With Fleetwood Mac having hit both coasts to play the Classic East/West festival in July, and more dates reportedly being lined up for 2018, the band is showing no signs of slowing down—and the same can be said for longtime drummer Mick Fleetwood. With the band's 50th anniversary right around the corner, Fleetwood has taken a step back to revisit the first incarnation of the group, with a lovingly-assembled special edition book, Love that Burns - A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac Volume One: 1967-1974.

Available in deluxe and collector editions, the book contains 400-plus rare photos, memorabilia and illustrations from the early days of Fleetwood Mac, when they were best known as a blues band. It's a gorgeous collection of rock ephemera that includes Fleetwood's musings on the period, as well as excerpts from interviews with various band members (including co-founder Peter Green) and collaborators.

The book is now available for pre-ordering from Genesis Publications here. During a whirlwind day in NYC promoting the book, we got to speak to Fleetwood all about the process of tracking down the memorabilia, his nostalgia for the band's early blues material, and what the future may hold for the current iteration of Fleetwood Mac.

LOVE THAT BURNS: A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac, by Mick Fleetwood from Genesis Publications on Vimeo.

Congratulations on the book publishing. It's a pretty gorgeous packaging. What sparked you wanting to revisit the early period of the group now? Yeah. It's been a trip, as they say. There's no doubt that the well worn adage of "every picture tells a story" is very true. Over the years I've written a couple of autobiographies, both of which were trips in themselves. But this whole approach is quite different.

If you're aware of Genesis books, they are indeed pretty much the special item in terms of this type of publication. They're so beautifully thought about and put together and really complete. In this day and age, it is an unbelievable labor of love, in terms of their craft. Everything about the ambience of this book...

You know, I intended it to be a lovely book in my dreams and in my mind, but the folks at Genesis took it to a whole different level which actually upped the game even further in terms of what's appropriate, and how it can be presented. So a lot of care has gone into the last two years of making this, from the inception of the idea of doing this, to where we are now about to bring it out of its cot.

Fleetwood Mac 1968 (Courtesy of Sony Music Archives)

What sort of emotions were brought up by seeing all these artifacts from your past? The power of visual content is extremely poignant, and in a way you sort of know that. But then you're really in the middle of something that has quite a large chunk of your life involved in it, and a very powerful part of how my life as a musician started and where it was seeded, and it wasn't just me, me, me. It was about the people that were all a part of this still onward going story of a band called Fleetwood Mac. That with the pictures was way more pregnant with revealing moments emotionally for me than putting a pen to paper. Because [it meant] you had to come back to what was going on, then you story tell in your mind, and then you say, "Well, what does that mean to someone else?"

So it had to reflect everyone that's been in the band. I was the story teller, I understand that, but you had to be careful that there weren't too many magic moments that just sort of applied to me alone. And I hope that part of what we ended up with is a wondering sort of Hamlet ghost figure being able to be there and keep everything on track, which would be a character known as me in the book.

So I had to be careful that I wasn't overindulging in my moment because I wanted to be able to tell stories that were relevant to all, especially the very, very original members, and Peter Green. The book is dedicated to Peter Green because he started this band. So therein lies the beginnings of all of what this is hopefully going to resonate when someone looks and reads this lovely book.

Peter Green at Chess Records Studio 1969 (Jeff Lowenthal)

Did you have much contact with him in compiling and creating the book? In a loose way, yeah. And then in a very specific way, the last time I actually saw or spent a little time with Peter was when I was touring in England a couple of years ago. He came to a couple of shows, and I got to sit with him and hang. His story and his life took a turn, in a way. Not in a way—it literally took him away from all of us, with his illness and so forth, which is not part of this book.

This is a celebration of the musicians and the story of the band. But I was able to talk to him and transcribe part of it. It turned out to be a very lovely nearly three hours of talking to him on the phone. And I was able to run a tape, and I said, "I just want to be able to ask you some stuff or things you want to say." And some of it was not possible to put because it wasn't that type of a publication. But the book is called Love That Burns for a reason, it's a song that Peter sung and it's a beautiful, poignant, sad blues song.


That was a significant song between you two, wasn't it? You've said before that it summed up the band, or that era of the band, to you. Yeah. And it fell into place as being a great title. It is fair to say that, not only looking back, we were such great friends, and it was all born about camaraderie. Not only on a personal level as friends but also the musical coming together of these young chaps and the original band members of Fleetwood Mac. Just the love of playing blues and learning as we went. And for me personally, a lot of my learning was given or handed to me and took me on that journey was Peter. And John McVie, to some extent.

They were embroiled in that world before me, and so as I started I learned very quickly to listen, and not only to musical advice. And mine and Peter's sort of relationship as friends would have been...I came from a different world than Peter. I traveled a lot as a child, and in a way was "more worldly." I hope that I brought that to him. The whole thing in London at the time, he couldn't have given a damn about, it was all about music [to Peter]. I was more of the guy who was around the art world with my sister in London. So we came from different worlds but we somehow ended up playing this lovely music together and it was a trip, you know.

Christine and John McVie

In tracking down all this material, all this memorabilia and photos, were there things that surprised you or shocked you to see? Anything you didn't know about previously? Oh, I think there were many. I won't say it was a shock. I was thrilled that we found some things. And in truth, in my world, I thought personally I'm fairly well equipped at retaining and having access to stuff of my own. But that in itself, the fact that I wasn't able to produce things that I quite frankly thought I had in boxes, stuff I thought I had in my old storage boxes that I have at home. That triggered almost a more interesting and thrilling journey for me.

And so where we were lacking in certain things, or we felt we were, Genesis was able to present stuff to me that blew my mind. I'd go like, "Oh my god. I thought that guy had passed away and we would never be able to get the negatives." And just that part was fascinating to me that there were these photographs still around. It was always a thrill to see.

There were some photographs where I remembered certain moments where I'd go, "Wow." I think it was a picture of Peter on a bus in Germany and I go, "We knew he was leaving," you know. I remember that whole mini tour and there I was [at the time] thinking, "Maybe he'll change his mind. Maybe...maybe...maybe..." And all of those sorts of things.

Fleetwood Mac at Chess Records 1969 (Jeff Lowenthal)

I think the real reveal of the story of Fleetwood Mac was we were a blues band. We were a bunch of kids playing blues and loving it. And I think what I was thrilled about was we were able to find the photographs—I had some shots and I thought that was gonna be enough, and then we found a whole slew of extra shots from the sessions at Blues Jam at Chess [Ed's Note: Fleetwood Mac recorded the album in 1969 with an all-star cast of Chicago blues legends] with Buddy Guy, Lowell Fulson, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, Shakey Horton, and JT Brown, who played saxophone with Elmore James' band because Elmore had long since passed away. If you listen to early Fleetwood Mac, it's almost exclusively Elmore James material.

Those photographs were in many ways, in terms of the geography and the history of Fleetwood Mac... If you force me to say, "Well what's the real coup de grace?" I think the fact that we were there, and the story a lot of people don't know about early Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac, is that we were a blues band. And those pictures and finding us at the sessions at Chess Records in Chicago really, really are powerful moments in the story of Fleetwood Mac. And of course personally seeing them revealed a whole load of things that one tends to forget. That really was powerful to me, very powerful.

Danny Kirwan, Peter Green, John McVie 1968

I know we're running out of time, but I wanted to ask a few quick questions: is there a reason that there's been no official Fleetwood Mac documentary, à la Running Down A Dream or Long Strange Trip? Is that something you've thought about, or might be in the works? Well there are several pieces that have come out. The BBC did something years ago. But I know what you're saying, wouldn't it be great to corral the parts of the documentaries and unofficial documentaries that have been made into something bigger?

And there are several small ones, even on the early band, that do exist. But it would be a lovely thing to do. Nothing in the works at the moment but who knows. Some brilliant director or producer might pick this book up and say, "Well we should be putting a lovely documentary together and be inspired by the book." I would love to think that's happening because I think it's relevant.

You know on August 13th, Fleetwood Mac will be 50 years old. And we're still here. We just played at Citi Field in New York. So I'm sitting here going, "What a trip this has been." And this part of the trip strikes a note that, on a personal level, I think it's the right time to say quietly—well hopefully not too quietly—but having a lovely document such as this book is I think really important as the clock winds down, which it sort of is. But this book exists.

Peter Green, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Jeremy Spencer, London 1968

I had read that you said that next year's Fleetwood Mac tour might be the band's last one? Well, I'm happily able to say that apparently is not the case. I think that as we're all getting a bit long in the tooth, one quietly says, 'Oh it might be.' But I'm hearing such enthusiasm from everybody, so this looks like it's all turning into our version of being the Rolling Stones, but never say never.

With the recently released Buckingham/McVie album, which was essentially a Fleetwood Mac album without Stevie Nicks and the name—and which was so great—do you feel like that's sparked the band to continue? I think there's more story telling to be told, is the answer to your question, yeah.

Mick Fleetwood at Benifolds (Michael Putland)