He went his own way to oblivion: Fleetwood Mac's former guitarist is found, a little the worse for wear, in a hostel for London's homeless

AS FLEETWOOD MAC rose through the 1970s to platinum- disc superstardom Danny Kirwan dropped out, heading for more than 10 years of heavy drinking and living rough.

Now the guitarist in the pop group's early line-up of the 1960s, latterly homeless on the streets of London, may be reunited with former colleagues.

Mr Kirwan, 42, was traced by the Missing Persons Bureau and the Independent after Mick Fleetwood, the band's founder, heard about his plight. Mr Kirwan has been living in St Mungo's Hostel for homeless people in the West End of London for the past four years. He left the band before their success with Rumours, the album that sold 40 million copies in the late 1970s.

Since then he has been living on social security and 'dribs and drabs' of royalties from the band's early days. Yesterday, looking cheerful but dishevelled, he told of constant travels with a rucksack and of five years living as a hermit in a dark basement flat in Brixton, south London.

However, he said he felt no bitterness: 'I've been through a bit of a rough patch but I'm not too bad. I get by and I suppose I am homeless, but then I've never really had a home since our early days on tour. I couldn't handle it all mentally and I had to get out. I can't settle.'

Mr Fleetwood contacted the Missing Persons Bureau in London via the Los Angeles correspondent of a show business news agency. In this week's edition of the Big Issue, the London magazine sold to help the homeless, he said he last saw Mr Kirwan in 1980.

'While we were in London, I got Danny's number and in due course he showed up at the hotel,' he said. 'He appeared looking grubby. It was heartbreaking. He'd slept on a park bench the night before.'

But Mr Kirwan appeared in good spirits yesterday at the Coach and Horses, his favourite pub in the West End. He spoke of the traumas of touring but also of the pleasures: 'I was lucky to have played for the band at all. I just started off following them around, but I could play the guitar a bit and Mick felt sorry for me and put me in. I did it for about four years, to about 1972, but . . . I couldn't handle the lifestyle and the women and the travelling.'

He was not the only band member so affected. Peter Green, lead guitarist and co- founder, left the band and gave his money to charity, saying drugs and guilt made him quit.

Mr Kirwan said: 'If Mick would like to see me, then that would be nice. But he would have to come over here. America terrifies me. If he can't come, then that's OK. I don't really need anything. Unless he fancies popping a million pounds in the post. . .'

(Photographs omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers personalise...

Recruitment Genius: Key Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A really exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting position has risen for a Customer ...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project