Harris: We’re happy to welcome back to our guest line Mick Fleetwood, who about a year ago was on with us and I said, “How are things going, are you in touch with the rest of the band?” And he said, “Yeah, Lindsey and I have been working on something and we’ve been talking to the other three about maybe getting back together again, maybe touring, maybe doing a new album.” Six months later there they are, out on the road again, and that tour is going to end at the end of this month right here in our town. He joins us live from Chicago now. Hi, Mick!
Fleetwood: Hi, Paul!
Harris: Welcome back to the show. How’s the tour been for you?
Fleetwood: It’s been fantastic. It’s sort of a musician’s dream in terms in terms of it couldn’t really be any better. Just the reception the band has gotten on the road and certainly the attendance. It’s a sold-out tour for all intents and purposes and we had a #1 album with the album, so it’s almost ridiculous. We’re having a great time, the band’s playing better than ever.
Harris: You were at the Nissan Pavilion just a few weeks ago and you’re going to finish the tour here in town. I looked up this statistic: by the time you guys finish you will have played before 800,000 people on this tour alone. That’s a nice feeling to get back out there and see a standing “O” at the end of the night from three-quarters of a million people.
Fleetwood: Yeah, it is. We’ve been lucky with the weather. We’ve only had one outdoor gig that…it was fine…but it was just about only possible to do it in terms of the cold.
Harris: How are the inner dynamics of the band after all these years? Are you still pals as you come to the end of this tour?
Fleetwood: Absolutely, it’s fantastic. The whole work ethic of how this thing happened came from the inside out versus the guy sitting with the big suitcase full of money saying, “Come with me,” which had been tried a couple of times to no avail. I think because we had spent time in the studio. Me and Lindsey had a great more or less a year in the studio, which was a surprise to both of us. During this time the rest of the band came in in groups. John did some bass stuff, Chris did some keyboards on the work that Lindsey was intent on doing. Lindsey produced a track for Stevie for the Twister film that I played on with Lindsey. So, we all truly convened musically before any business or any such thing was really discussed.
Harris: Have there been any weird moments with the interpersonal stuff? You didn’t walk into Stevie’s dressing room and see Lindsey in there and say, “Whoa, wait, hold on a second, not again!”
Fleetwood: No. It’s no secret to everyone that the whole band has at one point been emotionally involved as partners. Was it easy? No, we had some rough times in years gone by just like people would have. When you break up with someone, you normally get a little breathing space so you can come back and have a good friendship. That’s the best thing that can come out of a broken relationship, that eventually you will be a friend to that person.
Harris: I would think there would be a lot less stress on this tour with none of the turmoil going on.
Fleetwood: Yeah, we’re in a whole different emotional place. We’re all still very much our own characters in terms of the players in the play and we’re also more at ease with ourselves as individuals. Certainly there has to be a humor to the thing and it’s a good humor.
Harris: It’s easier to look back?
Fleetwood: The journey we’ve all been on together, you couldn’t write a story like this. You would say, “I don’t believe it” or, “It’s not possible” or, “They could not possibly play music together.”
Harris: Mick, I’m looking at the cover of the Rolling Stone that came out when you guys got back together again and it says, “The Lovingest, Fightingest, Druggingest Band of the Seventies Comes Back.” Does that describe Fleetwood Mac anymore?
Fleetwood: No, not really. It’s making comment to an era that has past. I think the testimony’s no different than anyone else’s life, maybe a little more extreme and a little more compressed. It is an act of survival and hopefully coming through it with your scruples and being able to reflect and learn from things that have happened in the past and not just sit there like a dodo repeating them which from time to time human beings tend to do. This is certainly a nice testimony that is very well tested. In terms of what we’re doing now, this has been complete pleasure. It’s got all the sorts of opportunities available for the individuals. Whether we take them or not is somewhat debatable. The great thing is that this band has really truly resolved so many things and been out on the road being very vital and to know that the whole gypsy thing that bands are is still intact. It doesn’t feel like the dreaded “reunion” word. It feels very vibrant. I think that’s something we liked to enjoy when we were in rehearsals. At that point we knew we would be doing the MTV thing…
Harris: And you were really cooking on that thing. You guys looked like you were really happy to be back together and playing these songs and I guess playing the whole tour has been that kind of feeling. Are you changing the show much from set to set? For instance, if somebody saw you out at the Pavilion and now they go again to see you at the Arena, are there any changes?
Fleetwood: No, it’s pretty much the same show. The songs are the same, but there are some songs that are completely different every night, very different. A song called Not That Funny is basically a jam session that me, John, and Lindsey do together, but it’s the same show. Earlier on during the tour, we changed it around a bit here and there, but the band played really well on MTV and we were really pleased with the way we played. Having said that, doing whatever number of gigs we did, this is a very well-oiled musical machine now.
Harris: Hey Mick, there’s a listener of ours, Doug, from Walkersville, Maryland, who went to the show here at Nissan in August and was talking about you drumming on yourself. He wanted to know if you would be doing this at the next show and he forgot what song that was. What’s this drumming on yourself?
Fleetwood: That was on Not That Funny. It’s sort of a mutated drum solo where I have, for all intents and purposes, a drum vest. I have electronic, touch-sensitive pads that are very, very dynamic. They’re not like normal drum pads that are slightly mundane. These have a lot of dynamics in them. And yeah, I’m feeling myself up basically. I have one on my crotch and four on my chest.
Harris: That one on the crotch, do you save that for just the finale? Is that a one-shot deal?
Fleetwood: That gets quite a few things pushed through it. Some heavy-breathing modules, I go through this whole breathing thing. It’s sort of Mick-lunacy and I’ve been doing bits and pieces of that same type of thing. I always program and come up with a whole new scenario of sounds that get fed to me. It’s all in real time. I’m playing it, but I give signals and they give me another five. I go through three or four different sound setups.
Harris: So you might hit the same place twice and it won’t sound the same.
Harris: Gotcha, gotcha. So now you’re in Chicago and you’re not working tonight, what are you going to do? Does the band hang out together on a night off like this?
Fleetwood: Yeah. We’re all going out to dinner in about an hour. In fact the note just came under my door prior to this interview. It’s not the end of the tour, but it’s not far off so we’re taking the road crew out to dinner at a nice place.
Harris: And I also understand you’re working on a Rumours tribute album that you’re producing but the band won’t be performing on. It’s other bands doing your stuff, right?
Fleetwood: Yeah, it’s going very well. I’m basically overseeing it. I’m not actually producing the bands that are on it. I had been available to do that, but my wish and desire was to have then do their own full-on interpretations of the specific songs on the Rumours album. So we’ve got a lot of great bands. Jewel’s done a track, Elton John’s done a track, Matchbox 20.
Harris: Did you get that Courtney Love version of Gold Dust Woman?
Fleetwood: No. There was an issue, which is fine. It’s almost more appropriate that someone else will do another version of it.
Harris: For people who don’t know what I’m talking about, in the movie The Crow: City of Angels, which was the sequel to the original Crow, Courtney Love and Hole do Gold Dust Woman. You liked that version a lot didn’t you?
Fleetwood: Yeah I did, I thought it was really spunky.
Harris: But the movie company wouldn’t give it up?
Fleetwood: No, they wouldn’t give it up. But in retrospect I’m sort of glad because it opens up another facet in terms of having another interpretation of the song.
Harris: When will that be out?
Fleetwood: It will be out next year. We’re not sure exactly. We’re trying to set it so that it all fits in with what the Mac are doing. It’s going to be a phenomenal album.
Harris: Is there going to be a new Fleetwood Mac album? Are the five of you writing new songs and are going to put together something new?
Fleetwood: That’s all part of the options, any thing from road option to recording option and also to do-nothing option. I think the motto of today is just really to have an acceptance of that this has been fantastic. It’s been more than any of us expected in terms of the reception and the way the project has gone and we can feel very comfortable with that. We’re going to just finish up this tour and see what next year will bring in terms of commitments.
Harris: Well keep us posted, and good luck. The rest of the tour is a breeze from here. You’re coming to town to close it out on November 30th. Congratulations on this phenomenal year and we appreciate you coming back on with us.
Fleetwood: You’re very welcome!
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Doug Houser.
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