"People always say that corny thing: ‘Every picture tells a story,'" says Mick Fleetwood. "Well, they truly do! That's what I love about them." The 69-year-old Fleetwood, it should be noted, is certainly a fan of a good story. During a recent evening at Fleetwood's on Front St., his restaurant and bar situated on the west Maui shoreline, the drummer regales Rolling Stone with an array of tales, from a dinner party with Willie Nelson at the island home of "supermensch" manager and agent Shep Gordon, to accompanying his daughters to a Justin Bieber concert ("He's got some drum chops that I don't have – a total shredder") to a long-ago post-gig blowout in Honolulu that ended with Fleetwood, his mother and former Mac producer Richard Dashut covered in a whole lot of cake frosting – the aftermath of which is captured in a snapshot of a young Mick and mum drenched in buttercream that is hanging on a nearby wall.
Regarding his interest in photos, Fleetwood is here to discuss his newest endeavor, a partnership with the Morrison Hotel Gallery that has brought an outpost of the New York–based rock photography showroom to Maui. The new space, which opened in late June with a showing from acclaimed lens man Henry Diltz, is housed below the restaurant and adjacent to Fleetwood's General Store (where one can purchase plenty of signed Mac memorabilia, among other items). "It makes sense to me to have it here," Fleetwood says of the gallery. "Because it's so connected to where I come from. Morrison Hotel is all about music."
Fleetwood is still all about music as well. Next month the drummer will embark on a short fall tour of the west coast and Canada with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, a unit that revisits Fleetwood Mac material from their late-Sixties formative years with singer and guitarist Peter Green. "It's a reminder to me of from whence I came," he says of playing songs like "Black Magic Woman" and "Rattlesnake Shake" again. Furthermore, he revealed that Fleetwood Mac, which less than a year ago completed a mammoth world tour with the fully restored Rumours-era lineup, will indeed be hitting the road once again at some point in the future. If all goes well (and if one member in particular gets on board) there may even be a new studio album from the band, their first since 2003's Say You Will. "We have a cartload of recorded stuff, and I'd like to see if come out," Fleetwood says. "Truly, I think there should be an album."
Over dinner with RS, Fleetwood discussed the new Morrison Hotel Gallery, what brought him to Maui and the future of Fleetwood Mac. Then he retreated to the restaurant's rooftop dining area, where he chatted with guests and sat in with local band the Houseshakers, drumming along on a short set of classic blues songs. "People see me around and they say, ‘How long are you here for?'" Fleetwood remarked of his presence on the Hawaiian island. "And I tell them, 'No, no. I live here.' All of this — the restaurant, the store, the new gallery — it wouldn't work otherwise. This is my home."
What led to the opening of the Morrison Hotel Gallery here in Maui?
I had met [Morrison Hotel founder] Peter Blachley 12 years or so ago during a Mac tour down in Australia, and I thought he was a super cool guy. I didn't even know he had this gallery. Our paths crossed a few more times, including once in New York when Morrison Hotel presented a show of Stevie's Polaroid photos ["24 Karat Gold"], and I went to support her. And I found myself thinking, "I wonder if ..." But it just went off the radar. Then, more recently, Peter was in Maui on holiday, and when he came here to Fleetwood's he saw the whole operation we have going on, and the great art scene that surrounds us. I mean, the Hawaiian islands are one of the top three art capitals of the world. They sell more art on these islands than almost anywhere. And so I brought up this idea and he was interested. Then I said, "How about we just pony up and have you come and really do this properly?" And now we're off and running.
You actually do some photography yourself.
Well, yes ... but not so much. I go out and take pictures of trees and things. So it's not quite the same [laughs]. But for a long time on the road I was a snapshot-taker that annoyed everyone. I was always taking shots in Fleetwood Mac and boring people. But now I'm the one with all the pictures, for whatever purpose that serves! But for me, it's always been about trying to freeze a moment in time and tell a story. We had a great opening at the gallery with Henry Diltz, and a lot of his work is hanging here at the moment. He did a wonderful meet-and-greet and slide show, and one thing I noticed when Henry was giving his presentation was that he started telling stories along with his photos, and the stories were so amazing. He takes great pictures, but I have to say the stories almost eclipse the pictures. And that's what it's about at the gallery. All our boys and girls went to New York to get trained, because it's all in the storytelling. I love that stuff.
"The pictures are very much triggers to a bygone generation."
Another great thing is that the Morrison Hotel operation is all very together. They've been doing it for years and they have a really beautiful collage of photos that are forever. Those photographs of Henry's that are downstairs? They're never going to go out of style. And why would they? You're looking at the outtakes of a shoot of the first Crosby, Stills & Nash album. It's storytelling of some mythological proportions, really. The pictures are very much triggers to a bygone generation. And people want to see that. Half the people who come to see Fleetwood Mac now are 20, 30 years old. And they come because there's a story to be told. That's the fascination. People go, "What's this all about?"
Are there plans to launch additional shows similar to the Henry Diltz exhibit?
Oh, yes. We're planning on having other photographers come in. Neal Preston is one of our featured photographers. I'm hoping that Pattie Boyd comes. I'm visualizing Stevie coming. And we're going to rotate in some local talent that I think is worth a damn. Because the idea is also to support the scene. On an island, that's what you should do. And it's what I enjoy doing. I don't know what it's called, but it's similar to some of the things I did in Fleetwood Mac — get a stage and find some lovely, incredible people to put on it.
How long have you been on Maui?
Actively, about 16 years. And for about seven years before that I'd be here half the year. I came here after we finished the Fleetwood Mac album with Stevie and Lindsey [Buckingham]. The reason was, this is where [producer] Keith Olsen had taken them when they had finished their Buckingham Nicks album [in 1973]. The Napili Kai hotel, to be exact. So then when we finished the Fleetwood Mac album they said "Why don't we go?" And that's when I fell in love with Maui. John [McVie] did too. And actually, the house I have in Napili is one I had originally turned John onto. He owned it for 30 years and then sold it back to me. And Stevie used to come out and spend weeks here. So there's a lot of Mac history flying around the island.
As far as Fleetwood Mac is concerned, you guys wrapped up a world tour – your first in more than a decade with Christine McVie back in the fold – a little less than a year ago. What does the future hold for the band?
Well, we're all dedicated to getting together about a year or so from now and going and doing another two years of touring all over the world, probably. And we also have a huge amount of recorded music. A huge amount. None of it's with Stevie. Or very little. Some of it is very, very old stuff that Lindsey maybe did with her years and years ago. We're not quite sure what will happen with it. But you know, doing this band is a huge investment. We're only off the road for less than a year, and when you add in the time it takes to put a tour together, do rehearsals, get it up and running, the whole thing, it's three years that you don't do anything else. And Stevie has her own life and career and I think … you know, she just doesn't want to spend the time right now. And we're quietly saddened about that but also I sort of understand.
Do you think there will be a new record?
I really don't know. The hope was that there was going to be. I do know that when Christine came back, she came back with a bag full of goods. She fucking wrote up a storm. She and Lindsey could probably have a mighty strong duet album if they want. In truth I hope it will come to more than that.
So nothing's planned ... but it could happen.
There's always a "could happen" [laughs]. But one thing that's for sure — there really are dozens of songs. And they're really good. And so you think, "Shit, I don't want it to be that, decades later, when we're all pushing up daisies, someone hears this stuff and goes, 'Well, that should have come out!'" So we'll see.