DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And let's move now to a band that has certainly dabbled in politics over its long career. Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" was the theme song for President Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. Twenty years later, they are back on tour with regular members, including Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, and with their first new music in a decade.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAD ANGEL")
GREENE: This is "Sad Angel," one of four new songs released on iTunes yesterday. Fleetwood Mac has stuck together through a lot: drug addictions, hookups, breakups, a changing cast of band mates. Their most famous album, "Rumours," from 1977, nodded to all that drama. Mick Fleetwood is a founding member and drummer of the group. He says keeping the band together, still going, has really been his life's work.
MICK FLEETWOOD: I've had to work at just not being this creature that almost gets obsessed with it's got to continue and what if. And I've truly done pretty good at letting go.
GREENE: One former member, Christine McVie, credited you with keeping the band together. She said this is his love, his baby. There's nothing he loves more than to do this, get up on stage and play with the band. Is all of that true?
FLEETWOOD: It is true, yeah. And I'm being reminded of that every night.
GREENE: Last night, Fleetwood Mac took the stage in Kansas City. Before that, Mick Fleetwood dropped by member station KCUR to chat. He told me it is nice for the band to be out there playing with all the drama behind them.
FLEETWOOD: It would make a great play, and I hope one day that we somehow do that.
GREENE: Well, of course you've had the struggles that we all know about with a drug addiction, a relationship with you and Stevie Nicks that a lot of people read about. I mean is there a song that you kind of feel like captures your role in the whole play that is Fleetwood Mac?
FLEETWOOD: I'd say "The Chain" would be written on my grave. This is what he did. He half killed himself keeping this bunch together.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE CHAIN")
FLEETWOOD MAC: (Singing) And if you don't love me now, you will never love me again, I can still hear you say you will never break the chain, never break the chain...
GREENE: Do you play that out on the tour right now?
FLEETWOOD: Yeah. It's one of the songs that I think if we didn't play, we'd be lined up and shot.
GREENE: Well, it's interesting, because you told my colleague, Scott Simon, about four years ago that you were actually happy to report that you had no new songs to play because you wanted to spare your audience and just let them enjoy the oldies.
FLEETWOOD: Well, that's true. And you know, people love to hear things that they tell their own stories to. Creative stuff that comes from the artist very quickly becomes the property, as it should, for the audience, where in many ways they are performing internally on a huge emotional level.
GREENE: Have you seen a change in the audience over the years, the people who are out there right now?
FLEETWOOD: Absolutely. The lovely thing is that we truly are blessed with huge amounts of young people that are still totally getting what we're doing. And that's why these new songs are hugely important. Lindsey would be the main flag-waver as to being really excited about the thought that we're not treading water and we are creative.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)
MAC: (Singing) Maybe I've just been holding out too long...
FLEETWOOD: Certainly Lindsay has taken on the mantel of seeing some vision ahead.
GREENE: He's pushing for new material.
FLEETWOOD: Yeah, and I think that's his epitaph, or would be. Stevie's is a bit of everything.
GREENE: This is Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham.
FLEETWOOD: Yeah. She has a magic mantle that is very profound.
GREENE: That's her epitaph.
FLEETWOOD: She's magic to people.
GREENE: Yours is let's keep the band together, and Lindsey's is let's continue being creative.
FLEETWOOD: Yeah. We've all had functions, and because of that, I think, it's not a stretch to go, oh, that's probably why we've survived all this.
GREENE: One of the new songs, "Miss Fantasy," it strikes me that the sound could have been on "Rumours" from 1977.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MISS FANTASY")
MAC: (Singing) I had another dream of you last night, (unintelligible). You were grieving for someone else...
GREENE: It feels like you're not trying to break into some new sound in this new day. I mean, you're carrying on a tradition that you feel good about.
FLEETWOOD: It's the band. It's like, you know, like the Stones or something did their Beatle thing, and then they go, eh, we're The Rolling Stones. Let's just leave this alone. And that's who they are. So whatever they do, you know it's them, and I think people know it's Fleetwood Mac. So I take that as a huge compliment.
GREENE: Mick Fleetwood is the drummer and founding member of Fleetwood Mac. This has been a pleasure. Thanks so much for talking to us.
FLEETWOOD: You're so welcome.
GREENE: And you can listen to Fleetwood Mac's new music at our website, NPR.org.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DON'T STOP THINKING ABOUT TOMORROW" )
GREENE: We're always thinking about tomorrow at MORNING EDITION from NPR News.
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