1969-1974 includes Fleetwood Mac’s seven albums between the years of 1969 and 1974. The seven studio albums are Then Play On, Kiln House, Future Games, Bare Trees, Penguin, Mystery to Me, and Heroes Are Hard to Find. Each disc includes the full-length album, along with alternate, live, and single versions (expect Penguin) — some of which are making their first appearance on CD. The eighth disc features the band’s live performance at The Record Plant in Sausalito on December 15, 1974.
1973-1974 picks up where 1969-1972 left off (released in 2013), featuring Penguin, Mystery to Me, Heroes Are Hard to Find, and Fleetwood Mac Live from The Red Plant 12-15-74. The release also includes a mono promo edit of the Mystery to Me track “For Your Love” and the outtake “Good Things (Come to Those Who Wait).” A limited-edition colored-vinyl version of Fleetwood Mac 1973-1974 will also be available.
During this transitional era, Fleetwood Mac went through a series of notable guitar players (Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Bob Weston, and Bob Welch), as the band moved from a blues to contemporary pop-rock sound. Late guitarist Bob Welch led the band through much of the new musical direction, relocating the band to the vibrant Los Angeles music scene in the early 1970s. (Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham had made a similar relocation to the area around this time, before joining Fleetwood Mac at the end of 1974.) Welch sang lead and played guitar on five of the seven albums from 1971 to 1974, contributing radio hits “Sentimental Lady” and “Hypnotized.”
FLEETWOOD MAC singer Christine McVie says she doesn’t know if the band’s seminal album Rumours would have been possible without the influence of drink and drugs.
The 74-year-old songwriter tells Desert Island Discs how their hit “Songbird” came to her in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep, but that it likely wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t binged on cocaine.
She said: “I don’t know if I would have written ‘Songbird’ had I not had a couple of toots of cocaine and a half bottle of champagne and I just couldn’t sleep. Or written any of the songs that were on that album because, I mean, I think we were all pretty loaded.”
Christine joined her then husband John McVie’s band back in 1967, contributing to their folky, blues-inspired sound.
“For me, I think I was probably the most restrained of the lot of us but I was no angel.”
She added that it is amazing that they have all survived: “Everybody does look great, clean and sober and happy. Somehow we crawled through the cracks, all five of us are healthy.”
Rumours, which came out in 1977, was famously made in a tense environment.
Christine and John were in the process of splitting up, while songwriting couple Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were also separating.
McVie and her husband divorced in 1976, but she didn’t leave the band until 1998.
She took a 15-year hiatus, during which time she bought a large house in Kent and a Range Rover in an attempt to get back to her English roots.
She said of that time: “I had this wild image in my mind that I was going to become a country lady. Everything had to be really English, the Aga, the Range Rover, the Hunter boots, the Barbour jacket. I think because my dad was ill to start with and later died, I think I wanted to be closer to my family and that’s why I moved to Kent.
“I developed agoraphobia, a dreadful fear of leaving my front doorstep. I couldn’t even get in my car. That’s how bad it was. So then this therapist said, ‘Well, first of all you have to get someone to drive your car out of the garage so it is closer to the house, go touch the car and the next day sit in the driver’s seat’. I did that for about two weeks and within two weeks I was driving again.”
The star says she had been reluctant to play music and write again.
“There was a beautiful piano there in the study and I never played it. It is like the blank canvas again. The perfectionist in me. Every time I sat down at this piano I wanted to write ‘Songbird’ again. So I was afraid to sit down and try.”
The British/American rock band, formed in London, have sold more than 100 million records.
She chose the Beatles’ hit “Roll Over Beathoven,” the “Four Seasons” by Vivaldi and “Angel Come Home” by the Beach Boys as her music with which to be marooned.
Her book was a biography of Henry VIII. And her baby grand piano that she wrote “Songbird” on was her luxury item.
Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4 today, 11:15 a.m.
Jaymi McCann / Express / Sunday, December 17, 2017
The peacemaker of Fleetwood Mac on Mirage, Maui, and missing the buzz
theartsdesk meets Christine McVie on a sunny Friday afternoon in September; the Warner Brothers boardroom (with generous hospitality spread) is suitably palatial. We’re the first media interview of the day, so she’s bright and attentive. McVie was always the member of Fleetwood Mac who you’d want to adopt: the most approachably human member of a band constantly at war with itself. Readily admitting that she’s the “peacekeeper” in the band, the singer/songwriter behind such Mac classics as “Everywhere” and “You Make Loving Fun” is as sweet and serene as you’d hope she would be.
She’s here to promote the new deluxe remaster of 1982 album Mirage – the follow-up three years on to the somewhat deranged Tusk, which was recorded and released as Christine and John McVie, the band’s bassist, were divorcing. She quit the band in 1998 after the hugely successful live album The Dance, after which she started a fairly solitary life of her own in the English countryside for the best part of 16 years. The first four of those, she says, were simply spent working on the house. It was only therapy and the canny, persuasive hand of Mick Fleetwood that coaxed her into returning after a trip to Maui, Hawaii, where Mick lives close to John McVie, his lifelong partner-in-crime.
The former Christine Perfect had a severe fear of flying that she’s now completely beaten, and as we speak, it’s clear that she’s fairly perplexed about having left the fray for so long in the first place. So what was she doing in all that time exactly? “A lot of people ask me that question!” With a brand new album (their first since 2001’s Say You Will) and a new world tour in the planning stages, it’s clear that the Fleetwood Mac story still has several enthralling chapters ahead. Somewhere near Fleetwood’s on Front Street – Mick’s fancy restaurant in Maui – the drummer must be feeling pretty smug that the ragged band of brothers and sisters he founded are finally back together.
RALPH MOORE: What was the mood of the band post-Tusk?
CHRISTINE McVIE: I remember we did two huge world tours after Tusk. We drove ourselves into the ground physically, and obviously there was a lot of drinking and a lot of drugs, and that just about killed us all, so we took a lot of time off. There was a long time between Tusk and Mirage. Mick went to Ghana to make an album called The Visitor and Stevie [Nicks] made Bella Donna, which was a huge hit for her.
But I think maybe we were under contract so had to make a record at that time, so Mick tried to recreate a similar bubble to Rumours where we were away from our homes, and that’s how that started. The mood? I was quite looking forward to it. We recorded at Honky Château [the infamous Chateau d’Herouville, located 20 miles north of Paris in the Val d’Oise]. There was a big piano there that Elton John had left there, so that was great. I seem to remember we did a lot of mucking around, playing table tennis. The guys from the French Open came down to visit us and John McEnroe also came down – I think I actually beat him at table tennis one night! It was a funny time. I don’t remember any particular animosity. I’m sure we were under contract to do another record so that was the basis of it. And from that, from little acorns the oak tree grew and it turned into a much nicer experience with some really good songs on it.
You returned to the band in 2014: had the dynamic changed?
Well, I just couldn’t believe that 16 years had actually passed. I mean, quite literally, from the moment I stepped on stage in Dublin to rehearse “Don’t Stop” I knew: the eye contact with all the band members, it was like going home. Truthfully. And they felt the same about me. The circle was complete. Had anything changed? Only technically. Vibe wise, I had Mick looking at me through his cymbals, but there was always that gap there on the stage when I left – they hadn’t filled it up with anyone else. That gap when they were touring without me was there every night. It was such a great feeling.
Is it fair to say that you’re the peacekeeper in the band?
I know Stevie always calls me Mother Earth, so possibly! How do I put this…. I have always been the most sane one of the lot, more down to earth, but I think John’s probably even more down to earth now. Peacekeeper? Yeah, I like that title. I do tend to meander around in the cracks! And do I have to be a peacekeeper now? Only occasionally. You always get moments with Stevie and Lindsey [Buckingham], that’s part of their make-up – they are each other’s muses and they have not been together for years, but they have this love/hate thing that they’ll always have and someone has to gently insinuate in the middle.
But Stevie and I are really good friends, in fact I think we’re better friends now than we were 16 years ago. And it’s a fact, when it’s the Buckingham/Nicks show backed by John and Mick, that’s going to cause a lot of tension and stress. But with me in there, it gave Stevie the chance to get her breath back and not have this constant thing going on with Lindsey: her sister was back.
Is it fair to say that Fleetwood Mac is a democracy, but driven for the most part by Mick?
Yes, but you’ve got to have a degree of flexibility. We’re very democratic. If one person is outvoted, you go with it. Mick always says, I’m a drummer, I can’t just sit in a room and play drums, I need a band. So in Maui, he has his own little band and when Fleetwood Mac’s not touring, he plays with them. It keeps him busy.
In the 16 years interim, what were you doing and did you see the band much?
I didn’t see them very much. First of all, I never flew anywhere. I saw them at Earl’s Court a few years back and sat at the sound board and that was a weird feeling. But I had no sense at that time of wanting to rejoin and at that time it was a relief – but I didn’t realise what pleasure I was missing until more recent days when I made the phone call to Mick and asked, “What would be it be like if I came back?” Fortunately Stevie was dying for me to come back, as were the rest of the band. Lindsey didn’t believe it would ever happen, but when I walked back onstage he did and they were delirious.
But when I first left, I was married at that point and spent four years restoring the house, a big rambling place with gardens – it was quite a project. But I didn’t write very much and the marriage didn’t work out, and I started to find I was twiddling my thumbs in this huge place, bouncing off the walls. So I thought that I’d do a little solo project. I got together with my nephew who’s a good musician and quite handy with ProTools and I thought, I’ll do a little record because I can’t fly, and I don’t want to tour, so we did that in my garage. And that took a couple of years, because we didn’t have a pressing need to finish it.
And then I sunk into isolation and got in a bit of trouble and sought help, and that was when I called Mick. It was healing and cathartic going back into the band. I missed all that buzz. I was also deluded about some idea of being the country lady with dogs, a Range Rover and Hunter boots, going for long walks, all that. Baking cakes in my Aga. It was not what I wanted in the end.
How did you overcome the fear of flying?
I was starting to realise that I was trapped in England unless I went by train or boat – and that I will never be able to see the world. So I went to a therapist and said, “I have to be able to get on a plane.” And he said, “Where would you most like to go?” And I said, “Maui!” And he said, “Buy a first-class ticket. Don’t get on – you have the ticket, that’s the starting point.” And as serendipity would have it Mick said, “I am coming to London” and I said, “I have a ticket to Maui!” So he said “Stay there! And we’ll go back together.”
So I went back with Mick to Maui and didn’t even feel the plane taking off, that’s how unafraid I was. I had some pretty good therapy, and I love flying now! And I did some songs with his little band there, and that was the start of it all. It’s the best thing we could have ever done. In many ways, I think we sound better and the audience reaction is better than even it was before. It’s unprecedented in rock ‘n’ roll that someone should leave and rejoin 16 years on and all five of us are still alive and healthy – touch wood and whistle.
Let’s talk about the new album.
I love every single track we’ve done, bar none. This’s something to me that is really special. Stevie hasn’t come in on it yet because she’s been busy doing something else. Last year, I was in there with Mick and Lindsey and John – John’s healing very nicely now – and nearly completed seven tracks and they’re magic. Seriously, no padding! I’m going to go over again in October to work on it. Stevie’s on tour but we’ve got until next year to finish it because we’re planning a world tour again, for the summer of ’17. I don’t know if I’m privy to give song titles yet, but Lindsey and I have practically co-written everything. Getting the band all together is like herding sheep: to get all five of us in a room is nigh-on impossible. And then somebody will wander out. But it does happen.
Mirage is still a pretty eccentric record when you listen to it. And what’s great is Fleetwood Mac is now a genuine, cross-generational experience.
The generation gap is phenomenal! Kids are going, “We’d better see them before one of them dies!” The songs endure. I have lots of friends with growing children, even 12- and 11-year-olds and some of them are avid listeners, they carry Rumours on their iPods! Tango is a favourite and Tusk is a favourite of some the weird 14-year-old boys. The demographic is remarkable.
And you still have the potential to play Glastonbury again.
Yes. I think we have been asked but for whatever reason it hasn’t happened, I don’t know for what reason. Would I love to do it? Love’s a strong word! I wouldn’t mind – so long as we could helicopter in and helicopter out!
Let’s end by returning to Mirage – where does it sit in the Mac canon for you?
If I have to be really truthful, it’s not catalogued as my favourite but on it are some great songs and some really good memories and it harkens in a vague sense not to the soul of Rumours but to more commercial roots after Tusk, which was the antithesis of commercial. On Mirage we made an effort to have a few more catchy songs. But it’s still a pretty eccentric record when you listen to it. It’s nuts!
The deluxe edition of Mirage is out on September 23rd on Warner Brothers.
Ralph Moore / theartsdesk (UK) / Tuesday, September 20, 2016
After 16 years in the Kent wilderness, Christine McVie and Fleetwood Mac are creating magic once again… there’s even a new album in the pipeline.
Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie offers me tea and a seat on a plush sofa. Among the things on her coffee table is a picture book called Crap Taxidermy. There’s a platinum record on the wall, and a stuffed dog looks out from under a side table next to a flickering fireplace.
“Do you like my dog? I found him in an antique shop – he’s 100 years old and I call him Jarvis.”
McVie is a dog person – she had two until recently. “I had a lovely time with them, but do I miss having dogs? Dogs tie you down. Who’s going to look after them when I go on tour?” she says. “I thought about getting a bird – a parrot perhaps – and teaching it to talk.” But McVie doesn’t want to be held back any longer. “I want my freedom now.”
As one fifth of Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie has helped define popular music since the late 1960s. With her bandmates, McVie has written songs that are loved across generations. With 1977’s Rumours, Fleetwood Mac became superstars, experiencing both critical acclaim and public adoration. She explains that there is something about the band’s music, and Rumours in particular, that appeals to all ages. “Parents played the album at home, but kids gravitated to the album as well; and now some of their children are turned on to Fleetwood Mac.” It’s something that McVie is still surprised by. “It’s really quite amazing, the dichotomy of people coming to see the shows – it ranges anywhere from 80 to eight. It’s very exciting.”
Nearly 40 years on, Rumours is an album that still resonates with audiences today – herself, included, says McVie.
“I think people love Rumours – I think that the songs are timeless and ageless. I still love Rumours too; I don’t listen to it all the time, but when I do, I’m always stunned by how fresh it still sounds.”
McVie and Fleetwood Mac achieved a virtually unparalleled level of acclaim and adoration with Rumours, but the road to success wasn’t always easy. “There weren’t that many women around back then [the 60s and early 70s]. It was a very male-oriented industry. I wasn’t in the pop industry at that time – I was playing in a blues band, so that was even more unusual.”
It was peaceful, and I learned about birds. I just wish I’d filled that 16 years with a hell of a lot more. After the house was finished, I was bouncing off the walls. It was an isolating time. I’ve wasted a bit of my life, and I want to make up for it now.
McVie had her first taste of life on the road with British blues outfit Chicken Shack; a gig she held down until she married her future band mate and Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie in 1969.
“We had a Ford transit van and we used to schlep up and down the M1,” she recalls. The young songwriter was paying her dues, living a lifestyle far removed from what she would later experience with Fleetwood Mac. “You couldn’t say it was a life of luxury by any means.”
After a couple of years playing the British blues circuit, the band made the biggest decision of their career. “We moved to America. We thought it would be great to move to LA, because we weren’t doing anything here. We couldn’t buy a gig.”
Soon after the relocation, the band’s guitarist and driving force over the past few years Bob Welch departed, leaving Fleetwood Mac guitar-less. A chance meeting with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham led to the band bringing Buckingham and his lover and collaborator Stevie Nicks into the fold. “I was a bit cagey in case we didn’t get on or something – but we met for dinner one night and we all got on really well. We didn’t even have auditions. The rest, really, is history.”
The tide truly began to turn with the band’s 1975 self-titled album (referred to as the “White Album” by McVie) – the first with Buckingham and Nicks.
The album demonstrated a more pop-oriented sound than before. It was during the writing of Fleetwood Mac that McVie saw the band’s potential to be big. “I remember that I’d written a song called ‘Say You Love Me’. We went into a little rehearsal room in a cellar somewhere, and I said: “Well, it goes like this…’ When the chorus came, Stevie and Lindsey both chimed in with the most fantastic harmony,” says McVie.
“We all had goose bumps. That was the moment when I thought: ‘This is going to be amazing’.” With Buckingham and Nicks, the band took on an unusual dynamic. “The combination of two Americans and three Brits, two girls and two couples as well, made for all kinds of things we never could have expected.”
More than a year after its release, Fleetwood Mac went to number one on the Billboard 200 chart. “That took some time to take off,” says McVie. “Once we started touring, people started to flock to see us, and they would buy the album.” The band was receiving huge support from radio, and was riding a wave of critical acclaim and success before the band began to record a follow-up. “I don’t think people realised, but the ‘White Album’ was number one in the charts about six months before we even made Rumours.”
What happened next is rock and roll legend. Personal relations between band members hit a low; the McVies were in the midst of a divorce; and Nicks and Buckingham’s on-off relationship was strained. “When we finished Rumours, we knew we had something good – but we weren’t getting on very well. Stevie, Mick [Fleetwood] and I would get on great; Lindsey, Mick and John would get on great, but the ‘couple’ thing got quite tense in the studio sometimes.”
Against adversity, Fleetwood Mac made one of the finest albums of their career – and one of the most popular albums of all time. Rumours is estimated to have sold more than 40 million copies. McVie says there is an understanding between them, which leads to memorable music. “What’s that saying? ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. In our case that is true, because there is a great chemistry between the five of us. We’re all different, but we connect musically in a really strange way.”
In 1998, after continual chart-topping albums and lucrative tours, McVie left the band. “My father died in 1990, and I was desperate to move back to England,” she says. “I wanted to be closer to my brother who was my only remaining close family. I’d also developed a chronic fear of flying – and the band knew when I did the last tour that there was no persuading me to stay.”
McVie spent the next 16 years in Kent, restoring her house and looking after two dogs. Now McVie has mixed feelings about her time out of the spotlight. “I could say I have regrets, but then there were quite a few years doing that that I did enjoy,” she says. “It was peaceful, and I learned about birds. I just wish I’d filled that 16 years with a hell of a lot more. After the house was finished, I was bouncing off the walls. It was an isolating time. I’ve wasted a bit of my life, and I want to make up for it now.”
McVie says she came to a realisation. “There came a point when I finished doing the house that I realised I was just sitting in the country, rotting away. I thought: ‘What am I doing?’”
McVie sought the help of Dr. Richard Wolman, a Belgravia psychiatrist who helped her overcome her fear of flying. “He worked with me for quite a long time.” Soon, the idea of getting back with the band began to take shape. “It just so happened that I was thinking about what it would be like to go back to Fleetwood Mac. I called up Mick and said: ‘Do you think it’s possible? Would you guys even be interested?’” Fleetwood was arriving in London and suggested meeting to discuss a reunion.
As part of her therapy, Dr. Wolman suggested McVie buy a plane ticket. “He said: ‘If you could get on a plane, where would you go?’ I said Maui, because I love Hawaii. He told me to just buy a ticket, and said I didn’t have to get on it, but it would be a positive move. So I did.”
McVie flew from London to Hawaii with Fleetwood, who lives on the islands. “I ended up going on stage with his little blues band – he owns a restaurant called Fleetwood’s on Front Street, Lahaina. He persuaded me to play a couple of songs with his band, and I loved it.” Soon she spoke with other members of the band, and the five members that recorded Rumours were reunited.
Since McVie’s return, the band has completed a world tour taking in 120 shows. Now Fleetwood Mac is in the process of recording a new album.
I’m waiting to hear when we’re going to finish [the new Fleetwood Mac album], which I suspect will be April. Everybody has different things going on. But my feet are firmly planted in this record at the moment, because quite a lot of the songs are mine!
“I started sending demos to Lindsey and he worked on them, then we got together to start making a record – we’re talking two years ago now. We only got it half-finished; we’ve got seven or eight songs at the moment, and we’re very, very thrilled with them.”
Fans will have to be patient – getting each band member in the same room is not as easy as it once was. “I’m waiting to hear when we’re going to finish it, which I suspect will be April. Everybody has different things going on. But my feet are firmly planted in this record at the moment, because quite a lot of the songs are mine!
“The songs are fantastic, they have a whiff of Rumours about them. I think people could do with a new Mac album from the five of us.” Once the album is ready, McVie says the band will embark on another tour. “Depending on how decrepit we feel, it may not be the last. We’re all fit, so we think we can do another tour and put a record out – and people seem to love us, so we appreciate that.”
McVie says that playing with the band feels natural, even after so long out of the public eye. “It was strange in the fact that it wasn’t strange at all. The moment I stepped on stage, it felt right – it was like 16 years hadn’t happened.”
According to McVie, there is one song in particular that audiences connect with. “When I do ‘Songbird’, you can hear a pin drop. I’m not saying it’s my favourite song, particularly, but it seems to be the one that I get associated with, because people have played it at weddings, funerals or when their pets die. In all kinds of situations, people play ‘Songbird’, because it’s a little prayer. I wrote that song in 30 minutes!”
For now, McVie is back in London, and enjoying what Mayfair has to offer. “I love it around Bond Street – now I’m back in the city, that’s top of my list: burning some plastic!” As for Fleetwood Mac, she is content just seeing where the music will take her. “It’s a rebirth, in a sense – and it’s fantastic because we’re way over 60. I’m having a ball.”
Reyhaan Day / Mayfair Times / Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Going to go her own way: Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie puts her 19-acre Grade II listed Kent home on the market for £3.5million ($8 million).
Christine McVie, 72, has been spending an increasing amount of time in London since rejoining Fleetwood Mac
So now, she has decided to put stunning Grade II-listed country home in Kent village of Wickhambreaux on sale
She is selling the mansion – where she wrote some solo material following band’s disintegration – for £3.5million
It boasts six bedrooms, four reception rooms, a three-bedroom outhouse, two cottages and sprawling gardens
McVie, a famed vocalist and pianist, purchased her six-bedroom Wickhambreaux home, dubbed The Quaives, in 1990. She worked on solo material in the 19-acre estate’s converted barn following the continued disintegration of Fleetwood Mac through the 1990s. When McVie moved into the property, it was in dire need of refurbishment, and over the past 25 years, she has overhauled the entire estate.
The star officially left Fleetwood Mac in 1998 and all but retired from public view. She released just one solo album in 2004, written with her nephew Dan Perfect at The Quaives. But now, she has listed her home for sale – less than a year after stunning the music world by rejoining Fleetwood Mac for the On With The Show tour.
Strutt and Parker estate agents, which is selling the mansion, said McVie has been spending more time in London since the band’s reform.
Simon Backhouse, of Strutt and Parker, said:
Christine McVie bought this house in 1990 and when she did it was in a bit of a state.
She has spent an enormous amount of money on it since then, putting a new roof on it and restoring it to its former glory.
She has family in Kent and it’s a very beautiful and private house. It’s quiet and you can’t see it from anywhere so that ticked a lot of boxes for her.
The house itself is stunning and the village it’s in is a quintessential chocolate box village.
The full Fleetwood Mac line-up have reformed recently and Christine now spends more time in London than she had been doing.
She’s looking to upsize in London and downsize in the country.
The Quaives is new to the market but already there has been much interest in it.
Whether you’re a music fan or not, this is an incredible opportunity to own something very special indeed.
As well as six bedrooms and a converted barn, The Quaives boasts four reception rooms, a massive kitchen, a saloon and a thatched stable. It also features a three-bedroom outhouse, two separate cottages, a tennis court, a croquet lawn, paddocks and extensive gardens.
McVie, who is currently on tour with Fleetwood Mac in Australia and New Zealand, spoke fondly of the property.
“I have whiled away many peaceful days song writing in this tranquil home. Much fun was had by all on the croquet lawn,” she said.
McVie joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970, where she joined her husband John McVie, the band’s bassist, and drummer Mick Fleetwood. American guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and his singer girlfriend Stevie Nicks were added in 1974. Three years later the group released their most celebrated album, Rumours. Fleetwood Mac were one of the biggest bands in the world until Buckingham and Nicks left in 1987.
The band then went on to perform in various incarnations but only appeared again as the full Rumours line-up in September last year. McVie is responsible for some of the most-loved songs including “Songbird,” “Everywhere,” “You Make Loving Fun” and “Oh Daddy.”
The singer and her husband divorced in 1976 and she went on to marry keyboardist Eddy Quintela in October 1986. She and Quintela split up in the mid-1990s. McVie has no children.
Sophie Jane Evans / Daily Mail (UK) / Thursday, September 24, 2015
Those heading for the Isle of Wight festival will see something Mac fans feared they would never see again: Christine McVie’s return after a 16-year absence.
To listen to Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie speak, you’d never guess she was a member of one of the world’s most successful – not to mention debauched and dysfunctional – bands of all time. Level-headed and prone to understatement when I interviewed her for the Guardian in 2013, she described the songwriting gift that enabled her to knock out such hits as Don’t Stop and Little Lies as follows: “I don’t know what it is really … I think I’m just good with hooks.”
During that interview, she went on to discuss the band’s legendarily gargantuan drug intake without a hint of romance – “Well, I’d be lying if I said I was sober as a judge” – and described the crazy routine the band adhered to at the peak of their success in similar terms: “You look at tennis players; it’s the same kind of thing.”
So grounded can McVie appear that it’s almost surprising that the songs she writes take flight so effortlessly: heartfelt and clear, they’re given extra wind beneath their wings by her pure, songbird falsetto. This summer, those heading to the Isle of Wight festival will get to see her perform them, something many Mac fans feared they would never see again: McVie left the group in 1998, succumbing to a fear of flying and longing for a quiet life in the country; she rejoined in 2014.
It’s a testament to Fleetwood Mac’s abundance of talent that they have not just survived without McVie and her many hits during this 16-year absence, but delivered storming three-hour sets packed with classic tracks. Great though those shows were, it wasn’t quite Fleetwood Mac. McVie’s songs don’t just stand out in their own right, but also provide a counterbalance to the other artistic directions in the band. Less mystical than Stevie Nicks’ and less wilfully experimental than some of Lindsey Buckingham’s, McVie’s simple songs of love nonetheless brim with a sense of positivity, not to mention an abundance of melody.
Her musical gifts – let’s not forget she’s a skilled keyboard player with a style schooled in the blues – are not the only reason Mac fans should celebrate her return. In a famously fractured band, whose existence always seems precariously balanced, thanks to decades of broken marriages, flings and rows, McVie’s down-to-earth personality provides a steadying role similar to that of her songs.
She always seemed capable of rising above the tangled love dramas that caused jealously and tantrums among the men, and her enduring friendship with Nicks helped the pair to face the perils of being female artists during the sexist 70s. When McVie first left, Nicks said she was heartbroken; today she talks lovingly about having her musical sister back in the band: “When I finish Silver Springs, Christine waits for me and takes my hand,” she recently told Canadian magazineMaclean’s. “We walk off and we never let go of each other until we get to our tent. In that 30 seconds, it’s like my heart just comes out of my body.”
McVie is too key a figure for Fleetwood Mac to have carried on touring without her, and drummer Mick Fleetwood has admitted that her return to the band makes them “complete” again. Speaking to the Vancouver Sun in March, he added that he “couldn’t think of a better ending, when this does end … we’re all on the same page and writing the same last chapter”.
Comments such as this only add to the sense that their Isle of Wight show will be a magical, uplifting and emotional experience. Or “not a bad gig”, as Christine may well say afterwards.
Fleetwood Mac play the Isle of Wight festival on 14 June.
Christine McVie will be heading to the recording studio with Fleetwood Mac for the first time since 2003 (when she contributed vocals for Say You Will’s “Bleed to Love Her” and “Steal Your Heart Away”), according to Mick Fleetwood via the Maui News. McVie, who officially rejoined the band earlier this month, will start recording with the band in March. In December, McVie told the Daily Mail that she had already sent new songs to Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham for tweaking. The band will presumably record a new album and support it with a tour later this year.
Christine McVie is officially back with Fleetwood Mac.
The band’s publicist, Liz Rosenberg, has confirmed to Billboard that McVie has rejoined the band after departing the group in 1998.
Rosenberg says that McVie “has indeed re-joined Fleetwood Mac and we are hoping to make an announcement about a possible tour for the full tilt Macsters some time in 2014.”
McVie joined the band in 1970 after marrying the group’s bassist, John McVie. She continued on with the group for the next 28 years as a principle songwriter, vocalist and keyboardist.
McVie wrote some of the act’s biggest Billboard Hot 100 chart hits, including “Say You Love Me” (No. 11 peak, 1976), “Don’t Stop” (No. 3, 1977), “You Make Loving Fun” (No. 9, 1977), “Hold Me” (No. 4, 1982), “Little Lies” (No. 4, 1987) and “Everywhere” (No. 14, 1988).
Fans of Fleetwood Mac have been teased with a possible McVie reunion since last September, when word first broke that McVie was going to rejoin her bandmates for a couple concerts in London. She appeared with the band — for just one song each night — on Sept. 25 and 27 at the O2 Arena, to sing “Don’t Stop.”
(Fleetwood Mac’s 2013 tour incidentally, was the 17th biggest tour of 2013, according to Billboard Boxscore, grossing $62 million from 45 shows reported.)
Soon after guesting with the band at the O2, McVie told the Guardian that she would be “delighted” if the band were to “ask” her to play with them again. “But it hasn’t happened, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
When Billboard caught up with Stevie Nicks late last year, while promoting her new “In Your Dreams” film and appearance on “American Horror Story: Coven,” Nicks said “If Chris wants to come back to the band, I said to her, ‘It’s your band. I don’t really think you have to ask. Because it’s your band. McVie. Fleetwood Mac-vie? So, it all depends, Chris, on you. How you feel. Do you want to take this on again?'”
Finally, over the last weekend, the band’s Mick Fleetwood reportedly told a crowd at a Maui, Hawaii show that McVie had indeed rejoined the group.
Undoubtedly, devotees of Fleetwood Mac are hoping for a new album from the famed “Rumours”-era lineup of the band, with singer/songwriters Nicks, McVie and Lindsey Buckingham. Together, the three were the principle writers of five studio albums from the group: “Fleetwood Mac” (released in 1975), “Rumours” (1977), “Tusk” (1979), “Mirage” (1982) and “Tango In the Night” (1987).
Following McVie’s departure, Fleetwood Mac has released one new studio set, 2003’s “Say You Will.” The band also issued a four-song EP, “Extended Play,” in 2013.
Keith Caulfield / Billboard / Monday, January 13, 2014
On Saturday, Mick Fleetwood announced on stage at the 2nd Annual Uncle Willie K’s BBQ Bluesfest in Maui that keyboardist and singer-songwriter Christine McVie would be returning to Fleetwood Mac. McVie left the band in 1998 to pursue a quieter life in England. After appearing at two London shows with band last year, McVie realized that she deeply missed performing with her former bandmates. Rumors about McVie rejoining the band had circulated ever since the cameo appearances.
According to a fan who attend the show, Fleetwood said “This is the worst kept secret there is, but Christine McVie will be rejoining Fleetwood Mac!”
Special thanks to “aprilsrain” for sharing the news. See more discussion at The Ledge.
September 2013, and Stevie Nicks is about to perform Landslide at the O2 in London, where Fleetwood Mac are playing three nights. Before she does, though, she has a dedication to make. “This is for my mentor. Big sister. Best friend,” she says, and there are precious few people in the venue who don’t know she’s talking about Christine McVie, her fellow female bandmate and the Mac’s keyboard player, as well as one of its singers and songwriters from 1970 until she quit in 1998.
It is not the first time Nicks has talked about McVie. In 2009, she told the audience at Wembley Arena that she thought about her “every day”. Earlier this year she admitted to the Observer: “I’d beg, borrow and scrape together $5m and give it to her in cash if she would come back. That’s how much I miss her!”
This time, though, was different. When it came to the end of the band’s set, McVie stepped onstage with them for the first time in 15 years to run through Don’t Stop, her enduring anthem about staying positive in the aftermath of a breakup.
“It was like falling off a bike,” McVie says when I meet her in her south London apartment, a beautiful space situated so close to the banks of the Thames that it feels as if we’re floating above it. “I climbed back on there again and there they all were, the same old faces!”
Was she nervous?
“Not as much as I thought, because none of the band drink any more and I’ve seldom done a gig without a spritzer, you know?” She smiles, acknowledging the Mac’s status as doyens of debauchery. “But it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought. In fact, it felt great!”
Performing Don’t Stop took on added poignancy for two reasons. First, it was discovered shortly after McVie’s former husband John McVie, the Mac of the band’s name and its bassist – about whom the song was written – had been diagnosed with cancer, although McVie says the “prognosis looks good” and the band expect him to be “up and running again in a couple of months” (they cancelled several Australian and New Zealand dates while he underwent treatment). Second, it seemed to trigger a realisation within McVie herself: she had previously seemed adamant that leaving the band had been the right thing to do because she was sick of the music industry, panic attacks had made travelling impossible and she longed for the quiet life she had made for herself in a 17th-century mansion in Kent.
In fact, so settled and reclusive had she seemed – the odd rare interview found her talking about cooking for friends, tending to her garden and looking after dogs – that when I ask if she would ever consider rejoining permanently, I’m taken aback by her answer: “If they were to ask me, I would probably be very delighted,” she says, before explaining why she originally quit. “I think I was just musiced out at the time. I suffered from some delusion that I wanted to be an English country girl, a Sloane Ranger donning the old Hunter boots and Barbour jacket to slosh around in mud with the Range Rover. It’s quite isolated down there [in Kent]. It’s beautiful, but it’s miles from where my friends are. And it’s taken me 14 or 15 years to realise that it’s not really what I want at all.”
So what does she want?
“Well, I like being with the band, the whole idea of playing music with them.”
A couple of weeks before the O2 show, I meet Nicks at the apartment she rents while staying in Paris. It’s suitably opulent – chandeliers, charcoal grey decor, huge bags of shopping everywhere – and also looks out over the capital’s river. Nicks settles down on the huge sofa – she’s less than 5ft 2in, and her legs barely reach the edge, let alone the floor – and tells me about her friendship with McVie.
“We felt like, together, we were a force of nature,” she says. “And we made a pact, probably in our first rehearsal, that we would never accept being treated as second-class citizens in the music business. That when we walked into a room we would be so fantastic and so strong and so smart that none of the uber-rockstar group of men would look through us. And they never did.”
What Nicks didn’t know until years later was that she would never have even joined the band were it not for McVie. In the mid-70s, Fleetwood Mac were struggling for an identity: their 60s incarnation as a blues band had been derailed by Peter Green’s LSD use and repeated lineup changes, and founder Mick Fleetwood was desperate to recruit the American Lindsey Buckingham as a guitarist. Buckingham, however, said he would only join if Nicks – his girlfriend at the time, as well as his musical partner in the up-and-coming Buckingham Nicks – was allowed to join too. The band arranged a meet-up, with Fleetwood, letting Christine have the decisive vote.
“We went for Mexican food with them,” Nicks recalls, “and we laughed and laughed, because you English people have a very strange sense of humour. Even Lindsey had fun – he didn’t want to, but he couldn’t help it.”
“It was critical that I got on with her,” McVie says, “because I’d never played with another girl. But I liked her instantly. She was funny and nice but also there was no competition. We were completely different on the stage to each other and we wrote differently too.”
The next day, Buckingham and Nicks received the call telling them that they were in the band and the lineup that would record the classic Rumours and Tusk albums (and later, Mirage and Tango In The Night) was complete. It was a lineup that remained more or less intact until the point McVie left in 1998.
When it comes to telling the Fleetwood Mac story, we hear much about the relationships that went wrong – especially Nicks and Buckingham’s tumultuous relationship – but not as much about the most stable and enduring of all, that between Nicks and McVie. Two women together in a band during the wildly decadent 70s, they supported each other through the madness that was Fleetwood Mac: the broken relationships and ill-advised affairs (in particular, Nicks’s doomed fling with Fleetwood) that played out over mountains of cocaine, gallons of alcohol and so much marijuana that McVie says she didn’t even need to smoke it: “You would just get high on the air,” she recalls. “Those guys would blow it in your face and you’d go: ‘Wow, that’s strong!'”
At first, it was a simple friendship. As McVie puts it: “We shared rooms, did each other’s makeup and lived on Dunkin’ Donuts.”
“We really were quite tame people back then,” Nicks confirms. “The band had two couples in it, plus Mick was married with two little girls – so we had to behave. We’d play a gig, get on an aeroplane right after the show and leave to the next place. And we were watched like hawks. We had security outside each of our rooms so Chris and I were almost like travelling rock’n’roll nuns.”
She registers my suspicion at this. Fleetwood Mac, I suggest, are known for many things, but their dedication for living under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience is not one of them. “Well, it’s true,” she replies, laughing.
“I wouldn’t say ‘nuns’,” McVie says, also laughing, when I put it to her, “but it was like the army.” She motions a jabbing finger at her watch: “It was regimented. The rock’n’roll lifestyle did have its perks but it wasn’t all limos and parties in the early days.”
Yet when the lineup’s self-titled first album became a hit, it brought with it money, a jetset lifestyle and ever- increasing tensions in the band. As the group came to record its follow-up, Rumours, both couples in the band found their relationships unravelling.
“We were cool onstage,” Nicks says. “But offstage everybody was pretty angry. Most nights Chris and I would just go for dinner on our own, downstairs in the hotel, with security at the door.”
As McVie explains: “John and I used to be civil – ‘What key is this in? What do you want me to do on this song?’ – but Stevie and Lindsey were fighting all the time. Very volatile. Their relationship still is an ongoing battle.”
The band had various ways of dealing with the tensions, one of which was through the nostrils. “It wasn’t like we woke up one day and everybody had bowls of coke on the tables,” Nicks says. “It was a gradual thing.”
It was also a glamour thing. In Sausalito, California, where the two women were based during the recording of Rumours, McVie recalls the paraphernalia on offer fondly: “You could go to these shops and buy these little beautiful coke bottles that you wore around your neck – gold, turquoise, all sorts of colours with diamonds and a little spoon. So Stevie and I wore those – it was very aesthetic.”
There was another, more productive method of escape. People often talk of Rumours in miraculous terms: how did the group make such a perfect album amid such turmoil? But of course it was the turmoil that forced the band to focus on the music.
“I became really interested in the recording process,” McVie says. “I used to watch everything simply because it was more interesting than having a fight.”
Perhaps the truly miraculous thing about Rumours is not that the music was so good but that McVie’s songs ended up sounding so positive. Aside from Don’t Stop, her Rumours hits include You Make Loving Fun – inspired by her new relationship with the band’s lighting director – and the beautiful piano ballad Songbird. Was she trying to escape the reality of the situation?
“Yes, I suppose I was,” she says, as if the thought had never struck her before.
McVie was trained classically before discovering the blues through the sheet music for a Fats Domino song her older brother had left at the piano. “My writing ability all stems from the blues,” she says. “Don’t Stop, Say You Love Me … they all have that boogie bass, lefthand thing. Even the more recent things, like Little Lies and Everywhere, they’re all blues based.”
Before Fleetwood Mac, she got used to being the “only girl, side stage with the piano” with the blues band Chicken Shack, but never gave too much thought to the notion that she was a pioneer. “There was Julie Driscoll and Sandy Denny,” she muses, “but not playing instruments I suppose.” Mick Fleetwood encouraged her to write songs (“I loved the stuff we did with Bob Welch [in the early 70s]: Mystery To Me, Bare Trees, Future Games”) but it wasn’t really until Buckingham and Nicks joined that her true talent as a hitmaker was set free.
“I think I’m just good with hooks,” she says, looking to win some kind of award for understatement, although this does speak of the songwriting balance in the band that gives Fleetwood Mac their depth: Buckingham provided the darkness, Nicks the poetry and McVie the optimism. Buckingham added another dimension with his studio expertise, shaping the band’s sound and daring them to venture into brave new territory. It was his idea to follow Rumours with Tusk, a double album influenced by the emerging punk and new wave bands whose very existence had made Fleetwood Mac seem somewhat unfashionable.
“We didn’t really like [Tusk],” McVie admits. “We just kind of went” – she rolls her eyes – “okaaay. Because it was so different from Rumours. Deliberately so. In hindsight, I do like that record, but at the time me and Stevie would be like: ‘What the hell is he doing in the toilet playing an empty Kleenex box for a drum?'”
Of course, recording percussion while sitting on the loo makes a certain kind of sense when you consider the escalation of the band’s drug use by this point.
“My habit didn’t really start until 1977,” Nicks says. “During 1975 and 76 we were too busy making the band work – everyone was aware that we had found the golden goose. But the drug use wasn’t as romantic as people like to think. I’d just get up and go to the bathroom and do a little bit of cocaine, stop and get a coffee and come back. We were tired and jetlagged, we’d sometimes play four shows in a row, and in those days management were just writing those gigs in: you’d start out with a certain amount of gigs and every day there’d be a new one. It gets scribbled in and you start to think it’s never going to end.”
Where music was once an escape from the turmoil in the band, now the drugs were acting as an escape from the demands of the music. McVie is adamant they never helped the band creatively: “That’s a fallacy. It kept you going, but half the stuff we did when we stayed up late was rubbish.” She adopts a comedic, stern teacher voice: “So I do say – ‘Kids: Don’t do it!'”
The fallout was different for each of them. McVie never succumbed to addiction: “I stopped around 1984, when I went over to Switzerland to make my first solo album. I was just sick of it.” Nicks, however, ended up in the Betty Ford Centre in 1986, and followed that by turning to the prescription sedative Klonopin, which led to far worse addiction troubles.
Hers was a downfall leaped on by critics in a way that highlights a common double standard in rock: the Dionysian male is celebrated for bravely abusing his body in the pursuit of enlightenment, whereas women are seen as damaged and out-of-control. “The guys in the business were ‘supposed’ to do drugs, they were ‘supposed’ to sleep with a different chick every night, that was the romantic idea,” Nicks observes.
The more you talk about life on the road with Fleetwood Mac, in fact, the more such double standards emerge. “We almost always had boyfriends, but they weren’t on the road because they’d just get stomped on,” Nicks says. “For me to have a guy out on the road with us, and have Lindsey glaring at him the whole time? Or for Christine to have a guy out and John just walk past and flip him off? No, we both learned very early on that we would never bring boyfriends on the road because it created arguments.”
McVie recalls her bandmates’ reaction when they discovered her relationship with their lighting director: “When they found out I was seeing him he got fired shortly after – because of it! I didn’t really bring fellas on the road with me after that.”
But the reverse was all right for the men?
McVie laughs: “Oh, it was all right for them, yeah. But whatever keeps the lads happy, I suppose.”
Pragmatism, and a sense that they really were above such petty things, seems to have kept the two women sane, and quite probably the band together. As Nicks says: “The boys brought girlfriends on the road but the thing about that was we didn’t care they had new girlfriends! Because we didn’t want to be with them! We were happy they had new girlfriends! Thrilled! Oh my God, they’re happy! The pressure is off!”
Despite the men’s behaviour, it was Nicks who ended up with the diva reputation: tales circulated of her demanding that hotels repaint rooms pink. Almost all untrue, she says: “I never had to have a pink room! I’m not even a pink person. And I obviously never threw a television outside of the window in my life. Why would I do that? All I wanted, and this is what I got, was the presidential suite at hotels. We were elegant people and we wanted a place to sleep after the show that was beautiful. And the boys did not get those. We would each have a presidential suite, and if there was only one available, me and Christine would flip a coin.”
While there’s something comical about someone denying their diva reputation by saying they only wanted a presidential suite, it’s hard to disagree that Nicks was the victim of music industry sexism. When she told a crowd one night her song Rhiannon was “about a Welsh witch”, rumour spread that it was she who practised witchcraft – again a tired cliche that the talented woman must be channelling evil powers. “Rhiannon was the only song I ever wrote about a sort of celestial being,” she says, “but that song and the fact I wore black, floaty clothes somehow became this, this … this witch thing.”
She still sounds hurt by it all. “About three years into it, it actually started to scare me. People were writing me really weird letters that were scaring me. So I had Margi [Kent, still her personal designer] make me up a bunch of outfits that were just horrible – I call them the Easter Egg outfits because they were peach, mint green and blue … not colours for me. And I wore them and so did my girl singers. I thought: ‘I’m going to put the top on the box of this one.'”
So what happened next?
“Oh, after a while I said: ‘Screw that, I’m going back to black!'” She laughs: “And if they think I’m a witch I don’t care because I’m not a witch!”
When I ask McVie if she has any regrets from her time with the band, her candid answers speak of the dichotomy between how men and women are treated in rock: “There were never any children [for me],” she says. “There was always a career in the way. It was a case of one or the other, and Stevie would say the same. The lads went off and had children but for Stevie and I it was a bit difficult to do that. So that was never able to happen. And I never found the right man. Not through want of trying.”
Nicks once said that no man could accept her lifestyle and McVie agrees with the sentiment: “It would certainly be difficult for a chap to swallow if his wife or girlfriend is dashing off without being at home to cook his supper for him.”
Given all of this, you wonder why – at 70, and having escaped the madness of the Mac so succesfully – McVie would want to rejoin one of the world’s biggest rock bands.
There are no doubt several factors. For one thing she’s overcome her fear of flying, thanks to therapy. She’s also noticed the growing critical reappraisal of the band, to the extent that their once-derided music is now a vital touchstone for new bands (“I have friends with grandchildren in their teens and they’ve got Rumours, Tusk, all the live stuff – and they dig it, man, they really like it!”). And, of course, she’s watched the band playing live and seen what she’s missing out on. “You see Mick from the side of the stage, and it’s contagious,” she says. “He puts so much energy and joy into playing the drums. He looks like a big Santa Claus up there with his beard and belly – oh God, don’t tell him I said that. But he’s so incredibly strong for someone who is 67, 68, or whatever he is. He puts everything into it. He comes off stage and puts ice packs all over himself, then puts on a coat that’s three times too big for him, fastens it up and walks around so his muscles don’t get seized up. He even wears that on the plane until he gets to his hotel room, and it’s the same thing every night for him.”
There’s also the fact that the band never wanted her to leave.
“At the time, they tried to persuade me to stay so hard,” she says, “but back then I’d made my mind up that I’d done enough touring. I just couldn’t live out of a suitcase any more. Whereas now I would really rather like to again.”
As she says this she averts her gaze, staring out of that huge window of hers with such a look of longing that it would seem almost too cruel if she never got to fulfill this desire. And it suddenly becomes completely obvious why she wants to play with them again. After all, it was she who sang Don’t Stop all those years ago.
Stevie addressed rumors about Christine McVie potentially rejoining Fleetwood Mac in a new interview with Billboard Magazine. When asked about Christine McVie mentioning to The Guardian that she would be interested in coming back to Fleetwood Mac if the band asked her, Stevie said, “I don’t know if I believe that.” She added that Fleetwood Mac had spent many years reestablishing itself without the benefit of having Christine in the band and that the decision lies solely on McVie.
Christine McVie is eyeing a return to Fleetwood Mac after 15 years away. Back in September, McVie hopped onstage with her former bandmates at London’s O2 Arena for a show-closing rave-up of their 1977 Rumours classic, “Don’t Stop.” 1998, following the band’s massive sold-out reunion tour, McVie quit the band, sold her L.A. home, her songwriting publishing, got divorced, and moved back to her native England to retire. Now, she’s having second thoughts, telling The Guardian, “I like being with the band, the whole idea of playing music with them. I miss them all. If they were to ask me I would probably be very delighted. . . but it hasn’t happened so we’ll have to wait and see.”
When asked why she quit the band in the first place, McVie explained: “I think I was just music’d out. I suffered from some kind of delusion that I wanted to be an English country girl. . . and it took me 15 years to realize that it’s not really what I wanted at all.”
When asked about how it felt to be back leading the band at the London gig — if only for one song — she said, “It was amazing, like I’d never left. I climbed back on there again and there they were, the same old faces on stage.”
Fleetwood Mac is currently on hiatus after cancelling a tour of Down Under while McVie’s ex-husband, bassist John McVie undergoes cancer treatment. When asked about his prognosis, McVie said it was “really good. He’s having his treatment in L.A. right now, but they caught it really early so he should be up and running in a couple of months.”
Bandmate Stevie Nicks has long been pining for Christine’s return — but respectful of her decision to retire from the band. Lindsey Buckingham on the other hand, has shown slight resentment for Christine splitting on them just as their personal lives seemed to finally settle down and the lucrative brand finally restored to its former glories. Christine said, “Fair enough. From his point of view, it was a business thing. (Promoters) would be asking why I wasn’t playing in Amsterdam or Berlin. They obviously wanted headlines about them, not me, and I quite agree with that.”
When pressed about her rejoining the band on tour, she diplomatically offered up: “It’s a long way down that path if it ever were to happen. John’s got to get well first, so it hasn’t been talked about. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Lindsey Buckingham says that although the band missed Christine McVie terribly on a personal level — he didn’t feel as though losing her really affected the band that much in practical terms: “I don’t think anyone felt that that was a negative, y’know? I mean, in the spirit of Fleetwood Mac reinventing itself, we saw it — yes, it was a challenge, but it was also an opportunity to flex our muscles in a different way.”
Stevie Nicks reveals Lindsey Buckingham tensions with Christine McVie
With the rock world buzzing about Christine McVie’s possible return to Fleetwood Mac after 15 years, Stevie Nicks reveals that Lindsey Buckingham might be the one to block it. The December issue of Mojo magazine features an interview with Nicks conducted in September just before McVie joined the band at London’s O2 Arena to close the show with her 1977 Rumours classic, “Don’t Stop.” Nicks admitted that there are some tensions that need to be ironed out, explaining, “She’s just emerged to do one song. It could have been a few songs, but Lindsey’s very funny about that. Chris left in 1998, and we didn’t start (the) Say You Will (album) until 2002. It took us that long to figure out what the hell we were going to do without her — or even if we could do without her.”
When the interviewer told Nicks that Buckingham had asked the magazine not to use a group shot featuring McVie on the cover of Mojo’s recent Rumours retrospective, Nicks went on to say, “I think his words to us we, ‘She can’t just come and go.’ That’s important to him, but it’s not quite so important to me. . . Much as Lindsey adores her — and he does; she’s the only one in Fleetwood Mac he was ever willing to listen to, he doesn’t want the first might reviews to be all about Christine’s one song, rather than the set we rehearsed for two months.”
Although Fleetwood Mac still performs some Christine McVie material — “Don’t Stop” and “World Turning,” her 1975 co-write with Lindsey Buckingham — he told us that he and Stevie Nicks don’t feel the need to go overboard in filling the setlist with McVie’s songs: “Obviously we’re not doing too much of the Christine stuff. We’re trying to show her the respect just by including one or two. We don’t feel like we have to go out and do all of her songs.”
via USMagazine.com and Eonline.com — agree or not?
Jmw26red wrote: “I hope she does. I saw them in Vegas back in May and it was a bummer in the fact that they didnt do any of the songs where she sang lead vocals. The concert was still awesome as it was on Stevie’s birthday.”
Pat Geary wrote: “They all miss the spotlight – and the money”
Drea wrote: “I highly doubt they are hurting for money.”
Jim Bodkin wrote: “I’d love to see her back in one of the great bands of all time.”
Mark wrote: “Lack of money changes everything! Realizing you are now 70 also has an effect!”
gary wright wrote: “That would be so heavy if she did, in fact, rejoin the band. Her contributions, without exception, were a real asset to their style. She was able to adjust to all of the band member changes, and still maintained that blues rock, that worked well with even in their rock tunes. Man, I have always thought that she had class and although she wasn’t flashy like Stevie Nicks, when she joined the band, she didn’t take a backseat either. Good news on McVie as well. That group would probably be as good as it was thirty years ago.”
Michael wrote: “I’m 75 and that news brought tears to my eyes, I can ‘t wait.”
Blossom wrote: “McVie is CRUCIAL to the band’s over all sound. Stevie may be the queen soloist but without McVie it’s just Stevie and her backup band. McVie is where the signature FM sound comes from. Not the same without her, imo.”
cfred wrote: “I’d love to see Christine back in the band. Brilliant songwriter, keyboardist and vocalist.”
Christine McVie wrote some of Fleetwood Mac’s most enduring hits, including 1975’s “Over My Head” (#20) and “Say You Love Me” (#11); 1977’s “Don’t Stop” (#3) and “You Make Loving Fun” (#9); 1979’s “Think About Me” (#20); 1982’s “Hold Me” (#4) and “Love In Store” (#22); and 1987’s “Little Lies” (#4) and “Everywhere” (#14).
She scored a solo Top 10 hit with 1984’s “Got A Hold On Me” (#10)
In 2003 McVie was credited as an additional musician on Fleetwood Mac’s last full-length studio set, Say You Will. She contributed keyboards and backing vocals on “Bleed To Love Her” and “Steal Your Heart Away.”
In 2004 Christine McVie released her third solo album, In The Meantime, which she collaborated on with her nephew, Dan Perfect.
Christine McVie: I want to rejoin Fleetwood Mac. Singer and songwriter says she would like to return to band she left 15 years ago – if they want her back.
When Christine McVie joined her old band, Fleetwood Mac, onstage during their recent shows at the O2 in London, it was billed as little more than a special treat for fans.
Yet the group’s singer, keyboardist and songwriter seems to have caught the bug and has said she would like to rejoin permanently. “I like being with the band, the whole idea of playing music with them,” she said. “I miss them all. If they were to ask me I would probably be very delighted … but it hasn’t happened so we’ll have to wait and see.”
McVie was with the band for 28 years before quitting in 1998. “I think I was just music’d out,” she said. “I suffered from some kind of delusion that I wanted to be an English country girl, a Sloane Ranger or something … and it took me 15 years to realise that it’s not really what I wanted at all.”
McVie was the band’s main songwriter and central to its transformation from a blues group to the current incarnation featuring Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham that created the pop-oriented sound behind huge-selling albums such as Rumours and Tango in the Night. McVie wrote Don’t Stop, Songbird and Everywhere, among many others.
She has never before expressed regrets about leaving and has spent the past decade living a reclusive life in a 17th-century mansion in Kent. Despite this, she thrilled fans during Fleetwood Mac’s current tour by joining the band for a run-through of Don’t Stop. McVie said playing with the band again was like riding a bike. “It was amazing, like I’d never left. I climbed back on there again and there they were, the same old faces on stage.”
Fleetwood Mac are on a tour break after cancelling several Australian and New Zealand dates after news that their bassist, John McVie, has cancer. They plan to resume touring when he is better. McVie said her ex-husband’s prognosis was “really good. He’s having his treatment in LA right now, but they caught it really early so he should be up and running in a couple of months.”
Nicks has often said she wants Christine McVie to rejoin. However, recent reports suggest guitarist Buckingham is worried her appearance could steal the limelight. McVie said this was “fair enough. From his point of view, it was a business thing. [Promoters] would be asking why I wasn’t playing in Amsterdam or Berlin. They obviously wanted headlines about them, not me, and I quite agree with that.”
McVie accepts rejoining is a long way off. “It’s a long way down that path if it ever were to happen. John’s got to get well first, so it hasn’t been talked about. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Her remarks were made in a Guardian interview with her and Nicks to be published later this year. During the interview, in which they discuss their friendship, their decadent 1970s lifestyle and experiences of sexism in the music industry.
In an 11-month, 13-country (so far) adventure there have been plenty of “I’d die happy” moments.
But, despite an ever-burgeoning passport, a self-satisfying list of European sights and South American escapades, and mastering the art of slipping through the masses to score the last empty seat on the Tube, I’ve struggled to think of another moment to top my list of moments since setting off on the Big OE.
Yes, folks, you might have tickets to Vector Arena but I defy you to trump seeing Fleetwood Mac belt out folksy rock jam after jam at London’s O2 Arena.
The evening did not start off the way I hoped.
After making the mistake of first heading to a bar in the Square Mile for some pre-show drinks (oh sure, I’ll pay [PndStlg]19 for a shared cocktail that arrives in a miniature bathtub filled mainly of ice- cubes not booze, and, oh sure, I’d love to be surrounded by Hooray Henrys loudly discussing how many zeros are in their salaries! That doesn’t sound irritating at all) we came to our senses and decided to venture to the surely packed-to-the-brim bars around the stadium.
From there the night was on a steady, skyrocketing improve.
In a moment of sheer brilliance, a consensus to buy some cheap Sav at a mini Tesco was reached so, upon arrival in Greenwich, we joined the troupe of concert-goers lounging around the concrete, supping in both London’s tacit approval of public drinking and the surprisingly balmy autumn evening.
(The evening’s warm-up entertainment: peering at the group of people taking part in the newest craze for London singletons, a group blind-date version of Up At the O2 — getting strapped into a harness and venturing out onto the 52m-high walkway, in the dark no less, is one way to sort the men from the boys, I s’pose.)
Then it was time for the night to reach what I thought would be its pinnacle — hours of live Fleetwood Mac listening pleasure.
There aren’t many bands that sound as good live as they do on their polished- to-perfection iTunes downloads. Even fewer that can make that claim, when the average age of its five “classic” members clocks in at 66.4 years.
Fleetwood Mac is not one of those bands.
Ignoring the buzz-kills who seem to crop up at every concert — I kid you not, the guy next to me had his fingers in his ears the whole time — and the burning in my heel-clad feet, I was one of those who defied the posse of lemony ladies, and the security guards they tried to enlist, who kept insisting everybody “sit down.”
At. A. Concert.
Most people have one act that serves as their happy place.
For me, that’s Fleetwood Mac, who have been a constant presence during summers in Wanaka, house parties, and road trips since ages ago.
So to be in the audience at the O2 — a venue that would be hard to beat, no matter who you’re listening to — was magic.
To be in the audience to witness Christine McVie — arguably the band’s most underrated member — perform with them since the Nineties, was even better.
That, my friends, was the pinnacle.
(Of the night, and possibly also my life.)
The only disappointment, apres- concert, was watching the video clips I somehow managed to shoot, and being confronted with now-irrefutable proof my alleged singing is actually more like tone-deaf warbling.
Once, I made a special point to thank Mum in public for teaching me all the words to Fleetwood Mac.
I’m not sure the people around me would agree — and maybe that explains the dude next to me — but what I said then still stands.
This week, former Fleetwood Mac band member Christine McVie chooses the Tracks Of My Years and she opens with a classic Beach Boys song from their groundbreaking album Pet Sounds along with a Steely Dan track featured on their acclaimed long player Gaucho. Plus there’s the Record and Album Of The Week and the Monday round of PopMaster. Christine McVie joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970 while married to founder member John McVie. She left the band in 1998 shortly after Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Christine is currently working on new solo material which is planned for a forthcoming album which she describes as marking a return to her musical sound from the seventies.
Christine McVie – Tracks of My Years DURATION: 15:26
Former Fleetwood Mac band member Christine McVie picks the music for Tracks of My Years.
God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
Babylon Sisters – Steely Dan
I Know You’re Out There Somewhere – The Moody Blues
Man Of The World – Fleetwood Mac
Let’s Dance – David Bowie
That Ole Devil Called Love – Billie Holiday
Raspberry Beret – Prince
Races Are Run – Buckingham Nicks
Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
Mexico – James Taylor
Here is another excerpt from Jenny Boyd’s new book, It’s Not Only Rock ‘n’ Roll: Iconic Musicians Reveal the Source of Their Creativity. The following passages describe how Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie became interested in music.
“…songwriter, singer and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham got positive signals from his family to follow his heart: “In general, my parents were supportive of everything; they were supportive of me as a person. When I first started playing music at age six, I didn’t take lessons; I just learned to play by ear and by listening to my brother’s records. It was a hobby, something ingrained in me at a very young age, so the guitar has always been there. I never felt like I had to sit down and learn to play the guitar. It was something that excited me, that animated me; that charged me up. It meant a great deal to me. I would just play along to songs and learn chords, and my style just sort of evolved. I don’t think my mother was of a mind that music would be something that I should pursue professionally. I think she knew the entertainment business was a rough one, and that there was a lot of pitfalls and a heavy lack of stability. So she didn’t encourage me to seek that out, but she certainly encouraged me to play.”
Music was an essential part of her childhood, recalled songwriter, singer and pianist Christine McVie: “There was always a piano in the house, and I started playing it when I was about five years old. My dad wanted both my brother, John, and me to play. His father had played the organ in Westminster Abbey, but when he died, Dad had to become chief breadwinner. He had wanted to go to college to pursue his musical studies, but he couldn’t. Instead, he had to get a job playing in the orchestra pits during pantomimes and things like that. Later on he finished his studies and became a music teacher. I learned to play the cello at school when I was 11, and my dad also used to give me lessons. Our family had a string quartet playing in the house at Christmas time: my dad and John on violin, my mum on viola, and me on cello. It was fun.”
This week, former Fleetwood Mac band member Christine McVie chooses the Tracks Of My Years and she opens with a classic Beach Boys song from their groundbreaking album Pet Sounds along with a Steely Dan track featured on their acclaimed long player Gaucho. Plus there’s the Record and Album Of The Week and the Monday round of PopMaster. Christine McVie joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970 while married to founder member John McVie. She left the band in 1998 shortly after Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Christine is currently working on new solo material which is planned for a forthcoming album which she describes as marking a return to her musical sound from the seventies.
Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes First broadcast: Monday 07 October 2013
Christine McVie graced the stage of the O2 Arena for a second night at the third and final London show of the 2013 European tour. McVie, who surprised concert attendees on Wednesday night with an appearance during Fleetwood Mac’s first encore, performed “Don’t Stop” and joined her former bandmates for a bow after the performance.
Fleetwood Mac continues the UK leg of the tour, moving on to Birmingham for a Sunday night show at LG Arena.
Watch Christine McVie perform ‘Don’t Stop’ with Fleetwood Mac
(courtesy of drbryant23 & jasonbuck)
Second Hand News (courtesy of MsCrims)
Sad Angel -partial (courtesy of Samantha Ellson)
Big Love (courtesy of jasonbuck)
Landslide (courtesy of MsCrims)
Landslide (courtesy of Megan S)
Gold Dust Woman (courtesy of MsCrims)
Go Your Own Way – partial (courtesy of Megan S)
Silver Springs – partial (courtesy of Samantha Ellson)
Lindsey Buckingham nearly blocked last night’s onstage reunion, reveals Stevie Nicks in MOJO scoop.
Stevie Nicks has talked to MOJO about Christine McVie’s on-stage return to Fleetwood Mac last night at London’s O2 Arena.
Speaking in an interview to be published in MOJO 241 (UK shelf date October 29) the diminutive Mac singer confirmed that while McVie, who left the group in 1998, has “just returned to do one song” it could have been “a few songs” if it hadn’t been for one particular stumbling block.
“I think Lindsey’s words were ‘She can’t just come and go’.”
“Lindsey [Buckingham] is very funny about that,” Nicks told MOJO’s James McNair. “I think his words were ‘She can’t just come and go’. That’s important to him, but it’s not quite so important to me. Much as Lindsey adores her; and he does – she’s the only one in Fleetwood Mac he was ever willing to listen to – he doesn’t want the first night reviews to be all about Christine’s one song, rather than the set we rehearsed for two months.”
McVie was met with rapturous applause last night when she joined her old band to play keyboards and sing Don’t Stop, and she will be appearing with the group again at their final O2 show tomorrow. But, while the route to the stage hasn’t necessarily been a smooth one, Nicks also added that “it will be wonderful to have her back up there with us. And from there who knows.”
In a candid, funny and emotional interview, Nicks goes on to discuss her childhood, her solo career (“Fleetwood Mac weren’t that impressed”) the “unresolved” aspects of her and Buckingham’s relationship, and the bizarre night she slept on the floor of Prince’s purple kitchen.
Rock legends don’t come much bigger or more iconic than the Mac, and these shows look set to be typically historic. But what can fans expect from the most anticipated tour of 2013?
From rumours about Rumours, the return of Christine McVie, a hit-packed set list, celebrities and specials guests, here are 12 very special reasons to get excited at Fleetwood Mac playing live in London.
1. Christine McVie – She’s back in the Mac! Despite Stevie Nicks claiming that they were ‘never, ever, ever getting back together’, the reunion was confirmed earlier this year, with drummer Mick Fleetwood telling Gigwise: “I think she’s going to come and do the last two shows in London. It’s going to be great – Christine’s music is so much part of Fleetwood Mac. She’s been gone now for many, many years and she’s like my sister.”
2. Hits – When the band’s tour reached Dublin last week, they delighted fans with an epic, career-spanning 23 song set that packed in all of the fan favourites. Prepare to lose your mind to ‘The Chain’, ‘Dreams’, Rhiannon’, ‘Tusk’, ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Go Your Own Way’ and many, many, many more.
3. All generations – Unlike some ‘classic’ bands, it won’t all be older people trying to relive their youth. Fleetwood Mac manage to appeal to everyone, so expect to see a complete mix of people – from children to grandparents.
4. The famous chemistry – The onstage tension between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks is a thing of legend. From the way they hug at the end of ‘Sara’ to Stevie turning her back on Lindsey during the ‘shacking up’ line in ‘Go Your Own Way’, the history between the two of them only serves to add an extra-special magic to the songs.
5. Lots of love for Rumours: The tour happens to coincide with the re-release of the famous Rumours, which could lead to more songs than usual from the ’76 album. Stevie said to Rolling Stone, “There are a lot of songs on Rumours that are in the set no matter what. I think what will happen is we’ll end up talking about it onstage. Most of those songs are in our set anyway. We’ll just end up telling stories and talking about how these things happen. It’s always fun to share that with your audience.”
6. Eight minute drum solo – Last time of touring, Mick Fleetwood chose to perform an eight minute drum solo that teetered on the balance of brilliant and insane. As one reviewer put it, “This was a refreshingly spontaneous moment, including mostly incomprehensible calls from the drummer to the audience, ‘Are you blah blah blah?'”
7. Stevie Nicks solo material: The band dropped in the Nicks’ solo track ‘Stand Back’ at their Dublin show, and with her new LP In Your Dreams out soon, the band could well delight London with a couple more songs.
8. Stevie Nicks’ trademark twirls – Google ‘Stevie Nicks twirl’ and there are tons of results. Stevie’s trademark twirl is a thing to behold – and we doubt we’ll ever know how she manages that without seemingly ever getting dizzy. Witchcraft?!
9. Something different – Stevie Nicks told The Guardian, “This is going to be a very different tour. The audience is going to see a very different Fleetwood Mac up there – we talked about how we really need to appreciate what we have and who we are and how far we’ve come.” So who knows what you could see – although there’s no doubt that whatever it is, it’ll be worth it.
10. Celebrities – Yup, prepare to get celeb-spotting for those famous few that managed to swag a free ticket. The Mac’s recent US tour attracted the likes of Nicole Richie and Jennifer Aniston. The least we can hope for in London is Fleetwood superfan Jeremy Clarkson.
11. Special guests? It’s pure speculation, but here’s hoping that the Mac ‘do a Rolling Stones’ and invite a special guest or two on stage. Heaven knows there must be a long line of artists queuing up to perform with them. Notably, The Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart (pictured with the band here) recently worked with Nicks on her latest studio LP. Maybe he’ll come along?
12. A taste of what’s to come? Fear not, this may not be the last we’ve seen of The Mac. When asked if we can expect to see them at UK festivals next summer, Mick Fleetwood replied: “I hope so, I would love that. This has been a tough year on the road, but having said that, the boys in the band are hoping that our lady will think kindly about doing a few of the festivals.”
Andrew Trendell / Gigwise (UK) / Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Fleetwood Mac have opened up about their upcoming reunion with former keyboardist Christine McVie at their upcoming London shows. Watch our video interview with Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood above.
The rock icons are currently on a critically acclaimed world tour that reaches the UK at the end of the month. Speaking to Gigwise at the London premiere of frontwoman Stevie Nicks’ new movie documentary about her new solo album, In Your Dreams, we asked band members about the hotly-anticipated London shows where McVie has been confirmed to rejoin the band on stage.
“I think she’s going to come and do the last two shows in London,” said drummer Mick Fleetwood. “It’s going to be great – Christine’s music is so much part of Fleetwood Mac. She’s been gone now for many, many years and she’s like my sister.
“We’re going to make her feel comfortable and have fun and I think people will love it. She’s always honoured by the nature of her songs and the depth of that. When she decided to leave 14 or 16 years ago, we were sad and thought that maybe she’d come back, but she made that choice.”
He continued: “A lot of people are saying ‘is she going to come back?’ and the answer to that is that she would be welcome, but that would be her choice. We will see. At some point we’re going to knock it on the head, I’m not sure when, but in that context it would be something that would be entertained.”
Frontwoman Stevie Nicks added: “She’s coming to do two nights here and probably do ‘Don’t Stop’. I’m not sure, but she’s coming to Dublin to rehearse whatever song she’s going to do. We never wanted her to leave, so for us it’s amazing that she is going to come.”
Stevie Nicks’ In Your Dreams will be released on DVD in November. The 4CD box set ‘Fleetwood Mac: 25 Years – The Chain’ is out now.
The UK leg of the tour starts in Dublin on September 20 and wraps up in Glasgow on October 3. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit Gigwise Gig Tickets.
Full UK tour dates:
September 20 – Dublin, O2
September 24, 25 & 27 – London, O2 Arena
September 29 – Birmingham, LG Arena
October 1 – Manchester, Manchester Arena
October 3 – Glasgow, The Hydro
Andrew Trendell / Gigwise / Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The cameras were flashing for this highly anticipated event: Christine McVie reuniting with members of Fleetwood Mac. On Monday evening, McVie and fellow guest Mick Fleetwood attended the UK film premiere of Stevie Nicks and Dave Stewart’s In Your Dreams documentary. McVie looked charming as she smiled and posed alongside Dave Stewart and her former Fleetwood Mac bandmates.
McVie’s confirmed guest appearances at two London shows is also highly anticipated. McVie, who will rehearse with Fleetwood Mac later this week in Ireland, will perform with the band during “Don’t Stop.” The European leg of the tour starts on Friday in Dublin, Ireland.
Taking place at the Curzon Mayfair, London on Monday 16th September, Nicks will also be joined by Dave Stewart who collaborated with her on the documentary. The film opens just ahead of Fleetwood Mac’s 2013 World Tour which kicks off in Dublin on 20th September.
The premiere will be introduced by journalist Craig MacLean who will host a Q&A with Nicks before the screening.
The synopsis for In Your Dreams is:
Co-produced and co-directed by Dave Stewart, “In Your Dreams shows the up close and personal musical journey that the two artists embarked on in Nicks’ Los Angeles home as they wrote and recorded an album during what Nicks called “the greatest year of my life”. Nicks felt compelled to share the joyful experience with her fans on what she termed “the day the circus came to town”. The record was co-written by Nicks and Stewart and produced by Stewart and Glen Ballard.
A multi Grammy Award winning artist and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Nicks allowed cameras inside her magical old mansion high atop the hills of LA with a wild cast of musicians and friends. The inner life of the legendary Nicks has by her design long been kept at a distance from the public. We learn in “Dreams” that her world features costume parties, elaborate dinner feasts, tap dancing, fantasy creations and revealing song writing and recording sessions all of which are captured on film. There are cameos by Edgar Allan Poe, Mick Fleetwood, Reese Witherspoon, a massive white stallion in the backyard, owls and naturally a few vampires who appear in several “home movie” style music videos.
In addition to the story of the Nicks / Stewart creative partnership, “In Your Dreams” has plenty of other cinematic payoffs including rare never before seen personal scrapbook stills from Nicks’ childhood and family life and a wealth of candid backstage and performance shots taken over the last 35 years. The documentary was produced by Dave Stewart’s production company, Weapons of Mass Entertainment.
Christine McVie may be the most underrated of the five members of Fleetwood Mac’s “classic” lineup. She’s been with the band since the days with Peter Green, wrote songs like “Don’t Stop,” “You Make Loving Fun”, and “Say You Love Me,” and you probably didn’t know that she hasn’t been in the band proper since 1998. Since then, she has repeatedly refused to perform live with the band (despite performing on two songs on their last album, Say You Will). And Mick Fleetwood has given up on asking her to rejoin, but apparently, Christine has softened her stance.
In September, the band will perform three gigs at London’s O2 Arena, and Christine has said that she would be willing to do a duet at one of those concerts. Quoth Christine McVie: “If they wanted me to, I might pop back on stage when they’re in London just to do a little duet or something like that.”
Also, quoth Mick Fleetwood: “A lot of bands, including us, never know when the audience is going to finally disappear,” he said. “But we have a whole influx of new fans, young people who’ve been brought up on us by their parents or picked us up on the internet. There’ll be people on this tour in their seventies and others seeing us for the first time, and that’s really cool.”
And because I have two other Fleetwood Mac articles in my queue, one dating back all the way from February, and this article is short, I may as well cover those two here.
Earlier in the year, Mick Fleetwood spoke about the interpersonal dynamics of the group: “The biggest misconception to me is that these people really don’t like each other. That’s the worst rumour about Rumours. There’s bands out there, usually a bunch of guys, who don’t give a — about each other. They just come to an arrangement. We can’t do that. We’re all ex-lovers, so we don’t have that corporate, guy thing where it’s just ‘get the job done’. I think it bodes in our favour that, in a funny, shaky way, there is some integrity. We do actually love each other, for real. Unfortunately. ‘Cause it’s tough.”
And on the subject of ex-lovers in the group, Lindsey Buckingham had this to say about his relationship with Stevie Nicks: throughout their songs, there’s a “Subtext of love” between the two of them. Though they broke up while making Rumours, they still maintain a professional relationship.
Quoth Buckingham: “There’s a subtext of love between us, and it would be hard to deny that much of what we’ve accomplished had something to do with trying to prove something to each other. Maybe that’s fucked up but this is someone I’ve known since I was 16, and I think on some weird level we’re still trying to work some things out. There will never be romance there, but there are other kinds of love to be had.”
When asked how he can work with an ex-girlfriend, he said: “You get used to it. And for me, getting married and having children was a positive outcome. I wonder sometimes how Stevie feels about the choices she made, because she doesn’t really have a relationship — she has her career. But there are a few chapters to be written in the Stevie-Lindsey legacy.”
Stevie Nicks replied that, while it was difficult at first, the duo recognised their priorities: “We never, ever, with everything that happened to us, ever, let love affairs break Fleetwood Mac up.” Well, at least they worked out their problems better than Richard and Linda Thompson did. Stay tuned for another Gallagher Brothers article in the near future.
Our moonwalking pony ad for Three mobile is now topping the global viral charts. Second Sync, which analyzes Twitter conversations, says that the video generated 14,000 tweets within five hours of its internet premiere on Friday.
But even more excitingly, we got a telephone call from Martin Wyatt, manager of Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac, the writer and performer of the song ‘Everywhere’ that soundtracks the ad. He told us that Christine is “absolutely thrilled to bits” that we used ‘Everywhere’ and wanted to congratulate whoever made the decision to use it in the ad. She “absolutely loves” the ad and has been “glued to the TV all weekend” waiting for it to come back on. Our Three team is a bit starstruck and overwhelmed at this news.
A nonstop tour schedule of one-night stands since April 15 has left singer-songwriter Christine McVie more than a mite weary. Her lack of energy was evident in concert Thursday night at Sunrise Musical Theatre, and was the only deterrent to an otherwise fine performance.
McVie was in good voice, right on the mark with her distinctive smoky, sleepy, blues singing style. She was backed by an excellent five-piece band, most of whose members also accompanied her on her recently released solo album, titled Christine McVie. Her repertoire was a well-chosen selection of her solo songs, as well as those she has recorded in her 13-year career with Fleetwood Mac.
McVie’s reputation as a laid-back performer seems to have preceded her throughout her first tour apart from the legendary band. Sunrise Theatre was less than half full, as has been the case at many of McVie’s other stops. This was unfortunate, not only for McVie and band, but also for those who missed the show, an enjoyable and musically proficient package of ballads, rockabilly and basic rock ‘n’ roll.
McVie is more than aware that the tour hasn’t been a big draw.
“Being on solo tour is less and more than I expected,” she said after the show. “Actually, I expected more people, but I’m happy with the response from the people that did come out.”
Those who did made up for their small numbers with a warm reception, which became warmer and louder as McVie seemed to pick up on their positive vibes and opened up, if just a little.
Accompanying herself on electric and acoustic piano, McVie sang most of the songs from the Christine McVie album, including its two singles — “Got a Hold on Me,” which became a hit soon after its release, and “Love Will Show Us How,” now rising on the charts. Also memorable were her album cuts “Ask Anybody,” a haunting ballad that clearly displays the soulful emotion of McVie’s voice, and “So Excited,” a rollicking rockabilly-style number.
For the most part, the songs from McVie’s solo album sounded better than the Fleetwood Mac hits she sang — “Hold Me,” “Over My Head,” “You Make Loving Fun” and “Don’t Stop.” “Don’t Stop,” especially, sounded rather empty without Stevie Nicks’ high accompanying vocals.
McVie’s back-up band nearly made up for her subdued manner with an energetic, rhythmic performance. Lead guitarist Todd Sharp (especially notable for some hot breaks), guitarist Steve Bruton, bassist George Hawkins, drummer Steve Ferrone and keyboardist Eddy Quintela formed a tight, balanced unit. When the three guitarists performed without McVie on Guitar Bug, a bouncy rocker a la Chuck Berry, the audience responded almost as enthusiastically as it did at McVie’s encore.
McVie, who said she plans to record another solo album after helping Fleetwood Mac complete its new LP, looked smashingly British in red suede boots, a black and white leopard-spotted blouse, black vest and jeans.
Opening the show for McVie was the Baxter Robertson Band, a five-piece Los Angeles-based rock group with a good beat, some promising songs, and a hard-working lead singer-guitarist- saxophone player.
Linda R. Thornton / Miami Herald (FL) / June 2, 1984
It has certainly become fashionable for members of a superstar band to break out with their own solo LPs.
Fleetwood Mac is a case in point. Side projects have made a solo star of the group’s resident mystic dreamer Stevie Nicks, and won critical renown for the rock eccentricities of Lindsey Buckingham. Mick Fleetwood has jumped at exotic African recording opportunities (for The Visitor) and hit the road with Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo. Unfortunately, Mick also has found himself recently in the bankruptcy courts.
Pianist/vocalist/songwriter Christine McVie, the 40-year-old earth mother of Fleetwood Mac, is a latecomer to the solo LP arena. Now, she’s making up for lost time with an absolutely delicious Warner Brothers release of romantic rock shufflers (Christine McVie), and a tour bringing her to the Tower Theater tomorrow.
Self-doubts, she says, have held her back from solo-land ever since 1968, when last this native Britisher headlined an LP as Christine Perfect, then stepping out from her blues cocoon Chicken Shack.
“People have constantly been saying, ‘When is Christine going to do her album, when, when, when?’,” she says. “But I wasn’t ready when everybody else was doing it. I didn’t want that kind of pressure or responsibility. Also, I’m always insecure about material.”
This, you gotta understand, is coming from the woman who has contributed the likes of “Show Me a Smile,” “Over My Head,” “Say You Love Me,” “You Make Lovin’ Fun,” “Think About Me,” “Hold Me” and “Love In Store” to the big Mac. However, producing three songs for a group project, knowing that your work will be balanced out by two or three other composers, isn’t nearly as difficult as doing it all yourself, she suggests. “I tend to get bored by solo artists.”
So McVie’s LP, carefully planned out in California (a switch from FM’s painful “wing it-in-the-studio” approach) and then recorded in Montreux, Switzerland, and London, is also a collaborative effort. It’s designed, she says to “protect my own interests.” Guitarist Todd Sharp, whom she met when he was playing with former Mac member Bob Welch, co-authored five songs with Christine. Alone or with other writers, Sharp also takes credit for three of the remaining five tracks. “Ask Anybody” is a McVie-Stevie Winwood collaboration. Eric Clapton, Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham make instrumental contributions.
“Got a Hold On Me” has gotten the most radio play, to date. Now a very funny video for “Love Will Show Us How,” featuring Paul “Eating Raoul” Bartel as a symbolism-crazed director, is boosting the cause of that song.
The LP’s sound is comfortingly familiar to Mac fans, though a bit happier, overall, than one might have suspected from the often bittersweet McVie. ”There was no particular thing I aimed at. I do have a personal love for close harmonies and guitars. And I do think I might have backtracked toward a blues flavor that’s been missing from recent songs with the band.”
Yes, Virginia, there is still a Fleetwood Mac. The two once-married, now divorced couples in the band (Christine and John McVie, Nicks and Buckingham) are getting on quite amiably, claims McVie (which may explain why recent group albums have lacked the bitter sting of their soap-opera-on-vinyl Rumours.) Another FM group recording project, she says, is scheduled for the fall.
Jonathan Takiff / Philadelphia Daily News / May 18, 1984
Christine McVie’s current solo album and cheery single, “Got a Hold on Me,” are being hailed as her first work apart from Fleetwood Mac.
But the 40-year -old singer and songwriter, who appears in concert here Saturday, also had a solo effort in 1969 that was well-regarded but which she’d rather forget.
“The Christine Perfect Album” might have sounded too boastful at the time, but Perfect was her maiden name.
Miss Perfect was born in Birmingham, England, to a musical family.
Her grandfather once played organ in Westminster Abbey. Her father began a musical career, switched in order to support the family, but eventually earned his teaching degree and became professor of music at the local university, where he still plays violin with a local ensemble.
Young Christine, meanwhile, got her piano lessons.
“I absolutely hated it,” she said. “And my parents eventually let me stop.”
She pursued art instruction, returning to the piano years later when she became interested in classical music. It wasn’t until her older brother John introduced her to some Fats Domino records.
She hung around the burgeoning British folk and blues scene, sang with Spencer Davis for a time and eventually joined some friends in a blues band that became known as Chicken Shack.
Around the same time, she married John McVie, a bassist for another struggling young British band, Fleetwood Mac, and was about to quit Chicken Shack for the married life.
“I was quite happy being a housewife,” she said. “But I had sung a soul ballad on my last album with Chicken Shack, and a British music paper gave me an award for it top female vocalist of the year.”
Managers at the time urged her to capitalize on the honor. So the Christine Perfect album was issued. It was well – received at the time but hardly a hit.
It probably sold more copies when it was reissued in 1977 to cash in on her mega – success as part of Fleetwood Mac.
Didn’t Mean It
“I really didn’t intend to launch that first, disastrous solo career,” she said recently. “I did around 10 shows in pubs and other small venues. Not many other women were doing this sort of underground club circuit in the late ’60s.
“And I was very immature emotionally; I wasn’t at all ready for it. I wanted to be with John. Then there were some personnel changes in Fleetwood Mac. I played keyboards on an album of theirs and then was asked to join the band.”
Her first appearance on a Fleetwood Mac album came, uncredited, in 1969 with Then Play On. On 1970’s Kiln House she took a larger role, providing vocals, keyboards and another talent she painted the album cover.
Fleetwood Mac had formed as a blues band in 1967, but had been changing since the departure of founder Peter Green.
As an official member of the band in 1971, Miss McVie also began to write songs for the first time. They were light, frothy love songs that began with “Show Me a Smile” on the Future Games album and extended into some of the band’s biggest hits in 1976: “Over My Head” and “Say You Love Me.”
By that time, Fleetwood Mac reached a favorable mix with two Los Angeles singer – songwriters named Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, and the first album under the new lineup, titled simply Fleetwood Mac, sold 4 million copies.
The success put a strain on relationships in the band and in 1976, the McVies split. Buckingham and Miss Nicks also ended their romance.
It all provided great material for music, though, and the next album, Rumours, sold more than 15 million copies.
In the past few years, drummer Mick Fleetwood, Buckingham and Miss Nicks have turned out solo albums, but this is the first for Miss McVie since the success of Fleetwood Mac. She thinks it will help the band.
“Fleetwood Mac has a reputation for taking a long time. It’s tough with five people with relatively big egos because there’s an almost constant changing of minds.”
Her album, she said, “went so smoothly because everybody was prepared and knew what they were supposed to do. I think we should make demos of the songs just before the album is due to commence. It really makes life a lot easier. I never want to spend a year in the studio again to make one record, that’s for sure.”
The touring band includes Todd Sharp on guitar, Steve Ferrone on drums and George Hawkins on bass all of whom also appear on the album along with Eddy Wuintela on additional keyboards and Stephen Bruton on rhythm guitar.
She connected with Sharp and Hawkins after they backed Fleetwood on his two solo efforts. Guest stars on the record, recorded last year in Montreux, Switzerland, include Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood as well as Mick Fleetwood and Buckingham.
The most recent of Fleetwood Mac’s appearances in the state was in October 1982 at Lincoln’s Bob Devaney Sports Center.
By comparison, the City Auditorium Music Hall will be a much more intimate setting to hear the songs by Miss McVie. Opening the show is Baxter Robinson.
Tickets for Saturday’s Christine McVie concert at the Auditorium Music Hall are $12.75 and are available at the Auditorium box office, Brandeis, Pickles, TIX and Uncle John’s in Sioux City.
Roger Catlin / Omaha World-Herald (NE) / April 22, 1984
In Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie appears as the stable Earth-bound performer balanced against Stevie Nicks’ wild flights of fancy and unfocused demeanor. The rock vs. the roll.
McVie’s balancing number is more than just an act. She is a solid performer on her own as well, as her quiet take-control attitude indicated last night at the Fox Theater.
The sparse, sedate crowd seemed to have the same quiet respect for McVie’s work as did the performer herself. The applause was frequent but controlled, and when McVie performed some of her early ’70s music, the loyal fans sighed in remembrance.
“Say You Love Me” opened the set without much fanfare. McVie played keyboards and other than a few hellos and intros to the songs was silent and determined as she switched from old tunes to songs from her latest album.
Fleetwood Mac brought her to prominence and McVie was wise enough to know the crowd wanted to hear the Mac hits. Once the audience became receptive she launched into some of the songs off her solo album.
The Christine McVie album has the talents of Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood contributing vocals and instruments.
“Ask Anybody,” co-written with Winwood, was well-received as was the slightly countrified “So Excited.” Both songs were flavored a little differently than the standard McVie love ballads.
It is the sameness of her songs that is McVie’s short suit. Almost all the tunes are about love — happy love — and most have the familiar Mick Fleetwood drum emphasis.
Steve Ferrone plays drums on her album and on tour. The surprising difference is that on the album the beat becomes monotonous. Last night, his drumming gave a tougher rock sound to many of McVie’s numbers.
Guitarist Todd Sharp was a vital toehold for McVie, saving many numbers from degenerating into bland white-bread rock ‘n’ roll.
Sharp co-wrote several songs on the Christine McVie album and his guitar playing adds a much-needed bite to the music.
This was not a hard-rocking type of concert, yet McVie conveys a tougher image than her soft ballads would suggest. One of her classics, “Spare Me A Little,” proved a powerfully tight song that received spontaneous applause.
However, a new, mellow love tune, “Your Smile is All I Live For,” fell flat. Even Sharp’s guitar bridge on this song was trite and one-dimensional.
Though McVie’s writing tends to fall into the top-40 genre, she brings a living fire and zest to her performance that is missing from her albums.
Ehrenfeld is a free-lance writer.
Marlee J. Ehrenfeld / San Diego Union-Tribune (CA) / April 17, 1984
Rating system: A record with a rating of 1 is worthless; 10 is exceptional.
Christine McVie (Warner Bros.) -When you talk about second-wave British blues musicians, you think of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck, perhaps Rod Stewart and maybe even Peter Frampton. Nobody thinks to include Christine McVie in this company, but she belongs there.
Her first solo album, recorded in the late 1960s under the name Christine Perfect, demonstrated a raw blues sensibility and a thick, expressive voice. After almost 15 years with Fleetwood
Mac, she has recorded her second solo album, and it proves that her musicianship only deepened during that time.
If the public has not been able to appreciate McVie next to her more flamboyant teammates — namely Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham — her peers know what she can do. Clapton and Winwood both contribute to this album, as do Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood.
McVie hardly needed their help, however. The songs are every bit as catchy as anything Fleetwood Mac has recorded, and McVie’s faithful, romantic moods aren’t constantly interrupted. There’s no one else for her to share time with here except collaborator Tood Sharp, who seems to share McVie’s sturdy songwriting style.
Nicks is like the prettiest girl in school, while McVie is the smartest. Nicks never had to develop her other abilities, and it shows as she ages. McVie, on the other hand, did her homework, and now she’s having all the fun. Rating: 9.
Rick Shefchik / Lexington Herald-Leader via Knight-Ridder News Service / February 26, 1984
Sandy Robertson finds out what’s eating Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac
CREDIBILITY IS a weird thing, that’s for sure. Impossible to explain how it is attained, difficult to define once it has arrived. But one thing is assured: whatever it is, Fleetwood Mac have it.
From a blues band to a broken unit with deranged members exiting left and right to an unknown outfit in American exile to a megabuck mélange of wild divorcees, credibility has (surprisingly) never been far behind the Mac. Even at their hugest with Fleetwood Mac and Rumours, they were the West Coast kids you were still allowed to like. Cripes, they could still release a double LP (Tusk) at enormous recording expense and be lauded for it: when they played Wembley the Mac got good reviews. Charmed lives, or a mirage?
Mirage is the title of the brand new Fleetwood Mac LP and Christine McVie, as one of the English part of the band has been dispatched straight to London with a rough cassette of the work to play for sundry hacks. And I, being the first of the day, am (gasp!) told that I am the first scribbler in the world to hear the new Fleetwood Mac album!!!
If I’m not wowed by the mystery, I’m jazzed by the trax: Mirage could almost be an album by another band, were it not for the assured harmonies and confident playing, the mood is so optimistic and up. Titles, hitpicks? “Oh Diane,” “Love In Store,” “Book Of Love” (no not…), and “Hold Me,” to mention but a handful. Every cut I heard had that Mac magic.
Ms. McVie looks only slightly the worse for her Transatlantic wrestle with a failing Concord schedule, blonde hair offset by worldweary wrinkles as she sits in her plush suite. Extravagance? One had heard that the new Mac opus would represent a scaling down of the operations that led to Tusk costing as much as buying a whole studio. So was Mirage cheap?
“No, it took a year to make, but then in the meantime there was Lindsey, Mick and Stevie’s solo stuff, so in fact we had four albums in a year, which is pretty good if you look at it that way.
“But the money isn’t as fluid as it used to be, though Fleetwood Mac have never been known to do things in a cheap way, we definitely like to do things in style! We don’t have crates of Dom Perignon delivered to the studio every night, in the past it’s been outrageous. We don’t cut short on the music, just personal needs.”
Was it really all caviar and decadence?
“Caviar is an exaggeration, but our riders were ridiculous! One time Dennis Wilson came down and said ‘The food and booze you guys have here costs more per week than it’d cost me to hire a studio!’ It was kind of getting ludicrous,” she avows with a certain nostalgia in her voice.
I didn’t ask about the rumour of Coke bottle lids filled with their powdered namesake backstage at Wembley. Myth, myth…
She seems unperturbed by the vagaries of the Press and blissfully unsurprised by the good reviews.
“You get good Press, you get bad Press, if we get any Press it’s good! Just as long as they’re still writing about you. The thing is when you don’t get any at all you start worrying. We set the fashions, we don’t follow them”. I express surprise at how, er, raunchy they were live at Wembley.
“The albums are a lot cleaner in general, they’re well thought out. I figure there’s definitely two sides to Fleetwood Mac, the live side is a lot more rock ‘n’ roll than people think we are, we’re not so clean-cut.”
I bring up the view of Mac oft perpetrated that says a writer/performer as talented as Christine McVie must find it galling to be upstaged by a young Stevie Nicks running around and changing frocks all the time.
“Yeah, well she certainly does that! Believe me, I would hate to run around onstage changing clothes every five minutes and playing tambourines and things,” here her voice hints ever so slightly at claws extending in a feline manner. “I would hate to be in her shoes. I’m very happy, thank you, standing behind the keyboards. I’m a musician, y’know? I’m more a musician band member than a frontline…”, and her voice trails off for a second, the short silence making its own point.
“There’s no competition, In fact, she’s jealous of me because I can play keyboards better than her.”
Rock royalty of today suffer as much from intrusion into privacy as the Hollywood stars of old, but in the recent past Fleetwood Mac appeared to be revelling in the garish spotlight of who-is-doing-what-to-whom-with-what, an intergroup ménage-a-band scenario that wrecked relationships but sold records. In retrospect, do they resent all that?
“We joke about that now, it’s a source of amusement to us. Now the pain is no longer there we’re all really good friends. In fact, we create things just for fun. In fact, she deadpans before a guffaw, “I’m going out with Mick at the moment!”
Mirage reflects the upbeat current at work in Mac now, even on a ballad like McVie’s haunting “Only Over You.” Sadly, to these ears, there is nothing as willfully experimental as the title track of “Tusk” with its marching band pseudo-Charles Ives flavors.
“No, there’s nothing weird on it at all, there’s no little hidden goblins anywhere, it’s all straightforward simple rock ‘n’ roll songs. Tusk sold nine million copies so it can’t be too shabby can it? But a lot of people gave us flak about that album. It’s very different, very different, very Lindsey Buckingham. I’ll have to say that. He was going through some musical experiments at the time.
McVie swigs some wine, looking less like a rock star than an accountant’s wife from Maidenhead and compares Mirage to Rumours, noting the lyrical differences.
“These songs are an awful lot happier. Rumours was kind of the message of doom, the songs were up but the words were all about each other’s jaded love lives”.
Our photographer notes the resilience it must have taken to keep the band together while they all loathed each other.
“We just go from day to day,” she says, like an advice column, “We have done for seven years and I’m sure we will for another seven. Right now we’re fine. We’re better friends now than ever”.
It’s indeed a random alchemy that breeds success: “The band as it is now is by far the most popular series of people. Now and again someone’ll come up and say ‘What happened to Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, Jeremy Spencer?’ and we just go ‘Who?’“
Do they ever see any of those groaning oldies, I wonder?
“Not any more. Peter came over to the States and stayed with Mick for a while, Jeremy came over for a while, Danny Kirwan? I haven’t seen him since the day he left the band!”
The Fleetwood Mac LP was the one that started the ball rolling in earnest.
“Yeah, that Penguin album was our worst, even though there were a couple of my songs on it that I like and would like to re-do, but we knew that Fleetwood Mac record was good. And we knew we had a chemistry onstage even though we were playing to half-filled halls of people going ‘Oh no! They haven’t got another line-up have they?’ But the people who did come went crazy, without smoke bombs or weird make-up. I mean, we’re too old to be punky, we’re all knockin’ on now!
“I’m being educated at the moment, but I’m not too familiar with all these new up-and-coming bands here, I’m ashamed to say”.
I venture to tell her about the merits of the wonderful ABC, the pulsing talent of Martin Fry and his merrymen. “ABC, is that a band?”
Hard work is not always rewarded, as Christine Perfect is unfortunately finding out. Since leaving Chicken Shack to spend more time with her husband, Fleetwood Mac’s John McVie, then forming her own band and touring again, she has not exactly achieved what a lot of people know she deserves.
It’s rather an odd situation as she has a healthy fan following and always does well in popularity polls. One of her main problems is the total unpredictability of the television companies who used to fight over well-known acts but who now make a habit of booking lesser-knowns at the expense of people like Christine.
“I sat down and added up all the points in my favour and it’s ridiculous,” she explained. “They just won’t give me any TV work. They like the records but they have so much power and they know it.”
She can be excused a modicum of bitterness. It must be very frustrating to have the talent without it being given enough exposure. An endless round of one-nighters isn’t quite the same as a few hours in a TV studio.
Her last single, “Too Far Gone (To Turn Around)” was released on April 24 and her album is due out in the middle of next month. It has quite a mixture of tracks: a new version of the Chicken Shack hit “I’d Rather Go Blind,” Tony Joe White’s “I Want You,” her single “When You Say,” Ike and Tina Turner’s “Crazy Bout You Baby,” Bobby Bland’s “I’m On My Way” and “Too Far Gone” without the strings and brass. There are also some numbers written by her group which includes the exceptionally good guitarist Top Topham.
But even the album isn’t really making Christine all that happy. When I asked her about it, she smoothed down her blonde hair, creased her brow and replied: “You know how it is with albums, they’re always representative of what you were rather than what you’re doing now… so I’m happy with fifty per cent of it.”
Christine took the decision to go back on the road when she found the contrast between working with Chicken Shack and looking after John and nothing else was too much.
Her first London concert date at the Drury Lane Theatre Royal was a bit of a disaster, mainly because of a compere who calmly announced: “Next is Christine Perfect, I don’t expect many of you have heard of her.” Very professional.
None the less, Christine enjoys working if not the actual travelling and she knows a lot about venues.
“London audiences seem to be blasé,” she told me. “They’re far better further North. Those pubs that have rooms above are usually very good, the kids seem more relaxed. They have a drink or two and don’t have to worry about sitting down all the time like at a concert, they feel freer to enjoy themselves.”
Things should get better, it’s nice to think they will. How about joining Fleetwood Mac, I joked, after all Peter Green is leaving?
She thought this funny and had to put her pint down rather quickly to avoid spilling it. Then she looked more serious and said: “That’s funny you mention that because Peter introduced me to the audience once and I got an ovation. I was amazed. I did a number with them and it went off great.”
Richard Green / New Musical Express / May 30, 1970
Christine of Chicken Shack and John of Fleetwood fame
Blond, gritty Christine Perfect not only bears the distinction of being lead singer of the famed Chicken Shack blues band, but is also married to John McVie of the chart-busting Fleetwood Mac.
She, more than anyone else – being so involved both musically and personally with the blues emergence in British pop – is in a position to explain the swift rise to fame of Fleetwood and what it’s meant to her and people like her.
“Fleetwoods’ success is something that’s been building up for a long time. They’ve always been a highly successful band ever since we were on the scene enjoying an audience of two people, while they were packing places out.
“It helped that they were individually well known whereas we were total strangers. They were like the Cream, and there was masses of interest for them before they even set foot stage.
“Let’s face it, people don’t just come to listen to music, they want to be entertained by people with strong individual personalities – and that’s what Fleetwood have.
“The real mystery is this ‘blues boom’ bit. I really can’t understand why we’re all enjoying such success at the moment.
“Maybe the kids are getting bored with soul. I’ve noticed that on dates the first 20 yards from the stage are full of really fanatical blues fans and behind them are people like the Geno Washington fans and people like them who just want to see what’s going on.
“They enjoy it – so the audiences get bigger. Whether it’s an actual boom I don’t know but even a lot of the soul groups have switched to playing blues now.”
With her husband in Fleetwood, who have already established themselves with a hit record, while Chicken Shack are still struggling to make it commercially, it wouldn’t be impertinent to suggest there might be a little family jealousy going on in the McVie household…
“To be honest, here’s no jealousy between us and Fleetwood. In fact their success has helped us a lot. All the people in the blues world know I’m married to John and in a way it’s good publicity for us.
“They associate us with Fleetwood and kids are always coming up to me saying: “Ere, you’re McVie’s missus aren’t you?” and they’re knocked out by it all.”
Musically, then harmony exists between Christine and John. But their personal lives have been vastly altered by the Fleetwood success and the fact that each is an integral part of a different group.
“This American trip has proved the real shatterer. It’s floored me completely. Originally John was only going for five weeks but now it’s been extended another five and I don’t know where I am. I speak to him on the phone a lot but it’s not the same as having him around.
“Usually, though we see as much of each other as anyone else does. If I’m not working I’ll go with Fleetwood to a one-nighter and even if we’re both playing at different ends of England we come home around 3 a.m. and see each other all the next day.
“We’re really nocturnal people anyway so it doesn’t make that much difference. And when Fleetwood come back from America we’re both playing concerts in Scandinavia on the same bill. That’s the advantage of both being in blues bands – we often get booked for the same shows.
“We don’t talk about music a lot when we’re at home. We really go our own ways and John never offers advice.
“The only thing he ever did to change me was to get me wearing dresses and looking like a girl. When I first started with Chicken Shack I was very nervy about being a girl in a blues band.
“You know what it’s like – there’s a blues uniform of long hair and tatty jeans which I always wore, because I was so aware of being a girl I tried to become one of the blokes so I didn’t stand out too much. My manager went beserk. He thought I ought to wear pretty dresses. But it sounded a pretty lewd suggestion to me then!
“So I went on dressing like a bloke and being all tough – until I met John.
“He made me realise that people will come and see you and like you for what you are, if you’re good enough. Through him I feel comfortable on stage now – you’ll even see me in a dress now. I suppose you could say that was another bit of success for Fleetwood in a roundabout way.”
Penny Valentine / Disc and Music Echo / January 18, 1969