Rock Meets Mountain

This Kula abode is where Mick Fleetwood unscrews up.

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“We’re sort of camping out, as you can see,” says Mick as he pushes open the front door. The first sight is a broad expanse of gleaming hardwood floor and a drum set worthy of a hyperactive rock star with energy and ego big enough to recruit the entire USC Marching Band to perform the song “Tusk.” It’s a pearl-colored set with a half-dozen tom-toms, a pair of timbales, a swarm of the finest sounding Zildjian cymbals, a rack of chimes, and a bass drum the way rockers like it, with the front skin removed so that each foot stroke is a smack to the medulla oblongata.  Elegantly wrought hand drums tilt here and there throughout the house amid framed black-and-white photos from old days (Mick and Stevie in the big-hair days, John Lennon . . .), game boards, comfy much-crushed furniture, Tiffany lamps, vintage vinyl, a thumb piano, and throw    pillows. The living room alone involves a high, open-beam ceiling, a wagon-wheel chandelier, a roomy fireplace, a loaded multipeg hatrack crowned with a sparkling blue top hat, a flat-screen TV as big as a freeway billboard, and a jukebox.

“That jukebox has followed me through every bachelor pad since 1970,” says Mick. It’s loaded with the 200 45-rpm disks that most influenced his musical tastes: “Crimson and Clover,” “Alley Oop,” “Rebel Rouser” by Duane Eddy, “Sea Cruise” by Frankie Ford, “Ya Ya” by Lee Dorsey. . . . “This house was full of equipment and soundboards and stuff up until two months ago,” says Mick as he opens a bottle of Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages. “I’m slowly getting it out, slowly making more of a home.”

Well over half a century old, the Kula house is “beautifully built,” Mick proclaims. “It’s a cottage, really. I want to make it cozy, not be such a guys’ drinking pad.” Glass in hand, he settles, outstretched, in a crazy-looking chair carved like an elephant. “I knew within ten minutes of seeing this place that I had to buy it.”

Only southern Ireland, he says, ever came near to making Mick feel as “unplugged” and “safe” as here on the slopes of Haleakala, and this visceral bond goes back almost forty years. During the 1970s, Mick bought thirty acres of land in Olinda above Seabury Hall, put up a tepee, planted trees that are now sixty feet tall.  “Olinda was like coming home.” But he got distracted during “the bad old days” of monstrous success, and actually (he says) forgot that he owned the Maui spread. Then he got rid of it.

Later, in sober reflection, he bitterly regretted that decision.

He says, “You don’t often get the chance to get back what you screw up. I managed to get back what I screwed up.”

And even though he was born in Cornwall, son of a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force, Michael John Kells Fleetwood says, “Certainly my Irish side has been fulfilled.”

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