By JON WOODHOUSE For The Maui News
With 2010 rapidly coming to a close, we have two opportunities to celebrate the holidays with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band. The legendary Fleetwood Mac co-founder will perform with his band on Dec. 30 at a Maui Celebrity Series concert at Maui Theatre in Lahaina, and ring in the New Year at a special party at Mala Wailea to benefit the MACC and the Maui Food Bank.
Fronted by guitarist/singer Rick Vito, the Grammy-nominated Blues Band includes bassist Lenny Castellanos and keyboardist Mark Johnstone. They will be augmented by Island Rumours' singers Eric Gilliom and Gretchen Rhodes.
The Maui Theatre show in Lahaina also features Tom Arnold, William Shatner, Shawn Hatosy, Nermin Zajic and Brian Evans; while the Mala Wailea includes rockers Alice Cooper and Pat Simmons, plus Canadian blues musician Colin James.
"We're happy to play and are all excited," says Mick. "It's become almost traditional (to play Mala Wailea). It's the core band with Gretchen Rhodes and Eric Gilliom, so at the end of the evening we'll become partially the Island Rumours."
As to rumors that Carlos Santana might jam with them, Mick adds, "he played a couple of years ago, but we've communicated and he is not able to come."
Paying homage to the blues rock roots of Fleetwood Mac, the Maui-based band is heralded for powering through classics like "Oh Well," "Black Magic Woman," "Shake Your Money Maker" and "Rattlesnake Shake."
A review in New Zealand's The Press raved: "What made Fleetwood's Blues Band an unheralded sensation was Mac alumni Rick Vito, surely one of America's finest guitarists, whose shimmering slide guitar and bluesy vocals made the quartet's set an event in itself."
Their debut recording, "Blue Again," received a 2010 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album. This marks the only time Mick has been nominated for a Grammy outside of Fleetwood Mac.
Fleetwood has made a number of appearances at Maui events this year including recently jamming with John Mayall and drumming with Dr. Nat at the "Get a Job" premiere at the MACC.
A couple of weeks ago, he joined the super jam band Camp Freddy (featuring members of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Velvet Revolver and The Cult) at a show in L.A., backing guitarist Johnny Lang and Areosmith's Steven Tyler pumping out "Rattlesnake Shake."
"Steven Tyler, Johnny Lang and John McVie and I are doing a track on a new tribute album for ZZ Top," Mick explains. "We all got together and we had a ball. Steven is a really good drummer. He came on and played 'Wipeout' and kicked the hell out of it."
Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks has a new album in the works, which features some tracks with the legendary drummer and a re-teaming with Lindsey Buckingham.
"I played on a chunk of it, and from all accounts I didn't get fired," he humorously notes. "From what I've heard, I believe it's in the best top two things that Stevie has done. She's singing great and she's really excited."
By the way, Fleetwood Mac will not tour next year, but they are "contemplating the beginnings of another Fleetwood Mac album."
As previously reported, Mick is finalizing plans for a new Fleetwood's restaurant on Front Street at the former Planet Hollywood site.
"It's part of my life's plan here," he reports. "We're in lawyer-and-accounting-land now. By the middle of next summer we'll have a Fleetwood's on Front Street. I think it's going to be great. It's a restaurant, but people will be fed a certain proportion of music that I'll be involved in."
Cementing his commitment to contributing to our island, Mick just joined the board of directors of the Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation. The MMMCF is a private, nonprofit organization that raises funds to support Maui Memorial Hospital.
"I'm thrilled," says Mick. "I felt people didn't know about the progress and some of the programs at the hospital. I'm a cheerleader when I know things need to be said. I'm going to take it seriously and help bring awareness to plans to more serve our community."
The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band with Eric Gilliom and Gretchen Rhodes headlines the Maui Celebrity Series concert at Maui Theatre in Lahaina at 8 p.m. Dec. 30. The event also includes Tom Arnold, William Shatner, Hal Sparks, Shawn Hatosy and Brian Evans. General admission tickets are $85, premium tickets are $150, and $225 for VIP. Call 856-7973 for more information.
The Mala Wailea New Year's Eve benefit party for the MACC and the Maui Food Bank will feature the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band with Eric Gilliom and Gretchen Rhodes. Other special guests performing include Alice Cooper, Pat Simmons and Colin James. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $500. Call 875-9394.
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