Mick Fleetwood talks future of new Mac album

Mick Fleetwood says he hopes Fleetwood Mac finishes a new album ‘Before we hang it up’

Before Fleetwood Mac launched its 2014-2015 world tour, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood worked on some new tracks that have yet to see the light of day. Fleetwood says that “before we hang it up,” he hopes the band will complete those recordings and release a new studio album, while admitting that he isn’t sure if that will happen.

“We have what we would call a large stash of great music. I’m not quite sure what we’re heading to do with it,” he tells ABC Radio. “I hope that we are able to [put an album together]. It’s just getting everyone on the same page to finish off the work that we’ve been doing.”

Mick admits that one Fleetwood Mac member who currently isn’t on the same page is Stevie Nicks, who will be launching a new North American solo tour on October 25.

“She’s busy doing her own stuff,” he points out. “And in this point in life, we’ve all dedicated so much time to Fleetwood Mac, you go, ‘Hey, it’d be great if we could, but if not, don’t worry about it.’”

Fleetwood tells ABC Radio that even if Nicks chooses not to lend her talents to the project, he hopes the music that’s already been recorded will be released in some form.

“I think there’s some thought that some of that lovely music would come out as a sort of duet album, maybe…from Christine and Lindsey,” Mick poses. “And if not, it will stay in a room, waiting for the day that maybe it would make sense that all of us can contribute to that being a Fleetwood Mac album.”

He adds, “Before we hang it up in the next few years, I truly hope there’s another lovely album that will come out.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mick Fleetwood talks Maui gallery, Fleetwood Mac’s future

“There really are dozens of songs,” drummer says of possible new studio album from ‘Rumours’ lineup

“People always say that corny thing: ‘Every picture tells a story,'” says Mick Fleetwood. “Well, they truly do! That’s what I love about them.” The 69-year-old Fleetwood, it should be noted, is certainly a fan of a good story. During a recent evening at Fleetwood’s on Front St., his restaurant and bar situated on the west Maui shoreline, the drummer regales Rolling Stone with an array of tales, from a dinner party with Willie Nelson at the island home of “supermensch” manager and agent Shep Gordon, to accompanying his daughters to a Justin Bieber concert (“He’s got some drum chops that I don’t have – a total shredder”) to a long-ago post-gig blowout in Honolulu that ended with Fleetwood, his mother and former Mac producer Richard Dashut covered in a whole lot of cake frosting – the aftermath of which is captured in a snapshot of a young Mick and mum drenched in buttercream that is hanging on a nearby wall.

Regarding his interest in photos, Fleetwood is here to discuss his newest endeavor, a partnership with the Morrison Hotel Gallery that has brought an outpost of the New York–based rock photography showroom to Maui. The new space, which opened in late June with a showing from acclaimed lens man Henry Diltz, is housed below the restaurant and adjacent to Fleetwood’s General Store (where one can purchase plenty of signed Mac memorabilia, among other items). “It makes sense to me to have it here,” Fleetwood says of the gallery. “Because it’s so connected to where I come from. Morrison Hotel is all about music.”

Fleetwood is still all about music as well. Next month the drummer will embark on a short fall tour of the west coast and Canada with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, a unit that revisits Fleetwood Mac material from their late-Sixties formative years with singer and guitarist Peter Green. “It’s a reminder to me of from whence I came,” he says of playing songs like “Black Magic Woman” and “Rattlesnake Shake” again. Furthermore, he revealed that Fleetwood Mac, which less than a year ago completed a mammoth world tour with the fully restored Rumours-era lineup, will indeed be hitting the road once again at some point in the future. If all goes well (and if one member in particular gets on board) there may even be a new studio album from the band, their first since 2003’s Say You Will. “We have a cartload of recorded stuff, and I’d like to see if come out,” Fleetwood says. “Truly, I think there should be an album.”

Over dinner with RS, Fleetwood discussed the new Morrison Hotel Gallery, what brought him to Maui and the future of Fleetwood Mac. Then he retreated to the restaurant’s rooftop dining area, where he chatted with guests and sat in with local band the Houseshakers, drumming along on a short set of classic blues songs. “People see me around and they say, ‘How long are you here for?'” Fleetwood remarked of his presence on the Hawaiian island. “And I tell them, ‘No, no. I live here.’ All of this — the restaurant, the store, the new gallery — it wouldn’t work otherwise. This is my home.”

What led to the opening of the Morrison Hotel Gallery here in Maui?
I had met [Morrison Hotel founder] Peter Blachley 12 years or so ago during a Mac tour down in Australia, and I thought he was a super cool guy. I didn’t even know he had this gallery. Our paths crossed a few more times, including once in New York when Morrison Hotel presented a show of Stevie’s Polaroid photos [“24 Karat Gold”], and I went to support her. And I found myself thinking, “I wonder if …” But it just went off the radar. Then, more recently, Peter was in Maui on holiday, and when he came here to Fleetwood’s he saw the whole operation we have going on, and the great art scene that surrounds us. I mean, the Hawaiian islands are one of the top three art capitals of the world. They sell more art on these islands than almost anywhere. And so I brought up this idea and he was interested. Then I said, “How about we just pony up and have you come and really do this properly?” And now we’re off and running.


You actually do some photography yourself.
Well, yes … but not so much. I go out and take pictures of trees and things. So it’s not quite the same [laughs]. But for a long time on the road I was a snapshot-taker that annoyed everyone. I was always taking shots in Fleetwood Mac and boring people. But now I’m the one with all the pictures, for whatever purpose that serves! But for me, it’s always been about trying to freeze a moment in time and tell a story. We had a great opening at the gallery with Henry Diltz, and a lot of his work is hanging here at the moment. He did a wonderful meet-and-greet and slide show, and one thing I noticed when Henry was giving his presentation was that he started telling stories along with his photos, and the stories were so amazing. He takes great pictures, but I have to say the stories almost eclipse the pictures. And that’s what it’s about at the gallery. All our boys and girls went to New York to get trained, because it’s all in the storytelling. I love that stuff.

“The pictures are very much triggers to a bygone generation.”

Another great thing is that the Morrison Hotel operation is all very together. They’ve been doing it for years and they have a really beautiful collage of photos that are forever. Those photographs of Henry’s that are downstairs? They’re never going to go out of style. And why would they? You’re looking at the outtakes of a shoot of the first Crosby, Stills & Nash album. It’s storytelling of some mythological proportions, really. The pictures are very much triggers to a bygone generation. And people want to see that. Half the people who come to see Fleetwood Mac now are 20, 30 years old. And they come because there’s a story to be told. That’s the fascination. People go, “What’s this all about?”

Are there plans to launch additional shows similar to the Henry Diltz exhibit?
Oh, yes. We’re planning on having other photographers come in. Neal Preston is one of our featured photographers. I’m hoping that Pattie Boyd comes. I’m visualizing Stevie coming. And we’re going to rotate in some local talent that I think is worth a damn. Because the idea is also to support the scene. On an island, that’s what you should do. And it’s what I enjoy doing. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s similar to some of the things I did in Fleetwood Mac — get a stage and find some lovely, incredible people to put on it.


How long have you been on Maui?
Actively, about 16 years. And for about seven years before that I’d be here half the year. I came here after we finished the Fleetwood Mac album with Stevie and Lindsey [Buckingham]. The reason was, this is where [producer] Keith Olsen had taken them when they had finished their Buckingham Nicks album [in 1973]. The Napili Kai hotel, to be exact. So then when we finished the Fleetwood Mac album they said “Why don’t we go?” And that’s when I fell in love with Maui. John [McVie] did too. And actually, the house I have in Napili is one I had originally turned John onto. He owned it for 30 years and then sold it back to me. And Stevie used to come out and spend weeks here. So there’s a lot of Mac history flying around the island.

As far as Fleetwood Mac is concerned, you guys wrapped up a world tour – your first in more than a decade with Christine McVie back in the fold – a little less than a year ago. What does the future hold for the band?
Well, we’re all dedicated to getting together about a year or so from now and going and doing another two years of touring all over the world, probably. And we also have a huge amount of recorded music. A huge amount. None of it’s with Stevie. Or very little. Some of it is very, very old stuff that Lindsey maybe did with her years and years ago. We’re not quite sure what will happen with it. But you know, doing this band is a huge investment. We’re only off the road for less than a year, and when you add in the time it takes to put a tour together, do rehearsals, get it up and running, the whole thing, it’s three years that you don’t do anything else. And Stevie has her own life and career and I think … you know, she just doesn’t want to spend the time right now. And we’re quietly saddened about that but also I sort of understand.

Do you think there will be a new record?
I really don’t know. The hope was that there was going to be. I do know that when Christine came back, she came back with a bag full of goods. She fucking wrote up a storm. She and Lindsey could probably have a mighty strong duet album if they want. In truth I hope it will come to more than that.

So nothing’s planned … but it could happen.
There’s always a “could happen” [laughs]. But one thing that’s for sure — there really are dozens of songs. And they’re really good. And so you think, “Shit, I don’t want it to be that, decades later, when we’re all pushing up daisies, someone hears this stuff and goes, ‘Well, that should have come out!'” So we’ll see.

Richard Bienstock / Rolling Stone / Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mick Fleetwood Blues band to perform Jan shows

Starting on January 5, the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band will be performing a series of Tuesday night shows at Mick Fleetwood’s popular Fleetwood’s on Front Street restaurant in Lahaina, Maui. This Tuesday’s show will feature former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Rick Vito.

Click HERE to buy tickets for show on the 5th (with Rick Vito), 12th, 19th, and 26th.

Fleetwood’s hits three-year mark with big bash

It’s been three years since legendary drummer Mick Fleetwood opened his restaurant in Lahaina. Now, Fleetwood’s on Front Street has a grand plan to celebrate, all weekend long.

Plan to start the party early? So do they. There’s a Throwback Thursday dance party on the restaurant’s rooftop patio from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. tonight, with deejay Gary O’Neal and “oldies” from around the year 2000.

Friday, August 21 features a Leather & Lace party to kick off the anniversary weekend, with a another rooftop dance party, this time to the live music of Maui’s own Kona Storm from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Guests are encouraged to wear their best “Leather & Lace,” the title of a popular song by Stevie Nicks, who joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975. If you get there early, happy hour runs 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

On Saturday, August 22, “Elvis” enters the building in a Burnin’ Love show from 7:15 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the rooftop. Award-winning singer Darren Lee will perform as Elvis, in a show that’s known to be among Mick Fleetwood’s favorites.

A four-course dinner comes with that show, with offerings inspired by places Elvis used to live. They include chicken and waffles (Memphis) and steak au poivre (Hollywood), and even Executive Chef Eric Morrissette’s take on Elvis’ favorite sandwich, with a Peanut Butter Brûlée and Banana Tartlet for dessert.

Package prices for dinner and the show on Saturday range from $110 to $160.

As for Sunday August 23, the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band will take to the rooftop stage to perform with recording artist Gretchen Rhodes and other local musicians. Rooftop doors open at 6 p.m. with music by the House Shakers, then a four-course dinner service begins up there at 6:30 p.m.

The menu includes chilled jumbo shrimp, summer melon salad, a petite filet and Mahi Mahi combo, and Fleetwood’s signature pineapple rum cake. There’s also a vegetarian option with roasted cauliflower and butternut squash.

Elvis, performed again by Darren Lee, leads off the show at 7:45 p.m., then Mick Fleetwood takes the stage for an anniversary toast and live music until 9:30 p.m.

There are six different packages that include the Sunday show and dinner. Prices start at $133 for cabana seating and a standing-room show with television monitors, and run up to $503 for the Rockstar Package, which provides center-stage seating in Mick Fleetwood’s private section, along with autographed copies of his biography Play On and a Fleetwood Mac CD.

Kiaora Bohlool / Maui Now / Thursday, August 20, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Return of the Mac

The father of the Mac Mick Fleetwood tells our reporter how his bohemian childhood still inspires him and the band

Mick Fleetwood and I are taking tea in a stylish hotel overlooking London’s Hyde Park. We are talking about his father Mike, who died in 1978 aged 62. Suddenly, Mick spots something out of the window.

“See the horses?” he says, looking out of the window and leaping out of his chair to point them out to me.

“It’s so cool, talking about Daddy and there he is!” Knowing the somewhat colourful background of Fleetwood and his eponymous band (past issues with cocaine and alcohol, for example), you could be forgiven for thinking the drummer had flipped.

But no. What we are looking at is the Household Cavalry crossing the park in the autumn sunshine, breastplates gleaming.

“He was a Royal Horse Guard and he used to make that same ride. Mummy (his mother Biddy, now 97) used to sit in the building that’s now the Mandarin Oriental Hotel over there when she was a young woman,” he points, “and she watched those men on the horses crossing the park and she ended up being with my dad. So cool.”

Fleetwood, now 67, is obviously still in awe of his late father, who ended up buying himself out of the Army, and joining the RAF for the duration of the Second World War. The pair were remarkably close; certainly closer than you would usually expect an upright Air Force man and his academically ungifted musician son to be, and it is to Mike’s sense of leadership and understanding of personality that Mick attributes the fact that he has been the father figure of his band Fleetwood Mac through 47 years of personnel changes, musical differences, illnesses and romances.

Throughout it all, as well as keeping time for the supergroup, he has kept the band together. He has now written a second autobiography, Play On, about his life. This is still entwined with the Mac, who are currently on a world tour coming to Britain in May, rejoined by songwriter and keyboard player Christine McVie after a break from the band of a mere 16 years.

I don’t write people off and I would much rather leave the door open than push people away, no matter what has happened. I would rather prefer to work at being liked than to be cynically truthful with people all the time and closing the door in their face
Mick Fleetwood, Fleetwood Mac drummer

Mike and Biddy already had two daughters when Mick came along, and were not the 1950s parents you would expect. “None of us had conventional careers,” remembers Mick. “My parents knew that none of us were destined for cookie-cutter jobs. They already had a blueprint with Sally (who became a sculptor and clothes designer) and they sent her off to art school. Then Susan wanted to be an actress and then they had this little lad who wasn’t getting anything from school, so they let me go off and live in London with Sally and pursue a music career.”

Mike Fleetwood was the sort of chap they do not make any more; a self-made man from Liverpool who travelled to Germany before the war, witnessing gatherings that would see Adolf Hitler rise to power; becoming a soldier and then an airman and then, before entering the world of Civvy Street and bringing up a family, pursuing a career as a writer.

“Dad was not all the huff and puff of the RAF; there was this dreamy, poetic thing there for sure. It was the perfect template for me. He had an attitude of ‘as long as something gets done, it doesn’t matter who gets the kudos. That serves no purpose other than to say me, me, me’.”

Fleetwood Mac are arguably one of the most interesting mega-bands. From a blues outfit at the start, with John McVie still in the band which bears his and Mick’s names, Bob Brunning and the extraordinary guitarist Peter Green, the band has gone through several incarnations until arriving at the current, classic line up of Fleetwood, McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie.

The band are back together again for a new album and tour, and Fleetwood is clearly delighted. He draws a large circle in the air, and says: “It is, as I say on stage, the completing of a circle. Christine returning to the band; well, that was a door that was never closed, and that has always been the better choice for me.

“I don’t write people off and I would much rather leave the door open than push people away, no matter what has happened. I would rather prefer to work at being liked than to be cynically truthful with people all the time and closing the door in their face.”

I’m amazed when Fleetwood says that he has never really thought about the band as one where men and women are on an equal footing as performers and songwriters; one of what I think is the band’s strengths. “I’ve never been that Superman creature, all huff and puff, and making a delineation between us. My parents and my sisters were the perfect template of being in touch with your feminine side. And it’s fun.”

Being Mick Fleetwood, it has to be said, does look like more fun than several barrelfuls of monkeys, despite the aforementioned brushes with substances that were doing him no good, and a bankruptcy. Now living on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where his mum Biddy also lives, he exudes rangy elegance, with a dress sense also influenced by his father.

“He always loved clothes; the military makes you learn to turn out, and at my boarding school you learned to turn out. If you don’t spit and polish your shoes, or press your shorts at night under the mattress, you’d be in trouble.”

Today, he looks every tall, slim, tanned, Bohemian rock star dresser, in white skinny jeans, a mango-coloured shirt worn under a buttery-soft light brown suede waistcoat. Fleetwood admits that he loves shopping, but it wasn’t so easy as a teenager, despite living in cool Notting Hill.

‘Being gangly and tall and having no money was a huge problem, so when I came to London, I started dressing myself like so many others, from secondhand stores, with Liberty fabric jackets, jeans, all that kind of stuff that actually fit. I loathed shirt sleeves as they were always too short; I ended up looking like David Byrne from Talking Heads in Stop Making Sense!”

Being a tall teenager has been a bizarre help in Fleetwood’s showbiz career. “Being six foot six, thin as a beanpole, probably looking quite odd –‘Is that a boy or a girl?’,” he mimics, in the way our parents baffled generation did. “And you’re walking around Notting Hill Gate in blue jeans, with a pair of wooden balls hanging from your belt and hair down to your bottom, you get used to being looked at for being different.”

• To order Play On by Mick Fleetwood and Anthony Bozza (Hodder & Stoughton), £20, call the Express Bookshop on 01872 562310.

Alternatively send a cheque or postal order to: Play On Offer, PO Box 200, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 4WJ or visit expressbookshop.com. UK delivery is free. For details of the band’s tour, visit mickfleetwoodofficial.com

Clair Woodward / Sunday Express (UK) / Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Meet Mick Fleetwood at NYC Barnes and Noble book signing

If you are in the New York area, meet Mick Fleetwood at the 5th Ave Barnes and Noble on Tuesday, October 28, at 1pm, as he signs copies of his new book Play On: Now, Then, and Fleetwood Mac. Click here to read more about the book-signing event in New York.

Mick with be doing a second book signing in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 28, at Barnes and Noble in The Grove shopping center.


Mick Fleetwood’s second memoir, Play On, due in October

(Photo: Annabel Mehran)
(Photo: Annabel Mehran)

Mick Fleetwood’s second autobiography, titled Play On: Now, Then, and Fleetwood Mac, is scheduled for release in the U.S. on October 7, according to Amazon.com. The new “tell-all” will be available in hardcover book, MP3 CD audiobook, and ebook formats.

Mick published his first memoir, Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac, in 1991.

Amazon.com product description

Mick Fleetwood, the drummer and cofounder of the mega-selling band Fleetwood Mac, tells all.

In this candid, intimate portrait of a life lived in music, Mick Fleetwood sheds new light on well-known points in his history, including many incredible moments of recording and touring with Fleetwood Mac, as well as personal insights from a man who has been a major player in blues and rock n’ roll since his teens.

The group Fleetwood Mac has sold over 140 million records worldwide, and they continue to attract a huge following, selling out their biggest arena tour ever in 2013, decades after their debut. Finally, the group’s admirers will have a unique portrait of what made Mick and the rest of the group tick in the midst of their massive success and personal trials.

The full and intimate autobiography of the legendary Mick Fleetwood: the only original remaining member of super group Fleetwood Mac. Fleetwood’s book spans his chequered 40 year career as one of rock’s greatest drummers and co-founder of the notorious group that bears his name. In this candid portrait of a life lived in music, Mick Fleetwood describes growing up in Cornwall, Egypt and Norway where his obsession wth drumming began, to his early days as a musician in Sixties London gigging with the Yardbirds and learning the blues from John Mayall. Among other subjects, Mick’s close relationship with George Harrison, his marriage to Jenny Boyd and his relationship with Stevie Nicks are revealed. Including behind-the-scenes moments from Fleetwood Mac’s sell out 2013 tour, his memoir sheds new light on Fleetwood’s history as well as personal insights from a man who has been a major player in blues and rock n’ roll since his teens. Mick describes the multiple incarnations of Fleetwood Mac: the early successes, the creative collaborations and confrontations, the intense loves and destructive feuds. Drugs, bankruptcy, madness and heartbreak frequently threatened to end it all, but through sheer love and determination one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time has endured.

Q&A: Mick Fleetwood on the new tour, the sexiest Fleetwood Mac song, how restaurants are like bands


By James Gaddy
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

As an original member of one of the most commercially successful bands of all time, Mick Fleetwood has anchored Fleetwood Mac far beyond the drum kit, serving as the band’s namesake, de facto manager during its late ’70s reign atop the charts, chief mediator between warring factions during the turbulent Rumours recording sessions, and biggest cheerleader for the band after the members went their own way in the ’80s. And he has been straightforward about the notorious excesses of the era, happily admitting that, when they traveled, they did everything “first class, all the way.” Most famously, Fleetwood discovered Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in 1976 and convinced them to join the band, which had nearly disintegrated after it was originally formed as a London blues band nine years earlier.

Continue reading “Q&A: Mick Fleetwood on the new tour, the sexiest Fleetwood Mac song, how restaurants are like bands”

Tall Stories

2013-0401-classic-rock-mick-fleetwood-300On the eve of Fleetwood Mac’s UK tour to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their astonishing 40-million-selling album Rumours, we catch up with drummer Mick Fleetwood to find out how the band survived drink, drugs and affairs to record it. “We were all fucked up,” he says.

By Max Bell
Classic Rock
April 2013

First impressions of Mick Fleetwood are usually something like (to paraphrase the Harry Nilsson song): “Jesus Christ, you’re tall.” Fleetwood doesn’t so much inhabit his swanky Berkeley Hotel suite as loom across the available space. From head toe, he’s immaculately groomed: the silver hair, the Maui suntan, the crisp striped shirt and hand-stitched brown brogues are evidence of his post-psychedelic dandyism. His socks are box fresh and match his scarf. His trademark headwear — today it’s a burnt orange cap — lies on the table underneath a CD copy of his band Fleetwood Mac’s reissued Rumours — the elephant in the room. His ponytail, a reminder of longer-haired days, is constantly teased, as are the opulent Native American bangles on his wrists. He offers water. “Usually I’d have got through half a bottle of good wine by now, but since we’re about to go on tour I’m trying to stay fit.”

Mick Fleetwood has been an American citizen since 2006. He’s lived in California and Hawaii for 40 years, and understandably speaks with a transatlantic accent. Pleasingly, there’s a detectable trace of West Country burr. He was born in Cornwall in 1947 and educated at a public school in Gloucestershire, at one of those institutions where six-of-the-best corporal punishment was the norm — the bat and the cane. No wonder he became a drummer — taken out on those tom-toms.

Suggestions of a whistle-stop tour his life are met with: “Go ahead. I’ll talk about anything. As long as I can get through the jet-lag.”

Does he still see the old gang?

“Peter Green? Once in a while I’ll ring him. I may do once you’ve left. He doesn’t know it and won’t be expecting it.”

Fleetwood smiles as if to imply that maybe it won’t be a pleasant surprise for Green. Mick once tried to manage his old Bluesbreakers and Fleetwood Mac bandmate in 1977, but was flummoxed by the guitarist’s insistence that both his past and the music business in general had destroyed his life and sent him to psychiatric hell.

“It was hard to convince him he wasn’t dealing with the devil.”

Fleetwood Mac’s second guitarist from their early days, Jeremy Spencer, the joker in the pack who used to decorate the band’s equipment with sex toys, remains in touch. “He lives in Ireland and he’s making music again. His journey is well known. He’s not with the Children Of God anymore but some other sect [The Family International]. He’s in good humour, much like the old Jeremy before he got very strange.”

One-time teenage whizz-kid slide guitarist Danny Kirwan also fell off the rails. Just as Spencer flipped after taking mescaline in Los Angeles in 1971, Kirwan and Green are said to have taken dodgy acid at a commune in Munich a year earlier, although Danny’s problems lay in the bottle.

“I have no contact with Danny. I’m supposed to have fired him in 1972 [after Kirwan smashed his guitar in the dressing room and refused to perform], but I just told him: ‘Enough is enough. You can’t keep on destroying the soundboard and then watch your fellow band members dying the death.’ We didn’t realise Danny wasn’t suited to this business. That wasn’t obvious in the late-60s when he recorded with us but he became very unpredictable. We should have said no to him joining, because he was already an alcoholic. I don’t know if that’s ever been fixed. I hear from his ex-wife, and it’s not good.”

Kirwan ended up thing in the St Mungo’s hostel for homeless men in Endell Street in Central London. He wasn’t the only casualty. Kirwan’s replacement, Bob Weston, who played on the Mac albums Penguin and Mystery To Me, was famously sacked by Fleetwood in Nebraska after the drummer’s discovery that Bob was having an affair with his then wife Jenny Boyd. He was found dead in a grubby flat in Brent Cross in January 2012.

Mac’s American guitarist Bob Welch whose resignation in 1984 facilitated the arrival of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, committed suicide six months later, shooting himself through the chest.

Viewed in black and white, all of this makes the relationship break-up saga of Rumours seem pretty tepid. It’s a depressing past punctuated with sublime moments like Man Of The World, Albatross and the classic albums — Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Mr Wonderful and Then Play On. Mick prefers to accentuate the positive.

“That old band came out of the hatch and we were immediately successful. We were very diverse, playing all that Elmore James blues and having hit singles. John McVie and me always welcomed the new people. We never told that they had to conform to any formula. It was amazing that we kept our audience. Peter was generous too. Even on his last album with us [Then Play On] he gave Danny half the album to write. He didn’t need to do that.”

The original Fleetwood Mac severed ties with Britain when they decamped to the USA in the early 70s. “In England we fell off the map, and a few years on we lost our identity with the massive mismanagement fiasco.”

He’s referring to the bogus Fleetwood Mac of 1974, put together by then-manager Clifford Davis when the band were at an all-time low. Fleetwood has always denied any involvement with this outfit formed from the blues hand Stretch. “We suddenly found we were no longer in our own band!”

The faux Fleetwoods didn’t survive a lawsuit, however, and Mick was amazed that “Warner’s didn’t drop us. There were lots of ifs-and-buts. If Peter hadn’t left and he’d been emotionally on track. I honestly believe we’d have been up there with Led Zeppelin and that thing that happened in America at the time. We were a funny-looking bunch of guys, but we were a phenomenally fucking good band.”

Lovers of the old Mac might say that here was the real tragedy — if that’s not too strong a word.

“They were tough times. It’s funny how things happen. If Bob Welch hadn’t left, we’d never have made the next jump. But Danny was influential too; before him there was no melody and no harmony. And then there’s this…” Mick gestures to the Rumours package, the 40-million-selling gift that just keeps on giving. Now available in various permutations of CD, DVD and vinyl, the recorded stop opera that accompanied the splits between John and Christine McVie and Buckingham-Nicks refuses to go away. Here it is again, shipping 40,000 copies in the UK and forming the basis for a 50-date tour of America, followed by an autumn visit to European stages that will see an estimated box office and merchandise revenue pumping well in excess of $70 million into the group. Where did it all go wrong?

“It’s part of our legacy. We’ve nurtured talent and they’ve all left their mark, some more important than others. It’s a big story, should you delve into how we got here. This album is interesting for us, if not a little frightening. How did we survive making it with all these ex-lovers blowing up in each other’s faces? It was emotionally charged — cause and effect. We don’t complain any more, and shouldn’t, but dreadful things were happening. There were tragedies everywhere, with Peter and Danny, and then this album, where everyone is miserable.”

2013-0401-classic-rock-mick-fleetwood2-300A band waging war with itself may be deemed a vicarious pleasure, although the often physical nature of Lindsey and Stevie’s disagreements were hard for Fleetwood to witness. During early rehearsals for Rumours at the Producer’s Workshop in LA, Mick saw his band disintegrating. Christine McVie was having an affair with the band’s lighting director, Curry Grant. John McVie was perma-sozzle, and everyone was imbibing vast amounts of pharmaceutical cocaine dished out by the mirror-load. Meanwhile, Mick recited the lines of poet Robert Frost: “The woods are dark and deep… And miles to go before we sleep.”

The drummer still felt impelled to rally the troops, and was heard to implore: “Hey, guys, why don’t we chill out here and do some transcending and just write music about all this hassle.”

These days Mick takes a more sanguine view.

“We were only like every other band of that era. I’ve given up all that now. John and Christine were… hmmm. Well, the whole band was at it. We weren’t misjudged; we were in with the worst of them. But when I talk war stories with other bands, I think we weren’t so bad. ‘You did what?’ We were lightweights compared to many. Look at the Stones or Johnny Cash, the stuff they took. We didn’t do that, we were just boozers and mounds of cocaine. I thank God we didn’t go to the opiate place. Cocaine eventually is bad, but we were still young kids. It didn’t hamper us, it just meant we stayed up for three or four days and did some good music.”

The lingering aftermath saw them all go their own way into rehab and therapy, because there’s no such thing as an ex-alcoholic or ex-drug addict. McVie eventually gave up drinking in the 1990s. Mick and Stevie Nicks both faced other battles. “Fifteen years after Rumours, we were still going strong. And that wasn’t fun. It turned out boring, and impossible for health reasons.”

Mick developed diabetes and thought he was dying of a brain tumour. Despite the apparent wealth generated by Rumours,Tusk et al, he declared himself bankrupt thanks to some disastrous property deals and failed restaurant endeavours.

“Did all that affect me? Yes it did. Stevie says she doesn’t remember a whole 10 years of her life because she was doing weird stuff — she battled with tranquilliser dependency — but us rock’n’rollers have strong constitutions. We were lucky. Enough was enough.”

From a position of great health and wealth, Fleetwood is prepared to be candid. “The romance of it all is voyeuristic. People want to hear it, and I can talk about it. But looking back? No, it wasn’t a great thing to have done. I’m torn between not talking about it, which is defensive and stupid, or do I answer? We could cope because we were young. Is that the reason why we spent over a year making Rumours? No, it wasn’t. People said, ‘Oh you’re so indulgent.’ But it was our money, our waste, and our drugs.”

“On a creative level we were thrilled because we were blessed to pay for studio time. We could have made a quick album — get the fuck out and hope they buy it anyway. People assume we were a depraved, drug-crazed group pissing money down the studio sink. No. We worked hard. The money was our advance — which we never saw again.”

In Mac’s defence, it wasn’t their fault Rumours became a behemoth. “We had no idea. We lived in a focused world of five individuals. We weren’t super-unique, but we were fairly unique because we forced ourselves into a one-on-one, 24/7, pressing creative world. That’s a lot to ask when every time you look at someone your heart is in your mouth, or you’re feeling so hurt you just want to get a dagger and stick it in his or her back. That’s what we were doing.”

Though often cast as the calming influence, Fleetwood felt as rotten as everyone else.

“I was miserable because my wife left me for my best friend [Weston] but I had to be the piggy in the middle. We were all fucked up. But you know my history: got to keep this band going at all costs. Someone had to do it, and it’s in my nature. Maybe I’m insecure. I get that from my dad.”

Fleetwood Mac isn’t Mick’s only family. He’s the father of four daughters, two of them grown-up children from his 1970 marriage to Jenny Boyd, sister of Pattie Boyd, who was married to George Harrison and later Eric Clapton. Being George Harrison’s brother-in-law gave him a unique insight into the extraordinary world of The Beatles circa 1969. He knew the Dutch hippie designers The Fool, who designed The Beatles’ Apple shop and decorated stage sets for The Move, Cream and Procol Harum, and he’d hear about the Beatles’ trip to Rishikesh first-hand from Jenny, since she’d sat at the Maharishi’s feet with John, Paul, George and Ringo when she was with Donovan, who wrote Jennifer Juniper in her honour.

“I had a vicarious window into the greatest talent pool I’ll ever know. I went to the Abbey Road album sessions. I saw them doing Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, using the anvil and the horseshoes, and I spent a lot of time hanging by default in their Rolls-Royces or sitting down at tables in the Scotch Of St James. London was cooking then. I was just a little blues musician. To this day, Paul McCartney always calls me ‘young Michael’, and to George I was ‘little Mick’. Just before I got on the plane to come here, Jenny sent me a note George once gave her which had his Indian squiggle on it and a P.S: ‘Don’t forget to tell Mick that I love him.”

Given the overarching success of Rumours, it’s sometimes hard to remember that beneath the trappings, cosmic minstrel Mick Fleetwood is but a humble drummer, mentioned in dispatches rather than at the front line.

“My reputation? I get checked a lot by fellow players. John Bonham’s sister [Deborah] told me I was one of his favourite drummers. I thought he’d think I was a piece of shit! Apparently not. The Fleetwood Mac rhythm section is better than we think, so I get kudos. I’m a feel-meister, like Charlie Watts; I’m not a technician. I don’t know what I’m doing half the time. But without puffing up, I’m not an unknown personality. I’m not the world’s forgotten drummer. John McVie couldn’t give a shit whether anyone likes him. He doesn’t care about me as Mick the drama queen or Mick the flag-waver. His attitude is: ‘How do you do all that? I couldn’t give a shit. Phone me when they’ve all stopped crying. It’s pissing me off.’”

McVie lives near Fleetwood on Maui and remains his friend and ally. They don’t socialise that much, but the bass player will order him to take it easy, “Why are you operating another restaurant? Stop stressing out. Stop selling your soul for this thing.”

“I tell him: ‘Why should you complain? I’ve kept you in a band for 45years!’” Fleetwood says. “He appreciates that. My main function is creating the stage for me and John, so he’d better.”

He bangs the drums: "I'm not the world's forgotten drummer," reckons Mick.

If Fleetwood Mac are now a nostalgia act, at least they didn’t end up in Las Vegas. Christine McVic says she’ll never come back, but there are three new tracks in the pipeline created by Fleetwood, Buckingham and Nicks — the latter pair being permanent road fixtures thanks to Stevie’s touring schedule and Lindsey’s One Man Show. Making a band album is probably a thing of the past.

“It’s all about the tour — a humongous tour that’s gone ballistic. We’re in good fettle. Stevie’s in voice. Lindsey’s fighting fit. I play a lot on Maui but I need to step it up. John only has to move his fingers.”

Ask him what his favorite Mac albums are and the man whose name is on the tin cites Tusk — “More ground-breaking than Rumours, and I know because I was managing the band at the time — and 1969’s Then Play On. I came up with the title, and it was a lovely creative mix. That album is the signpost of what could have been; a vision of the band if Peter hadn’t been ill.”

He owns the original of the artwork used for the album. The painting, which features a naked man on a horse, is called Domesticated Mural Painting and is by the artist Maxwell Armfield. It was originally designed for a London mansion. Fleetwood admits that he misses the old days. “They were good times. Playing the Nag’s Head in Battersea or out-of-town pubs in High Wycombe was like a fantastic boot camp. There’s something about the slog that helps the creative ethic. Doing this tour is only plugging into a muscle memory; it’s a psychic recollection of what I’ve done my whole fucking life. Too many bands come out of nowhere and become rich and famous and unpleasant. They buy into the bullshit. I say: ‘You need to go and set up an amplifier, jacko! Then drive to fucking Scotland and back for five quid.’ I sound like an old fuddy duddy.”

While he’s dishing out advice, Fleetwood mentions something that keeps him going. “In 1971, Tom Johnston, from the Doobie Brothers, and Steve Miller both told me: ‘Play the colleges, whatever you do. Even if it’s for peanuts.’ That’s what kept the band afloat in America in the early ‘70s. If we didn’t draw a great crowd, I’d pay the money back. Before that, in England, I learnt from Peter Green. He had Jewish blood so he knew how to tell people to fuck off — and give me the fucking money, you fucking liar. I went with him to die counting house after the gig, so I knew how tough he could be. But on a bad night Peter would give the guarantee back.

“A lot of my shit about running Fleetwood Mac comes from Peter Green. He taught how to recognise talent. He was the king of that band. All these individuals who turned up along the way were welcomed because Peter let me into the secret. Welcome to the realms of madness.’

And then play on.

Rumours: The 35th Anniversary Edition it out now via Warner Bros.

‘Sound City’: Dave Grohl Makes You Come For The Studio, Stay For The People

By David Bauder
Huffington Post
Thursday, January 31, 2013

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Rock musician Dave Grohl set out to make a recording studio the subject of his first-ever film. He was intrigued not only by the studio but by a specific piece of recording equipment — a 1970s era sound board – that captured every note of music made there.

Geek city, right? It sounds like an idea any sane moviegoer would run from.

Instead, “Sound City” offers a colorful piece of music history, a candid examination of changes wrought by technology and a defiant statement about not surrendering the human element in creativity. Grohl’s rookie film made it to the Sundance movie festival, is being released theatrically Friday and is accompanied by an album featuring artists he interviewed.

“It honestly was more like a keg party with a camera than making a Hollywood film,” he said.

Grohl knew nothing about the Sound City studio in Van Nuys, Calif., when he and fellow Nirvana members Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic booked a session to make “Nevermind” in 1991. Their California record company wanted Nirvana nearby to keep an eye on them and time at Sound City was cheap.

It was in a nondescript neighborhood and looked like a dump, with tired shag carpeting. Then Nirvana noticed all the gold records on the wall from artists who had recorded there: Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Van Halen, REO Speedwagon, Guns `n Roses, Neil Young, Cheap Trick, Slayer, Rick Springfield and more.

After plugging in their instruments and running through “In Bloom,” Grohl and his mates discovered why. The sound, to their ears, was amazing. Nirvana had never been captured with such clarity and power before.

“You might have never heard of Nirvana if we had recorded in Hollywood with a fancy producer who made us sound like Def Leppard,” he said. “The fact that that (sound) board made us sound like us is what people appreciated. To be reunited with it, honestly, it was like meeting your real parents for the first time.”

Sound City owners bought the recording console designed by British engineer Rupert Neve for $76,000 at a time many houses cost half that. When Grohl inquired about buying it a few years ago, the studio operator then suggested she’d rather sell her grandmother. But Sound City closed and Grohl’s wish came true (he won’t say what he paid for it). The console is now in a studio that Grohl and his band, Foo Fighters, operate in the North Ridge section of Los Angeles.

Sound City became a hot studio after the modern incarnation of Fleetwood Mac was essentially born there, and Grohl’s film includes vintage footage of a young Petty with his Heartbreakers.

“It was our home away from home,” said Stevie Nicks. She recorded “Buckingham Nicks,” her album with then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham, at Sound City, and met her current backup singer there in 1972. Nicks and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac soon after, and the album that propelled the band to stardom was made on the Neve console.

Seeing Grohl’s movie, and the memories that came flooding back, made her cry, Nicks said.

Sound City struggled in the mid-1980s because technology led artists elsewhere, until Nirvana made it a mecca for a new generation. Now technology is so good that people can essentially record alone in their bedrooms, and they do. That doomed Sound City and many other studios.

As Mick Fleetwood says in “Sound City,” just because you can record by yourself doesn’t necessarily make it a great idea.

“When you get four different people, four different personalities, four different players in a room – that combination equals magic,” Grohl said. “You can get the Beatles and you can get the Rolling Stones and you can get AC/DC. That happens because of people’s imperfections and bad habits. That’s what gives music personality, and that’s what I think is exciting about music.”

Grohl spoke while sitting in his studio, in a room filled with guitars and overlooking the sound board he reveres. Homework assignments of songs to learn for an upcoming Sundance appearance were listed on a sheet of paper for when Foo Fighters arrived later in the day, including some by Nicks and John Fogerty. “Can you believe it?” Grohl said. “I’m singing `Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’ with Stevie Nicks!”

There’s no hiding the excited kid in Grohl’s eyes when the film depicts him, Novoselic and Pat Smear jamming with Paul McCartney in the same studio. The collaboration resulted in a song, “Cut Me Some Slack,” that they performed publicly at the Sandy benefit and on the new album.

Many people have wrongly interpreted his film to be anti-technology, Grohl said. “I’m not Amish,” he said, noting he uses advanced recording equipment all the time. “Sound City” interviews Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor as an example of a technical wizard who still benefits from collaborations.

“The intention was to inspire people to fall in love with the human element and the human process of making music,” he said. “A lot of kids only hear music on their video games. A lot of kids only see singing contests on television. They don’t know that you can buy a (lousy) guitar at a garage sale, and sit in your garage with your neighbor and write a song by yourself and suck. And then become the biggest band in the world. It happens that way.”

Grohl’s 6-year-old daughter recently asked her dad to listen to her play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on the violin. It sounded like someone strangling a goose while scratching nails down a chalkboard, he said.

To his daughter’s ears, it was beautiful music.

Judging by “Sound City,” it was to Grohl’s, too.