Village News Reporter
Members of a tribute band portray the actual band's members. So how does a tribute band carry on when someone from the actual band dies?
The Fleetwood Mac tribute band Twisted Gypsy performed at Pala Casino's Event Center Friday, Dec. 9, nine days after the death of actual Fleetwood Mac band member Christine McVie.
"That's what she would want," Melia Scaletty, who portrays Christine McVie in Twisted Gypsy, said.
Scaletty made those comments after performing "Songbird," which she sang after noting the significance of McVie in Fleetwood Mac and the bond Scaletty has felt having played the role of McVie in Twisted Gypsy.
"The reason why I joined this tribute band is because Fleetwood Mac is my favorite band of all time. I couldn't imagine myself playing any other tribute," Scaletty said. "I feel so incredibly honored to play this role in this band."
Scaletty has lived in California for 11 years. She is originally from Kansas City, Missouri.
"I can remember dancing with my parents in the living room to the Rumours album," she said.
Fleetwood Mac released "Rumours" in 1977. The album includes "Songbird," which was written and sung by McVie. The 12 songs on that album also include "Dreams," "Don't Stop," "Go Your Own Way," "The Chain," "You Make Loving Fun" and "Gold Dust Woman." At one time "Rumours," which was the second Fleetwood Mac album with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, was the fourth-highest selling album in history.
Twisted Gypsy has been performing for approximately seven years. The band also includes Niki Bente as Stevie Nicks, Timmy Gilmer as Lindsey Buckingham, Eric Szabo as John McVie, Milo Todesco as Mick Fleetwood and Aaron Kusterer handling lead guitar duties. Scaletty joined the band in early 2020 and was in three performances before the coronavirus shutdown. The band resumed concerts in spring 2021.
Scaletty also writes music, as did McVie. Scaletty's own music is secondary to her portrayal of the Fleetwood Mac musician.
"Twisted Gypsy is my true love," Scaletty said.
It includes a love of McVie as an artist.
"I've never had such an experience with a celebrity death. This one really hit hard," Scaletty said. "I feel connected with her. Once I heard about her passing, it was just heartbreaking and it just came out of nowhere."
The band's website at http://twistedgypsyband.com changed its feature post to "RIP Christine 'Everybody's Songbird'" and a video tribute to McVie which concluded with "Christine McVie 1943-2022" was shown while Scaletty was performing "Songbird" at the Dec. 9 concert.
"The show must go on," Scaletty said.
The first Twisted Gypsy concert following McVie's death was Friday, Dec. 2, at the Biergarten in Huntington Beach.
"We did a little tribute for her, a great moment," Scaletty said.
Scaletty sang "Songbird" as part of the Dec. 2 tribute.
"It was nerve-wracking, but also I think was uplifting and brought everybody together," she said.
The Huntington Beach concert tried to take a positive perspective on Fleetwood Mac music after McVie.
"We did a toast for her. It was very, very sweet," Scaletty said. "We're on this planet for a short period of time, but the music will live on forever. She will never be forgotten."
The Pala Casino concert was the final calendar year 2022 performance for Twisted Gypsy.
"We feel so welcome at Pala," Scaletty said.
McVie, who was a keyboardist as well as a vocalist for Fleetwood Mac, joined the band in 1970.
"It was a tough passing," Scaletty said. "I feel honored to be playing her, to continue her legacy. I hope I can live up to everybody's expectations of her."
The final concert of the actual Fleetwood Mac band was in November 2019 in Las Vegas. Twisted Gypsy is seeking to live up to the expectation of carrying on the legacy of the rest of Fleetwood Mac.
"I think the band as a whole is definitely doing that," Scaletty said. "I think I'm doing that, too."
Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].