Mick Fleetwood Goes His Own Way: Running Away
I WAS a three-time runaway as a kid from an English country boarding school. Early on, I decided to follow my dreams and made many, futile attempts to get the hell out.
I was 11 when I made my first escape. I had drawn a picture of what I thought a naked lady looked like and had determined the only way I could see one in the flesh was to become a doctor. Now a normal child would have waited, studied and gone through the necessary channels but, dreamer that I was, I resolved to find my way to London that instant to studymedicine!
Each time I ran away, the goal was to get to London. The city held a mythic attraction; I'd stop there for a night or two as I went back and forth to boarding school.
I stayed with my art student sister and her boyfriend. They took me to Cafe des Artistes, where I had my first sip of champagne, contributing enormously to my fantasy world. I was obsessed by that place, with its brooding beatnik types listening to jazz and smoking cigarettes. It was dark, cool, the place to be and I was hooked. Above all, I wanted to re-create this place.
Since my nomadic inclinations showed no signs of slowing, my parents, in their infinite wisdom, finally got the hint and signed me up for a day school nearby. Once at home, I set about cleaning out the old stables at our house and Club Keller was born, my first stab at re-creating my adored Cafe des Artistes. We served cola and sandwiches. I had a radio and entertained local friends with music and by playing drums.
At 15 I knew I wanted be a drummer and, with my father's blessing, I flew the nest.
My first job was playing with my band, The Cheynes, at London's Mandrake Club, which in its heyday used to host the likes of Liz Taylor and Eddie Fisher. But when I had my nightly residency there, the only remains of that once-thriving scene were the yellowed, celebrity-signed portraits which adorned the walls.
Still, it was a club, in a basement, thick with intrigue and underground seediness.
Today I own Fleetwood's, my lifelong dream realised as a combination restaurant/club in Lahaina, Maui (where I live when I am not touring). We have fabulous, rooftop dining and a stage. People come to enjoy great food and music.
I play there often with my friends and part-time residents of the island, Steven Tyler and Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top and Willie K, a local talent.
I love it when people have a good time and enjoy themselves; it reminds me of those long ago days at Club Keller.
By the way, although I never stopped following my boyhood dreams, I let the "doctor" thing go.
I soon learned that there are plenty of other ways to get to see naked women!