Sun Online (03/19/2001)
SUN ONLINE, March 19, 2001
WHEN the stars come out they come in to the Sun Online. And this time we've bagged one of the biggest of the lot - rock giant Mick Fleetwood - for an exclusive webchat. We were swamped with questions for drummer Mick, who founded supergroup Fleetwood Mac. He'd have been here all week if he'd have answered them all. But Mick did cover as many as possible - and some of them are in line to win some great Fleetwood Mac prizes. So read on to see what he has to say about Eminem, Peter Green and Mick's new Internet auction site Fleetwood Owen which specialises in showbiz memorabilia.
Has your experience in the music business over the years helped you with your latest venture? David Fallon, Co Wexford, Ireland
Yes it has because amazingly the memorabilia business has some similarity to the fact that they are connecting - as in live performance - through to an often emotional memory. Much like the effect of a song.
What made you decide to open an auction website? Denise Jennians, Merseyside
I was intent on forming an entertainment-based company when I met my now partner Ted Owen whose background is in the auction business. In fact his specialty is the entertainment business. Upon having several great conversations, his line of business - being auctions - completely fascinated me. So now we've ended up with Fleetwoodowen.com and, on the other side of our business we have great live auctions.
I've been a fan for over 30 years and have seen you perform many times. Do you miss playing the Blues and do you plan to do any more acting? Joe Panackia, Macomb MI
Yes - I do miss playing the Blues, however I have a great little Blues band in Los Angeles and get to play clubs occasionally. My acting career, as little as it is, has ground to a halt.
What inspired you to write the song Everywhere? Gavin Parfitt, Cwmbran, Gwent
I didn't write the song Everywhere but Christine McVie did. I have no idea what inspired her -sorry. Great song though.
In the 30-odd years you have been in the band which Fleetwood Mac member past or present would you consider the most musically talented?
You're cast away on a desert island. You're allowed one female companion either Stevie Nicks or Christine McVie. Which one would you choose and why? James Montgomery, Witney, Oxfordshire
Obviously you're not expecting me to say my wife - but you're forcing me to say one or the other. That would be Stevie - having had a wonderful relationshp with her at one point in my life.
With all your wisdom and experience thinking back over your entire life (personal and professional) what experience, situation or revelation would you say was life-defining for you? Shane Ollenberger, Vancouver
That's a bit much for a Monday morning. I'll give you an answer a year from now.
Which Fleetwood song would you least like to have to perform again? Linda Keyte, Purbrook, Hants
Fortunately I don't have a problem with doing anything we've ever done.
What is your mission with Fleetwood Mac and is there a perfect album left to record, technically, artistically or otherwise?
Not so much these days but, in the past, my mission has always been to keep the band together. On a happy note we are going back into the studio in September and, yes, we always try to eclipse our previous work.
Which drummer do you rate as the most inspirational?
Sonny Freeman - who played in BB King's original band. If you want to hear him play listen to BB King Live At The Regal.
If you had the chance, which Fleetwood Mac track would you say represents the spirit of the group most? Brian Lyons, Greenford, Middlesex
Fleetwood Mac have had a few different line-ups since its formation in July 1967. However you have remained throughout. Just how difficult has it been to recreate the group, find new members and carry the band forward? I have to say that you have done brilliantly! Betty Priestley, Huddersfield, West Yorks
Thanks Betty. It has, from time to time, been quite hard. In fact, as you can see, I have no hair left. Oh well.
Fleetwood Mac have been through a number of changes to both personnel and musical style over the years. On a musical level, which has been your most satisfying incarnation of the group and why? Tim Williams, Farnborough, Hants
I think the present line-up with Stevie and Lindsey - if you liked the Rumours incarnation. And the main reason is the diversity in having three such great songwriters.
Who do you rate as Fleetwood Mac's best lead singer John Callen, Copsewood, Coventry
I've been a fan of your drumming since The Dance came out and was wondering when the next Mick Fleetwood solo album would be coming out or are you more focused on the next Mac album? Heather Brown, Durant, Oklahoma
No, I don't have a solo album planned although many years ago there was a very obscure album I made in Ghana, Africa, called The Visitor. Good luck in finding it - it's a rare item. In the here and now Lindsey Buckingham and myself have collaborated on an album which should be out soon and then, Amen, back to the start of the Fleetwood Mac album.
What rock memorabilia piece would you like to own - ie) something you wouldn't auction at any price? Derrick Gardiner, Upper Clatford, Andover
That'll do nicely ... Mick gets to grips with Sun Online readers' questions
Did you tinkle the ivories of John Lennon's piano before it was auctioned off last year? Michelle Haughton, Poplar, London
Yes I did, up in Liverpool where it was on display at The Beatles Story museum.
What has been your favourite auction on Fleetwood Owen so far? Jason Dunlop, Poplar, London
I would have to say that would be our first live auction last October at The Hard Rock Cafe.
How do you feel about the current status of drummers in the music business today - in reference to the increased use of drum machines and the fact that you have in the past commented that you felt drummers in general are too technical and predictable? Nicholas Westaway, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
There's good and bad in every generation - and I think modern-day recording techniques, drum machines etc, are fine when used intelligently. Although there is no doubt there is nothing like the human touch.
You have gone through so many ups and downs but when it all started - the very first time FM played a gig - did you ever think it would get this big? Danielle Reinard, Buffalo N.Y.
No - absolutely not. I was just overjoyed to have the opportunity to play my drums.
What you think of the music of the glut of boy "bands" today who coincidentally do not play a single instrument or write any lyrics, the rap-rock hybrid music from Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock, and the angry, ghetto rap from Eminem and DMX to name a few. Do you feel like your contribution to rock music is lost on today's generation of music makers? Katy Haigh, St. Paul, MN, USA
I have to say in all of the above genres there are definitely talented men and women. However, I do have a problem with often such liberal use of offensive language and philosophy. Still that's free speech for you, right? I just wish they weren't quite so angry.
When Lindsey and Stevie first joined Fleetwood Mac it was a bit of a risk as they were relatively young and inexperienced in the music business. To what extent do you think their influence played a part in that success and do you think Fleetwood Mac would still be making records had they not joined? Gemma Marshall, Cardiff
There's no doubt Stevie and Lindsey were a major part of the band's success. They're both incredibly talented. However, knowing John McVie and myself, we would still be playing music one way or another had they not joined.
How do you feel in your fifth decade as a performer and still playing the oldies such as The Chain or Tusk or even my all time favourite Man of the World. Helen Laverty, East Kilbride
It's all good. You have to remember, there's no better compliment for a performer than to know that people such as yourself enjoy both the old and, hopefully, the new songs we write. Thanks.
I'd like to know if you still have an ambition? What, if anything, do you still want to achieve? Lisa Ross, Aberdeen, Scotland
Outside of music, I'm still working on trying to attain something resembling complete peace of mind.
With all the work that you are doing with Fleetwood Owen, are there any plans for another Fleetwood Mac album or even another solo album or Zoo album?
Fleetwood Mac are going back into the studio at the end of September. World tour summer of 2002.
Is there any chance of an FM tour visiting the UK as it has been far too long since the Behind The Mask tour. Mark Gale, Lower Earley, Berks
You're exactly right. It has been far too long. And I promise you in 2002 you will see Fleetwood Mac on
stage in England.
I'd just like to ask Mick who came up with the original riff for the classic song The Chain? Jon Whittle, Peterborough
What gave you the greatest thrill, the free concert in Hyde Park or the multi-million stadium concert tours Dave O'Callaghan, Rownhams, Southampton
It's always a thrill to play live - wherever it is.
Who were your heroes or mentors when you first started in the music business? Christine Witucki
Many of the great Blues artists such as John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, Elmore James, on and on.
If Fleetwood Mac had the opportunity to play one song to the world from the new orbiting spacestation, which would they choose? Paul Davies, Frimley, Surrey
I would choose Albatross. It already sounds like it comes from heaven.
What was the most unusual thing you've been asked to sign? Lynne Keyte Waterlooville, Hants
Don't ask me.
If you were going to one of your own auctions to bid for any item of memorabilia that might be available, what would you go for? Ray Eve, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
I have to say it would be the Imagine piano that is now owned by George Michael.
Do you think Silver Springs should have been included on the Rumours album? Ian Fulton, London
Silver Springs was supposed to be on the Rumours album but, in the days of vinyl it was ill-advised to squeeze too many minutes on the disc. Had we done so the level and quality would have been compromised so, sadly, Silver Springs had to go. However, you'll be pleased to know that in the near future a surround-sound 5.1 remix of Rumours will have Silver Springs on it. Amen to CDs.
Mick, what's the definitive book chronicling the story of Fleetwood Mac? Have you written one? If not, who has written the best? David Woodhead, Sheffield
Yes, I have written two books and, not to blow my own whistle, My Life And Times In Fleetwood Mac is probably the most accurate book on the market. Hard to get hold of though.
Tusk was superb! I remember at its release, it was going to be the first of two parts, when is the second part coming? Ian Blaber, Coombe Dingle, Bristol
I have no recollection of that. But now you've got me thinking. You'll have me crawling around in our studio archive looking for Part 2.
I have heard a number of bootlegs over the years and some are awesome. Have you considered releasing some of the live tracks, especially those featuring Lindsey from the mid-70s - Hypnotized and Green Manalishi? I heard an amazing version of Sisters Of The Moon too (one of my favorite tracks). There are also strange tracks like Christine singing Dreams! I also heard that the band performed Frozen Love a few times - is this true and will we ever get to hear it? I appreciate that this type of release would not be a big seller but would certainly appeal to the true fans. Stephen Chapman
It's great to hear that you enjoy all these hard-to-find songs. The reality is that these are all usually recorded by people we've never met. So we don't have the masters. Maybe one day I'll have to put out adverts on the Internet to find them all.
If you had the chance to go back in time is there any point you would have made a major different decision which would have been life-changing and why? John Caruso, Loughborough, Leics
Yes there is. No huge regrets. However, I would have avoided such a major period of my life involved with drugs and alcohol. Some great times but boy am I lucky to be alive. Stay away from all that s**t.
Do you think that you will ever get to play with Peter Green again, I believe he has made a comeback over the years. It would be great to have the old line-up playing again. Debbie Tremelling
No, I don't think Pete would ever rejoin the present band but I do look forward to playing with the original Fleetwood Mac - don't know quite when we would do it but it is possible, maybe one or two gigs at the Albert Hall would be great.
Are you aware that your late 70s-80s sound has become very influential among younger bands? For example, hip French act Phoenix's new album is stuffed full of Mac-isms and is dominated by a carbon copy of the drum/bass sound and style you and McVie developed after 1975. Does this please you, or do you find this too symptomatic of a lack of originality among today's musicians? Kurt Trengove, Parbold
No, not at all. We're always very flattered. In fact we were so heavily influenced by the Blues ourselves in our early days. Fair game.
Did the traumas the members of many of the band went through help you to write such fantastic tracks? Chris Barnes, Clitheroe
Yes, there's no doubt that some of those traumas translated into song content.
When's your next auction and what is going to be on offer this time? Mark, Grimsby
Following the success of the last auction where we set a world record by selling John Lennon's Imagine piano to George Michael for £1.67million, we are very excited about the Rock Legends sale on Tuesday March 27 at the Hard Rock Cafe in London. The stars of the show are John Lennon's stretch Mercedes limo and Lennon's Dakota piano. But there's also something there for everybody - such as Manic Street Preachers posters and Rolling Stones memorabilia which is all quite affordable.
Thanks to Les for formatting and posting this to the Ledge.
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