Mick Fleetwood opens up about his passion for the arts at SXSW

Story highlights

  • Mick Fleetwood spoke about his upcoming book at SXSW
  • He opened up about the issue he feels most passionate about

Austin, Texas (CNN)CNN caught up with Mick Fleetwood at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday, where the rock star discussed his upcoming book and opened up about this passion for the arts.

"I'm a huge supporter of anything that nurtures creativity," Fleetwood said. "The nearest thing that you'd get in this conversation which is vaguely political would be for the survival of the creative arts in school at the youngest age possible through university."
But it is political in that it touches on spending -- advocates for arts education are also staunch supporters funding arts programs in schools. Chance the Rapper, for example, donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools to support arts and enrichment programs. President Donald Trump's proposed budget would cut off funding entirely for several programs, including the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which provide federal funding to arts and educational programs around the country.
"All of these things mean everything to me because without that I wouldn't be standing here (without arts education)," Fleetwood told CNN. "And it's something that is universal -- and vaguely political, but not really."
Fleetwood, a self-taught drummer, co-founded British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac in 1967. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and 50 years after its founding, Fleetwood Mac remains one of the most successful bands in the world.
The Grammy-winning musician discussed his latest creative project, "Love that Burns -- A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac," at the Austin Convention Center Wednesday afternoon in a conversation moderated by Rolling Stone's David Fricke.
"The new book is a pictorial book, which stays very much focused on the beginnings of Fleetwood Mac -- 1967 thought the next eight years -- and it's very much regarding what drove us as young musicians, which was blues," Fleetwood said.
"It's really a journey that chronicles all of those early years that are mostly unknown in America," he added.
In the age of Trump, more artists are getting political, but Fleetwood Mac, known for blockbuster hits like "Landslide," "Don't Stop" and "Rhiannon," have always kept politics out of their music even when individual members like singer Stevie Nicks chose to express their political views.
Nicks backed former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, and the band famously performed at Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration.
But Fleetwood said that addressing politics in music is not for everyone.
"I think it's all personal choice. Hey, if you go straight to the source and are someone like Bob Dylan or John Lennon who made very specific choices about what they chose to do -- that had direct political meaning," he said. "That's something that that we haven't touched on. We're a band that mostly, if not entirely, relates to human relations and emotive content that means a damn, and we're very comfortable."
But Fleetwood, who described his passion for the arts as "vaguely political," explained why he feels so strongly about nurturing artistic expression by funding arts education.
"It's a heartfelt request that those things need to be kept in place," he said. "It's one of the most important things, which is a version of listening, to especially children, and making them feel good about expression and not closing them down.