Team Classic Rock
by Henry Yates
23rd Aug 2016
He got the boot from the Bluesbreakers, helped Bill Clinton into office, played the fool with Arnold Schwarzenegger and nursed sore heads with Keef. He’s Fleetwood Mac mainman Mick Fleetwood
No wonder Mick Fleetwood has the best stories – he has the best view. For the best part of 50 years, the six-foot-sixer has looked down on rock’n’roll landscape from his lofty perch on the Fleetwood Mac drum stool, observing the great, the good, the drunk and the doomed – and frequently hopped off to partake in the festivities. Like many of his vintage, Fleetwood has weathered the personal storms of bankruptcy, divorce and cocaine addiction. But he’s emerged with his band, his humour and – critically – his memory intact. Good thing too, as Classic Rock intends to take him back to a time when a fresh-faced Cornish tub thumper arrived in 60s London to cut his teeth on the club circuit…
Rod was a star then and he’s a star now. He turned himself out like nobody else. And although I was by no means the dandy that Rod will always be, I’m sure that’s where I inherited my love of a well-cut suit. We were in Shotgun Express together [in 1966], and we soon learnt that Rod was not about to get his clothes messed up unloading the van. He would invariably pick up one microphone: “Is that alright?”
Our feathers had been ruffled a few times, but we were okay with that, because we realised Rod had to be deluxe when he hit that stage. He would put lemon juice in his hair to make it stick up. And if he’d been stood in the rain in the middle of winter we wouldn’t have had ‘the star’ looking good on stage. He wasn’t just some old gigster, he was always suited to being a star.
This is a confession from someone who is the biggest advocate of Peter Green’s playing. In 1966 Peter auditioned for Peter B’s Looners, the band I was in with Peter Bardens and Dave Ambrose. He walked in with big sideburns down his cheeks, plugged in his Les Paul and started playing. After he’d left, like an idiot I said: “Well, he doesn’t play very much.” Luckily my opinion didn’t count for much. Peter Bardens said: “Mick, you’re so wrong. This is going to be one of the greatest guitar players to come out of England.” And within days, I just couldn’t believe how I’d missed the point. It was his tone. I’d never heard anything like it. He was the master of less-is-more. Continue reading