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Spotlights [Issue # 24 ]
Mick Fleetwood: Aging Like Fine Wine

By Dean Truitt

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 Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Peter Green, Fleetwood was comfortable with altering his group’s sound toward a new direction. He states, “I didn’t want to turn Lindsey Buckingham into Peter Green. It’s about what you have in your talent that’s 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, “It’s 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 it’s aged and how long it’s 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 it’s 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 we’re always trying to do, certainly in Fleetwood Mac, is to make a body of work. All those elements become an experience. Now, we don’t always necessarily attain that, but that’s what we’re trying to do. And I know that for sure we’ve done it several times in our history. So, that’s 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 I’m not planting the grapes and I’m 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 it’s 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 Fleetwood’s Private Cellar wines are available at Costco and other premium wine distributor locations.


Aging Like Fine Wine Mick Fleetwood

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