UK Newspaper Archive 1999 - 2002

Date Source Contents of Article
July 7, 1999 The Sun Dominic Mohan - Fleetwood Mac; Bizarre. (Features)

MY prediction for the next colossal dance hit is - wait for it - a remix of FLEETWOOD MAC's Big Love by BLEACHIN.
August 15, 1999 Sunday Times Snapper chiefs in Pounds 9m rock buyout. (Business)

A music company that owns the rights to some of the classic punk and rock albums of the past two decades has been bought by its managers for Pounds 9m. Snapper Music controls the rights to albums by Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Jones, The Everly Brothers and Van Morrison. It also has an extensive rock and punk back catalogue featuring Sham 69, Iggy Pop, The 4 Skins, Exploited and Wasp. The company manages Peter Green, award-winning blues man and founder of Fleetwood Mac, and Tarrie B, the heavy metal diva beloved of the rock press. Jon Beecher, chief executive, said the deal would enable the company to buy out an investor and put Pounds 6m into developing the business. It would look at a flotation in the next two years. Beecher said: "Record companies can be a bit of a lottery. Our business model is based primarily on bands that have a fan base. "It's a bit like the paperback book market. If you've got good titles you just put them on the shelves and they keep selling. Mid-price records sell all day long."

The company will look for growth from its current signings. After a decade without a record contract Green has now sold 200,000 units of his last four albums and recently won the prestigious WC Handy Award for his Robert Johnson Songbook album. Beecher said the company was planning to set up an American office to promote Green and Tarrie B and look for other signings. It is keen to take on acts neglected by larger record labels. Snapper also wants to develop its internet music company, worldwidetribe.com, which broadcasts SF Sorrow, a rock opera by The Pretty Things, over the net. Snapper's buyout was advised by Forum Capital, a corporate financier, and the equity investors are Credit Agricole Indosuez and ACT, the Irish private equity fund.

Oct 19, 1999 The Times Fleetwood poised to float Point; Point Group. (Business)

MICK FLEETWOOD, founder of Fleetwood Mac, the band, is considering floating Point Group, his high-tech music company, on the stock market with an estimated value of Pounds 100 million. Point Group, which is in negotiations to take over the back catalogues of several famous rock stars, will soon launch an Internet music shop partly funded by Microsoft, the US software group. Mr Fleetwood, 52, is offering to split royalties equally between artists and the Point Group, which he 50 per cent owns and which will make profits of about Pounds 5 million on sales of Pounds 33 million in the current financial year.
Oct 24, 1999 The Independent on Sunday Old rockers net new fortunes

ROCK DINOSAURS don't die, they just evolve into internet entrepreneurs. Mick Fleetwood, founder of the multi-million selling band Fleetwood Mac, looks set to become the latest rock & roll survivor to make a fortune from the net. Fleetwood, 52, is considering floating his hi-tech music company Point Group on the stock market, which could earn him up to pounds 100m, it was reported last week. The company is thought to be negotiating with several other famous names to use their hits in an internet music service with backing from Microsoft. But the news has received a cautious welcome from some experts. Justin Urquhart-Stuart, director at Barclay's Stockbrokers, says: "People investing in these internet companies have to be very careful. Some will make money, but you might have to wait a long time for a return. I regard it as quite a lottery." Fleetwood, the drummer son of an RAF wing commander, formed his band in 1967 with guitarist Peter Green. They became a driving force in the blues explosion of the late Sixties, before achieving their first million seller with the reissued "Albatross" in 1973. By that time Green had left the band, disappearing at the height of his fame into years of drug abuse and mental problems. He worked as a gravedigger, wandered from country to country and grew his hair and fingernails to outlandish lengths. But in recent years Green has returned to music, revitalised and acclaimed for the depth and power of his blues.
The guitarist Jeremy Spencer, was lost to the religious sect the Children of God, but Fleetwood and founder member John McVie, plus his blues star wife Christine, relocated in LA and were joined by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, and as Fleetwood Mac became the ultimate Seventies soft rock band. The album Rumours was released in 1977 and has so far sold more than 25 million copies. Affairs and arguments made the band's history a troubled one, but Fleetwood Mac has continued to record in various incarnations. Fleetwood invested in property in America and Australia in the early Eighties, but declared himself bankrupt in 1984 with debts of $8m (pounds 5m). Soon after writing a candid autobiography he opened restaurants in Hollywood and Virginia, which folded. He survived insolvency, cocaine addiction and a brain tumor, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in January 1998.

March 19, 2000 Sunday Times Star's internet firm 'on rocks'. (Home news)

MICK FLEETWOOD'S much-hyped business venture to sell music direct over the internet is on the verge of collapse, writes Adam Nathan. Fleetwood, 52, co-founder of rock group Fleetwood Mac, is a leading shareholder in the London-based Point Group. Plans to float the company as a Pounds 100m "glamour stock" - he recently featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal - have collapsed. The failure reflects growing concern in the market over the internet "bubble" stocks. Last week nearly Pounds 100m was knocked off the price of lastminute.com, the shopping site, in just one day's trading. Point Group, which hit the headlines with the arrival of Fleetwood in June 1999 to launch the industry's first internet download site, is in "serious financial difficulties", according to one employee.
There has also been unease in the City about Wilhelm Mittrich, 50, the German director of the company, some of whose previous companies have folded owing large debts to customers and banks. Close Brothers, the merchant bankers, declined to act as nominees for the Point Group's flotation and allegedly voiced concerns over Mittrich's business record.
The company is being voluntarily administrated by City business advisers Grant Thornton on behalf of the media division of Barclays Bank. In a last-ditch effort to save the company, Barclays has ordered an emergency restructuring of the group.
Fleetwood was unavailable for comment last night.

June 23, 2000 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Tap, tap, tapping, once again, on rock fans' spinal mania

Set your amps to 11 and get that spandex out of mothballs _ Spinal Tap is back. The three original members _ David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls, plus Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood on drums _ appeared live on VH1's "The List" on Thursday.
Plans for the band to once again Tap into America also include a new single, "Back From the Dead," a live performance at Los Angeles' House of Blues, a "Where Are They Now?" segment on VH1, and the theater, video and DVD re-release of "This Is Spinal Tap," the 1984 documentary of their final, disastrous U.S. tour.
Judging by what he said during an interview from his sheep farm in Pomona, Calif., guitarist/vocalist David St. Hubbins couldn't be happier. "Philosophically, we'd like to set the record straight," says St. Hubbins, who formed the group back in the `60s with Smalls and Tufnel, achieved metal stardom in the `70s, and slid down the popularity totem pole in the early `80s, the final stage of which was documented on "This Is Spinal Tap." "The movie was a blatant hatchet job, and we don't know why," he says. "Marty (DiBergi) was a fan of ours. He knew what color the labels were on our early singles, things like that. It was all skewed content and character assassination. We want to show where the film made us look even more incompetent than we actually were." By now, you've either got the joke or not: St. Hubbins is actually actor Michael McKean; Tufnel is Christopher Guest and Smalls is Harry Shearer. They came together under the direction of Rob Reiner (who played documentary filmmaker Marty DiBergi) to play members of a fictional, failing metal band, and the resulting mockumentary was easily the funniest film ever about rock `n' roll.
A vicious lampooning of pretentious English bands, it gave the world the phrase "amps on 11" and hilarious set-pieces, such as when the group got lost backstage before their first show. Band squabbles, "cold sores," song titles such as "Big Bottom," a far-too-small Stonehenge stage set, a cucumber down the pants, a drummer who died choking on someone else's vomit, soul-destroying gigs at an Army base and a theme park _ "Spinal Tap" was a huge giggle for any metal fan. Moreover, it coined the phrase "Spinal Tap moment," which is loosely defined as any ridiculous behavior or onstage calamity involving an overpaid pop star. And for many who live in the "real" world of rock `n' roll, it was, and is, dead-on accurate. "Guys in bands find it funny _ we can relate to it because we don't take anything seriously," says Madison Winchell, drummer for the Fort Worth rap/rock band Pimpadelic. "One time we were in Oklahoma and we made some jokes about the bombing _ not to be taken seriously _ and when we left the club after the show our tires had been flattened. All five _ even the spare. That was kind of Spinal Tap."
Other Tap moments in the past several years have included the members of U2 getting stuck in the huge lemon they normally stepped out of before doing their encores, and diva Mariah Carey demanding pink toilet paper in every hotel room in which she stays. Oh, yes, and Van Halen demanding that all brown M&Ms be removed from their buffet backstage _ and trashing the room if they find one.
Paula McElheney, who works for Texas concert promoters 462, has seen her share of out-of-control rock-star egotism. She says the movie is still more accurate than most rock fans would like to believe. "It's ridiculous and beyond most people's normal scope, but it's real," she says. "It's an industry cult classic _ I don't know a single person in the record business that doesn't love it. The pettiness of the band members, the egos, the complaining about the backstage catering _ it really is that way."
Those interested in the Tap revival do not speak to McKean, Shearer or Guest: They get one of the three in character; we drew St. Hubbins, a decent chap who says the Tap's mission is still the same _ to rock. "We can do an acoustic set, but let's face it, what we're here for is to provide a splitting headache of the most enjoyable type," he says. "One doesn't go to an AC/DC show for a nap, does one? That's what you go to see Judas Priest for. We just want to make the eardrums bleed, as the poet put it."
St. Hubbins says his time off has largely been spent raising sheep and working on two musicals: an opera called "Beowulf of London" and an all-scat version of "Carmen." Tufnel, he says, "is always going off and waking up in Bali or somewhere. He's got an awful sense of direction, but he's a constantly moving target, so that helps." And Smalls is "Mr. London," content to live in a "cleanish" apartment hard by the River Thames, hanging out with an endless stream of "birds" and friends who "share his taste in Italian pornography." But when the chance came to revive the band, the three jumped at it. The way St. Hubbins figures it, the world is ready for the Tap again. "There's a little bit of Spinal Tap in everybody _ it has to do with the human condition, doesn't it?" he says. So they hired Fleetwood and recorded "Back From the Dead," which St. Hubbins describes as "a good hard-rocking industrial Latino desperate attempt at a hit single, really."
The three original members are taking the reunion in stride, but Fleetwood is not. "Mick is terrified," St. Hubbins says. "He's a bit wobbled at the knees about working with the Tap, as well he should be, as we were an early influence on Fleetwood Mac. They used to support us in the clubs all the time." Isn't Fleetwood also scared of dying, as so many Tap drummers have? "Oh, no," St. Hubbins says. "He has a lot of protective clothing, an anti-radioactive suit, sort of a heat-resistant thing. He's not a fool, you know." The Tap, he says, will not mount another long tour, although he says he always enjoyed them _ even the last one. "We'd never had a band member leave the stage before Nigel did," he says. "I popped out to get a massage once, but that's different. The trip to Graceland was very moving, but what I really remember was meeting the ones who sell the records and put them on the air. That's the most rewarding part about touring, isn't it? Meeting all the little people who have made you rich and successful."

Sept 25, 2000 The Times Mick Fleetwood launches e-business;  News bite. (Features)

Mick Fleetwood, founder of Fleetwood Mac, is launching a new e-business. In association with auction master Ted Owen, www.fleetwoodowen.com will be auctioning entertainment memorabilia and collectables. Such delights as Led Zeppelin's drummer John Bonham's drum kit, Keith Richard's Gibson Les Paul, no less than four guitars owned and used by Noel Gallagher at the peak of Oasis' career and the piano used by John Lennon for Imagine.www.fleetwoodowen.com

Oct 1, 2000 Sunday Herald Racing The Clouds Home Julienne Taylor

ANYTHING described as folky-pop should rightly be treated with deep suspicion. Julienne Taylor's debut album showcases an undeniably sweet voice, but the songs themselves stink. Why would anyone want to do a cover of Fleetwood Mac's Second Hand News? Taylor adds a lot of diddley-dee and Celtic sounding effects to anchor her firmly in the folk camp, but it's a flimsy and ineffective garnish. Still, it will probably appeal to people with dubious facial hair and a collection of Arran jumpers. She does sound a little Rickie Lee Jones-ish on occasion, but it's not enough to lift this dire selection above mediocre. Which is a shame. Get some better songs and decent arrangements Jules, fast. 

Oct 20, 2000 The Times Too square to be hip: 20 albums that could compromise your cool;

Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill (1995) Calm down, dear
Dire Straits Brothers in Arms (1985) Musically, a rusty old Ford Cortina
Elvis Costello The Juliet Letters (1993) Cod-classical musings
Eric Clapton Slow Hand (1977) Not so wonderful tonight
Fleetwood Mac Tusk (1979) Agony and ivory
Moby Play (1999) Sold its born-again soul to the ad man
Moody Blues Days of Future Passed (1967) String 'em up
Oasis Definitely Maybe (1994) Or preferably not at all
Peter Gabriel So (1986) Pretentious, moi?
Phil Collins Hello, I must be going (1982) Not soon enough
Pink Floyd The Wall (1979) Actually, everyone can benefit from a good education
Prince Purple Rain (1984) Those outfits!
Queen A Night at the Opera (1975) High art in low taste
Sade Diamond Life (1984) Too much safe sax
Santana Supernatural (1999) Menopausal male rock
Simply Red Stars (1991) Red menace
Stone Roses Stone Roses 1989 Fool's gold
Tina Turner Private Dancer (1984) Granny rocks
Tori Amos Little Earthquakes (1991) See Alanis Morissette
The Verve Urban Hymns (1997) Oh, the nerve!

Dec 29, 2000 The Mirror Surfing with.. MICK FLEETWOOD. (Features)

FLEETWOOD Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood has teamed up with friend and auction expert Ted Owen to start up an online memorabilia auction house called FleetwoodOwen which trades in memorabilia of the rich and famous. Mick tells DAN WILLIAMSON how his interest in the web has made him ditch his drumsticks for mouse clicks.

WHAT gave you the idea?
ENTERTAINMENT memorabilia is often seen by traditional auction houses as trivial, and it doesn't receive the attention it deserves. Ted has an amazing background in entertainment memorabilia, so we decided to combine our knowledge of music, entertainment and auctions to create www.fleetwoodowen.com

HOW long have you been using the internet?
I'VE been seriously using it for about four years.

WHAT'S your favourite website?
I'M NOT really a big surfer. I use the web for information, so I I really like www.ask.com because it's comprehensive and easy to use. I can't think of one time when I've stumped Jeeves! I also like www.theregister.co. uk for business information.

DOES your family use the internet?
WE'RE all frequent travellers, so email lets us communicate wherever we are. Another great use of the net is for travel. It's great that you can go online and check out flights, then book online.

DO YOU use the web to keep in touch with other members of the band?
I KEEP in contact with them via email. I've lost contact with a lot of people over the years, but with email I'm able to get back in contact with them. Letter writing is, sadly, a thing of the past.

WHAT'S the weirdest web site you've seen?
I'VE not come across what you'd call weird sites, but some of the stories the technical guys at the office tell makes you wonder - and maybe a little concerned too.

WILL the web destroy the music industry?
I SEE it as just another facet. All the various controls of commerce need to be put in place, which is happening, and it will become a huge commercial venture. The web allows the industry to reach bigger audiences, which is ultimately healthier. I think many people have been slightly naive, as nothing is for free. This is all being addressed right now.

Feb 27, 2001 International Herald Tribune People: Lennon, John

The piano John Lennon kept in his New York apartment just before his death in December 1980 is going on sale on March 27 as part of an auction at London's Hard Rock Cafe, organized by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac and the auctioneer Ted Owen. Bids will also be accepted online. Also for sale will be Lennon's 1970 white Mercedes-Benz.

April 2, 2001 The Herald Nicks hits the road again.

FLEETWOOD Mac's Stevie Nicks gave a private concert at the weekend to unveils ongs for her first solo album since 1994. Nicks, 53 in May, will now tour America, starting in June, performing and promoting the album, Trouble in Shangri-La. Sheryl Crow, who produced some of the songs, put in a guest appearance with Nicks and her seven-man band. Nicks was last on the road with Fleetwood Mac when the group reunited with the 1997 concert album, The Dance.
Plans for a new Fleetwood Mac album have been put on hold because the members were unable to lure Christine McVie out of retirement in England. 
Nicks's last studio album was 1994's Street Angel.

May 1, 2001 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service A wiser Stevie Nicks builds her new Shangri-La.

Despite the portentous title of Stevie Nicks' first solo CD in seven years, the Fleetwood Mac singer assures fans her "crystal visions" are clear again. "Trouble in Shangri-La," her collection of relationship-based songs, hits stores this week and the tracks come "pretty much from my life," Nicks says. But the CD's release comes at a time that finds Nicks healthy and seemingly in vogue again. Such wasn't the case when her last album, 1994's problematic "Street Angel," nearly capsized her career. Now, today's pop stars like Sheryl Crow, Courtney Love, Sarah McLachlan and Macy Gray are citing Nicks' influence on their music. Destiny's Child samples Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen" on its new CD.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Nicks' distinctive, witchy wardrobe found favor with fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta, Jill Stuart and Bob Mackie, who all have created Nicks-inspired threads. "Trouble in Shangri-La" also finds some of her famous fans joining her. Crow, Gray, McLachlan and Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines sing harmonies. Even ex-lover and Fleetwood Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham appears for the first time on one of her solo albums, playing guitar on "I Miss You." And no, that particular song is not about him, Nicks says, stifling the likely assumption. After Nicks' summer tour ends she and Buckingham will reteam with the other members of Fleetwood Mac (minus a retired Christine McVie) to record a new group CD. "If you take Christine's synthesizers and organ out of the mix then the whole thing will go back toward the guitar so that's an exciting premise for all of us because we love to rock," Nicks says enthusiastically.

During the Fleetwood Mac reunion tour in 1997 Nicks and Buckingham became friends again, putting aside the bitter differences that inspired impassioned songs like his "Go Your Own Way" and her "Dreams," "Silver Springs" and the new "Planets of the Universe," a number Nicks wrote when she was breaking up with Buckingham in 1976. She withheld it until finding a place for it on

"Shangri-La."
"It's one of the heaviest songs I've ever written and I wrote it in anger in all my drama _ as dramatic as I was and probably still am. I went back and wrote the first part of the song a couple months ago because I wanted to soften it a little bit." "Shangri-La" also includes two songs initially conceived prior to Nicks' joining Fleetwood Mac _ "Candlebright," planned for the 1973 "Buckingham Nicks" duo LP and "Sorcerer," nixed in favor of "Rhiannon" for 1975's "Fleetwood Mac" LP. Nicks started recording the album in Atlanta with producer Dallas Austin of TLC fame after noticing how much TLC's 1999 hit "Unpretty" resembled her layered style. However, the songs they cut together were scrapped. "The whole album was going a certain way and Dallas had to move on, he can't spend a year doing an album," Nicks says on the telephone from her Santa Barbara, Calif., home. "I came back to L.A. and started to do other songs with Sheryl and I realized the record was going in a completely different direction. The songs didn't fit. The songs that I did with him were very R&B and then I'm dueting with (country's) Natalie and all of a sudden this record was not making any sense at all."

Finally, the chosen "Shangri-La" guests were custom fit to each track. Crow has become "a very good friend" and has performed often with Nicks. "To even be in the same room as Stevie was a dream come true for me. To work with her was beyond description. It was extraordinary," Crow said in a release.

Singing the country-rocker "Too Far From Texas" with Maines was a highpoint. "Natalie is a trip," Nicks says. "She came in and knew her parts so perfectly and we cut that song live. ... When we got (the guests) we had to work quickly. But it was like Natalie and I were singing together for 100 years, like we were two little mountain singers. What a pleasure. "The last of our problems was the singing. Getting everyone there was hard but the singing was the easiest thing."

More than a quarter-century ago, a more innocent Nicks sang wistfully how "Time makes you bolder/Even children get older/And I'm getting older too." Turning 53 on May 26, Nicks has finally caught up with her own words. All those years of hard living as a rocker will tend to do that _ if you can survive intact. "I'm smarter and wiser," Nicks says happily. "When I sing `Landslide' now I think, `You really were such a baby when you wrote it!' I think I've always felt like an old soul. I've always felt like I was reincarnated a million times just rehearsing for this particular life." But maturity and ditching bad habits like abusing cocaine and alcohol haven't altered how Nicks writes her songs. Fans who longed for another album on par with her 1981 chart-topping solo debut "Bella Donna" will find a familiar Nicks on "Shangri-La." The songs remain personal glimpses into her storybook life.

"A lot of me HASN'T changed," Nicks says. "I'm very much the same writer who tries to stay a little bit naive and a little bit believing in the childlike innocence of people so that I can write the songs that help people because I'm not writing from such a jaded point of view. I have not been married and had a terrible divorce like so many women my age have. Or had three or four children which I would have stopped everything for. I did not go through those experiences. And I made the choice NOT to, maybe because I DIDN'T want my writing to change. "The trends and the fads around us change but the things I write songs about really don't change. I'm still dealing with relationships," she continues. "As it is, I'm not really going with anyone so I live in a pretty romantic state of mind. "At any moment I could meet my soul mate. I may never meet that person. But the possibility is always there and that makes you still believe in that childlike innocence," Nicks says, echoing a lyric from one of her oldest songs: "Love is only one fine star away/Even though the living is sometimes laced with lies/It's alright/The feeling remains even after the glitter fades." "I haven't had a terrible, terrible experience that has just wiped out my ability to write beautiful things anymore."

June 23, 2001 The Times Fleetwood Mac; Also out. (Features)

IN THE late Sixties Fleetwood Mac were on top of their game. They had more hits than the Beatles and in their leader Peter Green they arguably had the finest white blues guitarist of all time. This compilation of previously unreleased tracks includes amazing material from gigs immediately prior to the original band's disintegration. The rock'n'roll covers are less than riveting, but faithful versions of Don't Be Cruel and Great Balls of Fire are the price you have to pay for some of the tightest blues rock ever recorded. The classic three-guitar line-up of Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwin was a wonder to behold and the second CD captures them in full flight, just weeks before Spencer joined a religious cult and Green withdrew from the fame game. Extended versions of Black Magic Woman and Green Manalishi are just two of the highlights. Best of all, though, are the tracks that feature Green playing solo, an unassuming master of his craft.

Sept 2, 2001 Wales On Sunday HOW BRITS PUT THE FIZZ INTO POP AWARDS. (Features)

THE Brits has long had a reputation for causing some of the most explosive scenes in showbiz. A host of stars are expected to turn up to the Writ awards, so we could be in for a lot of fun.

Here are just some of those magic Brit moments: MICK FLEETWOOD & SAM FOX: The ex-drummer in Fleetwood Mac and the famous Page 3 girl got together to present the Brits in 1989. Unfortunately, it wasn't a huge success. The autocue went, the pair didn't seem to know what they were doing and it went down in history as one of the worst Brit awards ever!

Oct 9, 2001 International Herald Tribune People: Presley, Elvis

A company co-owned by Mick Fleetwood, a founder of the rock band Fleetwood Mac, has been sued by a man who claims that it sold him a bogus Elvis Presley guitar. Gordie Brown asserts that he bought the guitar for nearly $63,000 through an Internet site operated by Fleetwood Owen, which is owned by Fleetwood and the auctioneer Ted Owen. The Chet Atkins Gretsch guitar was said to have been used by Presley during a show on the opening night of the Las Vegas International Hotel in 1969, the lawsuit says. But Brown says Presley's estate owns the actual guitar and houses it at Graceland, Presley's mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. Brown wants a refund.

Nov 30, 2001 Daily Telegraph People: Crow, Sheryl

One of the rock icons of the 1990s has suffered a knock-back from one of the rock icons of the 1970s. Sheryl Crow had hoped to replace Christine McVie in Fleetwood Mac. Mick Fleetwood let her down gently. "Sheryl called me and expressed an interest in joining the band following lots of speculation in the American press about it," said Fleetwood at this week's auction of Beatles memorabilia. "Sheryl already has a very close friendship with our band member Stevie Nicks and was keen to join our ship. But I told her there isn't room for another member. Sheryl is a great songwriter and an accomplished keyboard player, but we don't need anyone else. There is no place for another member and never will be." It's a harsh decision. Crow personally inducted Fleetwood Mac into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

March 30, 2002 The Times A second coming; Profile. (Features)

Since overcoming mental illness in 1995, the Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green has proved he still has that guitar magic, says John Clarke. 
There is a revisionist view of blues history that claims that the British boom
of the Sixties added nothing to the form and, in fact, did a great deal of harm by contributing to the lack of black interest in the genre. While it is an argument that can be demolished in seconds (for one thing, blues had lost its black audience in America well before the UK boom started), it also serves to denigrate the music and career of one of the most talented guitarists to emerge from that era: Peter Green.

It is ironic that the life of Peter Allen Greenbaum, born in 1946, has been a ill-fated and harrowing as the blues that he sings. Mind-expanding drugs left this supremely talented artist a schizophrenic who had to undergo legally enforced psychiatric treatment, including electroconvulsive therapy. The fact that after more than 20 years in this wilderness he was able to start performing again is something to be marvelled at.

The son of a tailor turned postman, Green was brought up in Bethnal Green, East London, and Putney in southwest London. He bought his first guitar at the age of ten and, though he left school at 15 to become a trainee butcher, music remained a strong calling. He turned professional in 1965 and caught the eye of the godfather of British blues, John Mayall, who asked him to fill in when Eric Clapton went on holiday. Such was the impression he made that when Clapton left permanently Green was brought back. It was a hard act to follow. "I knew Peter was going to have to deal with Clapton comparisons," said Mayall, but he quickly built up a following and emerged with honours on Mayall's top-selling A Hard Road album.

In 1967 he formed his own band, recruiting two former Mayall sidemen, the bass player John McVie and the drummer Mick Fleetwood, to become Fleetwood Mac. "The name just came to me," Green said. "I thought Fleetwood sounded like an express train." With the addition of the guitarist Jeremy Spencer, the group was complete. A triumphant appearance at the Windsor Jazz and Blues festival in 1967 was followed by the group's first album, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, which spent 37 weeks in the charts. More albums and even greater success followed, including the track that Green now refers to as his Santana number, Black Magic Woman, in 1968. Later the same year came one of the most memorable sides that the British blues boom produced, Green's poignant take of the Little Willie John song, Need Your Love So Bad, complete with strings. Even greater success came with a dreamy but compelling instrumental called Albatross, which catapulted the band to No 1 in the charts. It wasn't long, though, before the demons started closing in. Alongside such hits as Oh Well and Man of the World, there came some heavy drug use.

"When I took LSD, it was like breathing under water," Green recalled later. Unfortunately, he wasn't breathing, he was drowning. Matters came to a head in Munich in 1970 when the band was on tour. "He disappeared for three days...he was spiked with acid...when he came back that was it," McVie remembered. Green quit Fleetwood Mac and after one solo album gradually dropped out of the music scene. The onset of his mental problems manifested itself in a desire to give away his possessions and then to refuse his royalties.

In the twilight years that followed there were musical comebacks interspersed with periods of ill health and some strange jobs, including one spell as a grave-digger. The vibrancy and verve of his early guitar-playing days were gone. Then an old friend, Nigel Watson, started playing with him. In 1995 Green stopped his medication and, with Watson, Neil Murray and the drummer Cozy Powell, formed the Splinter Group. Seven years on, they are an established club and festival draw with several albums under their belts.

There have been too many casualties on the rock front, but the man whom B. B. King acknowledged as "the only man to make me sweat" deserves his place on the podium.

Peter Green and the Splinter Group play the Jazz Cafe, London NW1, on Apr 2 &

CV. Peter Green
Born October 29, 1946, East London.
Family Of Polish-Jewish descent. His father Joe and mother Anne lived in the same block of flats as the singer Georgia Brown.
 
First record With the Peter B's, a band led by the keyboard player Pete Bardens.
Best moment on vinyl Stop Messin' Around from the Mr Wonderful album.
High spot Recording at the famed Chess studios in Chicago in 1969 with Buddy
Guy, Otis Span and other blues luminaries for the acclaimed Blues Jam inChicago album

Sept 3, 2002 The Evening Standard Albatross flies again as Green returns to the blues; POP. (Review)

Peter Green and the Splinter Group, Jazz Cafe, NW1

RARELY has a song title been so apt, for Albatross remains the big bird hung round Peter Green's neck. That classic instrumental gave his band Fleetwood Mac a number one hit, but overshadowed Green's career as a virtuoso blues guitarist to rival Eric Clapton. Addled by drugs, it is no wonder he left the band to dig graves. Green went on to release some missable solo records and avoided the stage for 20 years, with no adequate explanation as to why he stayed away for so long.
Last night, a black bandana hid his forehead and forced back a shock of long,
grey curls, with only a dim memory left of the lean, black-haired Sixties star. Even so, Green's better known numbers dominated the Splinter Group's set. A perfunctory, yet still startling, Albatross received a rapturous reception, just like an epic Black Magic Woman, the track made famous by Santana's Latin rock version. From the start, though, Green steered the crowd away from the Mac's spacehead blues. Rather, he wanted to exhume the songs that introduced him to the genre. With a voice that sounded like it had swallowed a dusty Mississippi track, Green conjured up the Delta ghosts of Elmore James and Willie Dixon, but, above all, the original tortured troubadour Robert Johnson. When Green hit the right note, his unmatched fluidity still raised goose bumps.
The star of the show played a mean harmonica and showed the limits of slide
guitar to today's more diffident practitioners (That includes you, Coldplay). Most times, though, Green looked slow-witted. His hands ran up and down the fretboard looking in vain for purchase while the band filled in. Not that the Splinter Group were just a backing band. Three of the five people on stage had written songs to keep the set fresh. Most of them Green laid waste, apart from bassist Pete Stroud's yearning Real World. Such cracks in the set made for a pleasingly intimate feel, a million miles away from Clapton's regular stints at the Albert Hall. Green's prolonged stay in the cold meant his style had been preserved in aspic, and that was no bad thing.

Sept 20, 2002 The Daily Mail Ignore those rumours, the Mac are back.

WITH close to 30 million copies sold worldwide, it's one of the biggest- selling albums of all time.

But the story behind how Fleetwood Mac put together the seminal Rumours is just as jaw-dropping. The internal tensions that, for a while, split Fleetwood Mac are to be the subject of a West End play with music - as long as group members agree to allow the tracks from Rumours to be used in the show. It will be an intimate production; not as loud and over-the top as the Queen show We Will Rock You and the planned Rod Stewart musical. 

Matthew Vaughn, producer of Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Guy Ritchie's forthcoming film with Madonna, Swept Away, has joined forces with theatre and film impresario Robert Fox to acquire the music rights and to find a writer - possibly Patrick Marber - to do the book.

Fleetwood Mac's line-up has changed many times. In the early Seventies, Christine McVie joined husband John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. Americans Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were then added. Success soon turned sour - the McVies divorced in 1976 and Buckingham and Nicks later broke up. Those tensions - not to mention drug use and other complications - formed the basis for the songs on Rumours. Buckingham once said that the two couples brought a lot of baggage which was part 'of what made the music interesting'.

Fans obviously agree because it still sells well, although these days to a younger crowd as teens and those in their 20s realise most Top 20 performers are utterly forgettable.

When I reached Mr Vaughn, after he and Mr Fox were spotted at The Ivy, he told me the group control the rights and the show can't go forward until they agree to let the producers use their album. 'We are all excited about trying to make it work. It's going to be credible - not a singalong about relationships.'

Oct 15, 2002 The Sun Stevie Nicks; Bizarre. (Features)

SINGER STEVIE NICKS has hit out at popstars who flash too much flesh, such as BRITNEY SPEARS, CHRISTINA AGUILERA and SHAKIRA. The FLEETWOOD MAC star said: "Their jeans are too low, their tops are too see-through. Sexy is keeping yourself mysterious." Surely, Steveie's not just bitter she can't get away with wearing those kinds of outfits any more, is she?

These articles were researched and sent me by Velvet Witch


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