LONG ROAD Fleetwood Mac’s Mick reveals pride over Scots roots but claims band dreaded drive to Scotland in clapped-out bus
The legendary drummer claimed the drive was like going to a different country
FLEETWOD MAC used to hate travelling to play gigs in Scotland when they were starting out — as they feared their tour van would BREAK DOWN.
The band’s legendary drummer Mick Fleetwood reveals the journey north of the border back in the late 60s almost felt like going abroad due to the distance they’d have to travel from their base in London.
Mick, second from left, has been in the band since it formed half a century ago
And getting there when your mode of transport was a clapped-out rustbucket brought its own worries.
Mick, who is putting the finishing touches to a new tell-all book, says: “Back in the day it was always a schlep going to Scotland. It was like going to a different country.
“When we made the journey it was spent worrying if the van was going to break down because it was a long way.
“I get that it is not really that far but we felt, ‘S*** we’re going to Scotland’ — 350 miles seems like a long way when you are starting out.
“Going to Scotland felt like going abroad, like getting on the boat and going to Germany.”
Despite the travelling fears, the rocker says it was always worth the trek when they met the Scots fans — and Fleetwood Mac plan to return here as part of an upcoming farewell tour.
He says: “When we were starting out, there was always this wild enthusiasm.
“Off we would go and they were wild, wild audiences in Scotland. I think it is the nature of the culture.
“Also, we became aware that the Scots are so happy to see music come to them, even on a local level.
“They really appreciated that we were here and had come up from London.”
Mick also reveals how he discovered his own Scottish roots when his father — RAF Wing Commander John Joseph Kells Fleetwood — died and he went to deal with his estate.
Mick, who turns 69 in June, explains: “I found out much later in life that I have, on my mother’s side, Scots blood.
“I went down to my mother Biddy’s house after my father passed away and we were just hanging out.
“There was one of those moratoriums on, where they allow you to bring guns in and hand them in without being arrested.
“Mother said, ‘Oh, I think daddy had a service revolver’ in what she called the kids’ playroom down in Salisbury where she lived.
“I said, ‘Well, I think this would be a good time to hand it in, mum’.
“I went in the cupboard and his airforce service revolver and some ammunition was all wrapped up in a greasy, oily rag.
“I said, ‘Mum, this is in the kids’ room!’.”
Mick then found out his mum’s family had come to Britain during the Norman invasion before settling in Scotland as part of the ancient Kerr clan.
He adds: “It was while I was in the cupboard I saw this kilt and I said, ‘Mum, what’s with the kilt?’. She said, ‘It’s mine’. That was when I found out.
“There is a whole history with the ancient Kerrs and I have my kilt.”
But Mick reckons he should have twigged he was part-Scottish all along, having picked up fashion tips from former band-mate Sir Rod Stewart.
The pair played together in a group called Shotgun Express, before Fleetwood Mac formed and Sir Rod found fame with The Faces.
Mick says: “I should have known like my old bandmate Rod Stewart, who is a total advocate of his Scots roots.
“Any fashion sense of wanting to present myself well, I blame on him. Rod was immaculate back in the day.
“He was a star before he was a star. It also helped that he was whip smart with that great sense of humour.
“He was a real peacock. Rod would never help to load up the van if it was raining — it would ruin his hair.”
These days Mick can be seen strutting around the streets of Maui, Hawaii, where he now lives — decked out in the Kerr tartan.
And he has even added a Scottish flavour to the restaurant he owns on the island.
He says: “In Maui, I put my kilt on occasionally.
“As soon as I found out about my heritage, I said, ‘Mum, I want the kilt!’.
“We also have a bagpipe player at my restaurant and every night he pipes the evening in.”
Mick’s mum and dad on their wedding day
Mick’s new book about Fleetwood Mac — called Love That Burns: A Chronicle Of Fleetwood Mac Volume 1: 1967-1975 — will be published by Genesis in September.
The handcrafted books are limited to 2,000 copies and each is signed by Mick.
They cover his account of Fleetwood Mac’s early blues years and the musical legacy of the group’s uniquely talented founding member Peter Green, who quit the band after being diagnosed with schizophrenia in the 1970s.
Mick said: “The book is dedicated to Peter Green.
“There simply wouldn’t be a Fleetwood Mac without him.
“Love That Burns is my very favourite song that Peter recorded and sang.”
But he adds wistfully: “Peter is greatly changed because of his illness.”
On a more positive note, Mick is celebrating after the news that his former bandmate — Fleetwood Mac’s bass guitarist John McVie — is now clear of the colon cancer he was diagnosed with in 2013.
Mick says: “John is all good. It was a scare a couple of years back. He is very, very healthy.”
Rock icons’ 50 years and 100 million record sales
FLEETWOOD Mac formed in London in 1967 and went on to sell a whopping 100million records worldwide, making them one of the biggest bands of all time.
The group’s high point came in 1977 as their album Rumours sold 45million copies and spent 31 weeks at No1 in the US.
It is also the eight-highest selling album of all time.
Love that Burns
Fleetwood Mac have also been inducted into America’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and they received a Brit Award for their Outstanding Contribution to Music.
Mick Fleetwood is the only original member of the band in the current line-up, which has changed numerous times over the years due to fall-outs and relationship break-ups.
Now typically comprised of Fleetwood, Christine McVie and her ex-husband John, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac’s farewell tour is planned for next year.