Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Fleetwood Keeping Beat in Music and the Movies

Atlanta Journal and Constitution, November 13, 1987

Fleetwood keeping beat in music and the movies

By Scott Cain

Mick Fleetwood is branching out. The 39-year-old rock drummer makes his movie debut as an 80-year-old rebel leader in "The Running Man." He is barely recognizable underneath five hours' worth of makeup, but he took a childish delight in the experience.

"I've no idea how good or bad I was, but I do know I really enjoyed it," he said while in Atlanta for a Fleetwood Mac concert this week. He has not seen the adventure film, which is set in Los Angeles in the year 2019 and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a reluctant contestant in a deadly television competition.

Fleetwood turned to the film's director, Paul Michael Glaser of "Starsky and Hutch" fame, for advice. Fleetwood told Glaser, "I' m completely like a bit of putty, so whip me into shape. Slap me around." Glaser didn't go that far. "He was very helpful in giving me some basic application things."

Fleetwood is not expecting an Oscar. "I'm certainly not Sir Laurence Olivier, but I do have confidence in the way that people have always reacted to the way I play on stage. I knew the animation part of it. I would be disappointed if I didn't appear in a movie again. There are some things I feel I can do now without any further training."

Fleetwood's sister, Susan, is a well-known actress in England, and Fleetwood always enjoyed clowning around with friends - "doing Mutt-and- Jeff-type stuff." Perceiving ability, the manager of former Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham suggested that Fleetwood get a theatrical agent; doing so led to a round of visits to casting agencies in Los Angeles, where Fleetwood lives. Word of his availability apparently reached the right people, because he was requested for "The Running Man."

The pale and lanky musician, bearded and balding, is surprisingly bashful considering he has been famous for 20 years. He retains his strong English accent and seems to have picked up none of the jargon of California.

He is pleased with Fleetwood Mac's current tour, which is halfway through a 10-week American itinerary and then will broaden into a global junket. "I'm a road hog," he says. "I'm much happier in a hotel room than I am stuck at home. I love it."

He gives a generous account of Buckingham's recent departure from the band after 12 years. Buckingham, a guitarist-singer, wrote most of the songs on the new album, "Tango in the Night," but declined to tour. He was replaced by guitarist-singers Rick Vito and Billy Burnette.

"After completing this album, Lindsey had left emotionally," said Fleetwood. "He felt, `That's my last deed with Fleetwood Mac.' And I think he thought that everyone else thought the same - incorrectly. When he realized that we wanted with a fervor to tour, I got to loggerheads with him - not in a nasty way - but I said, `Lindsey, you're crazy. We should be out there working.' He tried his best to go on the road, and we started planning a tour on the premise that he would do a tour, but he changed his mind."

The replacements are old friends. "It wasn't like a couple of strangers," Fleetwood said.

He thinks Fleetwood Mac's public expects the band to tour. As he said to the others when there was doubt, "People wonder, `Are they a band? Are they talking to each other?' This is what it looks like out there. Most of it is not the case."

Fleetwood is adamant about one thing: "Fleetwood Mac comes first. Solo careers come second."

Thanks to Karen for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for formatting and sending it to us.