Aging Like Fine Wine
In an industry in
which one has to sacrifice everything to attain success, the man born Michael
John Kells Fleetwood has become quite the Renais- -sance man in his 64 years.
Having already achieved every significant milestone possible in music from becoming
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee to releasing over 50 albums in his storied
career, including Rumours, one of the best-selling in history.
He credits much of his success to a lifelong professional partnership with John
McVie, the man whose name shares the latter half of the Fleetwood Mac moniker.
Noting that one has to genuinely love the excitement of playing and collaborating
to have carried on such a demanding profession, Fleetwood notes, For me
and John McVie within Fleetwood Mac, we have our style and we have our rules.
Our rules are that we will do our damnedest to adapt our style to meet someone
halfway across that bridge musically. That comes with the responsibility of being
in this rhythm section. Music is about giving, taking, and communicating.
Ironically, the duo has been the only constant element throughout the evolution
of the band.
Despite the fact that he is a world-renown drummer, many forget that Mick Fleetwood
poured his entire being into the group. For years, the affable man even managed
the venture through numerous personnel changes while undergoing shifting styles.
Of the most famous line-up, the lanky percussionist reflects that he was always
comfortable with moving ahead and never feared change. Perhaps his greatest talent
was that of an unparalleled talent scout. While checking out recording studios
in the mid-70s, Fleetwood inadvertently discovered a sound that intrigued
his ears. The source of that music was Buckingham Nicks, an obscure duo from Northern
California. Instead of continuing to pursue his rich legacy of blues-inspired
rock that he had achieved with John Mayalls Bluesbreakers and Peter Green,
Fleetwood was comfortable with altering his groups sound toward a new direction.
He states, I didnt want to turn Lindsey Buckingham into Peter Green.
Its about what you have in your talent thats inspiring and I suppose
that became something that was sort of my guiding light.
His ability to change with the times has made Mick Fleetwood a fittest survivor
in the tempestuous world of Musical Darwinism. The simple reason is that his passions
enjoy the vicissitudes of life like a ride rather than endure them like a responsibility.
His latest keen interest is creating fine wines. Having won numerous awards and
garnered much critical praise, the philosophical English gentleman easily draws
similarities in making records and concocting wine. He reckons, Its
all about taking a little bit of this, a little bit of that. You find that the
wine has a certain history in terms of how much its aged and how long its
been in the cask. There are all these different parts of it [the wine-making process]
and the end result is the listening or tasting experience. When you put an album
on, in truth, there are elements like those of wine. For sure, I love about wine
that its constantly alive until it will eventually die and not be the same
experience. Obviously, that part of it is not the case with music. But, a lot
of it is because you make an album and look at it with all these different elements.
These songs and how we worked on those songs - the end result of the finite thing
that were always trying to do, certainly in Fleetwood Mac, is to make a
body of work. All those elements become an experience. Now, we dont always
necessarily attain that, but thats what were trying to do. And I know
that for sure weve done it several times in our history. So, thats
a very familiar trait in terms of how I compare it because there are so many parts
of it [making wine and music]. Of course there are parts of this experience that
Im not planting the grapes and Im not picking them at the right hour,
the right week, and so forth. All of those elements, including when we blend the
wine or we accept the wine as its come to us that may have been blended
by other people. That becomes the body of work. It has different components like
an album. Mick Fleetwoods Private Cellar wines are available at Costco
and other premium wine distributor locations.