on July 4, 1948, in Hartlepool, County, Durham. At the age of nine, he started piano lessons and switched over to the guitar in his teen years. He was heavily influenced by the American blues musician Elmore James. This explains his attachment to his slide guitar more than his other instruments.
In 1967, Spencer met Peter Green. He was looking for another musician to join him in his Fleetwood Mac project. Green already had a drummer and bassist in line, but he needed to get a second guitar player to fill out the sound. At the time, Spencer was playing with the Levi Set and was already a popular slide guitarist and pianist in the industry. Green was able to convince him anyway. (Source: Fleetwood Mac)
Spencer with Fleetwood Mac
Initially, Spencer’s role in the band was not highlighted. Green and Fleetwood went on to bring another guitarist to the mix, Danny Kirwan. Green and Kirwan realized how well they sounded together. They developed their own style with songs like Oh Well, Albatross, and Man of the World. Spencer was not involved in any of these songs.
Needless to say, Spencer felt isolated from the band. He chose to participate as little as he could on the third album. On stage, he was a huge part of the performance. Blues songs were popular with the crowd, and Spencer knew how to captivate the audience with his impersonations of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Elmore James, and John Mayall.
Spencer was a completely different character on stage. His wild behavior had negative repercussions for the band. At one point, the band was forbidden from performing at London’s Marquee Club. After performances, Spencer was withdrawn. He would spend more time reading the Bible in his room. A huge opposite from his character during live performances. (Source: Fleetwood Mac)
When Did Spencer Join the Cult?
Spencer was in a fragile mental state. During the California leg of their US tour, he had several strong negative premonitions about performing in Los Angeles. He pleaded with the band to cancel this part of the tour, but the show was still on to no avail.
After arriving in Los Angeles on February 15, 1971, Spencer disappeared. This forced the band to cancel the concert scheduled for that evening. Everyone was out looking for him. A few days later, he was found at the Children of God cult. He then declared that he no longer wanted to be part of Fleetwood Mac.
The band’s manager, Clifford Davis, tried to reason with him. But Spencer could not be persuaded. While there are rumors that he had been brainwashed and forced to join the cult, Spencer denies this and maintains his stance on how he willingly joined the organization on his own. (Source: Fleetwood Mac)