Saturday, September 27, 2014

Book excerpt: "Play On" by Fleetwood Mac Drummer Mick Fleetwood

Mick Fleetwood, the drummer and co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, has written a new autobiography about his music-filled life.

The following is an excerpt from the introduction of "Play On: Now, Then and Fleetwood Mac" by Mick Fleetwood & Anthony Bozza. Copyright © 2014 by Constant Endeavor LLC.

If Music Be The Food Of Love . . .

Play on. Two words, no more, but they've said it all to me.

They've been, at different times, a simple direct order, a call to action, a mantra and a comforting concept that promised rebirth. I first read them in the most beautiful and romantic couplet in "Twelfth Night," my favourite of Shakespeare's works. I've never forgotten it; in fact I took it to heart immediately because it spoke to me. When things have moved me so profoundly in this life, be they people, places or things, no matter how they've come to me, I've made them forever a part of me. I've signed countless autographs with the phrase "Play on." I've said it to many people in many contexts. As I've made my way through life, as intricate and difficult as it has often been, as ecstatic and debauched as it has too often been, those words have always been with me. What they've come to mean to me has been a rock when the rest of my world was set adrift.

The entire couplet is the inspiration behind the title of Fleetwood Mac's fourth studio album, "Then Play On," released in 1969, which I still count as my favourite record. My second favourite is easy to choose: it's "Tusk," released ten years later by a very different incarnation of the band -- the only one that many of our fans are familiar with. To those fans reading these words, please do stick around, you'll be amazed to learn how many roads we travelled before we met you.

On the surface, "Then Play On" and "Tusk" have little in common sonically, but listen deeper and you'll hear a band with its back against the creative wall, recording music at the brink of its existence. Both of those albums were made when we would either play on or cease to be, and when the idea of overcoming the insurmountable through creating anew was the only way out for us. I can't say that I saw it as a solution, but I felt it as my faith, and I preached to my compatriots to play on -- and that's what we did.

I'm still here, lucky enough to be partnered with the greatest musical comrades I could ever hope to have. We have been through so many ups and downs, and though I denied it for years, particularly to my loved ones, I know now that since this band began, I have devoted my entire life to it. In every incarnation Fleetwood Mac has brought me so much joy that I hope whatever our fans have taken from the music is a fraction of what I've got from it. I've also realized, through trial, lots of error, growing older and hopefully wiser, how much that choice has weighed on my family. It's hard to devote yourself to a musical family of our magnitude while trying to nurture one of your own; it's an unfair tug-of-war I am still working out.



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