There’s a way to understand Mick Fleetwood, and it’s through “Lettuce Leaf.” Fleetwood was a 20-something penniless musician playing blues with John Mayall when he saw a 1933 Austin Seven four-seater on a London street. He left the owner a note proclaiming, “I’m in love with your car, if it ever needs a good home, please call me.”
He bought the car two years later, just as Fleetwood Mac was forming, and he nicknamed it Lettuce Leaf for its green color. He drove Lettuce Leaf to his 1970 wedding to Jenny Boyd, the younger sister of Pattie Boyd, then married to George Harrison.
Time passed, and the money and cars started coming in. Fleetwood stashed Lettuce Leaf at his friend Eric Clapton’s British estate when he moved to L.A. in the 1970s and forgot about her for 14 years. His band sold millions of records; he got divorced, remarried, and got divorced again from Jenny. And then he got a call from Clapton’s manager, asking him if he remembered the Austin. Fleetwood found Lettuce Leaf in an apple orchard, with birds and squirrels making it their home. He had the car restored and shipped to Maui. Now he squires Mum to lunch in Lettuce Leaf every Sunday.
Fleetwood’s tendency is never to let go of anything, whether it’s Lettuce Leaf, his band, or the stubborn delusion there’s money to be made in celebrity restaurants. This has been a blessing with the band, less so in his personal and financial life. He bought a farm outside Sydney in 1980, and when his accountant flew out to tell him he couldn’t afford it anymore, Fleetwood simply departed for Singapore in the middle of the night, leaving his accountant behind and sending a note reading:
“Oh Brian, Brian, we’ve something to say./We stopped in Singapore the other day./To a hotel we went, the best in town./Amusements we sought, amusements we found.”
— In Men’s Journal, Stephen Rodrick profiles Mick Fleetwood, who at 67, is still having the time of his life.
Photo: Joe Bielawa