Sammy Hagar has the Cabo Wabo cantinas, Alice Cooper has his Cooperstown sports bar in Phoenix, Jay-Z owns the 40/40 Club chain, Motley Crue singer Vince Neil runs the Tres Rios Cantina in Vegas, and blues legend B.B. King lends his name to a chain of blues club restaurants. Now, Mick Fleetwood will join the ranks of music stars to open his own restaurant and club in Lahaina.
Mick's mum calls it his Club Keller. You see, back when the legendary drummer was a young lad in England, he transformed a family barn into a music den inviting friends over for snacks and records, branding it Club Keller, after one of his middle names, Kells.
"I was learning drums and we had this old stable area," Mick recalls. "I'd stop in London on the way to boarding school at a cafe in Chelsea, very bohemian. I'd see guitar players and folkies. So I got some fish netting and chianti bottles and had this whole club from 9 to about 14 with an old wind up 78 (rpm) player. So this to Mom is my Club Keller. At long last I've done it."
In an intimate interview last week on the rooftop of his soon-to-open restaurant and nightclub, Mick Fleetwood shares how the idea for it goes back to his youth.
JON WOODHOUSE photo
Mick's budding entrepreneurial vision playing music for his mates will reach fruition with the targeted launch date of late July of what is one of the largest restaurants on Maui.
Walking around the massive basement of Fleetwood's on Front St., which adds up to 6,000-square feet with the ground floor wine shop, Mick recalls early days in London playing the city's legendary clubs.
"Deep in my fantasies, I feel like I'm down in the Marquee Club," he says, referring to the historic venue where bands like the Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Who and Fleetwood Mac mesmerized audiences. "There's nothing like it on the island."
A late addition is the basement that provides a curfew free and soundproof venue as part of the 16,000-square-foot, four-story establishment.
"You could have a wild wedding on the roof, then we'll take you downstairs and you can be here 'til 2 or 3 in the morning with a band playing and no sound problems," he continues. "This is Mick's hang where you're in. And you could have a studio here."
Upstairs, there are stages on the roof and on the second floor, which will house one of Mick's drum sets. "We won't have a monthly, weekly roster of stuff outside of small entertainment which will happen every day and then well probably bang it out two days a week with something more substantial," he explains. "I'll be here a lot. I'm going to be a Bob Longhi student. It's a hard business to be in so it's going to be like show time every day and that suits me, and I will be able to play. I think it can be an eclectic meeting ground of the arts, stuff that's odd. It can be a hub. As the years tick by, the thought of sitting here in my seventies telling stories is a good thing."
As befitting a member of Britain's rock royalty, Mick imagines some of his compatriots will join him when on island for occasional jams.
He mentions an email correspondence with Elton John's guitarist Davey Johnstone.
"They're in Hamburg freezing," Mick reports. "He said they're all jealous because Elton loves Hawaii. I think Davey will be here when we open. I wrote back and said, let Elton know he might be able to relive his Blue Max performance at Fleetwood's."
And then there's Aerosmith's charismatic lead singer Steven Tyler, who happens to be an owner/investor.
"Steven Tyler is an old friend who loves the island very much," Mick notes. "He's more anxious to get it open than I am. He's going, 'when am I going to come and blow it out.' He's eternally on. He reinvented himself and he's at the top of his game. He's a phenomenal singer, one of the truly greats. I think he'll be here for the opening. He's a real old Fleetwood Mac fan, so he'll probably just want to do some old Fleetwood Mac songs. He's basically said he wouldn't be doing what he's doing if he hadn't heard 'Rattlesnake Shake.' That was the beginning of Aerosmith. Both Joe (Perry) and Steven are huge Peter Green fans. He said, 'Mick we were the guys who used to sit in the front row in Boston looking at you doing this stuff, going oh my God, if only we could.' "
The phenomenal formative days of Fleetwood Mac are captured in a new tribute album "Just Tell Me That You Want Me," which will be released by Starbucks on Aug. 14.
ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons delivers a primal, earth-shaking rendition of Peter Green's "Oh Well," while Sonic Youth's Lee Renaldo covers Green's seminal instrumental "Albatross."
"I emailed Billy and said it really holds up," Mick says. "I love it, the slow pace. I said, 'only you have the nerve and grease to do that.' "
The Bob Welch era of Mac is represented by MGMT's epic, 9-minute take of "Future Games." And the massively popular Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks period is amply represented by the likes of Marianne Faithfull ("Angel"), The Kills "Dreams," and the surf pop band Best Coast ("Rhiannon").
Bob Welch, who performed with Fleetwood Mac from 1971 to 1974, tragically died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on June 8.
"It was a total shock," Mick says. "I didn't think in a million years he would dream of doing that. It was depression and health issues. He must have been so ill."
As the grand ring master of Fleetwood Mac, the venerable drummer has finally secured the agreement of all band members to launch a new tour in 2013, after Stevie Nicks has concluded promoting her current solo album, "In Your Dreams."
The Mac last hit the road in 2009.
"Everyone's on board," Mick announces. "We're all on the same page. Stevie's been like Lindsey who went off and did his thing and was at one point ready to do some touring, but couldn't figure it out. And it went on and on.
"After 40-odd years of whatever our thing is, you have to learn to get over being disappointed when you think something is happening and then it's not. But none of this could have worked out. So we're planning to start touring in March. There's a commitment to one leg and if it's a happy leg then we will continue. It would be foolish not to.
"It's really about demand. You never quite know if you leave the scene. Bands get the shock of their lives when they haven't toured for years and they have half full places they're hurting. The good thing about us is we have a very strong audience and we don't over put ourselves out there. So when we do go out people are enthused and we usually do very well."
Although they will embark on a major trek without promoting a new album, some of the members have recently collaborated on new Mac music.
"Lindsey, myself and John (McVie) are hoping Stevie will enjoy at least doing an EP," he says. "Lindsey and I have put some great music together. I went to LA for six weeks and we cut eight tracks as a calling card that we really want to do something. I think some of that should see the light of day. It's really good and fresh and young. And if
everyone's happy, maybe that will be the beginnings of an album.
"It's a funny bunch. You can't push too hard. If you push too hard it just stops. But it's also very exhausting when you really need to know what's going on. It's not asking a lot to know what you're going to be doing for two years, so I can get a day job or whatever."
In a recent Playboy magazine interview, he talked about the dysfunctional nature of life in such a popular group.
"It's the most dysfunctional rock and roll franchise ever," he explains, laughing. "And not because of all the weird emotional things, it's actually because we never work. And we could have. Now we really don't have that much time left; we've got probably a five to seven year window and then nobody's going to want to do it including me who's sort of the biggest gig hustler known to mankind. So this is a good alternative."
Since first dreaming of making a home on Maui in 1973, Mick finally made the move here a few years back. Once settled, he formed the Island Rumours Band, drawing on the talents of local musicians Raiatea Helm, Willie K, Eric Gilliom, Lenny Castellanos and Lopaka Colon, along with former Mac guitarist Rick Vito. Then he launched the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band with Vito, Castellanos and Mark Johnstone, which produced a Grammy-nominated live CD.
Lately he's developed a fondness for the ukulele. "I've got about 20 now," he enthuses. "They're always in my car. I only play open tuning, but I'm cheeky enough to say I'm getting good on it."
Was he inspired by George Harrison?
"Inadvertently he turned me on to it. His film at the MACC really moved me. I was weeping. There was my whole life with my first wife Jenny (Boyd) and (sister) Patty (who was married to Harrison) and they showed the house in Esher where we all used to hang. I truly loved him. And I like to think I turned George on to Maui years ago. I said, you need to go to Maui, there's a place called Hana. He said, 'I've never heard of it.' "
Looking forward to the opening Mick concludes: "This was obviously meant to be. I know people are excited about it. Lahaina was buzzing (in the past) and it just isn't now. But I'm quietly hopeful that we can really do fun stuff here. And I envision doing live albums from Front Street. My interest in the building goes back way over 10 years. I was looking at it when Gerard (Marti) had his gallery here. It's a stellar place, very unique, in a way like the town hall of Lahaina. So 50 years later, this is Club Keller."
Anyone interested in contacting Fleetwood's may email Jonathan Todd at email@example.com.