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I am not sure what I was expecting when I started this book, but what I got was both more and less – more in that it’s clearly about the entity that is Fleetwood Mac, but very much through the eyes of Mick Fleetwood who finds it impossible to separate himself from the band. And less, in that I did not find it an appealing read. I think it’s partly the writing style, which is Anthony Bozza’s – he’s been a journalist for Rolling Stone for a long time and has published several books on famous rock musicians and bands. The journalistic style comes through and makes for a somewhat disjointed read, and I do think the whole book could have been improved by some judicious editing!
That said, I learned a lot about Fleetwood Mac, and in particular Mick Fleetwood’s passion and drive to keep this band going. Unfortunately, I learned way more than I ever need to know about the drug and alcohol intake of Fleetwood Mac band members and the impact that had on them as a band, and the effect it had on their relationships. To be fair though, it’s clear that at least some of their work was inspired while under the influence of various substances and the musical world would not be as rich without their amazing output.
It’s true that a band like this is a creature which needs to be nurtured, and which becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Many of the bands from this time probably have similar experiences, particularly if they are still together. There’s an intensity in creating and performing which can push everything else into the background, and which has – as with Fleetwood Mac – a damaging effect on interpersonal relationships.
I kept getting irritated – it must be my age – by the behaviour and the apparent lack of responsibility shown in particular by Mick Fleetwood, and felt increasingly sorry for his first wife, Jenny. But despite all of that, the band survived and are still playing. That’s some kind of record, no pun intended.
Overall, for me, an interesting but unsatisfying book.
Reviewed by Sue Esterman
Play on: Now, then, and Fleetwood Mac: the autobiography
by Mick Fleetwood and Anthony Bozza
Published by Hodder & Stoughton