In August Fleetwood Mac will celebrate 50 years since the original band made its debut at the Windsor National Jazz & Blues Festival in the U.K. In commemoration of the anniversary, Mick Fleetwood is releasing a deluxe coffee-table book, “Love That Burns: A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac,” which focuses on the early days of the group.
Published by Genesis Publications, which specializes in rock ‘n’ roll art books, the title comes from a song composed by Fleetwood Mac’s brilliant, founding guitarist, and singer Peter Green.
“It’s one of my favorite songs of Peter’s and an appropriate title,” Mick explains in a Maui News interview. “It’s a chronicle covering the inception at the Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival up until the day that Stevie (Nicks) and Lindsey (Buckingham) joined. The focus is on the formation years with Peter Green. The book is dedicated to Peter and everyone who has been in the band.”
Mick says he got the idea for the lavish work from an old mate, George Harrison. “It’s sort of a shaggy dog story. I was in London probably 16 years ago and George Harrison was still with us, and he had this beautiful book crafted with Genesis. It was like picking up a Bible — it was so beautiful, a work of art. I know he had a good experience putting it together, so I had a dream of one day we could do something, meaning Fleetwood Mac.
“About two and a half years ago, before the last Fleetwood Mac tour when we went to England, I was in L.A. in a rock ‘n’ roll clothes shop and I saw this beautiful book with Jimmy Page telling the story of Led Zeppelin. Right there and then I said to my nephew, we need to phone Genesis up. We’ve been working on the book, and then it became worth waiting until the 50th anniversary.”
Reminiscing about the formation of Fleetwood Mac, he says, “It’s amazing how many bands were on that (first) show.”
The historic lineup at the Royal Windsor Racecourse on Aug. 13, 1967, included Cream, Jeff Beck, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Donovan and Chicken Shack, which featured a young Christine Perfect (later McVie) on keyboards and vocals.
“Chicken Shack with Christine was playing in the tent and we were on the main stage,” he recalls. “John McVie was not actually in Fleetwood Mac, although it was called Fleetwood Mac. He was standing at the side of the stage waiting to play with John Mayall. That gig was very prophetic. John ended up marrying Chris and she ended up joining Fleetwood Mac. She would follow us around whenever she could, and she ended up being a massive part of our history.”
On June 9, the new album, “Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie,” was released. Comprising songs written by Buckingham and McVie, including three songs co-composed by the two musicians, it features the Mac’s iconic drummer and bassist playing on all tracks.
“I think it’s fantastic,” says Mick about the recording. “It’s very much a body of work that represents Lindsey and Christine. And there’s still a huge amount of material in the can.”
After releasing a new Mac EP in 2013, other tracks were laid down when “the core of the band convened and flushed out mainly a whole load of material that Chris had been touching on, from when she started thinking about returning,” Mick explained in a previous interview. “It became hugely productive for Lindsey and Christine.”
“People wanting to hear what’s going on should be really happy,” he continues. “I think the album is great. They will go out on a short tour to start with and during that they will drop out to do some Fleetwood Mac shows.”
In mid-July, Fleetwood Mac will co-headline major festival concerts on the West and East Coasts with the Eagles. Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers, Journey, and Earth, Wind & Fire will join the two bands at Classic East and Classic West shows at Citi Field in New York and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, respectively.
“It’s over two days, one day with the Eagles and one with Fleetwood Mac,” he says. “I want to be there for the Eagles. This is a big deal for them, coming out without Glenn (Frey).”
Next year Fleetwood Mac will head out on the road for a major tour. “We’re back at it in 2018,” he reports.
Looking down the road the busy musician is dreaming of a major event with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band. “I’m working on putting together some shows in Europe with an aggrandized version of the Blues Band and have it be a tribute to Peter Green. And have at least one really grand show where I can enlist some really cool people, all guitar players, to come and in a way say thank you to Peter Green. There are many who have huge amounts of respect for him.”
(photo by Daniel Sullivan shot on Maui)