Why I Love Mick Fleetwood
Mick Fleetwood is not a good drummer. By his own admission, that is. Nobody agrees with him.
Mick has a signature drumming style, such that at 19 I could pick out his hand in the work of Susanna Hoffs, on her comeback album, in the track called Falling. He has experimented for decades, as on the delicate brushwork of Tusk, the off-rhythm, off-tempo stuff he brings out on Go Your Own Way. And yet he learnt his trade as a blues specialist in London in the early 1960s. His saving grace? He actually owned his own drums.
Back then, anyone with a drumkit could pretty much find a band desperate enough to take them on. He roamed the streets of London, staying with his actor sister in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. Bands were not imaginative back then. Peter Bardens, his neighbour, offered him a job in his band, the, er, Cheynes. However, that circle of musicians swirled some more, and eventually brought Mick into touch with Peter Green, the powerhouse who drove Fleetwood Mac until that German acid trip from which he never returned.
A proper English gentleman, Mick has always dressed like an Elizabethan dandy. His personal style has left its mark on many Mac album covers. He knows everyone in the UK and the US, does Mick. He played with Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones, Clapton, when they were absolutely at the start of their journeys. Here he is having a stroll in London with another neighbour, Marianne Faithfull.
As a non-writing drummer for hire, Mick has never felt financially secure. All the serious money from his most famous album, Rumours, went to Lindsey, Stevie and Christine. This insecurity forced him to step forwards to keep the band together, sometimes as manager, others as simply the anchor. Apart from a little detour that involved him with Traffic’s Dave Mason and the ever-gorgeous Bekka Bramlett in the 1990s, the Rumours lineup remains intact.
Mick had a perfect ear for talent, discovering Lindsey Buckingham in a studio in Los Angeles in late 1974. Lindsey, as we all now know, refused the offer. Unless his girlfriend could join Fleetwood Mac too. Most of all, at 70, Mick is still out there rocking his socks off. Cheers, Mick.