by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth
When it comes to mega-platinum, superstar arena bands, they don’t get much bigger than Fleetwood Mac. Not only do they have one of the best selling albums of all-time (1977’s Rumours) and an unrivalled ubiquity when it comes to both classic rock and lite rock radio, but they’ve also toured regularly over the past decade. Since it’s pretty clear that the band members aren’t living anywhere close to the poverty line, why is Fleetwood Mac doing yet another full-scale tour? With prime ticket prices for the show sitting at almost $200 a head, is it just about the money?
“Think of someone like Neil Young or Eric Clapton or Elton John and these are people that are extremely successful, and in truth, in many ways way more successful in the long term than Fleetwood Mac, and that answers the question usually,” explains drummer Mick Fleetwood. “They would be doing this whether or not they were famous or wealthy. I truly believe that these people would be doing this, and that is our pleasure. I can’t imagine one person in Fleetwood Mac not being involved in music.”
So, it’s all about the music, man? While there couldn’t be a more clichéd answer, Fleetwood is surprisingly sincere. He points to another famous drummer — probably the most famous drummer — as an example of why it’s essential to just keep playing.
“I remember sitting down with Ringo Starr and it’s no secret that both Ringo and myself in our day enjoyed a party or two,” Fleetwood says. “One of the things he said so resonated with me. We were sitting and he was talking about his journey, and he said, ‘One day I suddenly realized that I didn’t have a drum kit in my house.’ It was like, what’s wrong with that picture? Once he reconnected with that, he will always go out and do these tours, which he does religiously every year, and he loves it. Some people don’t understand it, but he doesn’t care.”
None of this makes those hefty ticket prices any easier to swallow, but with Fleetwood Mac being such a complicated band personally (almost every member of the band having been romantically involved with one another at some point), it’s hard to believe that they’d be willing to spend time together onstage if it was a chore. When they do hit the stage, it isn’t hard to feel the love and the old tension between the band members, pushing the live Fleetwood Mac experience a step beyond your typical cash grab reunion tour.
“With us, business is involved in getting anything like this out on the road, but when we do this, we have to be pretty damned happy about how we are with each other,” Fleetwood says. “And that makes the magic.”