Transcript from BBC News, November 28, 2001

( BBC Website with Video Feed )

I'm Helen Bushbee and I'm joined today by Mick Fleetwood, one of the co-founders of the hugely successful group Fleetwood Mac. Fleetwood Mac formed in the 1960's and went on to produce several top selling albums, including Rumours--which has sold nearly 26 million copies. They are currently producing their new album and it's set for release next year. Mick, thanks very much for joining us.

Mick: Pleasure.

Helen: We've got lots of emails for you from our viewers

Mick: Oh my God, okay.

Helen: . . . so I shall crack straight on with them.

Mick: Lovely.

Helen: This is from John (?) in the UK and he says he has two questions for you. Firstly, do you have any plans to do another tour with the Rumours lineup?

Mick: Very simple answer . . . what's his name?

Helen: John.

Mick: John. Yes, absolutely, as soon as we get this album finished, which hopefully will be dutifully handed in vaguely on time at the end…late, late summer…and then we will be going on the road, hopefully in the the "fall" if you are American. (laughs) And we're going to be doing a very extended tour. We're certainly committed to doing that...that's if all you guys out there want us, we'll be there. So we're sort of planning an 18-month tour.

Helen: Wow. He also wants to know, and he says, I know you probably get asked this all the time . . .

Mick: Okay.

Helen: …but, do you have any plans to work with Peter Green again?

Mick: From John?

Helen: Yes

Mick: Okay. No plans to . . . Would I love to? Absolutely. In fact I just came from another part of the BBC earlier on today where we were talking about the maybe possibility of actually revisiting the old original Fleetwood Mac, if but briefly, to maybe do something like a...the BBC has some fantastic recordings of the old band...that we did in the 60s/70s...and release these recordings with the cooperation of the BBC -- you guys. And maybe do a concert or two to sort of say hello...So yeah, the desire is there, it's just a matter of trying to fit it all in with the crazy life that I have.

Helen: [laughs] Okay, Mike Blanchard from England says, well first we have to pay you a compliment, he says, what a great band both before and after Rumours, and he says, will we see the Mac live again in the UK? I think you probably almost answered that really…

Mick: I think I said that to John.

Helen: Yeah.

Mick: Uh, sadly on the last tour, which was about four years ago, with an album we did called The Dance, which uh…it did okay here. The reason it did sort of okay here was because we didn’t tour here, which is fair enough. We had a number one album in the States with it and we toured. We didn’t come to England. But this next time, we will absolutely be definitely coming here.

Helen: How do you feel about Fleetwood Mac changing to a trio with the departure of Christine McVie. Do you think this will make it a more guitar-oriented sound for the band?

Mick: Lauren? Lauren, yes! [laughs} Uh, we’re really…uh, Lindsey Buckingham is definitely the guitar player in the band. So we’re not keyboard absent in terms of that. But there’s no doubt that it’s…Lindsey has done a lot of experimenting with John and myself with some really rather amazing guitar voicing and layering, so it’s a somewhat changed sound, but you’ll definitely know it’s Fleetwood Mac.

Helen: Okay Trish(?) from the U.S. says, there was some talk of Christine wanting to participate in the recording of the album, but not the tour. Did you guys take her up on the offer?

Mick: Uh, she didn't actually make the offer. But, um, what happened is...she has a vague desire to maybe do that. But I think, in truth, what may well happen is she may participate with some of her songwriting. It's a possibility. In fact, I'm going to go to dinner with her tonight. I think she is a little frightened of getting sucked back into the whole...she doesn't like traveling anymore so..maybe some writing, I think. And maybe a tiny bit of vocalizing.

Helen: Cause we did get a lot of questions from people wanting to know what Christine is doing and how is she?

Mick: Sure. She's very well. She lives in Canterbury. And she is...luckily she's decided to start doing some songwriting, which I think is good for her. But she's living a very private life and…sort of…happy to be not part of show business, unlike the rest of us. [laughs]

Helen: Do you enjoy it?

Mick: Oh I love it. We love it. And Stevie loves touring and playing, and…as does John and Lindsey. So we're carrying on, you know. If we ever play...which we will be a year or so from now, a little over a year...I'm sure when we play England, you'll probably get a little hello…hello and goodbye from Chris.

Helen: Oh, I’m sure that will keep everyone happy.

Mick: Oh yeah, we're great friends. It's all good stuff.

Helen: Now there’s a question here on another sort of aspect of your showbiz life. Do you have any amusing anecdotes from your appearance as an alien on Star Trek the Next Generation?…

Mick: [laughs] Yeah.

Helen: …from Dan Garrison of the U.K.

Mick: Yeah. Dan, I don’t know how amusing it is, but…I played an Antedian (sp?), which was half fish, half man, and I had this whole huge, weird face mask. And I still have really unpleasant dent in my nose where the wire from the mask pressed so hard into my nose for so many… for two days…on and off I had this mask on – like, this prosthetic mask -- that I’m scarred from Star Trek the New Generation. I don’t know how funny that is, but it’s certainly an anecdote.

Helen: So did you enjoy doing it?

Mick: I loved it.

Helen: You’re a Star Trek fan, I take it.

Mick: Yes.

Helen: Yes.

Mick: That’s why I did it. I said I’ll only do it if you beam me down, which they did. They beamed me down, but I never got to get out. They put me in jail.

Helen: [laughs] Okay, this is from Renee in the U.S. She says, can we expect any solo song contributions from you on the new Mac album?

Mick: Wow. That’s an unusual one. Well, first of all, I don’t sing, but in theory, I could write. I am actually open…I haven’t done it yet…possibility, yes… putting some very wild and crazy instrumental drum orientated piece together on the next Fleetwood Mac album. I’ve certainly thought of it. If I think it’s good enough, it may well make an appearance, which would be a lot of fun.

Helen: This is a question from David Smith in London. Now, this sort of relates to your work with auctions selling rock memorabilia…

Mick: Yes.

Helen: …which I know you also do. He says, why do you think the stage on which the Beatles met failed to sell last night? I understand you were involved in that sale.

Mick: Yes, right. No telling. I mean the auction business… some things go and some things don’t, you know. I believe that… it didn’t go last night but we had some offers fairly close to what we call our client’s price for letting it go. So um, I think it actually will sell after the auction, so to speak. Why [not] during the auction? I have no idea. Cause I had… I suppose it would take someone that’s building a house to say’s a fairly extravagant thing to do..

Helen: It’s quite a big thing to buy, isn’t it?

Mick: …but if you had like a barn or were starting a club. If you were starting a club or a restaurant, what a great thing to actually make it part of the restaurant. I think takes the dynamic of something falling into place at the right time for something as big as that. But we will see. Maybe someone will buy it after this webcast.

Helen: [laughs] You never know! What other famous rock items have you been involved with? Or sold?

Mick: Uh…fortunately plenty have sold otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it. No doubt the most famous piece was little over a year or so ago when we started Fleetwood Owen, which is the auction company. We sold the Imagine piano, which was John Lennon’s instrument that he actually composed the song on. We have full verification of that cause we have film footage of him sitting at the piano telling Yoko, saying, ‘Well, what do you reckon this sounds like?” [because} it wasn’t a finished song, you know. And George Michael bought that piano for 2.2 million dollars. So when they do sell, sometimes it can put a smile on your face. It certainly did on me.

Helen: Yeah, believe it. Believe it! Alex Watson from London in the U.K. says, what do you hope to achieve with your new record label, Tall Man Music?

Mick: Oh, wow, these people are really uh…I’m trying to start a record company that actually takes care of artists in a more personable way. The record business is somewhat changed and has become very corporate minded. Not all of it is bad, but I find it very impersonal. But my record label, Tall Man, which I’m happy you’ve heard about, is about to become active in the new year. We will be releasing a very talented young English lady called Tallulah. Her full name is Tallulah Barton and she’s incredibly talented. I’ve been, as it were, developing Tallulah for about two and a half years, which at least pays some tribute to what we’re trying to do [which] is really spend time and not just throw someone out there to the lions. So that will be our first artist in the new year.

Helen: Wow. We’ll look out for her. This is from someone called Grovelt(?) from England. He says, your book, Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac, is a great read. Any plans to write more tales of excess and success from the 60s and 70s?

Mick: Oooh, well, thank you for the compliment. I also should make heed to a very talented person who worked on that book with me, Stephen Davis, who co-wrote the book with me. But I had a real hand in that, so I can certainly take some of the full credit here. And thank you. No I haven’t. The life of excesses is over for me. [laughs] Another book might be actually rather boring, I don’t know. But maybe. Maybe a few years from now, whenever that time comes when the band doesn’t do anything else – it would be an interesting look to have a retrospective from another angle somehow. I enjoyed it. It was good.

Helen: Okay, this is from Don in the U.S. Another compliment coming. He says, you and Fleetwood Mac are amazing. How do you keep coming up with such great music and where do you see Fleetwood Mac going in the future?

Mick: Uh, thank you for that, on behalf of any and everyone who’s been in Fleetwood Mac, which is quite numerous.

Helen: You’ve had about 15 members.

Mick: We’ve had 12, 13 members…maybe it’s 15. So on behalf of all of us, thank you. How’s it done? I think me and John…John McVie who’s the bass player…we have been the rhythm section throughout all of the changes…and I’ve certainly had a fair amount with some of the choices we’ve made in terms of new talent. I put it down to, if I don’t have anyone to play with, I can’t function. I’m a drummer. I need people to play with. I make darn sure that I do. [laughs] I’m loathe to turn around and just break the band up. I think self survival would be part of that equation.

Helen: Laura from England says, have you ever looked at any of the various websites devoted to Fleetwood Mac? And if so, what do you think of them?

Mick: I have. I’m not horrible conversant with the web, but I am to an extent. My wife is always pulling me in. I am aware of some of the sites. One of the busiest out there would be the Penguin site, which is very well put together. And there is… for us as Fleetwood Mac, knowing that that’s going on and there’s this interplay with you guys are out there taking in interest in a funny old things like me and the reputation of the band is pretty awesome.

I will say that next year, I am starting a site of my own and also there will be an official, which is sort of unbelievable that there isn’t one. That’s how out of date we are. But next year we’re going to catch up. I look forward to speaking and interplaying with all the sites that are out there. That, I think, is important.

Helen: Yeah. There are a lot of fan sites.

Mick: No, and I think they all have a great place for us. Obviously. They’re our life’s blood. Without you there isn’t really anywhere to play [laughs].

Helen: Okay, this is from Robert Delval? in the U.S. He just simply says, your opinion please on two groups slowly rising in critical estimation -- The Strokes and the White Stripes. Have you come across them?

Mick: What’s his name?

Helen: Robert.

Mick: Robert, I confess, I haven’t heard of either of these bands. And I’m…That might be a shameful thing to have to admit because obviously you have and they’re probably, maybe well known. I suspect they’re English, maybe?

Helen: They’re American guitar bands.

Mick: Wow. Are they an underground band? I’ll never find out, right?

Helen: Well, they were, but they’re coming much more into the public eye. They’re featured in a lot of music magazines.

Mick: Wow. I’m not familiar with them, but I’ll go out and do my homework, I promise you.

Helen: What do you think of contemporary music, the stuff that’s in the charts at the moment? Things like that?

Mick: I think there’s a place for everything. I also believe there’s an undercurrent, thankfully, of younger musicians who are learning to play their instruments a little better and actually it’s the industry itself that’s been to blame. But there is so much production bands, production artists. Not that there’s anything wrong in that, but…and it’s all very visual with t.v., whereas before you had to go out and really work and build up an audience that, [now] it’s instant appeal on t.v. and so forth. I think the down side of that is that it makes it very hard for people approaching making their careers grow in a more traditional way. And the traditional way, just by the nature of the word, makes it possible for people to really explore their artistry in a more natural way. I feel rather strongly about that whole thing. So I think it’s sort of out of balance at the moment.

Helen: Yes, you think there are too many manufactured bands?

Mick: I do. What’s getting on radio and what’s getting on t.v., the lack of exposure for…I don’t think it’s a lack of people -- young artists and old artists that still do have a passion for what they’re doing -- I just think the industry needs to realign itself and start realizing that this very short term approach is not actually the best approach because you get bands and artists that come and go so quickly. They may have one or two albums if they’re lucky. And if they’re not that successful, they don’t have the advantage of say Fleetwood Mac and Eric Clapton or Neil Young and all of us bunch -- we can go out and work. They don’t have an audience, cause it’s t.v. and as soon as they’re not on t.v., they’re gone. Maybe they had one successful concert tour, but as soon as they’re not on t.v., everyone associates that they’re finished, so they don’t buy their records anymore. It’s really quite cruel. I think a halfway balance between that is where the industry has to end up because record companies are realizing that they’re not building catalogs. That’s how they make their money. They build catalogs that sell over twenty years. These bands don’t sell catalogs. They come and go so quick, they’re like one hit wonders.

Helen: So that’s what you’re going with your own record label.

Mick: I hope so. I’m going to try very, very hard.

Helen: A final question from Guy Frankel in the U.S. And he says, at nineteen I’m one of the younger fans, but I’d listen to Fleetwood Mac any day over something playing on MTV. My question is whether or not the upcoming album will try to modernize your music, or will you be sticking to the good old style from before?

Mick: Well, it’s basically the style part is the key word. Definitely as players in Fleetwood Mac, again if you have a body of work you can look back on and reflect upon, you get what we call some style. Whether you like it or not is up to you guys. But that’s in place. What we try to do with that is not repeat ourselves. So we’re trying very diligently to come up with something that’s different. The nature of Christine not being in the band automatically makes it different anyhow. Um, so, we’re trying to make a piece of music that excites us. Otherwise there’d be not point in doing it and we’d go out and have a great concert tour, which would fine. But we want to do more than that and bring something that has some integrity to it. Um, so, the style’s there. Are we pushing new envelopes? I hope. But we won’t sound like the Backstreet Boys.

Helen: [laughs] Mick Fleetwood, thanks for joining us.

Mick: Oh great, thanks very much!

Thanks VERY MUCH to Les for transcribing this and posting it on The Ledge.