Saturday, March 28, 2015

Interview: Mick Fleetwood on what the future holds for Fleetwood Mac

Return of the Mac
Mick Fleetwood talks new album, Christine McVie, and the end of Fleetwood Mac
Vancouver Sun - March 28, 2015
By Francois Marchand
Vancouver Sun

Never say die once wrote Black Sabbath.

For pop-rockers Fleetwood Mac, the saying couldn’t be any more true.

The band recently reunited with long gone singer and keyboardist Christine McVie, who rejoined Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood after 16 years away.

If you ask Fleetwood, the founding drummer of the group, reuniting with McVie has reinvigorated the Mac, whose members have had well-documented complex and drug-fuelled relationships, especially around the time of their 1977 classic album Rumours, which remains one of the best-selling albums of all time.

In a recent conversation with The Vancouver Sun, Fleetwood, 67, opened up about returning to the studio with McVie in tow, the band’s most recent string of tour dates, and what the future holds for Fleetwood Mac.

Q: We just saw Fleetwood Mac in Vancouver in November. How does it feel to come back to our neck of the woods so fast?

A: It feels good. You can’t go anywhere unless you’re wanted. (Laughs.) So that’s a good feeling for us old “gigsters.” And we happen to adore that neck of the woods anyhow. We always love coming back (to Vancouver). It’s a beautiful place. It’s one of the towns where you go, “Oof, if only we had two days off there.” As a musician, this tour has unfolded beyond anything anyone might have thought, including ourselves. So it’s gratifying — it’s nice to be loved. Off we go again: It’s the never-ending tour.

Q: So you don’t see an end in the foreseeable future for Fleetwood Mac in its current incarnation?

A: Not in terms of “the end of the band” or saying goodbye. No. Unless I don’t know something. (Laughs.) I feel thoroughly employed. We’re working all the way through next Christmas. That’s almost far enough. We’re talking and feeling really excited about creating new music. It looks like a viable future ahead of us, as far as I can see.

If you want a more philosophical answer as to, “Do you ever see this coming to an end?” Yeah, I think we’d all be fairly crazy at this point (not to think about it). But then you start thinking about the Rolling Stones or Elton John and you go, “Hmm.” And you start looking around — you don’t want to be Tony Bennett touring at 85 years old (Bennett is in fact 88).

Having said that, we’re a working band and we’re working harder than we did when we were in our 30s. So go figure. The enthusiasm to do it is very much alive. But time itself speaks to you and you go, “Do I actually think in all sensibility think that any of us — and I can only speak for myself — that we’ll still be doing this 10 years from now?” No. “Do I visualize I’ll still be a musician enjoying playing in some shape or form?” Yes. It’s what we do.

Q: How is the chemistry in the band right now, with Christine coming back into the fold? Having done one round of touring, do you feel things are better than you expected?

A: Oh yeah. Any which way you look at where we are as a band, the fact is that Stevie is hugely enjoying having her old girlfriend back. They’re friends, you know? They’re like the funniest odd couple. She has a partner and she’s not just surrounded by ex-boyfriends. So it’s all good.

Musically, it’s astoundingly complete. We were happy doing what we were doing for many, many years without Chris. But if I had to put a line in the sand, I would say this is something that is really almost exclusively unique: That someone comes back to a band that’s doing what we’re doing at the level we’re doing it. The Rolling Stones don’t have Bill Wyman up there. They have a great band and Ronnie (Wood) is a Rolling Stone, but it’s not Brian Jones.

We are complete and we’re lucky and we’re enjoying it. It’s a great way for me as herder, someone who’s been trying to keep this band going. I couldn’t think of a better ending, when this does end, that we’re all on the same page and writing the same last chapter, which is no time soon, as far as I know.

Q: You’re working on a new album and some of the tracks are already completed. The only thing missing are Stevie’s vocals. What’s holding that back?

A: Touring until next Christmas. (Laughs.) That would do it, you know? We all have lives and stuff, so the little breaks that we get really aren’t that big. So we’re working and we’re trying to find ways for all of that to make sense. At some point, probably after this coming Christmas, we’ll be ready to address all of that.

We have full intention of not leaving for a five-year gap. It would be lunacy at this point. We want to keep going. Two years after we come off the road is what most sensible bands do, otherwise you overstay your welcome anyhow. It goes very, very quickly when you’re putting albums together and thinking of fun things to project and work on. Our whole chemistry is about being busy for pretty large and undetermined amount of times.

Q: What are some of the new songs about? What inspiration did you draw from on the new material?

A: I wish I could answer you but I’m not the songwriter. As they say, I’m “just the drummer.”

(The material is) really powerful. Lindsey’s a given because I’ve been working on and off with Lindsey anyhow. But Chris disappeared for nigh on 16 years. All I can say is that the chemistry between her and Lindsey as songwriters used to be fairly detached, and Lindsey would come in very strong producing and interpreting the material. This time, to my knowledge, they have worked on songs together, taking Lindsey’s ideas and then Chris coming in and finishing with melodies and words. That’s something, to my knowledge, that’s entirely new. It’s great. I think Lindsey is finding it very gratifying that it’s gone to the next step with Chris and vice versa.

So all of those juices seem to be very intact and it’s not totally necessary for a band like us to reinvent the wheel — and we don’t. But I have to say it’s a nice extra texture to know that that spirit is still alive and well in all the songwriters in this band.

Q: You recently revisited all of Fleetwood Mac’s history, both glorious and inglorious, in your new book Play On. If anything, out of all the turbulence and the madness and the fun and the excitement of being in Fleetwood Mac over the years, what do you want people to remember?

A: I hope the overview for the band I’ve been in since 1967 is that, no matter what, we really genuinely cared about our craft. Not only were we lucky — especially myself — to survive the lifestyle choices that we made, but I truly pay homage to the fact that Fleetwood Mac, as an institution, demanded that you had some semblance of responsibility. And I think it saved a lot of us, certainly myself.

I think Stevie has been really outspoken about our lifestyle, so I can share that her dedication — even with the huge distractions — has always been about the art, and that goes without saying for anyone that’s ever been in this band. This incarnation of Fleetwood Mac speaks to that. That’s what I would hope people have felt.

I think we’re able to be a little reflective, just as the passing of time itself has allowed us not to wallow in what it was. It is quite gratifying to realize that you have cared about what you do.


Anonymous said...

Considering another article (posted today) says the band have announced this is their "final tour" - I'm going to smile and be happy that the band has continual plans to finish the new work. I look forward to that - and wonder if the EP from last tour will ever see a physical release now that Christine is back (or if she will be added into those tracks and they will become part of the new album etc….)

Anonymous said...

It sure is dedication losing all of ones morality and sense of ethics for a craft. Keep everyone high and they will never know what hit them. Gee wasn't that what the drug videos in high school were all about. Nice plan dudes. Glad to see time has mellowed that out.

Anonymous said...

Thing is millionaires don't work for anything less than their asking price for their time as we have seen in the price of their concert tickets.

Anonymous said...

Saw them 3-28-15 @ sprint center, worth every penny

MplsMike said...

You can watch Lindsey's interview on Larry King at OraTV's website. It's a nice 30 minute interview, and Lindsey clarifies remarks about this being their final tour. He talks about the band entering its "final phase," but quickly notes that the "final phase" could last several years. He sounds optimistic about finishing up the new album once the tour is complete.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame them if this was to be a last tour the way the promoters and ticketmaster are scamming the fans. After reading the posts on the web about ticketmasters new price policy I don't think it's the band. I live for this band but buying tickets just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I did love seeing them. But ya can only take so much....

Anonymous said...

dropped $648 on two floor seats for the okc show wot a great show it was though. They played for 3 hours! Mick did a amzing drum solo half way through which one outstanding! really got the crowd going. Lindsey played big love solo on guitar played so hard he broke a string had to pause get another guitar and finish! this guys are well worth seeing!

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