Thinking About Tomorrow

October 8th 2001
Pittsburgh 96.9 Radio

The rumours are true -- the Mac are back. After embarking on their first tour in nearly a decade back in 1997, Fleetwood Mac's classic Rumours-era lineup -- likely without singer-pianist Christine McVie -- are gearing up to record a new studio album. A tour in support of the disc is in the works for summer 2002.

At this point in the game, Mac's storied history is well known. With drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie serving as both the band's rhythmic backbone and namesakes, Fleetwood Mac began in 1967 as a psychedelic blues-rock quartet in London. By the mid '70s, Fleetwood and McVie had weathered changes in scenery, personnel and sound; having relocated to sunny California and with the addition of Christine McVie, singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and vocalist Stevie Nicks, the group evolved from bluesy rockers to melody-driven soft-rock hit makers.

Buoyed by the success of "Over My Head," "Rhiannon," and "Say You Love Me," 1975's Fleetwood Mac earned the band its first gold album. But it was 1977's Rumours, featuring the hits "Go Your Own Way," "Dreams," "Don't Stop" and "You Make Loving Fun," that propelled Fleetwood to superstardom. Rumours was certified platinum just two months after its release, spent 31 weeks at No. 1 in America and has gone on to sell a staggering 25 million copies worldwide.

By the mid '80s, internal squabbling, drug problems and solo aspirations were taking their toll on Fleetwood Mac. The first few years of the decade saw and handful of solo releases from Fleetwood, Buckingham, Nicks and Christine McVie but, by 1986, the group had put out only one studio offering. Frustrated by the musical direction of the band, Buckingham split after 1987's Tango In the Night. Following a tour in support of 1990's Behind the Mask, Nicks and Christine McVie announced that while they would continue to record with the group, they would no longer perform.

It didn't take long for that vow to be broken. The entire Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac lineup reconvened to dust off "Don't Stop," the theme song for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, at Clinton's inaugural ball in early '93.

In 1995, Fleetwood and John and Christine McVie recruited Mac vet Billy Burnette and short-lived members Bekka Bramlett and Dave Mason to record the poorly received Time. Two years later, Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie, Nicks and Buckingham reunited for an MTV Unplugged session that was chronicled on the multiplatinum live disc The Dance, which featured both classic Mac hits and a sprinkling of new material. The group then embarked on an extensive, and very successful, U.S. tour. In 1998, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They also regrouped to treat the outgoing President Clinton to a surprise 11-song set at the White House in January 2001.

Now Fleetwood Mac are gearing up for another reunion. Nicks currently is on a tour in support of her latest solo album, Trouble in Shangri-La, but after the trek wraps this month, the singer will join her Mac mates Fleetwood, Buckingham and John McVie to begin work on another album. Christine McVie won't take part in the tour that is expected to follow next summer, but she may join the band in the studio.

Mick Fleetwood recently sat down to talk with us about his teenage drumming aspirations, a documentary in the works about himself and why Fleetwood Mac can't stop thinking about tomorrow. (Joe Robinson)


Mick Fleetwood: I went to London when I was about 16 years old, if that. I left school, obviously, and took a drum kit. [I had] never played with anyone in my life. I'd learned to play to a radiogram in the attic at home -- it was a total passion, collected drum catalogs. That's all I thought about all day long.

My sister lived there and I set my drums up in the garage. I used to practice [all the time]. I was desperately looking for some sort of window-cleaning type job and I'd promised my parents I was going to keep my head above water, but my whole thing was to go to London and my dream was to play in a club.

Behind the Mask

A chap called Richard Jorno from England . . . approached me and said, 'I'd like to do a documentary on you.' First thing [I thought was], 'Is there enough to say?' There's been lots of documentaries done on Fleetwood Mac and it was flattering, but also my first thing was, 'Oh my God, I don't want it to be like "what a great [guy] Mick Fleetwood is" type of thing, because it would be embarrassing. Although I think I am a reasonable human being, that's not the point.

He's crafted a documentary called Two Sticks and a Drum, which is about the dream that I had as a child to do what I have done and am doing. That's really the nuts and bolts. It's not a tell-all thing, it's not 'I confess this.' It's all about an aspiration of a little chap that just really wanted to be a drummer.

I relate and go back to places that I was having those thoughts and we did a lot of location work [for the film]. I did a lot of reflective stuff in Hawaii that gave me some great solace in times when things were very crazy and I got crazy, and to that extent things were somewhat addressed, but it [didn't have] to be like a Fleetwood Mac documentary.

Going Back Again

[Fleetwood Mac] are two-and-a-half months into beginning a project . . . We've got five of Stevie's songs pretty long way done -- [we're] waiting for her to come back off tour and start concentrating on vocal layering and lead vocals and melody before we add some of the other instrumentation. And we are making an album and we are anticipating that, one way or another, we will hopefully be on the road with a new album [by] late summer 2002. It's very exciting and we are going to do one hell of a tour. We're going to address some areas that we haven't been before.

Christine, as of the moment, is out of this equation. Having said that, one is never quite sure, but we are absolutely approaching this as a four-piece -- which is interesting, because musically it's like a power trio. The music is quite changed, which, if you're going to do something, it's sort of actually quite exciting to do that.

I'm maybe not 1,000-percent sure, but I've got a feeling we may approach some musical connection on the album with Chris, but we're a little reticent to do that. We wanted to be there for the audience to see the whole thing as a proper statement. But we remain open but also very focused as to what we're doing as a band, and Fleetwood Mac is very much alive -- which is great.

(Thanks to Karen Howells for posting this article)

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Last Updated - 13 July 2002

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