As legendary band Fleetwood Mac reunites in Toronto tonight, Mick talks about his photography.
This is a bunch of people trying to make it work. This is for sure a special moment for this band....
Two weeks ago, in a phone interview from New York, Mick Fleetwood could not hide his disappointment. The dismay was not with the Fleetwood Mac reunion show there. These have been hugely gratifying love-fests, (the first full-member tour by the band since 1997 hits Toronto Saturday night). Rather, Fleetwood-the-nature photographer was chagrined at being as yet unable to capture on film the anticipated glory of leaves changing colour. “I went running through Central Park and the leaves haven't changed at all,” the 67-year-old Fleetwood Mac drummer complained. “Maybe one or two trees. I know it happens very quickly, almost overnight. Boom. It is beautiful and I hope to get some shots up there in Canada.” Fleetwood, who lives on the island of Maui these days, is using the tour partly as a coming-out party for gallery showings of his hand-painted original photos, including one at Toronto's Liss Gallery.
“I've had these shows in Maui for years, some hotels have them in their lobbies, and people there have a fond level of appreciation. The outside world really doesn't know much about it,” said Fleetwood.
“So this is me, putting my nuts on the line. It's exciting. I suppose there'll be some reviews. And I'll know if everybody thinks it's just a bunch of s--- or not. I'm hoping that's not the case.”
In an ironic way, his photography is tied into the history of Fleetwood Mac.
“I got my first nonsnap camera in 1968 just after the band had formed. I do remember that John McVie had a very grand camera. John is quietly a very good photographer. And the urge to get a decent camera was based on if-he's-got-oneI-want-one, more than art at the time.”
Interestingly, Fleetwood doesn't exhibit behind-the-scenes pictures of the band itself.
“That is funny, and I've never thought much about that. Stevie (Nicks) has ... a Polaroid show in New York while we're here ... And that is very much her road stuff she took. Mine is very detached from anything to do with what I do.”
Over time, photography began to gratify Fleetwood in ways music didn't.
“...I've been in a band for nearly 50 years, surrounded by incredibly talented people — part of the support team, by nature of my being a percussionist.
“Photography is the nearest thing to me writing a song and taking responsibility. I don't get that in Fleetwood Mac. I was not the songwriter. I was the band gatekeeper.”
Gatekeeper/peacemaker/negotiator is a role Fleetwood takes seriously.
He was not usually directly involved in the various feuds, romantic entanglements and complications that have plagued the band over the years. And he was instrumental in luring Christine McVie back into the fold, after 17 years away. Fleetwood, who is releasing a new autobiography entitled Play On (October 28th), doesn't necessarily feel past bad blood is best forgotten. “Getting older puts things in perspective that were not in perspective. That's a better approach than shoving it all under the matt ... “Y'know what? Look at us. A bunch of crazy people, often quite dysfunctional, horribly in love, which led to things that have sometimes been hard to handle.
“It's not just business. This is a bunch of people trying to make it work. This is for sure a special moment for this band...”