Mick Fleetwood’s ‘Play On’ Book: All About the Love

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FLEETWOOD - US JACKET FINAL 9.4.14The Fleetwood Mac drummer’s 2014 autobiography is, in the final analysis, a very touching love story about his deep and abiding affection for music, drumming, his band and its current and past players, the diverse albums and songs the group has created over the years, his ex-wives and former lovers (including bandmate Stevie Nicks), tanker trucks of booze and glistening Andean mountains of cocaine (though no longer), family from parents to sisters to offspring. And his affection for being out on the road, in contrast to many of his peers, which forms a dominant theme throughout Fleetwood’s engaging and detailed recounting of his first 67 quite-full years of living.

Play On makes an apt title. When founding guitar star, singer and songwriter Peter Green left the Mac’s original neo-blues band lineup in 1970, Fleetwood resolved to carry on as the band went through more personnel changes then Spinal Tap’s drum stool – a fascinating tale in and of itself.

Just as his primal bottom-heavy beats and distinctive top-of-the kit flourishes have been at the heart of his group’s sound over their nearly five-decade career, so has Fleetwood being the mighty engine behind the big Mac’s survival and triumphs, even managing the group during its mid-’70s rise to the pinnacle of superstardom and into its aftermath.

Unlike many rockers whose early-in-life pains, struggles and chaos fueled their drive to succeed in music, Fleetwood, born June 24, 1947, hails from a fond, supportive and highly functional family, as he recounts here – a grounding that certainly plays into his band’s longevity and success and fuels the near-irresistible honesty that helps make Play On such a compelling and winning read. A “you-are-there-too” vividness to its storytelling invests his recounting of, for instance, the challenges and anguish surrounding the recording of Rumours with palpable pain. The same goes in a very different way for an ending that’s not only happy but rich with the lessons and wisdoms learned along his journey (which also includes a few bankruptcies, rip-offs, and a manager that put a fake Fleetwood Mac on tour).

It concludes with the prospect of a future album – as Fleetwood Mac’s most potent line-up of Lindsey Buckingham, Nicks, John, Christine McVie and the author reunite for an extended tour and promised new recording. We know now that the plan changed given Buckingham’s 2018 departure.

Related: Mac reacts to Buckingham’s 2019 heart surgery

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Rob Patterson

Rob Patterson began writing about music in 1976. Since his first published record review in Crawdaddy he has contributed to numerous national popular music magazines such as Creem, Musician, Circus, Spin, Request, Tower Pulse!, CD Review, Acoustic Guitar, Harp and many others along with major country music, consumer audio, musical instrument and studio recording magazines plus international publications New Musical Express and Country Music People in the U.K. From 1977 to '84 he wrote a nationally syndicated music column as well as stories for Newspaper Enterprises Association/United Feature Syndicate that ran in more than 400 daily newspapers across the nation. His work has also appeared in many weekly newspapers, onlinepublications like Salon.com and The Huffington Post, such books as the Rolling Stone Record Guide & Revised Record Guide, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History and The Year In Rock, 1980-81, plus liner notes for 20 album releases.
Rob Patterson
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  1. keither22
    #1 keither22 25 June, 2018, 02:20

    Very nice piece, well written!

    K. Vyse, UWS, NYC

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