Longtime Fleetwood Mac Keyboardist Brett Tuggle Dies
Springfield tweeted the news Sunday, sharing several photos of himself and Tuggle throughout the years. "Our sweet Brett Tuggle made it home tonight," he wrote. "God bless his beautiful spirit."
Tuggle grew up in Denver and gravitated toward the keyboard early, beginning piano lessons in first grade. He told Rolling Stone the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'" was a revelation, and he eventually got a used Hammond organ to emulate the sound. His first big career move came in 1970 when he went on tour with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels and played guitar on the 1971 album Detroit, recorded under the moniker Detroit Featuring Mitch Ryder.
Tuggle's career as a sideman began in earnest in 1981, when he went on tour with John Kay and Steppenwolf. The gig lasted roughly a year, at which point Tuggle began working with Springfield, who was riding high off the astronomical success of "Jessie's Girl." "We really set out to conquer the world back in 1982," Tuggle told Rolling Stone. "Some of the best memories of my life are of playing with Rick and his band. It was such a great band."
From there, the high-profile gigs kept coming. Tuggle joined Roth's touring band in 1986 in support of Roth's debut full-length Eat 'Em and Smile. He also co-wrote "Just Like Paradise," the lead single off Roth's second album Skyscraper and his biggest original solo hit, peaking at No. 6. He continued playing with Roth on tour for 1991's A Little Ain't Enough and 1994's Your Filthy Little Mouth.
Tuggle did a brief stint in Japan with Jimmy Page and David Coverdale in support of 1993's Coverdale/Page album, but his most consistent gig came in 1997 when he joined Fleetwood Mac at Mick Fleetwood's behest for The Dance TV special and live album, which heralded the return of the band's most successful lineup: Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie and Stevie Nicks. Tuggle initially shared keyboard duties with McVie and fully took over when she left the band in 1998.
Tuggle was dismissed from Fleetwood Mac in 2018 after 21 years of service. He said he believed it was because Nicks thought he was too close to the recently ousted Buckingham. "In the end, I think, Stevie thought I was more in Lindsey's camp," he surmised. "But I tried to be Switzerland to all the principles in the Mac. I felt like that was my job."
Ever the peacemaker and, first and foremost, music fan, Tuggle told Nicks and Fleetwood at the time that he hoped "redemption" was possible for Buckingham. "I care about them all," he said. "They’re all a big part of my life."