The Times (07/22/94), The Mac is Back
The Times of Northwest Indiana, July 22, 1994
The Mac is Back
by Nancy Nau Sullivan
Mick Fleetwood likes to say: "The Mac is back."
The band that took a pretty rough detour is back on tour, and fans can welcome Fleetwood Mac when they make a stop here Tuesday, July 26, at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.
"We're just happy that Fleetwood Mac is alive and well and nurturing the creative process for a new album," said Mick Fleetwood during a telephone interview from Green Bay, Wisc. "After 10 shows on the tour I can see that people are loving what we're doing. We're not doing Stevie Nicks songs. We have the green light to do what we want."
And that new chapter means picking songs from the original ranks of Fleetwood Mac music that are not all "highly personal" signature songs, he says. "We're digging into some of the old blues."
Fleetwood doesn't seem to be one of those introverted artists. He likes to talk. And a live performance has always held magic for the group through a 25-year career and up a mountain of 40 million record sales.
This tour is partly a test of the chemistry of songs off a new album (as yet unnamed), which will appear next spring. "Some say that's a risky proposition, to put a band out on the road before you've got an album to promote. But we were itching to play, and we've never been ones to bow to convention anyway."
Hardly conventional, the English drummer from London is "a gypsy" and "a traveling alien" in the United States for 20 years--after growing up as a military brat in the Royal Air Force, he says. A longtime resident in and out of Los Angeles, Fleetwood says the band will be moving on after the tour ends in October and they will relocate on the east coast.
"We'll move away from LA. It's that time, and it's never been home, home there. Professionally it's time to leave," says Fleetwood.
In LA, Fleetwood says he went through the "usual disasters," such as divorce and the earthquake. "I'm a sun worshipper and we have the best weather in the world, if you discount some of the air quality."
The new direction will also include his soon-to-be bride, Lynn Franko, with whom he plans to open a blues club in Alexandria, Va., where Fleetwood has a home.
Once out east, he and band members will become ensconced in studio work to produce their first album in four years.
At 47, he is awaiting word on the birth of his first grandchild, and the energy and enthusiasm in his voice for a new life is catchy. That old life was "a nightmare"--one he left nearly three years ago, he says. "It's no secret I was a raging alcoholic and into drugs. I don't recommend it because it's a losing deal, and I'm blessed to be out of it. I have my health and I'm facing things head on. I've become a better person."
At 16, Fleetwood had dreams of starting a band, and in 1967, he went off with guitarist Peter Green (no longer with them) and John McVie (the "Mac" in the name and still their famed bassist) to make a start in London. The following year they were outselling the Beatles all over Europe.
"We were just a bunch of kids with a strong affinity for blues music," he says. "We were blues fanatics and that's how it started. Pure blues, not pop."
In 1972, the fireworks started when Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined the band, and the string of hit albums and singles in the late 70s and in the 80's started coming, including "Fleetwood Mac" (Will You Ever Win), "Rumours" (You Make Loving Fun, Don't Stop and Dreams) and "Tusk" (Sara and Hold Me).
But now it seems the band is going full circle, with a return to some of that blues sound, he says. Bekka Bramlett, with her "bluesy voice," is the new featured vocalist, replacing Stevie Nicks, who is on her own and on tour with a new album.
Vocalists and guitarists Dave Mason and Billy Burnette are also along with Fleetwood and John McVie. Christine McVie, former wife of John, has become a sort of "artistic director emeritus" of the band, says Fleetwood of the group's longtime song writer and vocalist. "She'll wander in and out. She's earned the right to do that. She has a very real creative input in the studio." And she will work on the new album, although she is not making the tour.
"We're living well, and we're blessed," says Fleetwood. "People say how on earth can you do this. But it is possible." He says he wants to "stay out of the dark and follow the white light."
Hey, that sounds like a song.
Tickets to see Fleetwood Mac at 8 p.m., Tuesday, July 26, are $23, available at the Star Plaza box office, Route 30 and I-65. Or call (219) 769-6600 or (312) 734-7266. Tickets may be purchased through Ticketmaster.
Thanks to Redrum16M for the submission.
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