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St. Louis Dispatch(06/14/1990) Christine McVie:Fleetwood Mac's Premier Team Player < Christine McVie < Main Page

St. Louis Dispatch(06/14/1990) Christine McVie:Fleetwood Mac's Premier Team Player

June 14, 1990
St. Louis Dispatch, Section: CALENDAR
Louise King

LOOKING back on it now, Christine McVie realizes how totally out of character her relationship with Beach Boys' drummer Dennis Wilson was. By her own admission, the 46-year-old McVie is usually an easy-going, sensible individual.

Her melodic soft rock singing and songwriting, along with her blues-based keyboard playing, have helped build a durable foundation for the rock group Fleetwood Mac. For 20 years (in August), she has been a stabilizing force in a group where odd behavior is not altogether uncommon.

Nevertheless, there was that three-year period in the late 1970s, just a few years before Wilson's death, when McVie, too, took a walk on the wild side.

"I was whisked away on some wild tangent, and almost lost some good friends because of it," she explained when we spoke by phone on the eve of Fleetwood Mac's "Behind the Mask" tour, which stops at The Arena June 17. "I was just obsessed with the guy. And I was doing a lot of other things that were odd for me, like drugs. Fortunately, I saw the error of my ways and pulled myself together tout de suite!"

It's no surprise that McVie can stand back and analyze her life so rationally. In a business where overblown egos often take precedence over the music, she's a breath of fresh air, content to remain a "team player" in Fleetwood Mac.

"I'm not so much a solo keyboardist as a rhythm player to the band," she said, her deep, earthy voice accented by a touch of her native England. "I suppose I'd be described as a raw egg, the binding factor, at least in a musical sense."

Chances are McVie, born Christine Perfect, has had a hand in keeping Fleetwood Mac together on a more personal level as well. Her asssociation with the band began when she was a member of a group called Chicken Shack. She was a big fan of Fleetwood Mac, and eventually married the group's bassist, John McVie. The following year, upon the departure of guitarist Peter Green, Christine, who by then was already married to McVie, was asked to join to fill the void left by Green. While the marriage didn't last (they remain good friends), her devotion to Fleetwood Mac remains steadfast.

"It's difficult to think of playing with someone else," she revealed, "although there certainly will be a time, maybe in two or three years, when I would consider doing something else in life. I really want to get a house in England at some point and get back to painting. But I could be well be wrong; I could still be in this band when I'm 60!"

Meanwhile, it's likely McVie will record a follow-up to her 1984 solo debut. However, while other members of the band, including drummer Mick Fleetwood and vocalist Stevie Nicks, have toured somewhat successfully on their own, McVie feels uncomfortable being thrust into the spotlight.

"I'm not a front person in a band," she explained. "The one time I did a solo tour, I really didn't enjoy standing in front of the microphone. I don't feel that's my forte in life."

What McVie is looking forward to is writing more with the group's two newest members, Rick Vito and Billy Burnette, who joined when Lindsey Buckingham exited on the eve of the band's 1987 tour.

"With four songwriters in the group now, the possibilities, in musical terms, are endless," she said, enthusiastically.

Burnette, who writes with an ear towards rockabilly, penned one of the new tunes, "Do You Know?," with McVie. Actually, the song was written eight years ago, during the first week the two met. In addition, McVie wrote "Skies the Limit" with her husband, Eddy Quintela. She says her attitude about collaborating on a song has changed dramatically in the last few years.

"I used to loathe writing with others," she admitted, "because I would feel embarrassed about making a mistake in front of them. I used to be very guarded about those moments when I felt most vulnerable. But now I enjoy the challenge."

Vito's particular specialty is the blues, a style Fleetwood Mac hasn't focused on since the Peter Green days.

"It's been interesting for us to be able to resurrect that sound," McVie said. "If we've missed anything over the years since Peter's departure, it was having that sort of raw, hard-edged guitar."
The result of this broader base of talent is a wider range of songs which can be performed live. According to McVie, it was Peter Green who inspired Vito to start writing, so it's fitting that Vito should end up playing Green's songs on stage. Among the older material finding its way into the set list on this tour is "If I Loved Another Woman," "Stop Messin' 'round," "Oh Well," and "The Green Manalishi."

"I think everyone's really proud of the legacy Peter left us," McVie mused. "I know Mick and John are very nostalgic about those early days. But you have to be careful that you don't end up with a watered down, lukewarm, wimpy version of those songs. They have to be comparable to the original and that's difficult to do unless you have someone who plays like Rick."

Contributed by Mary Anne


Date: 1990-06-14         Number of views: 1745

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