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York Daily Record (06/04/2004), The man behind the Mac < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

York Daily Record (06/04/2004), The man behind the Mac

York Daily Record, June 4, 2004

The man behind the Mac
Drummer Mick Fleetwood leads Fleetwood Mac into Hershey June 12
By Peter Bothum
Once Mick Fleetwood gets on a roll, he doesn't stop.

The Fleetwood Mac drummer starts talking and talking and eventually his words are not unlike the rapid-fire tom-tom banging he detonates on Mac rockers like "The Chain" or "Tusk."

But before Fleetwood can even begin after calling from a hotel in Boston, the drummer has to play dad and deal with his 2-year-old twins, Ruby and Tessa.

"I'm doing good, um, ah ..." Fleetwood said as the girls chattered and rolled around in the background. "Girls, shh. Daddy's on the phone. OK. We can try now."

To be sure, these are different times for the members of Fleetwood Mac. But "trying" is still a good theme for the rock 'n' roll juggernaut, which comes to Hersheypark Stadium at 8 p.m. June 12 (the concert was originally scheduled for Saturday but had to be postponed due to an illness).

For years in the 1970s and '80s, they tried, successfully, to overcome inner-band turmoil that involved relationships on the rocks, the comings and goings of band members and assorted issues with booze and substances.

And, after their grand reunion in 1997 for "The Dance" tour and subsequent live album, they decided to try to be a real band again, recording an album of new material in 2003 and touring behind those songs.

Despite losing keyboard player and key songwriter Christine McVie, the Mac now just singer Stevie Nicks, guitarist/singer Lindsey Buckingham, bassist John McVie and Fleetwood plowed through that mountain as well.

After the tour for "The Dance," Christine McVie went back and forth between continuing with the band and calling it quits, Fleetwood said.

"When the chips were down, she wasn't ready to do it," said Fleetwood, 61. "Once that happened, we just put all our focus in the album we were going to do anyhow. It was a new offering demonstrating where we're at now, with the four of us. It became sort of a positive thing."

With Christine McVie's songs not in the mix, the band was able to focus more on songs penned separately by Nicks and Buckingham on the resulting album, "Say You Will." A change also took place on stage there are now only two main performers and singers where before there were three.

"You know, we don't really think about it. But upon being asked, that's sort of where we're at," Fleetwood said. "(Nicks and Buckingham) are growing into a situation where they were when they joined Fleetwood Mac, and getting used to performing together. Which is more focused, the energy is all there in the middle of the stage."

At the band's peak in late 1970s, that energy was all there for sure. After the original Fleetwood Mac featuring Fleetwood, John McVie and Peter Green imploded in the mid-1970s, Buckingham and Nicks came on board and brought a whole lot of baggage with them.

Then, you had Buckingham singing at Nicks to "Go Your Own Way." You had Nicks getting misty and reminiscing on "Landslide." Fleetwood entered the picture later, having his own fling with Nicks that spawned another batch of tunes that could have been turned into soap operas.

Buckingham actually was the one who left and went his own way in the 1980s. After the big "Dance" reunion, he was back for good, but that didn't mean all the tears and pain and hard feelings were left in the past.

No, the Mac still has some issues to deal with. Many of the new Nicks songs on "Say You Will" talk about what could have been but ultimately express a total acceptance with where the members of the band are today. Buckingham unearthed a tune written years ago, "Say Goodbye," and readdressed it with today in mind he's now married and has three kids.

"If you're looking at time, Lindsey left this band for over 13 years," Fleetwood said. "If you can't get your head together whether it was him, or Stevie. It was people growing up and having the confidence to realize that they had their own lives and all of those things. And I think the making of this album was yet another step, for Stevie and Lindsey for sure."

Indeed, the Nicks-Buckingham dynamic is usually the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Fleetwood Mac.

But John McVie and Fleetwood are the two constants, and there's really no way Fleetwood Mac could be Fleetwood Mac without Fleetwood hammering away in the background with his trademark maniacal look.

He said he had the same bulging-eyes look when he played sports in school and that he also shifts into it when he plays the drums.

"Whenever I'm concentrating doing something, that is just something that happens. I enjoy myself a lot, playing," he said. "I don't even think about what I'm doing. I'm in the moment and having fun. I think it's a form of concentrating, because that's what always used to be laughing at me about at school. What's a 6-foot-6 man gonna do?"

Thrashing away madly on the drums is all Fleetwood can do, and playing as a band is all the four members of Fleetwood Mac can do. He said the quartet is getting on well on the "Say You Will" tour, and have no plans beyond the current slate of shows.

The good money's on the Mac rolling on until they can rock no more.

"You know, once we got plugged back into this, we all got sort of a reaffirmation," Fleetwood said. "It's what we're built to do."


Most rock historians point to Fleetwood Mac's 1977 "Rumours" as the quintessential Mac album. In 1997, Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood produced "Legacy: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumors,'" which featured current artists such as The Corrs ("Dreams") and The Cranberries ("Go Your Own Way").

But Fleetwood would actually pick two other gems as Mac's greatest studio moments.

"For me, if I had to pick, I'd pick two albums. I'd pick 'Then Play On' from the first incarnation of Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green," he said. "And I would pick 'Tusk' as being my favorite album."


What: Performance by rock behemoth Fleetwood Mac, which is touring in support of its 2003 album "Say You Will." The band now consists of singer Stevie Nicks, drummer Mick Fleetwood, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and bassist John McVie. Keyboardist/songwriter Christine McVie recently left the band.

When: 8 p.m. June 12 (the show was scheduled for Saturday but has been postponed due to illness).

Where: Hersheypark Stadium, Hershey.

Cost: Tickets are $37.50, $45, $55 and $75.

Date: 2004-06-04         Number of views: 1611

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