CAUTION: This article contains graphic descriptions of child abuse and may be disturbing for some readers.
Jeremy Spencer performing at the Chicago Blues Festival. 2009-06-14
Jeremy Spencer, early 2000s
Jeremy Spencer, circa 1970
Jeremy Cedric Spencer (British; aliases used include Jonadab and Jonathan, though he now goes by Jeremy again) was born in West Hartlepool, England on July 4, 1948. Spencer was one of Fleetwood Mac's early guitarists, joining the band in 1967. His specialty was the slide guitar and he was strongly influenced by blues musician Elmore James. Spencer remained with the band until February 1971 when he joined the Children of God, upon which he renounced his possessions and cut his long hair.
He remains with The Family International (as the group is now called) to this day, participating in missionary activities, performing in studio recordings for the group (primarily in Brazil), and illustrating Family publications for children. Spencer lived in Ireland and worked mainly as a book illustrator and story writer for The Family International. As of 2013, he lives near Munich, Germany with his wife, where his efforts to reestablish himself as a mainstream blues guitarist are ongoing.
Spencer performed in concert tours in India with other Family International performers in 1995, 1998 and 2000. Shortly before the start of his 1998 tour, Fleetwood Mac performers including Jeremy Spencer were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
At age 18, Jeremy met Fiona who was 14 years old at the time. They had five children together: Jez ("Dicon"; b. 3 June 1968), Heidi (b. 8 November ~1970), Mareshah, Ben ("Koa"; b. 1972), and Nathaniel ("Nat"; b. 21 April 1974). Fiona and Jeremy were separated circa 1978. Fiona (who changed her name to Kitty) later married Andres (Italian) and together they had three daughters: Katuscia (b. ~1979), Talitha ("Tally"; b. ~1980/81), and Rebecca ("Becky"; b. 21 January 1983). Jeremy was later partnered with "Dora" (from Germany) whom he met while living in the Philippines. Of Fiona's eight children, only one is still a member of The Family International. She has been promoted to a senior position within the cult, and has remained in regular contact with the other siblings. Some of these children have formed a rock band in England called JYNXT. The band members are Nat, Koa, and Tally Spencer, along with non-relatives, Blaine, DJ Dan Brown, and Joe.
In an August 2009 Mo Letter, titled "Offensive Briefing #9: Collaboration", Steven "Peter Amsterdam" Kelly had this to say about Jeremy Spencer:
41. Jeremy Spencer's music ministry is another example of a collaborative venture based around a celebrity-style personality that started small and has started to bear quite a bit of fruit. Besides participating in three concerts in India during the '90s, Jeremy started playing publicly again several years ago in low-key venues and eventually with a nationally respected Norwegian blues band. Gradually, he has built a network of people who like to work with him, and the opportunities and offers are growing. While he doesn't announce his Family membership from the stage, he does highlight the Family and his personal faith in the many interviews he has done, and in his personal witnessing and interaction with those the Lord puts on his path. People see him, know him, appreciate his talent, and they inevitably come to learn that he's in the Family, a fact that many who are familiar with his music already know. His example and his skill in music gives the Family a good name, without his having to publicly promote the Family or our good works.
Alleged child sexual abuse
There have been a number of allegations of child sexual abuse made against Spencer. Information about some of these allegations can be found in court documents from Argentina and the United Kingdom, and published statements by his first wife and a woman who was raised in The Family and lived with Spencer when she was a child and alleged that he sexually abused her on a number of occasions.
Court documents concerning child abuse
Following are excerpts from the Judgment of Lord Justice Ward from 1995, the result of a child-custody trial involving The Family in England.
THE ORAL EVIDENCE OF CHILD / ADULT ABUSE
8. MS. Her father is Jeremy Spencer of Music with Meaning. Her mother is Dawn, a European Shepherd. … She said in her affidavit:
- "From my earliest memories until my time in India, sexual activity pervaded The Family. Instances that stand out in my mind are as follows:-
- "My mother and my father frequently had sexual intercourse and performed oral sex with each other and with other people in the same room as us children, regardless of whether we were awake or asleep. I distinctly remember my father having sexual intercourse with Faithy Berg when we lived in a caravan in Greece. I was around four years old at the time."
At the age of 6 she had to use both hands to masturbate Timothy in his 20's or 30's, ex-Vietnam veteran. At the same age she had to "help her father [Jeremy Spencer] out" which meant caressing him and mutual masturbation. From the age of 7 her step father made her masturbate him. She later told Mary Malay about her step father but not about her father because she liked him: "at least," she said, "he did not beat me".
THE LEADERS' INVOLVEMENT IN SEXUAL ABUSE
8. Jeremy Spencer
His own daughter with understandable reluctance complained that he abused her as I find he did. He also abused MB. Music with Meaning was a particularly corrupt and corrupting organisation. He played a central part in it.
In 1992, Argentine lawyer Hector Walter Navarro was appointed as an expert by Judge Liliana Puccio in Rosario, Argentina to report on literature, documents and other evidence obtained during an investigation of The Family in that city. At their request, he also later submitted written reports to Judge Julio Manuel Cámpora in Mercedes and Judge Roberto Jose Marquevich in San Isidro. In one of his reports, he noted that Merry Berg alleged that Jeremy Spencer sexually abused her when she was 9 years old:
She told me that at 9 years of age she was violated by "all" the men belonging to "Music with Meaning." When I asked her if these men were Simon Black, Simon Peter and Jeremy Spencer, she emphatically answered that it was "all" of them. It was during this time that at this centre which produced music videos and cassettes, Mene was filmed dancing stark naked, the tape of which I already delivered to your Excellency.
Excerpt from "Not Without My Sister"
In a 2007 book, "Not Without My Sister, co-authored with two of her sisters, Celeste Jones, who lived with Jeremy Spencer when she was a child, described alleged child sexual abuse by Spencer in graphic detail:
Jeremy Spencer worked with Dad on Life with Grandpa as the artist. He lived in the small, detached room in the courtyard that was built for the maid. On our dates he would play a tape of saxophone music. The routine was by now was familiar – undress, pray, kiss and then give him a hand job. Jeremy would try to masturbate me but it just ended up feeling raw and hurting. I would move position so that he would rub a different spot, but I never understood why he – and the other men – kept on rubbing and rubbing. If I said I did not enjoy it they would accuse me of being prudish or proud. I just pretended to have an orgasm to get them to stop.
Statement by Fiona Spencer
In an FN article published in 1982 and in June 1985 in the "FN Encyclopedia," Spencer's first wife Fiona Spencer described her relationship with Spencer. In her account she stated that Mr. Spencer "could have been put in prison" because she was a minor and he was an adult when they began having sexual relations that resulted in her pregnancy. She also described how her older (described as being between the ages of 10 to 12 and up) children were "fortunate" in that she and her husband had been able to find "loving", "helpful" and "patient" adults to sexually "share" with them:
Jeremy & I had spent a lot of time together & when he was in town he would stay at my house up till 3-4:00 in the morning & then leave, but my mother would always go to bed & leave us downstairs & we were always making love, sometimes 3-5 times a day! When I told my mother I was PG, she said, "I might have known. What are we going to do?" So we went to the doctor & he confirmed it--4 or 5 months, & he asked my mother if she wanted it terminated. At first she said, "Yes", then she said, "Lord forgive me!" I told her I wanted the baby & I wanted to go and live with Jeremy in London. I was just 15 & this type of thing was unheard of, but she considered it & agreed that I could live at home with her until the baby was born & then we would see.
Jeremy's parents were a little more outraged & maybe they felt more responsibility because I was only 15 and under the legal age. Jeremy could have been put in prison by my mother if she had wanted to press charges because I was under legal age.
Where we live at MWM we do have a lot of fellowship, a lot of sharing, & the children are very fortunate to be able to partake of this. As I said before, it's easy for our little ones to share & stay with one another, even make love if they can, they're all small and they can manage it. But when they get 10, 11, 12, & on, our children like to share with the adults. I found some adults in our Family are very helpful, very loving, & very patient towards our children, & will take time to really help them & love them & even teach them. In fact, I haven't really heard of a bad experience in our Family with our children sharing. I have talked a lot with the children about my own testimony and I treat them as adults, because, although it was a long time ago when I was their age, 12-13, I would have loved to have been in the situation we are now. I feel that almost all of our Family, the brethren are really understanding, very gentle, very loving, & there is no need to fear for the children, & they should be really free to love and share with the other brethren just as we do. When they have sperm, when they start their period, that's the testing time, how much do you trust the Lord, how much do you believe His promises, His blessings, etc? Being worried like our parents, the older generation are watching us, their grandparents; or not caring, only wanting to flow with the spirit, with this love, helping the children to be really free, & helping them to bring forth fruit!
Statement by Jeremy Spencer
On June 2, 2009, the following statement was posted on Spencer's web site:
To whom it may concern
A personal note from Jeremy Spencer
It has been said, "Your friends don't need an explanation, your enemies won't believe you anyway, but others may deserve an explanation." In light of that saying, I would like to give a statement on disturbing allegations against me that have surfaced on the internet.
Since going more public with a couple of albums and some concerts in recent years, I want to say that I have entered these endeavours being well aware that those interested in my music can obtain information –and sadly, much misinformation – about me at the click of a mouse button. I have been subjected to slander and controversy that often surrounds me because of belonging to an alternative religious movement and I have been absurdly misquoted and presented in a less than favourable light due to my lifestyle choice, especially having dropped out of a famous rock group.
In response, my quandary is that I could go about trying to refute, edit or even erase where possible what is written about me, although that in itself could be construed as covering up and it could be fruitless, considering that anyone can say anything about anyone on the internet –or in books - these days, virtually with impunity. Instead, I prefer to go on with my life and –for those interested- let my music speak for itself.
I have been a member of the Family International (http://www.thefamily.org/) for almost four decades and have given my time, services and skills to it. Contrary to speculation, although I am a famous member, I am not a leader in the organization! That is certainly not one of my talents! God gave me several artistic talents, however, one of which is playing slide guitar blues. I believe God wants me to impart my passion for the blues to those interested and I am grateful for the opportunities He has given me to do so.
Heartfelt thanks to those of you who are interested in my music and career.
Source: JeremySpencer.com: A personal note from Jeremy Spencer — 2009-06-02
Fleetwood Mac albums featuring Jeremy Spencer
- Fleetwood Mac (Blue Horizon 1968)
- Mr. Wonderful (Blue Horizon 1968)
- English Rose (Epic 1969--US only)
- The Pious Bird Of Good Omen (Blue Horizon 1969--UK only)
- Then Play On (Reprise 1969)
- Fleetwood Mac In Chicago/Blues Jam In Chicago vols 1 & 2 (Blue Horizon 1969)
- Kiln House (Reprise 1970)
Additional compilations/outtakes collections
- Greatest Hits (CBS 1971 - compilation)
- The Best of Fleetwood Mac (Reprise c1971 - Germany only but featuring rare songs)
- The Hits of Fleetwood Mac (Columbia 1990 - compilation)
- 25 Years - The Chain [Box set] (Warner 1992)
- Like It This Way (Elite - compilation)
- The Vaudeville Years of Fleetwood Mac 1968 to 1970 [Box set] (Receiver 1998)
- Show-Biz Blues 1968-1970 [Box set] (Receiver 2001 - Companion to "Vaudeville Years")
- The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions 1967-1969 [Box set] (Columbia UK, 1999)
- Best of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac (Columbia UK, 2000)
- Original Fleetwood Mac: The Blues Years (3-CD set, Castle, 1990)
- Madison Blues [3 disc box-set] (Shakedown 2003 - recorded 1970)
- Green Shadows (Union Square Music 2003 - compilation)
- Live at the BBC (Castle 1995 - recorded 1967-71)
- Shrine '69 (Rykodisc 1999 - recorded 25th January 1969)
- The Blues Collection (Castle, 1989 or 1992)
- Live at the Boston Tea Party, vols 1-3 (recorded February 5-7, 1970. Comprehensively released 1998 by Snapper Records, having previously been repackaged and bootlegged several times)
- Jumping at Shadows: The Blues Years (released 2002)
Jeremy Spencer solo and other albums
- Jeremy Spencer (Reprise, 1970)
- Jeremy Spencer and the Children (CBS, 1972)
- Flee (Atlantic, 1979)
- In Concert - India 1998 (PolyGram India, 1999)
- Precious Little (Bluestown, 2006)
Jeremy Spencer has also recorded a significant amount of music intended only for internal distribution within The Family.
- ↑ www.middlesbrough-indexes.co.uk — accessed 2007-02-09.
- ↑ Jeremy Spencer interviewed by Martin Celmins, Classic Rock magazine, March 2006.
- ↑ Jeremy Spencer interviewed by Martin Celmins, Classic Rock magazine, March 2006.
- ↑ The Guardian: After the 'Family' broke us apart
- ↑ http://www.jynxt.com/
- ↑ Navarro, Hector Walter. Investigación sobre la bibliografía de Los Niños de Dios: Existencia de correcccionales clandestinos, 1993.
- ↑ Buhring, Juliana; Celeste Jones, Kristina Jones (2007). Not Without My Sister. Harper Element (HarperCollins), pp. 66. ISBN 0007248067.
- ↑ Spencer, Fiona. Testimony of a Child Bride & Young Mother, FN Encyclopedia, 1985, 1308-1310.