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Article Fleetwood Mac Mick Fleetwood Morrison Hotel Gallery

Mick Fleetwood chats with Billboard

Mick Fleetwood opens up about his rock photography, Fleetwood Mac’s tour without Lindsey Buckingham, and a new 50-year retrospective.

The 71-year-old rock drummer, who has been taking his own cameras out on the road with him since the early days of Fleetwood Mac, has always had an affinity for a great rock and roll shot. In order to share that with the public, he teamed up with the Morrison Hotel Gallery in 2016 to open a gallery space inside his Maui-based restaurant, Fleetwood’s General Store, which features a rotating array of fine art music photography.

On Saturday night (Aug. 4) in Los Angeles, Fleetwood — who is in town rehearsing for the upcoming Fleetwood Mac tour — popped by the Sunset Marquis Hotel in conjunction with the Morrison Hotel Gallery to showcase a selection of his favorite music shots, which included candid photos of the likes of Keith Richards, John Lee Hooker and bandmate Stevie Nicks.

Billboard caught up with Fleetwood on site to discuss his love of rock photography, his secret mission to infiltrate the stash of early Fleetwood Mac shots that McVie has been holding hostage and what he’s most looking forward to about his band’s upcoming tour.

We’re celebrating our sixth year with my Fleetwood’s, and in a restaurant that’s a lot. That’s another way to lose your hair but we’re part of the fabric there now, which is great. We opened up with the Morrison Hotel Gallery about two years ago and it’s been a huge success. Pattie Boyd, who was married to George Harrison and Eric [Clapton], did a little tour with Peter Blachley, one of the owners of the gallery. I met them in Australia years ago when Pattie was doing a show and I went to support. We were on the road and Christine, myself and John went to a gallery opening to support Stevie who was showing a Polaroid shot. She doesn’t really do that but Peter approached her and she said, “Okay. I’ll do it.” I met Peter again. We talked about one day doing something and then he came on holiday to our gallery. We had a regular gallery with open art at Fleetwood’s and I decided to go into partnership with Morrison Hotel Gallery. I said, “This is it.” For me, it’s a perfect fit. It makes a lot of sense because this is my world. We have a lot of fun. Whenever I’m at the restaurant, I pop down into the gallery and talk about some of the pieces that I know and introduce some of the people in the photographs that I was inspired by.

What is it about rock photography that speaks to you?

Photography-wise, I do bits and pieces on landscapes and stuff, which is what we used to have in the gallery. Am I a serious dude? No. I just have fun doing it. And then a guy who owned a gallery in Maui was like, “You should put some of these up. People would love to see them.” So that’s how it started, showing photos, and I have fun doing that. I have a reverence for great photography. But I don’t consider myself in that league.

John McVie, who is the bass player in Fleetwood Mac, is a really good photographer and he never did anything with it. It’s just like, “John, why don’t you show somewhere?” I don’t think he can be bartered. But I actually referenced him in terms of buying good cameras back in the day and learning a little bit about stuff. I was the annoying guy with the camera way back in the day when I first started touring with John. Everyone used to go “Ah! Here is the busy body with the camera. This joker. Get out of here.” But now they appreciate them. It’s like being in a family where you’re like, “Thank God dad forced us to take all those pictures.”

I have a lot of respect for these rock photographers. You realize that some of them were really led into the inner circles of some of these artists and bands. And you see how those photographs really capture the artist, the moment. You really have to give these people kudos. There is something about them as people that allowed this type of thing to happen and that doesn’t seemingly ever really get referenced.

Are the walls in your home covered with rock photography?

I have a very sweet and lovely home but my place hasn’t got much wall space — but I keep buying art. I go to my own gallery and I say, “Oh I want one of those.” I’ve got this whole load of photographs in storage. During this tour, I’m building a barn that is going to be a drum room and I have great aspirations for my overload of rock photography to be up on the wall there. And I will probably insist that John McVie gives me some of the shit he’s got on Fleetwood Mac.

What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming Fleetwood Mac tour?

We’re very excited. Obviously this is a huge change with the advent of Lindsey Buckingham not being a part of Fleetwood Mac. We all wish him well and all the rest of it. In truthful language, we just weren’t happy. And I’ll leave it at that in terms of the dynamic. And he’s going out on the road more or less the same time I think — not in the same places, I hope (laughs). So we’re with Mike Campbell from Tom Petty and Neil Finn from Crowded House — both really credible gentleman and really talented. We are a week into rehearsals and it’s going really well and we’re looking forward, in true Fleetwood Mac style. If you know anything about the history of this band, it’s sort of peppered with this type of dramatic stuff. It’s a strange band really. It’s ironic that we have a 50-year package coming out with all the old blues stuff with Peter Green, all the incarnations of Fleetwood Mac, which was not of course planned. But that’s what we’re feeling, especially myself and John, having been in Fleetwood Mac for 55 years. So it’s exciting, totally challenging in the whole creative part of it, and we’re really loving it. We’re just looking at a whole 18 months on-and-off of trekking around the world like we normally do and having it be fun.

Nicole Pajer / Billboard / Sunday, August 5, 2018

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2015 On With The Show Tour - Australia/NZ

Dressed-down Fleetwood Mac out and about in Adelaide

Fleetwood Mac: Supergroup being pretty low-key ahead of their Adelaide concert

Mick Fleetwood
Mick Fleetwood outside The Intercontinental in Adelaide (Photo: Mike Burton)

THE members of legendary supergroup Fleetwood Mac are being pretty low- key during their Adelaide stay.

Heading out of the band’s city hotel yesterday wearing jeans and a T-shirt Lindsey Buckingham, greeted our shutterbug telling him to stay put because “there will be a raft of people for you to photograph’’.

He wasn’t telling Little Lies either because soon after appeared Christine McVie, who is back with Mac after 16 years, with an entourage. Like Lindsey, she was casually dressed and looking relaxed as she left to take in some city sights.

Mick Fleetwood was even more chilled out, rocking a beanie.

Fleetwood Mac is performing at Coopers Stadium on Wednesday night and there are Rumours the band will be at the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Lindsey Buckingham
Lindsey Buckingham outside The Intercontinental in Adelaide (Photo: Mike Burton)

“Fleetwood Mac has been invited and inundated with requests to attend Cup Carnival events,” a source close to the band tells Confidential.

The Advertiser / Tuesday, October 27, 2015

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2015 On With The Show Tour - Australia/NZ

VIDEO: Iconic band touring Down Under

Original Rumours Fleetwood Mac members reunite for tour

[jwplayer mediaid=”191260″]

Original embedded Daily Mail clip

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour

Mick Fleetwood on photography, Fleetwood Mac

The Fleetwood Mac lineup that gave the world “Rumours” is headed to Phoenix on Wednesday, Dec. 10, with Christine McVie back on board for her first tour of duty since her 1998 departure. And Mick Fleetwood is as thrilled as anyone to see the soft-rock dream team back together — something no one in that dream team thought would happen.

“But she came back and we are now very complete,” Fleetwood says. “The chemistry is how it should be. It’s truly amazing. I consider it a real pinnacle in this band’s history, and thus the people in it, including me. I’m overjoyed that we’re doing what we’re doing. We are intact.”

Having said that, what he’d really like to talk about is the exhibition of his photographs at DeRubeis Fine Art of Metal in Scottsdale, where Fleetwood is hosting a private reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9.

The drummer credits his father with having piqued his interest in photography.

“We traveled a lot because that was my childhood,” Fleetwood says, “so I’ve got muscle memory of someone who enjoyed documenting things that were gonna be here and then gone, maybe forever, unless captured. We didn’t really have, as a family, any money, but looking back on it, Dad always had a nice camera. So he took the time to do it.”

Fleetwood started taking photographs while on the road with Fleetwood Mac, if purely as what he would call a snap shooter.

“I would always be the one accused in the band of being a nuisance,” he says, “taking pictures of everything.”

And John McVie has no one but himself to blame for that. The bassist bought a camera first, when the British rockers started “doing well in the late ’60s,” Fleetwood says, “or what we thought was doing well.” And at that point, “it was like, ‘If he’s got one of those, I’m getting one of those.’ ”

So he bought a decent camera, like his father had before him, and started taking pictures on the road, “just documenting my life and being annoying.”

Much later, he says, he started to focus on still life and nature photography, following the instincts that had served him well in music.

“I started thinking, ‘Well, what’s gonna turn me on?’ ” he says. “Which is, in truth, how I approach my music, to be driven by a form of passion, a form of romance, versus coming at it hugely technically.”

Fleetwood first allowed his photographs to be exhibited about 10 years ago.

“A friend of mine in Maui said, ‘You ought to show these,’ ” he recalls. “And like a lot of people who do things for fun, they go, ‘Well, no one’s gonna want to see those.’ Now, when I hear people say that, I go, ‘No, no, no. You ought to do it. It’ll be fun. The worst that’s gonna happen is someone will say it’s a bunch of crap.’ ”

Photography isn’t the only extra-musical creative outlet he has put out there to be judged. In late October, he published a memoir, “Play On: Now, Then and Fleetwood Mac: The Autobiography,” co-written with Anthony Bozza.

“Some of it was sobering and painful,” Fleetwood says. “But once you get over a certain dialogue with yourself, which usually happens, quite frankly, when you get a little older, it’s all fair game. I think the lesson to be learned is not to be sitting there full of remorse and shame and all those awful words that don’t serve any purpose ultimately. What they should be is words like objective, reflective, taking responsibility, trying to be more honest with yourself.”

While working on the book with Bozza, Fleetwood started sifting through the archives he has accumulated.

“We got into thousands of pictures that still need sorting out,” he recalls. “And I showed him some footage that I had commissioned during the ‘Rumours’ tour. We were in the Far East right in the middle of all that touring behind the ‘Rumours’ album. So it was in the day, in what really changed this band’s history and the people in it forever.”

There were ground rules, Fleetwood says. “Not to be all the blood and guts of Fleetwood Mac and all the drug stories and all that. It’s in there because it’s known anyhow and it just would look very odd if it’s not in there. But what I tried to do was to put it in perspective. And where there is sensationalist stuff, I tried to have a sense of humor in an English way and speak to it mainly from my own perspective.”

In the end, the book is more about Fleetwood’s personal journey.

“If it stopped tomorrow, you could never separate Mick Fleetwood and Fleetwood Mac,” he says. “It would be impossible. Which is neither bad nor good. It’s just a fact. There are several people that have come and gone in Fleetwood Mac — and come back to it — that can say, ‘Hey, I spent 10, 12 years on my private furlough away from Fleetwood Mac.’ I can’t. And I didn’t.

“The point I’m making is it’s forever just a fact that my adult life has really been completely dedicated to being in this band.”

Fleetwood Mac

Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10. US Airways Center, Second and Jefferson streets, Phoenix. $59.50-$192. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.

‘Reflections: The Mick Fleetwood Collection’ private reception

Details: 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9. DeRubeis Fine Art of Metal, 7171 E. Main St., Scottsdale. Purchase of Mick Fleetwood artwork required. 480-941-6033, roadshowcompany.com

Reach the reporter at ed.masley@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4495. Twitter.com/EdMasley

Ed Masley | Arizona Republic / Friday, December 5, 2014

Categories
2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Play On

Play On — Now, Then, and Fleetwood Mac by Mick Fleetwood and Anthony Bozza

2014-1028-mick-fleetwood-play-on-300At 67 years old, the founder of the eponymous band Fleetwood Mac isn’t ready to reveal the secrets behind rumours of band’s debauchery

When I read a musician’s autobiography I really want to know what’s driven them to create their art, everything from musical influences to the inspiration for their lyrics. Some musicians, such as Graham Nash, deliver, others just don’t quite ‘bring it on home.’

For Mick Fleetwood, the drummer and mainstay of the wildly popular Fleetwood Mac, the responsibility to the reader becomes even more onerous, what with fractured relationships that simultaneously fascinated fans while threatening to tear the group apart. Who is the song, “Sara” about anyway? What about “The Chain?” Then of course the real nitty-gritty: just who was sleeping with whom?

Fleetwood, now 67, hails from a generation of British rockers who drew their inspiration from musicians such as Buddy Holly and Little Richard. He’s been playing rock for at least 50 years, 40 of those with the same musicians. Members drift in and out of the band over the years, while Fleetwood provides the glue that guides them through rocky times and back to where they are now. With the publication of Fleetwood’s book, Play On, his new photography exhibit and a new tour, he’s enjoying his life more than ever.

He begins by talking about his early life and the formation of Fleetwood Mac. Fleetwood received his first set of drums from his parents at the age of 11. His first band, the Cheynes, toured Britain with the likes of The Yardbirds, The Animals, the Spencer Davis Group, eventually opening for the Rolling Stones, tidbits any music aficionado loves to hear. He then did a stint with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers where he met John McVie. A fellow musician dubbed their rhythm section Fleetwood Mac; the name stuck when they formed their band which included McVie’s wife Christine, a talented pianist. They met with success in Britain and the U.S. but it wasn’t until they lost their lead guitarist in 1974 and offered Lindsey Buckingham the job that they really took off. Buckingham, who had been playing in a band with Stevie Nicks with limited success, accepted the offer on the condition Nicks come with him. The rest is history.

One of Fleetwood’s big challenges is that, as he admits half way through Play On, he never wrote any of their songs. Rather they were the work of Nicks, Buckingham and Christine McVie. While, he offers some tidbits about their inspiration, it’s quite limited.

Instead, he concentrates quite a bit on his own relationships, which gets to be a bit daunting after awhile. Twice-married to Jenny Boyd (sister of Patty Boyd, married to George Harrison), he and Jenny break up so many times, you find yourself screaming, ‘Jenny, do not jump on a plane again!’ Especially when, at one point, he’s still married to Jenny, having an affair with Stevie Nicks and sleeping with her friend, Sara, who, yes, is Nicks’ inspiration for the song, “Sara.”

Fleetwood also talks about the drugs, especially cocaine; he describes the infamous studio Sound City, where they encountered Nicks and Buckingham, saying “there seemed to be white powder peeling off the walls in every room.”

After reading the autobiography of a couple of rock musicians — Graham Nash, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton — you wonder if their prime motivator is cocaine rather than a burning desire to make music.

Fleetwood says its use during their first album together — their breakout album Fleetwood Mac, which he’s dubbed the “white album” — fuelled stories of their debauchery that he won’t confirm or deny. “It’s all so tired at this point.” What’s with that? Inquiring minds might like to know.

While he doesn’t offer those details, he does admit to going bankrupt twice and also apologizes to his children with Boyd for putting them through so much heartbreak.

Despite its shortcomings, Fleetwood provides an interesting overview of the band which makes watching their current tour that much more enjoyable. His voice and outlook are happy and he comes across as a kind, thoughtful man. Even if the book is limited in what it can offer, it still makes for some fascinating reading.

Georgie Binks is the author of A Crack in the Pavement

Georgie Binks / The Star / Saturday, November 1, 2014

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It's Not Only Rock 'n' Roll

Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie attend Jenny Boyd’s book launch party

Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie attended author Dr. Jenny Boyd’s book launch at My Hotel Chelsea in London on Thursday evening. Boyd’s new book, It’s Not Only Rock ‘n’ Roll: Iconic Musicians Reveal the Source of Their Creativity which was published on September 2, explores the creative process of the world most famous and beloved musicians. The book includes new interviews from Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood, among many others.

From Amazon.com:

In this exciting, original and inspiring book, 75 of the world’s most iconic musicians reveal — many for the first time — their thoughts on creating music. Psychologist Jenny Boyd has probed the minds and souls of these artists and has delved into the drive to create, the importance of nurturing creativity, the role of unconscious influences and the effects of chemicals and drugs on the creative process. Music legend who contributed exclusive interviews include: Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Julian Lennon, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Don Henley, Hank Marvin, Keith Richards, Ravi Shankar, Ringo Starr, Steve Winwood, Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, and Joni Mitchell.

Buy It’s Not Only Rock ‘n’ Roll: Iconic Musicians Reveal the Source of Their Creativity at Amazon.com.

Categories
2013 Rumours Tour Extended Play (2013)

Mick Fleetwood interview

Mick FleetwoodMick Fleetwood on Fleetwood Mac: ‘It Would Make A Great Play’

Not long ago, the idea of Fleetwood Mac ever touring again seemed far-fetched at best. But as of this spring, not only is the band back on the road — according to drummer and founder Mick Fleetwood, they’re having an easier time filling seats than in the past.

“We seem to have a band of angels up there organizing what we do down here. … I don’t know; maybe people think we’re never gonna do this again, or we’re all gonna drop dead or something,” Fleetwood says. “But on a positive note, I think it’s indicative of Fleetwood Mac’s extremely interesting story — that just when you think it’s sort of going into a ditch, it comes out the other side.”

This week, Fleetwood Mac unveiled another surprise: a four-song EP of brand-new music, released digitally via iTunes and simply called Extended Play. Mick Fleetwood spoke with NPR’s David Greene about the band’s uncommon staying power. Hear the radio version on Morning Edition tomorrow (the audio will then be archived at the link on this page).

There have been drugs; there have been relationship ups and downs in the band. Does that mean you almost have to come to the edge, and then kind of come back from the edge to keep doing what you’re doing? Is that necessary?

God knows I don’t know whether it’s necessary, but the fact is it happened. And without getting artsy-fartsy or therapeutic, the reality is you have to take responsibility — not only as a person within the group of people, but then you look at it as a collective, which is the band known as Fleetwood Mac. And we have.

A lot of your fans, I think, see you still out there — after all the roller-coaster and the soap opera — and a lot of fans are like, “Wow. Fleetwood Mac, through all the changes, all the years, different faces — they’re still here.” Are you surprised that you’re still here as well?

[Laughing] Hmm … no. I’m not. I think what I have to confess to is that I had nothing else to do apart from keep this band going. So I’m sort of not surprised.

It sounds like you’re almost a prisoner to the band and the idea.

Well, that’s an interesting phrase. And in truth, just as of late — the last few years, really — I’ve had to work at just not being this creature that almost gets obsessed: “It’s gotta continue,” and “What if … ?” And I’ve truly done pretty good at letting go. And it’s truly appropriate: We’ve done way too much, all of us, to be herded into my world of, “At all costs, Fleetwood Mac.”

So now, what you see is really pretty much a version of a bunch of people that happen to want to do something. And they haven’t been coerced or crafted, or sold their soul to the company store. … All of that stuff is gone. Which makes this, again, a really, really clear vision of what we’re doing. And I can’t think of any other band that I know that has gone through the arc of all of these [changes], even before Stevie and Lindsey. It would make a great play, and I hope one day that we somehow do that.

And of course, you’ve played a role in the play. You’ve had the struggles that we all know about with drug addiction; there was a relationship with you and Stevie Nicks that a lot of people read about. Is there a song from Fleetwood Mac that you feel like kind of captures your role in the whole play?

I’d say “The Chain.” [That song’s message should] be written on my grave: “That’s what he did. He half-killed himself keeping this bunch together.”

Are you playing that song out on the tour right now?

Yeah. It’s one of the songs, I think, that if we didn’t play, we’d be lined up and shot.

You told my colleague Scott Simon, about four years ago, that you actually realized that the audience wanted the old ones. You were actually happy to report that you had no new songs to play, because you wanted to spare your audience — let them enjoy the oldies.

Well, that’s true. People love to hear things that they tell their own stories to. Creative stuff that comes from the artist very quickly becomes the property, as it should, [of the audience] — to be reinterpreted and create a backdrop for parts of their lives.

Have you seen a change in the audience over the years?

Absolutely. There’s retrospection involved, I’m sure. … The lovely thing is, we truly are blessed with huge amounts of young people that are totally getting what we’re doing. And that’s why these new songs are hugely important. Lindsey would be the main flag-waver as to being really excited about the thought that we’re not treading water, and that we are creative.

He’s pushing for new material.

Yeah, and I think that’s his epitaph, or would be. Stevie’s is a bit of everything, including the blessing of truly and naturally being just so … well, talented for sure; we know that. But she has a magic mantle that is very profound, and it comes only once in a while to certain performers, and she is one of them for sure.

That’s her epitaph. Yours is, “Let’s keep the band together,” and Lindsey’s is, “Let’s continue being creative.”

We’ve all had functions in Fleetwood Mac. And because of that, I think, it’s not a stretch to [say] that’s probably why we’ve survived all this.

One of the songs on the new EP, “Miss Fantasy,” strikes me as something that could have been on Rumours in 1977; it’s very much your sound from the ’70s.

Whatever that is [laughs]. I think it’s fair to say that that album has become tonally timeless.

It feels like you’re not trying to break into some new sound in this new day. You’re carrying on a tradition that you feel good about.

It’s the band. The Stones did their Beatle thing, and they go, “Eh, we’re The Rolling Stones. Let’s just leave this alone.” That’s who they are, so whatever they do, you know it’s them — and they’re comfortable with it, and they’re really good at it. … So I take that as a huge compliment, what you’re saying.

Stevie Nicks has said that she hasn’t spent much time on the Internet, doesn’t have a laptop. She’s sort of said, “I guess we need to put songs out on this thing called iTunes.” You don’t seem like a band that’s embracing all sorts of new technologies. You seem like you’re kind of doing it the old way.

We know that this is really something we’ve never done — put out something on iTunes. And we’re going, “Well, we don’t have a completed album.” And maybe we’ll find out that people really, actually, seriously want us to do that. And if not, then this has been fun.

You said that you thought a lot of people might be coming out to your concerts right now because they’re worried this might be the end; they want to say goodbye. Is that a possibility?

No, I think it’s incredibly vibrant, the lifeblood of Fleetwood Mac. So you can pull that one out of your psyche.

This is not a farewell tour. Not even close.

No. We’re just bowled over that something is showing itself in this funny, mysterious way — hence me talking about this bunch of angels up there, organizing what we do. I’m thinking they’re very busy planning something into the future for Fleetwood Mac.

Listen to the interview on Morning Edition from NPR

NPR / Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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1987-1988 Shake the Cage Tour Mick Fleetwood Tango in the Night (1987)

Fleetwood Mac goes its own way

Band finds there’s life after Buckingham

MICK FLEETWOOD swears he’s leaped out of coffins only three times in his life, two of which were during performances by his band, Fleetwood Mac.

It’s an impressive record. But the band has risen from the dead more often than Mick.

In the beginning there were Peter Green, Fleetwood, John McVie and Jeremy Spencer. That was back in 1967. Fleetwood Mac was an outgrowth of the John Mayall Blues Band and its stock in trade was American blues, pure and simple. A lot has changed since then.

The band underwent periodic lineup changes with long, long gaps between albums. Even when the lineup wasn’t changing the dynamics were spectacular: The band even aired its private turmoils in Rumours, probably its finest album.

Each independent project (Fleetwood’s The Visitor, Stevie Nicks’ Belladonna, Lindsey Buckingham’s Law and Order) fueled rumors that the band’s days were over.

But each time Fleetwood Mac came back, stronger than ever.

Take the current reincarnation, for example. Shirley MacLaine would be proud.

Most bands would fold when their chief songwriter-guitarist-matinee idol packs it in just before a tour.

Not the Mac, not Mick.

“When Lindsey (Buckingham) decided not to do the tour,” Fleetwood said recently, “I decided, rather than roll over like a dead dog — which is not my style; I don’t think it’s Fleetwood Mac’s style — let’s at least keep the momentum going. We had everything going in a tour mode: We were booking gigs, we were putting a crew together.”

The band went out and recruited two guitarists, Rick Vito and Billy Burnett.

Is Fleetwood pleased with the current lineup?

“Oh, very much so. I mean, it’s still Fleetwood Mac in terms of what we’re playing, because we haven’t gone in and made a new album,” he said.

“I’m loving having two guitar players because in the early days we had three guitar players. It’s just brought a lot of new energy, a lot of excitement about what I know will happen in the future.

“In the meantime it’s blending really, really, well. We felt quietly confident …we wouldn’t have dreamt of going on the road in some gaffer tape situation.”

No, this is no gaffer tape situation.

Vito and Burnett are no strangers to the Mac.

In fact, Burnett is “like my brother” says Fleetwood. Son of rockabilly legend Dorsey Burnett, Billy has been a part of Fleetwood’s off-time band, the Zoo, for four years. He’s co-written music with Christine McVie. Vito has recorded with John McVie and John Mayall and most recently was touring with Bob Seger.

There was a comfortable feeling.

“We didn’t miss one beat,” says Fleetwood. “Rick and Billy just started exactly when we were supposed to. Had it not worked out then we would have canceled the tour, obviously.

“I was very much of the mind that we should continue to find a replacement or replacements for Lindsey, having been with Fleetwood Mac since it started and seeing varous changes taking place, this one being the most recent.

“One thing that we’ve never done is hang around, waiting and wondering. Just get on with it. If you want to continue being in the band, and you have that sort of feeling about it, then the people that are there have to become part of Rally Around Fleetwood Mac.

“We went into rehearsals and it took a half an hour before everyone turned around and said ‘Let’s go!’

Critics and fans have been rallying around the defiantly named “Shake the Cage Tour” as well. “The beast has some life in it yet,” said Rolling Stone. Weekly concert receipt reports routinely place the Mac in the top 10 since the tour began.

The most recent album, Tango in the Night, has been well positioned on Billboard’s album chart for 32 weeks now.

And that brings up a ticklish situation. Buckingham had a hand in writing seven of the album’s 12 songs. And he co-produced it. He gets co-credit for the cover concept and some additional engineering.

OK. Buckingham’s out. Doesn’t that leave a rather large hole?

It does, indeed. And you can either try to fill it or ignore it.

“We don’t do any of Lindsey’s songs,” said Fleetwood. “With respect to him, I don’t think it would be proper. One, it would be a tacky thing to do. Two, I wouldn’t dream of asking Billy or Rick to come into a situation and have to get up and be confronted with that sort of pressure. And thirdly and luckily, we don’t have to do that.

“The girls have plenty, more than enough, songs to draw on. Plus we’ve got some 20 years of records to draw on, which we are. We’re going way back to early blues stuff, which we’re having a lot of fun doing. People are loving it.”

They do one Buckingham song: “Go Your Own Way.”

Appropriate. But in no way meant to be acrimonious.

Buckingham’s departure “was like having the plug pulled,” says Fleetwood.

“It was not an easy thing for either Lindsey or us to go through after 12 years,” he said. “It’s no small thing to basically say goodbye to someone you’ve been working with that long. But needless to say, Lindsey changed his mind, which put us in a bit of a dilemma and him, too.”

As far as Fleetwood’s concerned, it’s all turned out for the best. Buckingham tried, but couldn’t bring himself to go on tour, he said.

“I give Lindsey all due credit,” he said. “Aside from initially feeling like one was sort of let down, in actual fact, in retrospect, he showed a lot of strength to tell us ‘I’m not doing it.’

“I’m glad it didn’t work out, because he would have been miserable, we would have been miserable, and it would not have been a pretty sight.

We’ve seen that sort of tour before, haven’t we?

At this fall’s MTV Video Awards show in Los Angeles the band made a big show of the newfound energy and togetherness. Both Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie, looking healthy and chipper, said their next album project would be a Fleetwood Mac album.

The U.S. tour ends Dec. 18, followed by a short rest, followed by Australian and European tours. The band should get into the studio by late spring, early summer.

“There won’t be a big five-year gap,” assures Fleetwood. “We’ve had enough of that.”

P.S.: Mick started leaping from coffins at the tender age of 12 while on a carpentry shop tour with his English boarding school class. “The next time,” he says, “was when I was relatively out of my brain, in early Fleetwood Mac times.” He had a touring case made up like a coffin and used it onstage until the rest of the band made him get rid of it.

The third time was this past Halloween. He did a drum solo from inside the coffin.

Some things never change, eh?

Robert J. Hawkins / San Diego Union-Tribune (CA) / December 4, 1987

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1987-1988 Shake the Cage Tour Fleetwood Mac Mick Fleetwood Tango in the Night (1987)

Tangoing without Lindsey Buckingham

The liner of the latest album reads like a precocious kid’s school project. Produced by Lindsey Buckingham; arranged by Lindsey Buckingham; additional engineering by Lindsey Buckingham; cover concept by Lindsey Buckingham; half of the music and lyrics by Lindsey Buckingham.

So Fleetwood Mac gets ready to head out on tour to promote the album, Tango In the Night, and who decides not to go?

Right – Lindsey Buckingham.

After 12 years with the band, he has quit and gone back to work on a solo album.

“It had been building up,” says Mick Fleetwood, co-founder of the 20-year-old group. “He was making it clear that this was the last Fleetwood Mac album he would do. Finally, going on the road became the catalyst for leaving. He basically doesn’t enjoy the road.

“But if you’re a rock band, that’s what you do.”

If you’re this particular rock band, you’re like a ticket agent at an airport – you get used to arrivals and departures.

So Billy Burnette and Rick Vito replace Lindsey Buckingham, who replaced Bob Welch, who replaced Jeremy Spencer 16 years ago. Peter Green, Daniel Kirwan and Robert Weston have all come and gone. Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks, now the heart of the Fleetwood Mac sound, were additions along the way. John McVie and Fleetwood are the only remaining members of the original band, which had its beginning in 1967.

“I prefer to see Lindsey happy out of the band rather than unhappy in it,” says Fleetwood, speaking by telephone from Los Angeles before a rehearsal session. “We’re fairly familiar with change, and it’s all been healthy, I think.”

He downplays the problem of touring with a new album that bears so many fingerprints of an ex-member. “We’ll only do about three songs off this album,” Fleetwood says. “One thing we’re not short of is material to draw on.” True. Their charted hits range from “Over My Head” in 1975 to “You Make Loving Fun” in 1977 to “Sara” in 1979 to “Seven Wonders” and “Little Lies” from “Tango In the Night,” and Fleetwood Mac is not averse to playing them.

“When I go to a concert, I like to hear the band do things I’m familiar with,” Fleetwood says. “When I browse around in a record shop, I tend to buy `greatest hits’ albums.

“The reason the audience is there is because they know you. We did a concert once with only new material, and we died.

“Besides, it would be unfair to the new members to say, `Here are 10 Lindsey Buckingham numbers. Learn them.’ That wouldn’t be very classy.”

When Buckingham decided to call it quits, deciding on his replacements was “painless,” according to Fleetwood. “In the Fleetwood Mac tradition, we kept going,” he says. “Billy Burnette is an extremely close friend who has played in my band, The Zoo, for the past four or five years. He had gotten to know everyone in Fleetwood Mac as a friend.

“I had known Rick Vito for several years, too, and had seen him perform. Also, he had been a huge Fleetwood Mac fan for years.”

If replacing Buckingham was a smooth, quick move, getting the album made in the first place was not.

“Logistically, it wasn’t easy,” Fleetwood says. “Lindsey had started working on the solo album he’s working on now, and the others were out doing other things. We had some meetings, with everyone hemming and hawing, and finally started talking about getting into the studio.

“Then Christine got a gig doing a movie sound track. She asked us to work with her on that, one thing led to another, and four of us found ourselves in a studio.”

That put them on course to make Tango In the Night, which was a relief to Fleetwood. “I was certainly keen to do it,” he says. “If we didn’t, there was a chance we never would do another album, and there would be no more Fleetwood Mac. I want the band to be a going concern.”

Buckingham was quoted by Rolling Stone magazine last spring as saying that this could be the last “Mac” album. Fleetwood says that isn’t so. “There’s no chance that this is the last album,” he says, and promised that the next one wouldn’t take four years to come together, as this one did.

He contends that the departure of Buckingham won’t seriously hamper the group’s song output. “There are no worries at all in that area,” he says. Neither of the latest hits is a Buckingham song, by the way. Nicks and Sandy Stewart wrote “Seven Wonders” and Christine McVie collaborated with Eddy Quintela on “Little Lies.”

Buckingham’s absence in the studio is likely to be felt. “Lindsey was definitely an instrumental part of the recording,” Fleetwood says. “It just will be different.”

The sound of the band could change subtly. “I hope so, in some respects,” says Fleetwood – but the Fleetwood Mac-ness seems to survive each goodbye.

“Christine and Stevie are inherently the basis of Fleetwood Mac music,” says Fleetwood, 45. “And with me on drums and John on bass as the rhythm section, that somehow ties it all together. When you hear us, you know it’s Fleetwood Mac.”

Jim Pollock / USA TODAY via Gannett News Service / October 2, 1987